Flixist Summer Movie Preview Extravaganza of Awesome 2011


It’s here! It’s here! The summer movie season kicks off this week and that means blockbuster after blockbuster, month after month. If there’s any time more exciting than summer for a fan of big time motion pictures I’m not sure what it is. You can take your Academy Award nominated, indie darling, art house bull and shove it because between the months of May and July all I want is action, suspense and awesomeness.

As such, we bring you Flixist’s Summer Movie Preview Extravaganza of Awesome 2011. Here we’re telling you all about the films coming up this summer and why we want them so bad or why we fear their very existence. This summer brings us superheroes, sequels, comedies and more action movies than you can probably stomach and we’ve got the run down on the most important ones.

Join us as we kick off summer and stick around because we’ll be letting you know how all these movies are once they hit theaters. And remember to let us know what you think in the community blogs.

Fast Five (4/29/11)

Fast Five

The Rock and Vin Diesel in the same movie, kicking ass and taking names. What more do you want from this movie? Continuing on the ludicrous action series, Fast Five finds the gang in Rio de Janeiro with their biggest heist looming: stealing $100 million from a police station. And somewhere along the way, The Rock and Vin Diesel get in a fist fight, and Paul Walker jumps out of a car falling off a cliff. I don’t understand how people can’t be excited for this one. Fast Five is basically the best movie since Robocop 3. – Max Roahrig


Thor (5/6/11)

Depending on who you’re talking to, the summer movie season either begins with Fast Five on April 29, or it begins right here, with Thor, the film that begins the honest-to-goodness lead up to 2012’s The Avengers. There’s a fair amount of uncertainty with Thor, as the trailers and early clips we’ve seen seem to show something a bit more hokey than the badass Thor I like that shouts, “FOR ASGARD!,” before knocking a frost giant in the face with his hammer. Also, given the rumors we’ve heard about the film’s post-credits stinger (Big Time spoilers at that link), Thor is definitely required viewing for anyone that’s as fully on the Marvel Studios bandwagon as I am. Also, c’mon, Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings. Rrrowr. – Alex Katz


Hesher (5/13/11)

A controversial unofficial trailer and even the new-and-improved official trailer for Hesher did little to change my feelings towards this mid-May release. With Animal Kingdom director David Michod pitching in as co-writer on the script, and Levitt playing every girl’s dream of a shirtless stoner-anarchist, I’m in. Anarchy, metal music, and pyromania may just be the tough love young T.J. (Devin Brochu) needs to move past the death of this mother. As T.J.’s father, a brooding and deadpan Rainn Wilson, retreats into lethargic mourning, the boy finds an unlikely companion in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Hesher. Natalie Portman also appears in the film wearing a nonconformist…err, nerdy costume, in the sort of role she makes easy work of—unlikely crush for the adolescent T.J., as well as unlikely champion of the boy’s innocence. I don’t doubt that the script will be phenomenal and that Michod’s past collaborator, Spencer Susser, will make good on his feature-length directorial debut. While the treatment promises to be unromantic and gritty, my fingers are crossed for some Levitt-on-Portman lovin’ amid the chaos. – Siobhan Watters


Midnight in Paris (5/13/2011)

Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris, could be fun or, like some of his recent films, passable (I’m looking at you, Whatever Works). I find Rachel McAdams irresistibly cute and charming, and I really enjoy Owen Wilson and his imperfect proboscis, so I will probably see this one regardless. Add in Michael Sheen as an intellectual snob and Marion Cotillard as the Muse, and you have a fun ensemble that has the chance at something magical. The trailer hints at a bit of Shakespeare in Europe, and that can’t be a bad thing. – Sam Membrino


Priest (5/13/11)


While it might have people confused on whether it is a sequel to Paul Bettany’s previous movie Legion, Priest is hoping to fill the void of good supernatural/spiritual action movies. The film is based in an alternate world where vampires — not the glittering kind — exist with mankind in a never-ending battle. I was absolutely floored when I first saw the trailer in the theaters but taken back a little when I later found out the creatures were vampires. But that does not change the fact that the trailers look like a cross between Judge Dredd, Mad Max, and Blade which is never a bad thing. Add in watching the short, animated prequel for this movie and it only adds to the excitement. – Adam Dork


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (5/20/11)

Pirates 4 On Stranger Tides

The Pirates movies have all been (mostly) written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Over the years, together they have been responsible for (take a deep breath) Aladdin, Godzilla, Small Soldiers, The Mask of Zorro, The Road to El Dorado, Shrek, Treasure Planet, Deja Vu, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, and At World’s End (exhale). Everything these men create demands and deserves our attention and money. Say what you will about the last two Pirates movies not living up to the first, but keep in mind that an okay Pirates movie is still the best adventure genre film of the year almost by default. Is there any writer’s name in all of Hollywood with just as many movies under his or her name that you trust more than Elliott or Rossio? If so, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll Netflix every film they’ve written. – Tom Fronczak


