Friends, movie goers, assembled geeks, the summer movie season is upon us. It is a time of hype, anticipation, jubilation, and at times unfortunate disappointment. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a movie is going to be good even when the reviews start rolling in… if they come in time for you to make your decision at all. Luckily, we’re here to help you with your decision.
Here is a new monthly column for the summer blockbuster season: the movie guide. We’ll go over the big releases and try to figure out if they’ll be worth your hard earned cash and, more importantly, your time. In this installment, we’ll be looking at the big May releases.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Release Date: May 1st
- Director: Joss Whedon
- Writer: Joss Whedon
Will it be good? Even without the influx of positive reviews, we all knew this one was gonna be a winner. Joss really nailed the impossible job of making the first Avengers soar. He stayed on with Phase 2 to help with the scripts, which led to a stronger line up of films than Phase 1. If there’s any negatives to Age of Ultron, it’s that it apparently suffers a bit from being overstuffed with connective tissue, but that seems less Joss’ mistake and more the pitfall of making such a huge film in an expanding cinematic universe.
Verdict: See it in the theater.
- Release Date: May 8th
- Director: Henry Hobson
- Writer: John Scott
Will it be good? Reviews are mixed on this one. The script placed high in some competitions a few years ago, finally making into production based on its quality – the Cinderella story of Hollywood. In addition, the casting of Arnold Schwarzenegger was intriguing as many hoped to see him stretch his dramatic muscles. It’s a little early to tell as the talent behind the camera is mostly untested, but fans of Arnold or the zombie genre may want to give it a gander. Abigail Breslin is also a fantastic actress, so it’ll be interesting to see how she handles the darker material.
Verdict: If the reviews hold, genre fans may want to check it out in theaters. If not, it could be worth a look on VOD or streaming down the line.
Mad Max: Fury Road
- Release Date: May 15th
- Director: George Miller
- Writer: George Miller
Will it be good? Early test screening reviews have leaked out and they’re quite positive. With the movie being billed as essentially a two hour chase scene, it’s guaranteed to be entertaining. Add in amazing location shooting, practical effects, and two of the best actors in the business (Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron) headlining the cast and you have a recipe for success. One note, however, is that this film is made from the same director as the first three Mad Max movies. If you haven’t seen them, they are very strange movies that aren’t for everyone (though The Road Warrior is still universally awesome), so the same will probably apply here.
Verdict: As long as you go in knowing what kind of movie it is, it seems like the film will deliver on the promise of its trailers. See it in the theater.
- Release Date: May 15th
- Director: Oren Peli
- Writer: Oren Peli
Will it be good? Probably not. Peli’s Paranormal Activity was an effective movie and Area 51 has a really cool premise. However, the film was shot in 2009 and then CBS films hired another director to do re-writes and reshoots on the film, which happened in 2013. Furthermore, the film has been tinkered with in post-production ever since. These are all red flags, so it’s very likely the movie’s pretty bad. The trailer released that was riddled with found footage troupes didn’t help either.
Verdict? Skip it.
- Release Date: May 22nd
- Director: Brad Bird
- Writer: Damon Lindelof
Will it be good? It’s hard to judge this one. On the positive side, Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) is directing. On the negative side, Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus) is writing. The cast is strong and the early footage looks really cool… so it’s probably safe to teeter to the positive side of the spectrum. However, we really haven’t seen much about the movie, which isn’t the best sign. It could be that they want to preserve the mystery and wonder of the film… or they’re afraid we won’t like we we’ll see.
Verdict: Wait and see… but Brad Bird being at the helm is hopefully reason enough to be optimistic.
- Release Date: May 29th
- Director: Brad Peyton
- Writer: Carlton Cuse
Will it be good? It’s a disaster movie starring Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson. The simple fact of the matter is you won’t go to this movie for the drama, the character work, or the deep thematic explorations of the human condition. You’re going to see The Rock run and jump through CGI fueled mayhem. The movie looks to deliver on that front, even if the reviews will most likely be bad. If they’re good, then everyone wins.
Verdict: If you want to see a disaster movie starring the Rock, check it out. If not, then skip it. Simple as that.