Summer Movies 2011: More superheroes and sequels
It’s that time of year again. Provided Chicago finally decides to stay warm, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeking refuge from the summer heat at a local movie theater near you. Here’s a list of some of the films you can enjoy while you’re there, including a couple of the requisite comic book movies (X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern), a handful of sequels (Transformers 3, The Hangover 2) and some other movie about a wizard named Harry that you’ve probably never heard of.
Check out the timeline to find out when the movies you’re looking forward to are coming out, including movies playing outdoors as part of Chicago’s Movies in the Parks series.
The Potential Blockbusters
The Hangover 2
The Wolfpack’s back for another adventure, this time in Bangkok, Thailand. Ed Helms, Zach Galifanakis, Bradley Cooper and Community’s Ken Jeong return. May 27
X-Men: First Class
Meet archenemies Professor X and Magneto before they were enemies. Set in the early 60s, X-Men: First Class follows Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Micahel Fassbender, playing young Magneto) as they start a school for humans with special abilities. Directed by Matthew Vaughn, also starring Jennifer Lawrence. June 3
Strange incidents and disappearances occur after a train crashes in a small Ohio town during the summer of 1979. Kyle Chandler plays a local Deputy trying to uncover the truth behind the unusual events. Directed by Star Trek and Lost’s J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, Super 8’s likely a must see for sci-fi fans. June 10
Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, a test pilot turned superhero. The film also stars Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard. June 17
Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon
The Autobots and Decepticons face off again in a race to find a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon that could help both sides win their epic battle. Shia LaBeouf and Tyrese Gibson return, but fans may be sad to see Megan Fox replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Sam’s new love interest. Other new additions include Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. July 1
Fun fact: Transformers 3 was filmed mostly in Chicago.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts for the final battle against Lord Voldemort. July 15
Captain America: The First Avenger
Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving and Tommy Lee Jones. July 22
Cowboys and Aliens
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. July 29
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Scientist James Franco experiments on a chimp named Caesar while trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Human vs. ape war ensues. Also stars Andy Serkis and Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto. August 5
For the Kids
Kung Fu Panda 2
Po’s awesome new life as The Dragon Warrior is threatened by a villain hellbent on destroying kung fu. Starring Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan. May 27
Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy return racecar Lightning McQueen and truck Mater as they race through Europe and Asia while competing in the World Grand Prix. Also stars Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer as British spies Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell. June 18
Winnie the Pooh
Join Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo, Eeyore and Christopher Robin for a bit of childhood nostalgia. Starring John Cleese, Craig Ferguson and Zooey Deschanel. July 15
Smurfs take Manhattan after being booted out of their village by an evil wizard. Starring Hank Azaria, Katy Perry and Jonathan Winters. July 29
Mr. Popper’s Penquins
Jim Carrey stars as a businessman who’s life completely changes when he inherits six penguins. Also stars Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury. June 17
Tom Hanks directs and stars as a middle-aged man who goes back to college after losing his job. Julie Roberts and Bryan Cranston also star.
Jason Bateman, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day and SNL’s Jason Sudeikis star as three friends who plan to murder their ‘horrible bosses’ to improve their lives. Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey star as the three bosses. July 8
Friends With Benefits
Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake star in a movie that seems suspiciously similar to the recent Natalie Portman/Ashton Kusher movie, No Strings Attached. July 22
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore. Gosling plays suave wingman to newly single Carell.
30 Minutes or Less
Starring Jesse Eisenberg as a delivery guy kidnapped and forced to help two criminals (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) rob a bank… with a bomb strapped to his chest. Also stars Parks and Recreation’s Aziz Ansari. August 12
Star Trek’s Anton Yelchin stars as a teen who suspects his neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire in this remake of the 1985 original. Also stars Doctor Who’s David Tennant. August 19
Our Idiot Brother
Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Rashida Jones. August 26
The Tree of Life
Tells the story of Jack (Sean Penn), his life growing up in 1950s Midwest and his tumultuous relationship with his father. Directed by the Terrence Malick, IMDB calls this film “a true event” for cinephiles and fans of the reclusive Malick. Also starring Brad Pitt and celebrated Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life could be a good alternative to the standard action and comedy fare. May 27 (limited release)
Starring Ewan McGregor, Mélanie Laurent and Christopher Plummer and directed by Mike Mills in his first film since 2005’s Thumbsucker. June 3
Based on the bestselling novel, stars Emma Stone as an aspiring writer who befriends two African American maids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) in 1960s Mississippi.