10 Films To See In May

Cannes Film Festival is the big cinematic focus this month, we also have the start of  the summer blockbuster after Fast Five gave a humongous jump start
last week. There are a decent number of blockbusters to look forward
to, but the real highlights don’t involve any previous properties. Check
out the list below and let us know what you want to see.


10. Everything Must Go (Dan Rush; May 13th)

Synopsis: When an alcoholic relapses, causing him to
lose his wife and his job, he holds a yard sale on his front lawn in an
attempt to start over. A new neighbor might be the key to his return to

Why You Should See It: Will Ferrell heads back into dramatic territory with this praised script, from a Raymond Carver short story, adapted and directed by Dan Rush.
I saw it during its TIFF premiere last fall and the noteworthy
performances matched with the smart script elevate the standard
direction. Check out our recent Tribeca review here.

9. Last Night (Massy Tadjedin; May 6th)

Synopsis: When married couple Joanna and Michael
spend a night apart, they each face temptation that could decide the
fate of their relationship: Michael is out of town with a seductive
co-worker, while Joanna encounters her ex, who has resurfaced in New
York City.

Why You Should See It: Another film I saw last fall
at TIFF is finally getting its theatrical debut. One can see it on VOD
now, but this look at fidelity proves Sam Worthington isn’t just a blockbuster acting robot. Aided by Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, and Guillaume Canet, this is a refreshing reminder romance films can take things seriously and still resonate. 

8. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Rob Marshall, May 20th)

Synopsis: After crossing paths with a woman from his
past, Captain Jack Sparrow is swept aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge,
the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard, on an unexpected mission
to find the elusive fountain of youth.

Why You Should See It: This fourthquel seems equally
unattractive and oddly appealing. On one hand, it looks to be the most
unnecessary of the summer blockbusters. On the other, one has to give
credit to the producers for acknowledging the failures of the last two
films and stripping this one down to the bare bones, featuring a
standalone Jack Sparrow adventure. I’ll see it for the brilliant casting
of a heroine and a baddie, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane, respectively.

7. Tuesday, After Christmas (Radu Muntean; May 27th)

Synopsis: Paul Hanganu loves two women. Adriana his
wife and the mother of their daughter, the woman with whom he’s shared
the thrills of the past ten years, and Raluca the woman who has made him
redefine himself. He has to leave one of them before Christmas.

Why You Should See It: This recommendation comes solely from our viewing at NYFF last fall where we described the film as “another staple of the blossoming Romanian New Wave….along the same line as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, avoiding the politics of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and instead finding the comedy in an incredibly dramatic situation.”

6. Thor (Kenneth Branagh; May 6th)

Synopsis: The warrior Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast
out of the fantastic realm of Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony
Hopkins) for his arrogance and sent to Earth to live among humans.
Falling in love with scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) teaches
Thor much-needed lessons, and his new-found strength comes into play as a
villain from his homeland sends dark forces toward Earth.

Why You Should See It: Can Marvel Studios finally get back in the right groove? Since Spider-Man 2 in 2004, they haven’t seemed to muster up a truly entertaining blockbuster. Some say Iron Man was the savior, but I tend to disagree. With their latest, they’ve definitely taken a chance, bringing in Kenneth Branagh as director. After Fast Five
kicked things off right, early reviews from around the globe declare
Marvel’s latest another step in the right direction this summer
blockbuster season.

5. The Hangover Part II (Todd Phillips; May 26th)

Synopsis: Right after the bachelor party in Las
Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding.
Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously

Why You Should See It: We’ve seen these sorts of sequels to mega-hit comedies fail all too often. Todd Phillips seems too smart to turn out a Caddyshack II-level
disaster, but everything from the trailer indicates the formula isn’t
getting changed up whatsoever. For the many that loved the first film
(including me), I’ll gladly go on another adventure with these

4. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen; May 20th)

Synopsis: A romantic comedy about a family traveling
to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged
couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their
own is better.

Why You Should See It: After a pair of duds Woody Allen
is back with this ensemble feature, premiering at Cannes Film Festival
this month. He’s also gathered some fine actors including Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Owen Wilson, and Adrien Brody for this romantic comedy.

3. The Beaver (Jodie Foster; May 6th)

Synopsis: A troubled executive (Mel Gibson) adopts a
beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communicating with his family
and colleagues.

Why You Should See It: The most controversial film of May, and possibly the summer, features the return of Mel Gibson. Directed by Jodie Foster from
a #1 Black List, the strong reviews from its SXSW premiere indicate
this could be one of the stronger dramas this year. Check out our SXSW review here.

2. Bridesmaids (Paul Feig; May 13th)

Synopsis: Picked as her best friend’s maid of honor,
lovelorn and broke Annie (Kristen Wiig) looks to bluff her way through
the expensive and bizarre rituals with an oddball group of bridesmaids.

Trailer (and many more)

Why You Should See It: Although it’s been sold simply as The Hangover for women, this Judd Apatow-produced, Paul Feig-directed is much smarter and more heartfelt than it may suggest. Anchored by Kristen Wiig
in her first lead performance, there is much to love here. It may run a
little long, but that is expected from an Apatow production. See it,
because even if it doesn’t achieve the goal, this comedy deserves to be
the breakout hit of the summer. Check out our SXSW review here.

1. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick; May 27th)

Synopsis: The life journey of the eldest son, Jack,
through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as
he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad
Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul
in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life
while questioning the existence of faith.

Why You Should See It: Terrence Malick’s long-awaited epic is finally hitting theaters and it is firmly at the top of my most-anticipated films of the year.
Under another director this sprawling tale of life and the universe
itself might crumble under its own ambitions, but with the guidance of
one of our greatest visual storytellers, I predict a staggering

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