Who: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough
What: A veteran assigned to extract Earth’s remaining resources begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.
When: April 19th
Why: After directing the incredibly disappointing “TRON: Legacy,” which was never going to be able to live up to its sky-high expectations, Joseph Kosinski returns to the sci-fi genre with an original story that doesn’t feel very original at all. Though having big names like Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman attached to the film certainly makes “Oblivion” more appealing, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s just going to be another massive letdown. This isn’t Cruise’s first sci-fi rodeo, and he’s one of Hollywood’s more watchable action heroes, but unless Kosinski is able to deliver an engaging story in addition to the effects-driven spectacle this time around, it will feel just as hollow.
Who: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub and Ed Harris
What: A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.
When: April 26th
Why: For starters, it’s a Michael Bay film actually worth getting excited about. Though “Pain & Gain” isn’t quite the small indie that people expected when Bay originally announced the project, it’s definitely a lot smaller by his standards, and I’m curious to see what he’s able to do on a limited budget with fewer explosions. Based on an unbelievable true story and written by Marvel go-to scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, “Pain & Gain” could be the first surprise hit of 2013. It’s got a great cast (including Dwayne Johnson in what appears to be his best role to date), and judging from Bay’s darkly comic treatment of the material, it’ll deliver laughs in addition to the usual thrills – something that’s been missing from his movies since “Bad Boys.”
Who: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, Topher Grace and Robin Williams
What: A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding.
When: April 26th
Why: Justin Zackham’s remake of the 2006 French film “Mon frère se marie” is jam-packed with so much talent that it’s no surprise Lionsgate decided to push back its release from last October to the end of April in order to give it a better platform. But while the cast is certainly impressive, and the R rating suggests a more adult-minded movie, the trailer makes it look like every bad Diane Keaton and Katherine Heigl rom-com from the past decade. That could just be the result of some bad marketing, but with so many other great options to choose from this weekend, it’s not worth the risk, especially considering many of the actors’ recent track records.
Who: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan and Michael Shannon
What: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and reunite him with his true love.
When: April 26th
Why: Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter” was a little overrated in my opinion, but it showed real potential from the director, and “Mud” has been earning equally high praise on the festival circuit since its premiere at Cannes. Though good luck charm Michael Shannon appears in a supporting role, Nichols’ decision to cast Matthew McConaughey as the title character is what has really piqued my interest in his latest drama. He’s been one of the more exciting actors to watch lately, delivering some of his best work in films like “Killer Joe” and “Magic Mike,” and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down. “Mud” is just the latest in a series of interesting career choices that show what the actor is capable of when given the right material, and between this and the upcoming AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club,” he’ll likely be back on the Academy’s radar come the end of the year.
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