The Hangover Part II (05/26/11)

One of my least favorite things in the world is when comedies (or any films for that matter) that shouldn’t have a sequel get one. It can literally ruin the legacy of the original film. The sequel is almost never as good and routinely far worse. I would have said that The Hangover was one of these movies and when the sequel was announced I simply rolled my eyes at Hollywood’s need to cash in on a name. But the more I read and see about The Hangover Part II the funnier and funnier it looks and despite wanting to blast it for being a needless sequel if it tickles my funny bone then I’m going to enjoy it. Plus controversy always sells! With the entire cast returning and plenty of hi-jinks afoot I’m hoping The Hangover Part II doesn’t simply rehash the first film’s jokes and characters, but gives us new comedy to laugh at and a new bachelor party to live up to. Then again it has a monkey and that’s instant win. – Matthew Razak


Tree of Life (05/27/11)

The more I learn about Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, the more I realize that I have no idea what it’s actually going to be. After special effects master Douglas Trumbull said that the film was going to be a “very, very cosmic and very spiritual movie […] that, in style and content, is quite different from anything you’re seeing” I was interested in the project. After watching the trailer, learning that there’s probably dinosaurs, and Brad Pitt in 50’s style clothes said interest was piqued. Tree of Life comes to theaters in late May, so get your summer started right. – Liz Rugg


X-Men: First Class (6/3/11)

X-Men: First Class

Okay, so X-Men: The Last Stand wasn’t very good. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was so bad it resulted in the ever so rare instance of a tie-in video game being better than the movie that spawned it. Yet somehow, some way, I have managed to remain cautiously optimistic about X-Men: First Class. Much of that optimism comes from the presence of Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn, although he’s done nothing to assuage the doubts of fans by baiting fanboys and comparing the teen angst themes of First Class to the Twilight films. But I loved Kick-Ass, plus Vaughn has the support of Bryan Singer, and that dude made two great X-Men movies. I’ve always felt the Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr relationship is one of the most interesting in all of comics, and if the trailer is any indication, we’re going to get a heaping helping of that dynamic thanks for the acting chops of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Also, Kevin Bacon.  – Josh Parker


Super 8 (6/10/11)

Let’s be honest here: Who ISN’T excited for Super 8? I hated Star Trek and everything about it for 23 years until I watched the recent J.J. Abrams-directed film. I was able to resist the pull that Lost had on its fans for six years until I caved this past summer and went on an endless Netflix Instant spree. Needless to say, I love J.J. Abrams. He brings a refreshing sense of intrigue to his films that just makes you crave every bit of information on his upcoming films while also making you want to hold back and stay surprised until opening night. Maybe that’s why I’ve neglected watching the “interactive” teaser attached with Portal 2. Have you guys heard of the new viral site promoting the film? Officially, neither have I. *wink* J.J. Abrams knows how to hook us, and considering that Steven Spielberg is involved, I can’t help but prepare myself for a nostalgic trip to the late 70s when all kids did for fun was shoot their own videos with a Super 8. – Geoff Henao


Green Lantern (6/17/11)

Sinestro is sexy

I love all things Green Lantern. I own all nine lantern rings (ROYGBIV, black, and white), have read every issue since Green Lantern: Rebirth, and even have the Green Lantern symbol tattooed on my wrist. A lot is riding on this film, and the more they show of it, the more excited I get. Ryan Reynolds, the talented actor he is, isn’t my first choice for Hal Jordan, the titular Green Lantern (although Nathan Fillion is providing his voice to Jordan in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights), it could have been worse. With a star-studded cast, including Michael Clark Duncan and Geoffrey Rush lending their voices to two of the more recognizable alien Lanterns, Green Lantern has me absolutely ecstatic. Hopefully it will stay true enough to the source material to prevent me from spewing liquid red napalm from my mouth a la a Red Lantern. Time will tell, but until then, “In brightest day…”  – Sean Walsh

Trailer/Additional footage

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (07/01/11)

I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a person on earth who though Transformers 2 was an improvement over Transformers. The films went from all out summer awesomeness to a movie so boring that not even an epic fight in which Optimus Prime dies could save it. I’m not sure how Bay and company messed giant transforming robots up so badly, but man did they ever. Thankfully, it appears that they are well aware of their idiotic blunders in the second film and are fully committed to making giant transforming robots awesome again. I’m sure this movie has some new plot and new characters, but I have to admit I don’t give a damn. Just give me some epic action sequences and a story that doesn’t bore me to death or give me a headache from being too stupid and I’ll be happy. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: It’s really not that hard to make a Transformers movie awesome. – Matthew Razak


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two (07/15/11)

With the plodding first half of JK Rowling’s climactic Potter book out of the way in Part One, The Boy Who Lived’s final cinematic outing should be the blinding extravaganza we’ve all been waiting for. It has been ten years since The Philosopher’s Stone hit our screens and in the meantime we’ve watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow into their roles and respectable actors in their own right, supported by just about every major British acting talent currently in work: the late Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Robert Pattinson (oh wait)… then of course there’s Alan Rickman, who should finally get the screentime his pitch-perfect Snape has long deserved. Deathly Hallows: Part Two marks not only the final bow of the Potter saga, but the end of possibly the most important series of blockbusters this decade. There’s an argument that only Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban has reached the heights of which the Potter films were capable, but if director David Yates can nail the end-of-an-epic atmosphere, there’s every chance this could be the one to watch this summer. – Xander Markham

Trailer / Images

Winnie the Pooh (7/15/11)

As I desperately cling to the last vestiges of traditional 2D animation (outside of Japan anyway), I feel like I’ll take whatever I can get. If Winnie the Pooh is anywhere near as good as the trailer looks, then I should be thankful the remaining 2D films aren’t abusing my trust. The simply titled Winnie the Pooh feels like a long-running band’s self-titled album, acting as a defining moment for what the band can be. For someone whose childhood was filled with heavy watching of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the later TV series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, this film is making a strong case for why the classic characters are still relevant in an age where kids’ cartoons are overloaded with sarcasm, irony, attitude, stupid humor, and simply bad writing. It’s a little concerning to hear Spongebob’s voice come out of Rabbit’s mouth, but otherwise all the familiar trappings are back. Go watch that charming trailer and tell me that warm memories of your childhood didn’t flood back into your mind. I have a feeling that, like Toy Story 3, this film is as much targeted at adults as it is at children — my favorite kind of cartoon. – Bob Muir


Captain America: The First Avenger (7/22/11)

Cap banner

Of all this year’s summer movies, this one has come the furthest for me. At the first descriptions of the plot, which had Steve Rogers, the man behind the shield, as a USO entertainer for most of the movie, instead of kicking in Nazi heads, I wasn’t thrilled. Then the Super Bowl promo came. Then the first real trailer. I did a complete 180 opinion change. This looks like the Captain America in World War 2 I’ve always wanted. Chris Evans seems to be killing it as Steve, and I’m hoping this is the push that finally makes him the superstar I’ve always known he could be. Captain America isn’t my top most exciting movie of the summer (that goes to a tie between Super 8 and Green Lantern), but it’s certainly going to be an awesome time. It’s by the guy who did The Rocketeer, and it basically looks and feels just like The Rocketeer, but with Marvel characters. If that doesn’t get you all hot and bothered, I think we need to rethink this relationship. Also, if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can buy the truly terrible 1990 Captain America on Blu-Ray in May.Alex Katz


Cowboys & Aliens (7/29/11)

Cowboys and Aliens

What do you get when you cross some of my favorite people with an absolutely atrocious premise? You get Cowboys & Aliens. I truly don’t know what to say about this movie other than the fact that I may have found something that could make me hate Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell, and Olivia Wilde (the latest Indiana Jones film already took care of Harrison Ford on that front). That says a lot. Still, I’m holding out hope for some good cowboy fun, as I could go for a nice lighthearted old west excursion. If this is going to succeed in my book, it either needs to be a smarter version of Wild Wild West or completely downplay the whole alien part, which I’m trying desperately to just ignore. I worry that neither is going to be true, but if anything, it’ll be nice to see Craig as a cowboy and Olivia Wilde as, well, whatever she wants to be. –Andrew Kauz


Rise of the Planet of the Apes (8/1/12)

Oh Rise of the Planet of the Apes, how far we’ve come. When I heard James Franco was staring in a prequel to Planet of the Apes, I was intrigued to say the least. Then I heard that 20th Century Fox was changing the name of the film from Rise of the Apes to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I knew something wasn’t quite right. Then I watched the trailer, and HOLY CRAP it’s a bonafide shitshow. Forget the fact that that there’s a pervy ape watching you sleep or the acronym to this film spells out “ROTPOTA” there’s a freaking ape that jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge and punches a motherflippin’ helicopter! I realize that I’m being a bit cynical in recommending a movie that seems awful as my pick, but I stick by my guns in that this film looks so AMAZINGLY bad that it looks kind of awesome. Not since Dunston Checks In or Congo have monkeys been this hilarious, and I cannot wait. Did I mention that an ape punches a helicopter? -Andres Bolivar


30 Minutes or Less (8/12/2011)

30 Minutes or Less is one of those films you really hope is good but secretly worry might be a letdown. Aziz Ansari has shown he can handle the funny with his Parks and Rec stint, and looks to join comedy veterans Nick Swardson and Danny Mcbride in this dark comedy about a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) who is kidnapped and forced to rob a bank. Eisenberg, coming off an Oscar Nom for The Social Network, makes sense as the unfortunate recipient of a hair-brained scheme, but the trailer didn’t blow me away. It’s also a bit worrisome that what looks to be a light-hearted comedy is actually based on a disturbing true story. – Sam Membrino


Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.