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Summer Blockbuster Guide 2011!

Superheroes, wizards, cowboys and aliens… All the summer's biggest blockbusters previewed!

It seems like Summer 2011 is going to be one of the most jam-packed summers in Hollywood history, with swaths of superheroes, wizards, monsters, aliens, cowboys and hungover schmucks competing for your hard-earned cash (or at least your parents' hard-earned cash) over the next four months. What's coming out? And more importantly, what looks like it's actually worth seeing? Let Crave Online guide you through 2011's biggest summer blockbusters with… what else? Our Summer Blockbuster Guide 2011!

 


THOR (May 6)

STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Anthony Hopkins
WRITERS: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne, J. Michael Straczynski (story) and Mark Protosevich (story)
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh

Is America ready to worship the mighty Thor? Chris Hemsworth of “that one scene in Star Trek” fame takes on the mantle of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s godliest creation, kicking off the summer with an epic fantasy that, if the trailers are any indication, looks to be a cross between Clash of the Titans and Masters of the Universe. Marvel’s got a lot riding on this summer’s releases, since they’re already shooting the follow-up to both Thor and Captain America – that is, The Avengers – without waiting for the box office grosses to back it up. We don’t think they have anything to worry about, but with Fast Five already burning up the box office (seriously, are we going to have to start calling April the start of summer now?) it might have enough competition to prevent it from breaking any records.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: To paraphrase Invader Zim, we have a MIGHTY NEED to see Thor now!

DID YOU KNOW? In the comics, Thor can’t actually fly. He travels by flinging his hammer with all his might and then hanging on to a strap at the end, although he’s also been known to twirl it like a whirlwind to helicopter his Norse butt through the skies.

 

BRIDESMAIDS (May 13)

STARRING: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd
WRITERS: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo
DIRECTOR: Paul Feig

It’s nice to see a comedy focusing on the female experience, particularly one with such an impressive cast as Bridesmaids, a sort of mirror image version of The Hangover that focuses on the bachelorette party instead. We love Kristen Wiig – who doesn’t? – but the film’s trailers have been kind of… not funny. We’re looking forward to reviewing the film for ourselves, and we’re keeping our ears open for the word of mouth on this film, whose success might signal the beginning (or worse, the early end) of broad comedies for gals.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We love the cast, but the trailers just haven’t been making us laugh. Wait for the reviews (preferably ours).

DID YOU KNOW? The film marks the final on-screen appearance of two-time Oscar nominee Jill Clayburgh, who – perhaps fittingly – made her feature film debut in Brian DePalma’s The Wedding Party, which co-starred a young Robert DeNiro.

 

PRIEST (3D) (May 13)

STARRING: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, Stephen Moyer, Brad Dourif and Christopher Plummer
WRITERS: Cory Goodman, Min-Woo Hyung
DIRECTOR: Scott Charles Stewart

Paul Bettany reunites with Legion director Charles Scott Stewart for Priest, a film based on the popular Korean comic book of the same name. Bettany plays a priest (oh, I get it…!) who breaks his vows to go on a roaring rampage of revenge against a group of vampires who kidnap his niece. It sounds like a post-apocalyptic version of The Searchers… and that sounds pretty darned cool to us. But is there room for this bit of b-movie madness in a summer full of big budget fantasy action films like Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: To us Priest looks like the kind of hyper-stylized bravado you’d find in a Japanese videogame cut scene, stretched to feature length. In other words, a little exhausting. If you like that kind of thing obviously this will be the movie for you, but only if.

DID YOU KNOW? The film’s release date has been shuffled several times. Priest was originally set to premiere on October 1st, 2010, only to be pushed forward to August 2010, only to be pushed back to January 2011 in order to convert it to 3D, and then pushed back again to capitalize on the summer action movie crowd.

 

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (May 20)

STARRING:  Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Keith Richards
WRITERS: Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio
DIRECTOR: Rob Marshall

Can the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise survive without Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley or director Gore Verbinski? We’re about to find out. Jack Sparrow returns to find the Fountain of Youth and tangle with Blackbeard himself (McShane) in the fourth film of Disney’s hit series with a new cast of characters, and a new director: Rob Marshall, who’s never directed an action movie before in his life. He sure can make things pretty though, which the trailer proves. Both Depp and Cruz look positively smashing in the upcoming film, which is expected to be such an enormous hit that – you’ll notice – every other major summer release is keeping its cautious distance.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: No Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley? We’re in line right now.

DID YOU KNOW? In 2009, Disney announced that they were paying Johnny Depp over $55 million to star in another Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The kicker is that it was a bargain: Depp wanted less money up front but a larger chunk of the profits, which could have potentially earned him a much larger sum.

 

THE HANGOVER: PART II (May 26)

STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms
WRITERS: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

Remember in Die Hard 2: Die Harder how John McClane asked “How can the same sh** happen to the same guy twice?” It’s a fair question, damn it, because somehow the gang from 2009’s surprise comedy hit The Hangover found themselves at another bachelor party, in another strange city, with another completely forgotten night of debauchery, with another missing friend, in another comedy that… actually looks pretty darned funny. This time out its Ed Helms’ turn to get married (again), and now they’re accompanied by a monkey, proving once and for all that The Hangover movies are made for guys, by guys because seriously… when was the last time you saw a chick flick with a cheeky monkey? We’re sure it’ll do just fine at the box office.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: It looks like more of the same to us, but that could still be pretty damned amusing provided that they don’t work too hard to bring back all the ancillary characters from the original film.

DID YOU KNOW? Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill is actually suing the producers of The Hangover Part II for using his famous copyrighted tattoo design without his permission.

 

KUNG FU PANDA 2 (3D) (May 26)

STARRING: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Jean Claude van Damme, James Hong and Dustin Hoffman
WRITERS: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Yuh

First time feature director Jennifer Yuh (she previously helmed some of the nifty animated Spawn series) takes the reins for this sequel to 2008’s animated hit Kung Fu Panda. This time, Po (Black) must team up with The Furious Five to find a way to combat Western weaponry using kung fu. If this sounds a lot like the kung fu classic Legendary Weapons of China, then you really know your martial arts movies. It’s a neat place to take the franchise. We anticipate a large box office return from wee ones and their families.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: The first film was fun but a little vapid. We like the fact that they’re going back to The Shaw Bros. for inspiration though. Color us mildly enthused.

DID YOU KNOW? Each member of ‘The Furious Five’ is modeled after a distinctive kung fu style: Crane, Mantis, Tiger, Monkey and Snake.


X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (June 3)

STARRING: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne and Jennifer Lawrence
WRITERS: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
DIRECTOR: Matthew Vaughn

The X-Men are back… in time! In time to save the floundering franchise (the third X-Men and Wolverine were disappointments to fans both young and old) and in actual time, taking the story back to the 1960’s when Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) teamed up to prevent World War III in an effort to prove mutants aren’t all bad. Also, Sebastian Shaw (Bacon) and The White Queen (Jones) show up to be a general nuisance. Sounds like a geekgasm waiting to happen.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We’ve gotta admit, we had no interest until we saw the whole ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ angle. Now we’re hella stoked, um… yo.

DID YOU KNOW? Matthew Vaughn had originally signed on to direct the third X-Men film, but backed out at the last minute for personal reasons, leaving room for Brett Ratner (sigh…) to come on board.

 

SUPER 8 (June 10)

STARRING: Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich
WRITER/DIRECTOR: J.J. Abrams

Star Trek director J.J. Abrams returns with an original motion picture about a group of kids who capture a train wreck on their Super 8 camera, and discover that the train was carrying what appears to be an alien. We say ‘appears to be’ because the film’s marketing campaign has been dedicated to keeping Super 8 as much of a mystery as possible, but the expanded trailers have revealed a Spielberg-esque tone that’s both refreshing and intriguing.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We like the E.T. meets Alien vibe, but is a captivating tone enough to elevate Super 8 above the typical ‘alien on the loose’ genre entry? Hmm… We’re a little iffy on this baby.

DID YOU KNOW? The film has had a super-secret production process, leading many to believe – incorrectly – that it is in fact a sequel, prequel or spinoff to Cloverfield.

 

GREEN LANTERN (3D) (June 17)

STARRING: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Tim Robbins
WRITERS: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg
DIRECTOR: Martin Campbell

Ryan Reynolds returns to the comic book world (he played Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, you’ll recall) as the Green Lantern, the DC Comics hero who over the past decade has become their flagship character. Test pilot Hal Jordan gets drafted into the Green Lantern Corps, a kind of cosmic police force, and must earn the title by proving that he can overcome great fear. Casino Royale director Martin Campbell is trying to spin his magic once more to tell a tale of interstellar adventure on a grand scale… something the trailers have been pretty good at teasing so far. But is the story (about a piece of superpowered camping equipment, don’t forget) a little too weird for mainstream audiences?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Great director, great cast, stellar visual effects, plus they got Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns to collaborate on the film? We. Can’t. Wait.

