Here I am, back again, your friendly neighbourhood Uxbridgian, and I’m here to give you a round-up of those movies about to invade your territory!
April was a fairly decent month, with The Winter Soldier rightfully dominating proceedings, and Frozen going strong on DVD/Blu-Ray, but May usually sees the Blockbuster season take full swing, and all you lucky people start to dispense with your disposable cash, hand over fist.
This year is no exception, with May having quite a few big hitters, as well as a few potential sleeper hits. Let’s get right to it!
5. Million Dollar Arm (Released 5/16/14)
Disney appears to be on somewhat of a roll. A few years ago, it seemed that they could only produce truly fine films if Pixar were involved, however where Pixar have faltered slightly, Disney have come back with a bang.
On the animation front, the aforementioned Frozen has been an incredibly successful film, following up respectable entries Princess & The Frog and Tangled, but now their attention is returning to live action, with the based-on-a-true-story Million Dollar Arm, which could prove to be a great family film.
With a story that is part Jerry Maguire and part Cool Runnings, with just a splash of Slumdog Millionaire, Million Dollar Arm follows the story of a failed sports agent (Jon Hamm) as he searches for new baseball pitchers in cricket-loving India.
If the promotion machine is to be believed, this is Disney’s highest testing film in many a year, so hopefully we are in for something special.
4. Maleficent (Released 5/30/14)
The second live action Disney film on this list is Maleficent.
At the turn of the year, this was one of the films that I highlighted as one to keep an eye on. In recent years, we have seen a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, and a Wizard of Oz prequel focusing on The Great & Powerful, and although neither of which were particularly good, they both banked pretty well. So, of course, studios would be looking to see if any other stories could be turned into cash cows….sorry, I meant “thought-provoking works of art”…..
Up next is the “true” story of Maleficent, and how the evil villain from Sleeping Beauty may have been misunderstood all this time. Remarkable how often that happens in the movie world!
With Angeline Jolie in the titular role, supported by Elle Fanning and Sharlto Copley, there is enough acting chops to potentially make this an interesting spin on the tale. In addition, the visuals lean towards a much darker tone than the earlier examples, which at least separates it from those garish nightmares.
Not long until we find out whether this is a fairy tale or fairy fail.
3. Godzilla (Released 5/16/14)
I suspect that my reaction to the news they were making a new Godzilla film, was similar to most: “Please don’t let Ferris Bueller anywhere near it!”
Although the 1998 film of the same name may not deserve the derision it regular gets, it is fair to say that it was a rather dull blockbuster, and given the heritage of the source material, that is tantamount to a crime against humanity.
This time around, the director’s chair is filled by relative newcomer Gareth Edwards, and even though he knows a little bit about how to handle giant creatures, given the success of his indie hit Monsters, this is only his second feature film, and so there is a huge gamble on the studio’s part.
It remains to be seen whether lightning strikes twice. The trailers suggest that this time around, with a cast including Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olson, Ken Watanabe and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, we will be treated to a story that’s a little more intimate, focusing on the characters, in between the scenes of sheer destruction caused by Japan’s most famous export.
Please let there be no lizard eggs…..
2. X-Men: Days Of Future Past (Released 5/23/14)
At one point, the X-Men franchise looked like it had run aground. After the first two films had set up a rich tapestry of superheroes, securing both decent box office returns and critical acclaim in the process, the releases of the widely panned duo The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine seemed to undo all the good work.
Then along came First Class, shortly followed by the unrelated The Wolverine, and suddenly everything mutant-related is blossoming again.
May 2014 sees the arrival of Days of Future Past, based on one of the more famous X-Men comic book series. Most of the cast from First Class return, however with the help of some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey action, we also get to see some of the original cast who helped shape the X-universe mixed into the story, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman.
A combination of time travel, and a huge host of mutants could result in this being a massive misfire from Fox, however I sure am excited see what happens, bub.
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Released 5/2/14)
As with last month, my number one choice is a film I have already seen. Unlike last month though, it’s not a very good one, but I am basing this list solely on expectation levels, which prior to the screening were pretty high. By the way, if you want to read Garrett’s review, you can find it here.
As the title suggests, this is the sequel to 2012’s divisive film following the exploits of Peter Parker as he continues to save the day in New York. It wasn’t long into the production process that it became clear Sony were trying to follow the Marvel formula and set up a whole cinematic universe for Spidey and his villains to romp around in. Already we have confirmed films for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, plus spin-offs for Venom and The Sinister Six. If nothing else, this shows a level of ambition and bravery that should be commended.
This is the first film to really try to expand the universe, and you can see those seeds being sown as Spider-Man has to fend off three villains (Rhino, The Green Goblin and Electro) as well as uncover the secrets from his past. There are also cameos and hints for future story threads littered throughout the film.
Although the film is ultimately a let-down, I can’t deny I was extremely excited to see it beforehand, and am still hopeful that the future films will reap the rewards of the set up here.
There we go, my May line-up all laid bare like one of Jack’s French girls from Titanic. What do you think? Are you looking forward to the same, or have I missed something out? Feel free to tell me in the comments below what you are looking forward to, or via one of our many social media empires. Oh, and as usual, you can see some of the “also rans” below.
Honorable mentions: Walk Of Shame (5/2/14), Belle (5/2/14), Chef (5/9/14), Neighbors (5/9/14), A Million Ways To Die In The West (5/30/14)