May is dominated by arguably one of the biggest films of the year, the fourth and perhaps the final instalment of the highly successful Pirates of The Caribbean franchise. Not forgetting the fifth edition of Fast & Furious.
Along with several other releases, this makes for a month of thrillers from Asian and Western cinema. Top directors Alejandro González Iñárritu and Rob Marshall each direct A-list leading men in their offerings, while Hong Kong actor and martial artist Donnie Yen features in The Lost Bladesman.
Among the other foreign-film imports, Jean-Pierre Jeunet returns with another colourful adventure not to mention family-friendly features, with school holidays imminent, from the amazing animators of Pixar.
Week of 5 May
The Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
The Buzz: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead a reunion of returning all-stars from every chapter of the explosive franchise built on speed in this final (fingers crossed) instalment of our favourite speed flick.
The Story: Former cop Brian O’Conner (Walker) partners with ex-con Dom Toretto (Diesel) on the opposite side of the law. Dwayne Johnson joins returning favourites Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Matt Schulze, Tego Calderon and Don Omar for this ultimate high-stakes race. Since Brian and Mia Toretto (Brewster) broke Dom out of custody, they’ve blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom.
Also Opening:Robert Pattinson shows us that there is life after Twilight with this period drama Water For Elephants. Based on the acclaimed bestseller, the movie presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Also opening is Alejandro González Iñárritu’s (Babel) beautifully shot Biutiful with Javier Bardem, Blanca Portillo
Week of 12 May
The Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen
The buzz: Paul is the first collaborative screenplay between friends and colleagues Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Sean Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz fame. The director’s Greg Mottola who made Adventureland and Superbad so it's no co-incidence that the voice of Paul is Seth Rogen.
The Story: Two British comic-book geeks venture into Area 51, America’s UFO heartland. An alien hitchhiker and escapee from a top-secret military base on the run from federal agents turn it into a road trip that will alter their universe forever.
Insing says: With genre-busting work on movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, British funny men Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been behind some of the funniest comedy of the past decade. With Paul, they’re venturing across the Atlantic for some rib-tickling sci-fi road trip comedy, with director Mottola at the helm. Also stars Sigourney Weaver (Aliens), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Jane Lynch (Glee).
Paul Bettany puts on the costume and makeup for the post-apocalyptic action thriller Priest. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. Also, don’t miss Micmacs, from the acclaimed director of Amelie, Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Week of 19 May
The Stars: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane
The buzz: Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides continues the adventure on the high seas, and beyond—this time in Disney Digital 3D™.
The Story: Captain Jack Sparrow meets an old flame, Angelica, and finds himself on an unexpected journey to find the Fountain of Youth. When she forces him on board the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard, Sparrow can’t figure out whom he should be more afraid of: The woman of his past or the infamous pirate.
Insing says: Johnny Depp reprises his role as the now infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. This time round, he and Captain Barbossa team up to search for the mythical Fountain of Youth, until he crosses paths with the mysterious Angelica (Penélope Cruz) who forces him aboard the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
Though neither Kiera Knightley nor Orlando Bloom will be returning, the cast includes Pirates vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa who changes sides and sails for the Crown, and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s long-time comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus English actor Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Spanish-French actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid. Pirates is directed by Rob Marshall who has helmed films such as Chicago, Nine and Memoirs of a Geisha, and with this Disney movie being screened in glorious 3D, it remains to be seen if it swims… or sinks.
Barney's Version, based on late Canadian novelist MordecaiRichler's 1997 novel, and starring Paul Giamatti in a shleppy-peppy role that is almost too comfortable for him. It tells the story of Barney Panofsky (Giamatti) a guy who doesn’t seem to know what he wants or wants things at the wrong time.
Week of 26 May
The Story: Po is now living out his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, the Furious Five: Tigress, Crane, Mantis and Monkey. But the team now faces a formidable villain who plans to use a secret unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu.
The buzz: Big names in this sequel include Seth Rogen (again), Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Gary Oldman, Dustin Hoffman, Jean-Claude van Damme and Michelle Yeoh. With so much star power here, this lovable animated sequel will definitely break the bank. Enough said.
Insing says: In the 2008 smash hit, Kung Fu Panda, which garnered a whopping $631 million worldwide, DreamWorks showed that it could propel itself above and beyond the mighty Pixar, as well as serve as a legitimate challenge to Pixar’s dominance in the animated genre.
Brandon Routh loses the cape and tights, swopping them for a black jacket and jeans in Dylan Dog, which follows adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou. Insidious, from the people that gave us Saw and Paranormal Activity, will make any slasher flicks look like rom-coms. Insidious follows the terrifying story of a family who shortly after moving discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realize that it was not their house that was haunted.
(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)