DID YOU KNOW? Geoff Johns had pursued a Green Lantern movie as far back as 2000, but withdrew his attempts after he was asked to make the film without the ring. What?

 

MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS (June 17)

STARRING: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Philip Baker Hall and Angela Lansbury
WRITERS: Sean Anders, John Morris, Jared Stern
DIRECTOR: Mark Waters

Richard and Florence Atwater’s Newberry Award-winning children’s book comes to life courtesy of director Mark Waters, director of Freaky Friday and the even freakier House of Yes. Jim Carrey returns to family fare as a man who finds his apartment infested with penguins… adorable penguins. Can one of America’s most lovable actors find a way to get along with nature’s most lovable creatures? And will audiences somehow find a way to resist their charms?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Penguins = Cute. It looks like hokey family fare, but it looks like really cute hokey family fare. We’re down.

DID YOU KNOW? Noah Baumbauch, the writer and director of the independent drama The Squid and the Whale, was originally slated to direct Mr. Popper’s Penguins but dropped out along with the film’s original star, Ben Stiller.

 

CARS 2 (June 24)

STARRING: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Campbell, Jason Isaacs and Michael Caine
WRITERS: Dan Fogelman, John Lasseter, Brad Lewis (story) and Ben Queen
DIRECTORS: John Lasseter and Brad Lewis

Lightning McQueen (Wilson) and Mater (Guy) return for the World Grand Prix in Cars 2, the sequel to Pixar’s most maligned feature ever (which is a mean way of saying that it got merely decent reviews). Along the way, Mater gets swept up in the world of international espionage along with Michael Caine, on loan from his old Harry Palmer franchise. The original film was a hit with the kids, and the promise of superspies and car chases will do little to deter them from seeing the latest movie from the world’s most reliable production company, but will any adults want to line up for a sequel to the least beloved Pixar movie yet?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Yes, it’s Pixar, but the first Cars is still their worst film (for whatever that’s worth), so we’re not exactly thrilled to revisit the characters in a new, profoundly sillier storyline.

DID YOU KNOW? Three cast members of the originalCars have passed away between the two films: Joe Ranft (who finished his voice-work on Cars 2 and will appear in the film), George Carlin (who has been replaced by Lloyd Sherr) and Paul Newman (whose character does not make an appearance in the sequel).


TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (July 1)

STARRING: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, John Turturro, Frances MCDormand, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Hugo Weaving and Leonard Nimoy
WRITER: Ehren Krueger
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay

The Transformers movies are probably the most critic-proof pieces of cinema in recent memory. No matter how much anyone says they suck, they still make a ton of money. That streak will probably continue with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in which the remains of a Transformer spaceship are found on the moon. Both the Autobots and the Decepticons are eager to reach it first and learn its secrets, but – Oops! – America’s known about it all along, creating a nice big rift between our giant metal protectors and, well… us. The trailers promise the biggest action sequences yet, and maybe even the most comprehensible.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Without a writer’s strike reducing the script to rubble we anticipate an easier-to-follow storyline, which should help make up for the fact that the franchise is still pretty freaking stupid. If you’re a fan of the franchise you’re going to see it anyway, but if you’re in any way on the fence, wait and see if the words ‘better than Transformers 2’ appear in the reviews.

DID YOU KNOW? Rosie Huntington-Whitely replaces Megan Fox as the female lead, playing ‘Carly,’ a character from the original television series. Oh-So-Reliable internet rumors say she beat out the likes of Gemma Arterton, Ashley Greene, Amber Heard and Heidi Montag for the part.

 

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2 (3D) (July 15)

STARRING: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman
WRITER: Steve Kloves
DIRECTOR: David Yates

The fit’s completely hit the shan in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Potter & Co. are on a mission to find and destroy the last of the horcruxes (which make Voldemort essentially immortal), and their journey will take them through crazy heists and a final, epic-beyond-epic battle with the Death Eaters at Hogwarts itself. Fans of the book know this is where everything goes down, including a large amount of the popular cast. All will be revealed, but at what cost? Bring a hanky.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We didn’t watch seven movies in this franchise just to skip the last one. Besides, this one promises to be all badass, all the time.

