Although there are two major summer blockbusters opening this weekend, I thought I would start with two smaller movies opening at the Paramount.
The first is a contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.
What piqued my interest is it is adapted by Joss Whedon, one of my favourite writer-directors and the architect behind last year’s The Avengers.
As well, he has cast many of his regulars including Nathan Fillion (Firefly/Serenity), Amy Acker (The Cabin in the Woods & Dollhouse), Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse), Alexis Denisof (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Fran Kranz (The Cabin in the Woods & Dollhouse) and Sean Maher (Firefly/Serenity).
Critics have praised Whedon’s adaptation as energetic and charming—that’s hard to resist.
The other movie opening at the Paramount is The East, an espionage thriller written by and starring Brit Marling (Another Earth) as a former FBI agent and private intelligence officer who infiltrates an anarchist collective called The East.
But when she begins to fall in love with a charismatic anarchist (Alexander Skarsgård), she begins to question the morality of her undercover duty.
The East is also starring Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson and Julia Ormond.
Mexican-born filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has already impressed audiences with movies like Cronos, Mimic, Blade 2, Hellboy and his Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth.
He was originally set to direct The Hobbit movies, but he left the project when it was delayed (he still gets a screenwriting credit).
Del Toro’s newest looks like Transformers vs. Godzilla, but true to del Toro’s vision, Pacific Rim is actually much deeper than that.
Set in the near future, giant monsters identified as Kaiju have risen from a portal beneath the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a war which takes millions of lives and quickly consumes humanity’s resources. To combat the monsters mankind develops Jaegers, massive robots that need the minds of two pilots to control, but even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenceless in the face of the relentless Kaiju.
On the verge of defeat, it is up to a team of a washed-up former pilot and an untested rookie driving a seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past to save mankind.
Three years ago, Adam Sandler teamed up with Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade in Grown Ups and became one of his biggest hits. Never before has Sandler starred in a sequel to one of his movies, but the success of the original and the chemistry of the stars almost demanded Grown Ups 2 to be made.
Although the plot is only to facilitate its comedic set pieces, Sandler’s character relocates his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up.
Most important is the supporting cast, which features the return of Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph and cameos from the likes of Steve Buschemi, Nick Swardson, Andy Samberg, Cheri Oteri, Shaquille O’Neal, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Jon Lovitz, Tim Meadows, Taylor Lautner and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick.