Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
directed by Michael Bay
Those metallic aliens are back in this noisy, full-throttle sequel to the 2007 smash hit. Re-assembling most of the original cast (including Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel), the movie picks up where the original left off, with the evil Decepticons returning to earth on a mission to kidnap Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) after discovering he knows the ancient origins of the transformers. Coming once again to save mankind is Optimus Prime, who, along with the good-natured Autobots, prepare for yet another epic battle against the Decepticons. The movie came out earlier this week and pulled in $60.6 million on its opening day, breaking the Wednesday record. Needless to say, it won’t be a surprise if the Transformers sequel becomes the biggest hit of the summer.
My Sister’s Keeper
directed by Nick Cassavetes
In what could be either a smart piece of counter-programming or a recipe for disaster, the cancer drama My Sister’s Keeper is being released not only in the middle of the summer movie season but on the same day as the likely undefeatable Transformers sequel. So what does this underdog have in its favor? Based on the best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult, this three-hankie weepie concerns Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine fame), a young girl who seeks legal emancipation from her parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) because they want her to be a bone marrow donor for her leukemia-stricken sister (Sofia Vassileva, “Medium”). Not exactly your typical summer movie scenario. Then again, five years ago director Cassavetes (son of John) helmed another sentimental book adaptation, The Notebook, which became a surprise summer smash. Could My Sister’s Keeper follow in its footsteps?
directed by Stephen Frears
After several stagnant years, Michelle Pfeiffer bounced back two summers ago with showy supporting roles in Hairspray and Stardust. Now she takes on her first feature starring role in almost 10 years with Chéri. Set in 1920s Paris, this romantic drama follows the son of a courtesan (Rupert Friend, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), who retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with the older woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who educated him in the ways of love. The movie marks a reunion of sorts for director Frears, screenwriter Christopher Hampton and Pfeiffer, who previously collaborated more than 20 years ago on the critically acclaimed Dangerous Liasions. Time will tell if Chéri marks Pfeiffer’s official comeback role and whether the movie is as well received as Liasions.
The Stoning of Soraya M.
directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh
Set in 1986 Iran, this wrenching drama tells the story of Soraya (Mozhan Marno, Traitor), whose arranged marriage to a tyrant results in a tragic ending. The tale is told in flashback as Soraya’s aunt (Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar nominee for House of Sand and Fog) recounts the story to a man (James Caviezel) whose car has broken down in her remote village. With its brutal subject matter, the film certainly won’t be the most upbeat movie released this summer. But, with its timely, sociopolitical context, it might just stir up an audience.