Spring movie preview: Studios roll out the big guns this season
Even the multiplexes experience their own type of rebirth this time of year. Leaving behind the doldrums of the winter cinematic season, studios annually start to roll out the big guns over the next two months.
This year is no exception: With works by major filmmakers such as David Gordon Green (“Your Highness”) and Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”), and high-powered blockbusters such as “Thor” and the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the horizon, it’s an exciting time for movie fans.
Here are some of the films we’re most eagerly anticipating this season.
Director Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie), who carries the twin science-fiction cachet of making the top-notch drama “Moon” and being the son of Ziggy Stardust himself, returns to the genre with a film that’s been described as “‘Groundhog Day’ on a train,” about a soldier (Jake Gyllenhaal) trying to disarm a bomb. (April 1)
Saoirse Ronan (“The Lovely Bones”) plays a teenage assassin and the one-of-a-kind Cate Blanchett plays her antagonist, a psychotic intelligence agent. Director Joe Wright (“Atonement”) brings it all together with his pristine cinematic eye. Yes, please. (April 8)
We will follow Danny McBride anywhere and everywhere he goes, especially to this broad medieval-set comedy co-starring of-the-moment actors James Franco, Natalie Portman
and Zooey Deschanel. (April 8)
You probably think the Ghostface killer was sooooo ’90s — and you might be right. But the only way to know for sure is to check out this fourth installment in the mega-popular Wes Craven horror series, which stars veterans Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox alongside newcomers Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts. (April 15)
‘Water for Elephants’
OMG! Edward Cullen like totally just ran off and joined the circus. Who’s that blonde woman with him in all the posters and previews, and what did she do with Bella? Actually, Twihards needn’t worry: This is just a romantic drama, starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon, about Great Depression-era circus performers. Based on Sara Gruen’s best-selling novel. (April 22)
Once upon a time, Mel Gibson was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Then he opened his mouth. And then he opened it again (and again and again). Can his knack for acting rather than landing in hot water still draw in the crowds? Gibson’s good pal Jodie Foster, director of this Gibson-starrer about a depressed man who communicates with his family through a beaver hand puppet, bets it can. (May 6)
We admit to being a bit weary of superhero movies — really, Hollywood, we don’t need this many — but the idea of noted Shakespearean director Kenneth Branagh taking on Marvel’s God of Thunder is too improbably weird to resist. (May 6)
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’
Let’s be frank: The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise had grown staler than an ancient bottle of rum. It needed fresh directorial blood, and for this fourth installment such a transfusion occurred in the form of Rob Marshall (“Chicago”). (May 20)
‘The Hangover Part II’
The boys are back, Mike Tyson included, and Liam Neeson joins the fun. Also, the potential for comic insanity is far greater in the sequel’s setting — Bangkok — than in Las Vegas. But the cavalcade of crazy that comprised the original is still a tough act to follow. (May 26)
‘The Tree of Life’
Film buffs salivate over the films of Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”) like dogs over juicy T-bone steaks. Deny us our meal — as the repeated delays of the film “The Tree of Life” have done — and we’re liable to get ravenous. Fortunately, this Brad Pitt-Sean Penn starrer, about a complex father-son relationship, is finally set to open at the end of May. Well, we hope. (May 27)