Looking ahead to what you can see at a cinema near you, inSing.com discovers that the month of May 2010 features a number of intriguing new films.
There are stories adapted from novels, a comic book and a video game; a re-imagining of a famous legend; new works by esteemed directors Pedro Almodovar (Talk to Her) and Sam Mendes (American Beauty), a reboot of an iconic horror franchise, as well as a couple of much-anticipated sequels.
Week of May 6
The Stars: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon
The Story: Two young girls, Joan Jett (Stewart) and Cherie Currie (Fanning), are brought together as part of the 1970s all-girl rock band, The Runaways. Jett and Currie become close friends, then fall out, as the pressures of rock ‘n’ roll fame and success build up. Inspired by Currie’s self-authored memoir.
The Buzz: Stewart and Fanning, co-stars in the Twilight sequels, have been lauded for their work, as has Shannon, who plays Kim Fowley, the band’s colourful manager. There are some raunchy scenes between the lead actresses, and the 16-year-old Fanning sheds her pristine child-star image.
inSing.com says: Joan Jett being played by Stewart, who also emulates Jett’s singing here, will likely be the biggest draw of the film. The other thing to watch is Fanning’s transition from precocious young actress to nearly-grown-up star. Shannon’s electric turn is a bonus.
Also opening:The Back-Up Plan, with Jennifer Lopez as a single-mom-wannabe who gets artificially inseminated, then meets Mr Right; Mother and Child, an ensemble drama centred on three women (Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington); two French films, the comedy Hallelujah! and the Luc Besson-written thriller District 13: Ultimatum; and Sam Mendes’ quirky comedy Away We Go.
Week of May 13
The Stars: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, director Ridley Scott
The Story: In 12th century England, Robin Longstride (Crowe), an archer veteran of the crusades, returns home to find the people oppressed by the nefarious, tax-happy King John. He falls for the widow of a knight he impersonates, Lady Marian (Blanchett), and helps her village fend off the forces of King John. Meanwhile, a French plot to invade England is brewing.
The Buzz: The fifth collaboration between Crowe and Scott has a sterling cast, with Mark Strong, William Hurt, Danny Huston, Matthew Macfadyen, and Max von Sydow aboard. The film, which contemplated the titular protagonist as the Sheriff of Nottingham during development, aspires to tell the story behind the legend of Robin Hood, how he came to be an outlaw, as well as a folk hero.
inSing.com says: This is the fourth straight film in which Scott has directed his Gladiator star Crowe; it is a collaboration that has nearly always struck gold (A Good Year may be the lone exception). Expect masterful storytelling, top-notch acting, and intense fight scenes.
Also opening:The Losers, based on the DC Vertigo comic of the same name, about a crack covert ops team up against a ruthless villain; Broken Embraces, another thought-provoking work from celebrated Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar; The Last Song, the first non-Hannah Montana leading role for teen idol Miley Cyrus; and Japanese coming-of-age tale Snow Prince.
Week of May 20
The Stars: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
The Story: Shrek, now a married ogre, dreams of escaping his domesticated state. He signs a deal with Rumpelstiltskin in order to ‘feel like a real ogre again’, for just one day. The deal goes awry (much like the plot of Back to the Future 2) and Shrek finds himself in an alternate reality where he was never born.
The Buzz: As the trailers show, there is twisted fun to be had as Shrek rediscovers his friends, such as Fiona, Donkey and Puss, as comically different characters. The stars voicing the animated roles are all back, and this sequel is, inevitably, in 3-D. Mad Men’s Jon Hamm joins in the fun as an ogre.
inSing.com says: One can expect more witty repartee between Myers and Murphy, assisted ably by Diaz and Banderas. The cheese factor will be way up as usual, and of course, fairy tales will be poked fun at with reckless abandon again. What more can fans ask for?
Also opening: Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, a mystery starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan; Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a documentary that reveals Polanski’s legendary legal troubles for under-age sex; The Road, a post-apocalyptic tale based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, with Viggo Mortensen; and the Ekin Cheng-Jordan Chan Hong Kong crime comedy Once a Gangster.
Week of May 27
The Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon
The Story: It’s been two years since the first film left off, and the big question, as spoken by Carrie (Parker) in typical voice-over, is: What happens after you say ‘I do’? The four fabulous New Yorkers – Carrie, Samantha (Cattrall), Charlotte (Davis) and Miranda (Nixon) – ponder their troubles and try to figure out what’s next for them in love and life. Samantha’s answer: a glamorous getaway in Abu Dhabi.
The Buzz: For years, there has been talk of tension on-set between the four leading ladies, especially Parker and Cattrall. The stars have denied this, with Davis and Nixon admitting that all four do argue from time to time – but nothing serious. Onscreen, the drama in this sequel includes Carrie having to, once again, choose between Mr Big (Chris Noth), now her hubby, and ex-boyfriend Aidan (John Corbett).
Watch, also for celebrity cameos – hint: the girl they call ‘Hannah’ is in here.
inSing.com says: The girls may be a little older, but they still know how to party and look great doing it. Expect more marvellous fashion, more examples of graceful aging, and more exquisitely witty and profane chick-chats. As the tagline says, Carrie On.
Also opening: Prince of Persia, a Jake Gyllenhaal fantasy-adventure vehicle based on a popular video game; A Nightmare on Elm Street, a reboot of the Freddy Krueger horror franchise; and Echoes of the Rainbow, an award-winning nostalgic drama with Simon Yam and Sandra Ng.
Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.