Another month, another monthly preview. May is actually a little sparse in 2012, since everyone seems to have wisely kept their distance from The Avengers, which is expected to be one of, if not the biggest motion picture of all time. The first couple of weeks of May only offer counterprogramming, but you'll start to see a few other blockbuster hopefuls trickle in as the month concludes. But are any of these movies going to be any good? We've put our powerful film critic brains together to look at all the information and previews available and let you know which ones you should look forward to, which ones to avoid at all costs, and which ones deserve cautious skepticism until the reviews come in. Here it is, your CraveOnline movie preview for the May 2012!
The Avengers (PG-13)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson,
Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Opening: May 4
After years of build up, the stars of Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger unite to fight an alien invasion. But will they be able to stop fighting each other first?
CraveOnline’s Call: We’ve seen it. It’s amazing. You’ve already bought your tickets anyway. Just go.
Dark Shadows (PG-13)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green,
Chloe Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley
Directed by: Tim Burton
Opening: May 11
Tim Burton turns the revolutionary 1960’s supernatural soap opera in a comedy starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, an 18th Century vampire who awakens in the present day to discover his extended family holds many secrets.
CraveOnline’s Call: The target demographic for a feature adaptation of “Dark Shadows” probably isn’t old enough to know the original series well enough to see that Tim Burton isn’t being very faithful, and we’re kind of okay with that. It’s good to see Burton return to comedy, and although the old “tiny person in the TV set” jokes are beyond stale, it seems that this Dark Shadows could at least be worth a matinee ticket.
God Bless America (R)
Starring: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith
Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwaite
Opening: May 11
Diagnosed with an inoperable, malignant brain tumor, Frank (Joel Murray) decides to kill off the world’s douchebags, taking a 16-year old girl (Tara Lynne Barr) along for the ride.
CraveOnline’s Call: On the surface, God Bless America appears to be a more socially-conscious version of last year’s Super, but in the hands of Bobcat Goldthwaite – who turned into one of the most exciting directors around when you weren’t looking – we’re betting there’s a bit more to it than that. Be honest, haven’t you ever wanted to just kill that guy who takes up two parking spaces?
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Rory Culkin,
Juliette Lewis, Alec Baldwin
Directed by: Derick Martini
Opening: May 11
Future Carrie star Chloe Grace Moretz breaks from family-friendly Dark Shadows fare for a motion picture depicting her as a 13-year old runaway commits robberies with Blake Lively and runs afoul of a dangerous drifter (Eddie Redmayne).
CraveOnline’s Call: Oh… we don’t think so. We admire the audacity involved in casting Chloe Grace Moretz as a quasi-nymphette on a crime spree, but the trailer implies that a film that’s all 1970s flourish with none of the 1970s social commentary. It feels like stunt casting and an obvious plea for attention, and we aren’t buying it… at least until the reviews start coming in.
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker
Directed by: Peter Berg
Opening: May 18
In this adaptation of the classic board game “Battleship,” the U.S. Navy squares off against an alien threat lurking beneath the ocean waves. Huh… must be electronic “Battleship.”
CraveOnline’s Call: We’re confident that everything goes “boom” quite nicely, thank you, but even ignoring the baffling attempt to connect this storyline with the fairly straightforward board game, this looks like generic, lifeless action filmmaking at its most banal. It could be kinda fun, but that’s not enough in an era where films like The Avengers and anything by Christopher Nolan are capable of giving us the same kind of thrills with a little personality or – god forbid – some actual ideas behind them.
The Dictator (R)
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Ben Kingsley
Directed by: Larry Charles
Opening: May 18
Sacha Baron Cohen’s first fully-scripted starring role finds the comedian playing the hilariously evil dictator of a Middle Eastern nation, stripped of his identity in America and falling in love with Anna Faris.
CraveOnline’s Call: We can see the reviews now… “It’s like The Great Dictator, without the ‘great’ part!” It’s certainly hard to imagine that a film that looks as formulaic as this one, aside from the inherently controversial protagonist obviously, will have much to say about the politics of the region. But it’s Cohen, he’s usually very funny, and we’re a little curious to see how it turns out. We’re tentatively interested.
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett
Directed by: Tanya Wexler
Opening: May 18
A period-piece romantic comedy about Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy), the inventor of the vibrator.
CraveOnline’s Call: We actually want to see this one, and no, only part of it is the promise of a scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal and a vibrator. It’s easy to forget just how far western culture has come in the last 100 years in regards to accepting the very existence of female sexuality, and while the trailer seems a little preoccupied with obvious sex gags (gotta sell those tickets after all), the potential for an even halfway intelligent look at an early turning point in the sexual and feminist revolutions sounds like a good time to us.
Men in Back III (PG-13)
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Opening: May 25
Ten years after the tragedy that was Men in Black II, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return for a time-travelling sequel that finds Agent J going back in time to team up with a young Agent K (Josh Brolin), to save the future.
CraveOnline’s Call: It looks a lot better than Men in Black II, but then so does the average third-degree burn scar so that doesn’t win Men in Black III many points. Despite reports that the production was ridiculously troubled, the trailer looks kind of amusing, but we can’t shake the notion that they’re just ripping off the Austin Powers sequels and making the best of Josh Brolin’s spot-on Tommy Lee Jones impersonation. Pass.
Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13)
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton,
Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Opening: May 25 (limited)
A pair of pre-teen starcross’d lovers run away from their New England town in the 1960s, prompting the townsfolk to lose their damned minds trying to find them.
CraveOnline’s Call: There aren’t many directors whose films we’d be excited for sight unseen, but Wes Anderson qualifies. But having seen the film’s hilarious, innocent trailer our anticipation has reached ludicrous heights. Moonrise Kingdom looks like a fine follow up to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, one of our favorite Anderson films, and is right near the top of our “Must Watch” list this summer.
Chernobyl Diaries (R)
Starring: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Dudley
Directed by: Bradley Parker
Opening: May 25
A group of “extreme” tourists get more than they bargained for when a tour of the highly radioactive Chernobyl fallout site gets all scary and stuff.
CraveOnline’s Call: No, no, no, no, no… We’re happy that Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity earned him a career in Hollywood (despite the backlash it’s a pretty good low-budget thriller), but Chernobyl Diaries looks like tedious mainstream schlock, whether the scares are coming from ghosts (seen it) or radioactive survivors of the blast (bought the t-shirt). No thanks.
Disclaimer: Release dates, ratings and our opinions are subject to change.