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Old 04-13-2009, 03:31 PM   #1
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Default 2009 Summer Movie Preview

Friday, May 1st

The Weekend's Biggest Release - X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Based on the Marvel Comics superhero team, X-Men arrived on the big-screen in the summer of 2000, helping to launch the new millennium supehero genre that was previous category solely owned by Batman and Superman pictures. The success of X-Men, which grossed over $54 million in its opening weekend alone, opened the door for other Marvel faves like Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk to find theatrical adaptations in later years. Director Bryan Singer, who helmed the first picture, stepped behind the lens in 2003 for the follow-up film X2: X-Men United, released during the first weekend of May, nabbing over $85 million in its opening weekend. Despite Singer stepping away from the franchise to direct Superman Returns in 2006, the franchise showed it had incredibly strong legs, as famed Rush Hour director Brett Ratner directed the third film in the trilogy X-Men: The Last Stand to great results, including the fourth-highest opening day gross on record and the fifth-highest opening weekend gross of all-time.

The X-Men series boasts one of the best ensembles in the comic book genre, including Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellen as Magneto, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Famke Janssen as Dr. Grey, Halle Berry as Storm and Rebecca Romijn as Mystique. But the most prominent member is Wolverine, originally intended to be played by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe but instead inhabited by the current "Sexiest Man Alive" Hugh Jackman.

To keep the "cash cow" alive, the spin-off series X-Men Origins will be launched in 2009, focusing first on the brutal history of Wolverine. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is set twenty years prior to the 2000 X-Men picture, and "tells the story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe." The film also stars Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds and Dominic Monaghan.

The Other Alternative - Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

The mundane Matthew McConaughey looks to headline another romantic comedy, this time with Jennifer Garner in her first post-Juno role, in New Line Cinema's Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. A less-than-clever play on words, McConaughey plays a man haunted by the spirits of girlfriends of the past, present and beyond at his brother's wedding, awakening long-lost feelings for his first love. It's directed by Mark Waters, who did a fine job with last year's overlooked child's tale The Spiderwick Chronicles, but outside of Garner and Michael Douglas, a cast of McConaughey, Breckin Meyer and Lacey Chabert leaves a lot to be desired.

What You Should Watch - Revanche

A 2008 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language film, this Austria submission from writer/director Götz Spielmann is a crime-drama that has received high-praise around the globe. According to the film's synopsis, "Alex (Johannes Krisch) is a small-time criminal who after a stretch in prison finds himself working for Konecny (Hanno Poeschi), who runs a grimy house of prostitution. Unknown to Konecny, Alex is also involved with Tamara (Irina Potapenko), one of his whores. Wanting to raise some quick cash, Alex robs a bank in a nearby small town and hides out on a farm owned by his grandfather (Hannes Thanheiser) while he waits for the heat to cool down. Alex tries to keep a low profile while waiting for Tamara to join him in the country and he's troubled by boredom and despair, but his mood brightens when he strikes up a friendship with Susanne (Ursula Strauss), a cheerful and generous woman who lives nearby. But Alex's new friend happens to be married to Robert (Andreas Lust), a member of the local police force."
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