Summer Movie Preview: Watch trailers from some of hottest films to comeFeature Story, Top Highlights Thursday, May 5th, 2011
While the actual season we call summer doesn’t begin until June 21 and the traditional kick-off for summer doesn’t happen until Memorial Day Weekend, the summer movie season starts the first weekend of May. This year it all begins with Thor, one of the half-dozen big budget superhero flicks out over the next four months.
The summer is usually when studios, big or small, do not like to distribute their more difficult movies – like the gay ones. So, as usual, queer characters and storylines are nearly absent in this summer’s deluge of movies.
Several movies, while not technically gay, feature so much same-sex tension and subtext that you have to call them, to borrow a term from our nerdy queer theorist friends, homosocial. And, of course, there is a bunch that you might want to see, if only because the actors and actresses are so damn hot.
THEY’RE ACTUALLY KINDA GAY
BEGINNERS. Directed by Mike Mills. In this summer’s only major film featuring a gay lead character, Ewan McGregor’s Oliver develops a new, more powerful relationship with his newly out and not well father Hal, played by Christopher Plummer. Two of the world’s great actors doing a father-son, gay-straight story of awakening and love? Be there, with the Kleenex. June 10.
THE BEAVER. Directed by Jodie Foster. Read those last six words again. It’s called The Beaver and it’s directed by our greatest living lesbian actress. The story itself isn’t as queer as that, but it’s certainly weird: Mel Gibson plays a man whose nervous breakdown leads him to talk to the world through his beaver puppet. Gibson, whose alcohol-addled rants about everyone from Jews to women, seems to have been able to keep Foster as a friend, which is perhaps odder than the movie, which is called The Beaver. Did I mention that? May 20.
THE PERFECT HOST. Directed by Nick Tomnay. David Hyde Pierce, who played the fastidious, effete, inexplicably heterosexual brother Niles on Frasier for more than a decade, is out and proud and still one of the funniest actors working. He is, however, a bit limited; he’s always so … gay. And I mean that in the best way possible. At least in the trailer for The Perfect Host, he seems to be playing Niles Crane again, except this time, Niles is a psychopath who tortures a bank robber during an insane dinner party. And it’s a comedy. July.
THE SMURFS. Directed by Raja Gosnell. This actually looks terrible, but nothing says “gay!” like a movie about a race of tiny blue people with a 100-to-1 male-to-female ratio starring gay Neil Patrick Harris and might-as-well-be-gay Hank Azaria, who is playing the evil wizard Gargamel. Alan Cumming plays against type as the voice of Gutsy Smurf. July 29.
THE HANGOVER: PART 2. Directed by Todd Phillips. In the sequel to the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time – and Golden Globe winner for Best Comedy Picture – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and bear icon Zach Galifianakis are back for more drunken hijinks, this time in Bangkok. (Heh, heh: “Bangkok.”) While these characters are all pretty straight, they were all put in some pretty homosexually awkward situations in the first film, and the second will just up the ante. May 26.
BRIDESMAIDS. Directed by Paul Feig. It’s The Hangover with women, described by Feig as a “sismance” (as opposed to, I guess, The Hangover’s bromantic threesome), and stars three of the funniest women alive: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy. Wiig, who co-wrote the script, is tasked with being the maid of honor for Rudolph, and all sorts of hilarity ensues. The movie is getting great buzz, and both gay boys and gay girls will love the raunchy girl power. May 13.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. In the first two X-Men movies, Bryan Singer amped up the gay subtext of the story of outcast mutants rejected by society, even including a coming out (as a mutant) scene in X2 as good as any in the best queer cinema. For this prequel, the original comic’s 1960s civil rights analogy – peaceful change vs. violent revolution – is more dominant, but it’s hard not to connect it to the debates about the best methods to get our gay rights. And nothing says homosocial bromance quite like the love-hate relationship between Professor X and Magneto, played with fierce sexiness by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively. June 3.
THOR. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. All you need to do is see the trailer of this movie, and you’ll know why some gay guys might want to see it. Chris Hemsworth. Shirtless. Apparently, he buffed up so much that he couldn’t fit into his costumes, and even though I’m uncomfortable with the steroids that I’m convinced (without evidence, I admit) he must have taken, I’m not uncomfortable with running to the theater. Thor also stars the rather attractive Natalie Portman as the astrophysicist who discovers our heroic Asgardian after he’s been cast to earth without his powers or his mystical hammer. May 6.
GREEN LANTERN. Directed by Martin Campbell. Few men are as pretty or have as awesome a six-pack as Ryan Reynolds, who plays Hal Jordan and his masked, power-ringed alter ego the Green Lantern. As the first human to be chosen as a member of the cosmic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps, Jordan must save the universe and woo the stunning Blake Lively. Campbell made Casino Royale, so there’s hope Green Lantern is as hot as its stars. June 17.
BAD TEACHER. Directed by Jake Kasdan. Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. I would think that just naming two of the sexiest people on earth would be enough to get anyone to buy tickets, but you might also want to know that Diaz is playing the worst teacher imaginable and Timberlake is her love interest in this filthy, ridiculous comedy. I hope it’s half as good as the trailer. June 24.
TEN MORE MOVIES WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE
1. EVERYTHING MUST GO. I love it when Will Ferrell stretches, and in this black comedy based on a Raymond Carver short story, he sells all of his possessions after his wife kicks him out. The wondrous Rebecca Hall costars. May 13.
2. THE TREE OF LIFE. The weird genius Terrence Malick (Badlands, The Thin Red Line) returns with another beautiful and haunting tale of innocence lost, this time with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. May 27.
3. HORRIBLE BOSSES. Any movie described as “9 to 5 crossed with….” will get my attention, but when the Dabney Coleman role is replaced with Jennifer Anniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell, I’m there. July 8.
4. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2. It’s the end of Harry Potter, and if you’ve read the book you’ll know that the second half is all action, magic and drama. Still directed by David Yates, who saved the franchise. July 15.
5. COWBOYS & ALIENS. The name says a lot, but it doesn’t say Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, who co-star in this western set in 1875, which is when aliens show up and start wreaking havoc. It looks awesome. July 29.
6. FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are exactly what the title of the film says they are, and it’s all the better because the comedy is rated R and the writer-director Will Gluck is the guy who gave us the great Easy A.July 22.
7. CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE. The directors who brought us the wildly funny and subversive I Love You Phillip Morris return with a bittersweet romantic comedy with a cast made in heaven: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, and Easy A’s Emma Stone. July 29.
8. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. This looks better than Tim Burton’s wretched remake of Planet of the Apes, and this prequel also has James Franco and Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and is the body behind the CGI chimp known as Caesar. Aug. 5.
9. THE HELP. Based on the bestselling novel about the relationship between a white family and their servants, this is the summer’s highest profile high-brow film, and it stars Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, and Sissy Spacek, among others. Aug. 12.
10. THE DEBT. John Madden directs Dame Helen Mirren and the studly Sam Worthington in a Nazi-hunter thriller. I have to wait how long? Aug. 31.
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