The Harbinger Online

Summer 2011 Movie Preview

Harbinger movie guru Alex Lamb takes a look at the biggest films releasing this summer and gives the low-down on the must-see blockbusters sure to rock the box office.

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The Hangover: Part 2 – May 26
Start the summer off with some hard partying as the wolfpack returns for another night of raucous adventure and ridiculous shenanigans — and yet again lose all memory of it. This time Stu’s the lucky husband-to-be, taking his friends to Thailand for his calm little wedding. But it’s no surprise that what starts out as a bachelor brunch with his buddies quickly escalates completely out of control, and they must retrace their night through the squalorous city of Bangkok.

While the first “Hangover” remains the most successful comedy in recent memory, it’s doubtful this sequel can live up to that level of originality since the story seems almost exactly the same, just more extreme. Either way, this much is guaranteed: you’ll remember this hilarious ride all summer.

X-Men: First Class – June 3
After the disappointments of the third X-Men movie and the Wolverine spin-off, it’s time for a return to the pure excellence of the first two installments in this series. Starting fresh with a prequel, “X-Men: First Class” explores the friendship and collaboration between future archenemies Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), their creation of the earliest X-Men team and the team’s involvement in stopping the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This summer is jam-packed with superhero cinema, but expect the X-Men to deliver the most compelling story out of them. Considering “First Class” possesses the stylistic yet balanced direction of Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass”), an all-star cast brimming with lesser-known, highly talented actors and some of the more interesting mutants from the comics, this blockbuster assures quite the marvel.

Super 8 – June 10
J.J. Abrams follows up his hit “Star Trek” reboot with another sci-fi flick, one of the extremely few, totally original grand blockbusters in this summer overflowing with sequels, prequels, remakes and comic book adaptations. Taking place in 1979, “Super 8” follows a group of kids who witness a train crash that unleashes a mysterious force in their town, which leads to unexplainable disappearances and havoc, so they set out to discover the shocking truth behind it.

Abrams has proved himself as one of the most creative visionaries of this generation, and with this monster/alien thriller he looks to have a new age “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” on his hands. But cooler. Wondrous spectacle, an exciting story and an impressive “wow”-factor make this stunner a must-see.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon – July 1
The last “Transformers” movie was hugely anticipated prior to its release, but then the special effects and action turned out to be the only legitimately good aspects of the film. It quickly became the worst highest-grossing sequel of all-time. Viewers are more weary for the third entry, which might have the exact same problem. The story is basically just more Autobots vs. Decepticons mayhem, with both sides racing to learn the secrets of an ancient Cybertron spaceship hidden on the moon, which could decide the fate of the Transformers’ war.

Director Michael Bay specializes in big, dumb and loud destruction, and while the rest of the movie could very well suck, the gigantic set pieces and special effects look so damn mind-blowingly glorious that the movie should be worth sitting through just for the eye candy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – July 15
It’s been 10 years since the magic of Harry Potter first enchanted moviegoers across the world, and the time has finally come for the epic showdown between “The Boy Who Lived” and “He Who Must Not Be Named” that we’ve all been waiting for. “Part 1” was one of if not the best in the series yet (unquestionably the most eventful and exhilarating), and “Part 2” still has four more horcruxes in store for Harry, Hermione and Ron, not to mention the spellbinding, large-scale wizards vs. death eaters battle at Hogwarts.

If you only go to one midnight premiere this summer, make it “Harry Potter.” This film signifies the end to an era for teenagers and represents the most important completion of a cinematic journey since the “Star Wars” saga – missing it would be unforgivable.

Cowboys and Aliens – July 29
No film this summer has a more ridiculously awesome premise than that of “Cowboys and Aliens.” At long last, moviegoers can finally witness the clash of two of the most distinctly stylized genres as the wild wild western meets the sci-fi alien invasion flick, where Earth’s only defense from hostile takeover is a band of cowboys. Leading this posse are 007 badass-extraordinaire Daniel Craig, accompanied by the original space cowboy Harrison Ford in his first alien movie since “Star Wars.”

With “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau at the helm, this will surely round out the blockbuster season with a bang. Count on some swift, explosive action sequences, captivating characters and one hell of an entertaining ride, as this might just be the craziest, most inventive western ever made.

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Top Three Movies NOT to See

The Zookeeper – July 8
Other than “Babe,” live-action talking animal movies are usually nothing more than annoying, idiotic kids’ fodder. In a film where zoo creatures communicate with their caretaker, Kevin “Paul Blart” James tries to impress a girl.

The Smurfs – July 29
Why in God’s name is there a live-action Smurf film? Hollywood has no respect for nostalgic ‘80s series. By the looks of this adaptation, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” will have a new competitor for most irritating CGI little creatures.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World – Aug. 19
The first “Spy Kids” was a stylish adventure that both children and adults could enjoy, but no one was asking for a reboot with Jessica Alba eight years later. If you want to keep those childhood memories sacred, avoid this at all costs.

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Alex Lamb

Alex Lamb joined Harbinger his freshman year and became East's resident film critic. He also worked his way up from being a videographer on the Harbinger Online during its rebirth in 2009 to the convergence editor his senior year. He graduated in 2012 and still writes movie reviews, only now at the University of Kansas, where he is double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Journalism. He plans to become a movie director. Read Full »

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