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This article is from Issue 51: May/June 2011

2011 Summer Movie Guide

Summer may not bear a reputation for particularly good movies, especially since studios today often wait for award season to unleash Oscar contenders, but it certainly has a reputation for movies. It’s the time of year moviegoers can leave their brains at the box office, buy some popcorn, and sit back and enjoy big-budget blockbusters with alien robots, crystal skulls and that kind of stuff.

This summer has its share of those flicks, including the 50 superhero films that won’t be mentioned here because, well, you’ve already seen them everywhere else, and thankfully so. Movies like Cowboys & Aliens and Super 8 look awesome and should be loads of fun. They’ll hopefully remind us that cinema must first and foremost be enjoyed before anything else.

But fortunately, 2011’s dog days also boast some enticing films that don’t fit the summer movie mold. From Terrence Malick’s anticipated Tree of Life to The Hangover Part II, the months ahead include a vast array of movies that should not only entertain us but leave some sort of imprint on our lives. If they don’t, oh well. It is, after all, summer.


(PG-13) Directed by Terrence Malick – May 27
There’s nothing like a film by Terrence Malick. His films are visual poetry: beautiful, reflective and profound. And while his prior works have all been epic, Tree of Life has the potential to be the most stirring. Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, the story seeks to explore life’s biggest questions through one soul’s transition from childhood to adulthood and his longing for redemption.


(PG-13) Directed by Bennett Miller, screen-written by Aaron Sorkin – September 23 This baseball movie about Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane and his attempt to make the A’s a more competitive team reeks of greatness. The plot may not seem appealing, but Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) wrote the screenplay and Bennett Miller (Capote) directed it. Plus, the film stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. With those stars, it’s bound to play well.

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