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Off the Couch and Into the Theater: June 2011

I'm aware it doesn't make much sense to do a preview of the June box office hopefuls in the middle of the month, as half of these movies are already old news, especially when I've already seen three of them. But dammit, I'm not about to just skip by because of the end of the school year and the first real-world Blogulator-sponsored event (our Veronica Mars TV Party at the Red Stag went well by the way, thanks for asking!) kept me from doing this at a more proper time. There are movies to be discussed and that is what we shall do. Quick May recap: Thor was one of the worst comic book movies yet, but Idris Elba as the gatekeeper was awesome. Meek's Cutoff best not be forgotten as one of the best movies of the year come awards time, though it likely will because it was, err, meek. Also, add it to the new western canon along with The Proposition! Predictably, Bridesmaids was very funny and had real-feeling characters, but the ambling plot and tired tropes it employed were still obnoxious. Now for June - here are this month's movies with "Do I Wanna See It?" percentages in parentheses...

June 3rd: This is weird, but even though I saw X-Men: First Class (91%) already, I still can't justify putting it at 100%. While I did really want to see it, it wasn't completely necessary, and seeing it only emphasized that point. Still though, the director of Kick-Ass setting Xavier and Magneto in the 60s? Fun. Now a movie like The Tree of Life (100%) had no chance of not getting a full percentage count, and not just because I did indeed see it on opening day here in Minneapolis. Apart from a couple nitpicky things, Malick has a way with pretension that only he can get away with. Also, Pitt proves he can act for the first time in a while, possibly since the 90s. Takashi Miike's rendition of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai-style epicness comes in the form of 13 Assassins (68%), which I'd certainly not say no to, but I have to be in the right mood, and I'm more of a Rashomon kinda guy myself, to be honest.

June 10th: J.J. Abrams' attempt at being so Spielbergian it hurts, aka Super 8 (99%), succeeded in getting me into the theater pretty easily. Actually, it was Jerksica's week for picking the movie for date night and she chose it, which I did not expect. Cheap nostalgia or meticulous postmodernism? I recommend yallz see it and keep an open mind. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (20%) is apparently a decent kids flick, but even I'm not that open-minded, despite its kinda awesome title. Now, Hobo With a Shotgun (67%), on the other hand, is the kind of ridiculousness that despite me being a little afraid of its exploitative nature, I think it could be marginally entertaining, even if its trying a bit too hard. What is it about, you say? Read the title and imagine Rutger Hauer. The Robber (64%) is a bit of a different take on the biopic for once, as it documents the life of a marathon runner who developed a taste for robbing banks. Sounds like the cinematic equivalent of a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. Interpret that how you will. L'amour Fou (11%), meanwhile, is the biopic/cinematic equivalent of a mustard and jam sandwich: a romance film featuring a real-life fashion designer. Each is serviceable on its own, if not still in need of something to complement it, but definitely not each other.

June 17th: Ryan Reynolds ruins my favorite comic book character in Green Lantern (59%) with obscene amounts of CGI and wise-cracking dialogue, though seeing the trailer really just makes me question my tastes as a budding adolescent. Add Peter Sarsgaard with a big alien head and I'm more than worrisome. I know I read Mr. Popper's Penguins (6%) as a child, as I'm pretty sure it was a state requirement, but I honestly don't remember it, nor do I care to unearth the memory via Jim Carrey trying to regain his status as wacky jokester. But for those that do remember - is the story really just "what do I do with all these penguins?" If so, good on them for stretching that out into 80 minutes or more. Beginners (95%) has somehow become one of my most anticipated movies of the year, despite it being the latest from Mike Mills, whose Thumbsucker is one of my least favorite movies ever. Plus I really don't care for Ewan McGregor and its twee-ness in the trailer is more than most movies, even indie ones, require. But it just looks endearing and honest. Oh and I listened to an hour-long discussion with Mills on NPR about it during a long car ride. The stand-up comedy tour documentary Just Like Us (19%) focuses on U.S./Middle East relations, because that's hilarious. Sally Hawkins is one of my newest celeb crushes and her presence in Submarine (46%), about a teenager who's trying to lose his virginity and break up his mom's romance simultaneously, saves it from wallowing in the 20-ish percentage slot. And Bride Flight (8%) is a New Zealand picture centering on a trio of women during WWII whose husbands go to war. Here it is: your obligatory snoozefest alert!

June 24th: I will try not to get too worked up about Cars 2 (vr000m%), because it makes me hyperventilate if I do, but seriously. Larry the Cable Guy was on Fallon last night and he showed a clip in which his "character", a pick-up truck, goes to the bathroom. CARS. DON'T. DEFECATE. You want them to have eyes? Fine. You want them to have emotions? Fine. But for the love of crap, the Brave Little Toaster never used a frakking toilet! Also filed into the don't-like-the-lead-but-love-the-idea category along with Beginners is Bad Teacher (90%) starring Cameron Diaz. I haven't liked her since The Mask when I was 12 and she wore a pretty red dress, but damn if I can't get behind a story about a teacher that swears a lot. Add Justin Timberlake (who confirms here he is officially not just a novelty actor, possibly) and poof, I'm in. On a more depressing note, City of Life & Death (32%) covers the Nanking massacre in 1937, which actually is kind of interesting to me after finally seeing Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, which is actually more of a spy thriller than erotic tale. The documentary Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (87%) should be fascinating, timed just far enough away from all the over-saturated media coverage the man got, but I'm nervous because I'm pretty sure it won't make him out to be the patron saint of talk TV that so many think he is. And if it doesn't, it'll just feel fake and preachy. The Trip (82%) has gotten some of the best reviews of the year, as it follows Steve Coogan and some other funny guy around the world eating at restaurants, talking and/or philosophizing about nothing, but the rub with me is that I have yet to find Coogan really magnetic in anything. He's got big teeth, sure, but where is the humanity? I suppose we'll find out.

As always, thx to Switchblade Comb for helping me out with the indie releases of the month!

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