DID YOU KNOW? Although Severus Snape’s true motivations are never revealed until the 7th book (and 8th movie) in the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling revealed his complete back story to actor Alan Rickman at the start of the movie franchise to make certain he understood his complex character.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (July 22)

STARRING: Chris Evans, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough and Hugo Weaving
WRITERS: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
DIRECTOR: Joe Johnston

Like Ryan Reynolds before him, Chris Evans takes on his second superhero role (after The Human Torch in Fantastic Four 1 and 2) for Captain America: The First Avenger. Set in World War II, the star-spangled stud will go from puny Army washout to dashing super-patriot in an effort to protect America from the villainous Red Skull (Weaving). Director Joe Johnston’s tread this ground before in his classic early film The Rocketeer, but will international audiences join Americans in a proud bout of flag waving? And is there any way to make this much pro-USA rhetoric not feel hokey?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Let’s just put it this way… U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

DID YOU KNOW? The last live-action Captain America movie starred Matt Salinger as the Marvel superhero. Does that name sound familiar to you? It should: he’s the son of famed reclusive author J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye).

 

COWBOYS & ALIENS (July 29)

STARRING: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine and Olivia Wilde
WRITERS: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby
DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau

In Jon Favreau’s adaptation of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s comic book of the same name, Daniel Craig awakes in the middle of the desert with amnesia and a mysterious alien device shackled to his wrist. Unfortunately he quickly discovers that he’s a wanted criminal on the run from Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). Even more unfortunately, the Old West is about to be attacked by aliens. Craig’s mysterious wrist-thingy holds the key to everyone’s survival, but he’ll have to team up with his arch-nemesis to save the day. The trailers promise good clean fun, but does anyone want to see a western anymore, with or without aliens?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Great cast aside, if anyone other than Jon Favreau was directing this sucker we’d be worried. As it stands, it looks like a fun time at the multiplex.

DID YOU KNOW? Jon Favreau was reportedly pressured to shoot in or convert the film to 3D, but was adamant that Cowboys & Aliens, and westerns in particular, be shot on film, and in 2D. Stick it to the man, Jon!

 

THE SMURFS (3D) (July 29)

STARRING: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, George Lopez, Paul Reubens, Jeff Foxworthy, Kenan Thompson and Jonathan Winters
WRITERS: J. David Stern, David N. Weiss
DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell

Really?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Really?!

DID YOU KNOW? Really.


RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (August 5)

STARRING: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and Andy Serkis
WRITERS: Rick Jaffa, Jamie Moss, Amanda Silver
DIRECTOR: Rupert Wyatt

Have audiences finally forgotten Tim Burton’s forgettable Planet of the Apes remake? That’s what director Rupert Wyatt is hoping with his prequel to the classic original series, which is apparently unrelated to the Mark Wahlberg fiasco. James Franco takes it seriously for a change as a scientist who accidentally makes his ape test subjects smarter while searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease. It sounds like a weird mish-mash of The Secret of NIMH and Deep Blue Sea, but the trailer offers a decidedly creepier take on the material than we’ve ever seen before. Too creepy, perhaps, for mainstream audiences?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We were ready to write this one off completely, but the initial trailer is surprisingly unsettling in a Twelve Monkeys kind of way. We’re cautiously optimistic, with a heavy emphasis on the ‘caution.’

DID YOU KNOW? According to producer Rick Jaffa, a version of the spaceship from the original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes will be visible in the new film.

 

FINAL DESTINATION 5 (August 12)

STARRING: Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, David Koechner, Courtney B. Vance, Jacqueline MacInnes-Wood, Miles Fisher and Tony Todd
WRITER: Eric Heisserer
DIRECTOR: Steven Quale

We haven’t seen much from Final Destination 5 yet, but the franchise has quietly succeeded in getting four theatrical sequels in an era where such a thing is very rare. Once again a protagonist has a premonition of their own demise, only to foil Death’s (with a capital ‘D’) plan and causing probability to warp around a group of survivors who should by all rights be dead already, leading to their unexpected doom. At its best, the franchise offers a series of unexpected suspense sequences and a ‘killer’ who cannot be defeated, reasoned with or even viewed by the naked eye. But can any movie with a ‘5’ in the title be a franchise’s best? Before Fast Five we’d have said ‘No’…

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We haven’t seen hide nor hair of this film as of publication, but it’s hard to imagine this franchise not being dead. We had a vision.

DID YOU KNOW? The previous film in the franchise, The Final Destination, was fittingly titled: it was supposed to be the last film in the franchise. In another fun fact, you can count the number of people who actually believed that on just one hand.

 

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (3D) (August 19)

STARRING: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Ron Perlman and Stephen Lang
WRITERS: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
DIRECTOR: Marcus Nispel

After decades of trying to get the popular and successful Conan movies going again, Friday the 13th remake director Marcus Nispel succeeded in filming an R-Rated 3D extravaganza starring Stargate: Atlantis’s Jason Momoa as the titular (have you seen those pecs?) hero. Here’s the official synopsis: “A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.” That sounds about right, but without a big star can Conan the Barbarian find its way to the general audiences this potential franchise needs to get back up and running?

CRAVE ONLINE’s CALL: Marcus Nispel’s got a shoddy track record, but with the right script and what looks like a decent (albeit B-List) cast this just may be the Conan movie we’ve all been waiting for. Maybe.

DID YOU KNOW? Ron Perlman plays Conan’s father in the new film, having played Conan himself in the halfway decent God of War-styled videogame Conan.

 

FRIGHT NIGHT (3D) (August 19)

STARRING: Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Colin Farrell and David Tennant
WRITERS: Marti Noxon, Tom Holland (story)
DIRECTOR: Craig Gillespie

Tom Holland’s original horror comedy classic Fright Night is still fondly remembered to this day, which stands to reason since otherwise there would be no reason to remake it. But despite the strong cast and fine director the real question here isn’t whether anyone wants to see a horror comedy remake, but whether anyone wants to see a horror comedy at all. The genre has rarely been a smash at the box office, although this new Fright Night has a better chance than many to buck that trend.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We had no desire to see this remake whatsoever… until David Tennant was cast, and we saw Gillespie’s last feature, Zombieland, and we learned that Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Marti Noxon was writing it. Man, this may be the first movie remake we’re actually thrilled about.

DID YOU KNOW? David ‘Dr. Who’ Tennant plays Peter Vincent, named after the Roddy McDowall’s character in the original film. Roddy McDowall’s character was named after horror movie legends Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

 

SPY KIDS 4: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD (3D) (August 19)

STARRING: Alex Vega, Daryl Sabara, Jessica Alba, Danny Trejo, Antonio Banderas and Jeremy Piven
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

It’s been eight years since the last Spy Kids movie, meaning that original ‘kids’ are now officially adults and that series’ target audience is now old enough to have no interest in it whatsoever. Hence, a new direction for the franchise, focusing on Jessica Alba as a retired spy and stepmother who is called back into action after ‘The Timekeeper’ (Piven) rears his villainous head, and whose twin stepchildren must take on the mantle of Spy Kids. Rodriguez is a little hit-or-miss lately, but the extended break from one of his most popular franchises could be just what the doctor ordered.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: The Spy Kids movies have been getting steadily worse since the first one, but a shift in the franchise’s focus could mark a return to form. Will it be as good as the original? Probably not, but at least it sounds better than Spy Kids 3D.

DID YOU KNOW? The film’s subtitle – ‘All the Time in the World’ – is also the name of the title song from the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, another film in a popular spy franchise which marked a change in a franchise’s direction: it was the first movie in which someone other than Sean Connery played Bond (the part went to George Lazenby).

 

APOLLO 18 (August 26)

STARRING: ???
WRITERS: Brian Miller, Cory Goodman
DIRECTOR: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

Yet another ‘found footage’ horror movie, although with a heaping dose of ambition, Apollo 18 tells the story of a doomed, secret mission to the moon that was besieged by what appears to be an alien presence, which explains why we never went back in the following decades. Naturally, they caught every single second of it on film. Will the claustrophobic thrills of Paranormal Activity translate to sci-fi, or is Apollo 18 as ill-fated as its protagonists?

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: Is the momentum for these kinds of ‘found footage’ horror movies finally dying out? We think so. We’d like to be proven wrong, but the trailer for this movie just strikes us as kind of silly.

DID YOU KNOW? There are lots of conspiracy theories about the Apollo moon landings, including a popular one that claims director Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) actually directed the footage of the historic event on a soundstage.

 

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (August 26)

STARRING: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison
WRITERS: Guillermo Del Toro, Matthew Robbins
DIRECTOR: Troy Nixey

Guillermo Del Toro produced this remake of the made-for-television horror classic, about a woman who finds a hidden basement in her house and awakens a dark horror inside. Del Toro has a great track record with producing horror flicks (The Orphanage is a modern, creepy classic), and the film’s shiver-inducing trailer has us on the edge of our seat already. After Insidious tore up the box office despite a lack of A-list talent, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is primed to be the latest haunted house smash.

CRAVE ONLINE’S CALL: We’re already scared… to miss it.

DID YOU KNOW? The filmmakers attempted to make a PG-13 horror movie, devoid of ultra-violence, nudity or bad language, but the MPAA gave them an ‘R’ anyway just for ‘pervasive scariness.’