A mom’s guide to movies
Candy Woodall is the business reporter for The York Dispatch, wife to the funniest man alive and mother of four joyful children who unfortunately act just like their parents.
The better weather, longer days and bounty of fresh produce are great reasons to love spring, but it’s also that time of year when movies get a lot better.
While I’m nearing my capacity for stories about dystopian futures and have no desire to see Tom Cruise in another sci-fi flick, I see a lot of potential in this year’s spring and summer lineup, and that great fall and winter run known for its many Oscar nominees.
To this point, the best movie of the year was easily “The Lego Movie.” It was a giant advertisement, but I’m totally OK with that. “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” was great, and “Muppets Most Wanted” and “Noah” were also worth seeing, but none of those blew me away. Jim Henson has a special place in the heart of this 80s kid, and I don’t know if anything will ever top “The Muppets Take Manhattan.”
April shows promise, especially in a house with superhero-obsessed boys. (And, sure, they get it from their mom who rotates among several character lunch bags and t-shirts.) We’re looking forward to
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which opens Thursday. It’s PG-13, which means I’ll have to see it first and decide if it’s appropriate for my sons, who are 7 and 5.
I have to admit I also want to see “Draft Day,” a football comedy-drama starring Kevin Costner that hits theaters April 11. This won’t be an Oscar contender, but it’s an Ivan Reitman movie and I have to see it. Don’t judge.
As always, May is filled with a ton of new releases. Highlights include: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ on May 2; “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” on May 9; “Godzilla” and “Million Dollar Arm” on May 16; “X-Men: Days of Future Past” on May 23; and “Maleficent” and “A Million Ways to Die in the West” on May 30.
Look, many of the year’s sequels and prequels will probably get less than stellar reviews, and that kind of bothers me. Not every movie is “Citizen Kane,” and that’s OK. Some are simply entertaining. That should be enough.
There are days when I want to read or watch a mind-bending, thought-provoking work. Other times, I just want to know the beginning, middle and end of a story. I want a guilty pleasure. I want the kind of movie I wouldn’t mind watching 500 times when I’m laid up with the flu. (I’m looking at you, “Million Dollar Arm.”)
June will offer plenty of guilty pleasures: “Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Fault in Our Stars” on June 6; “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ and “22 Jump Street” on June 13; “Jersey Boys” and “The Purge 2″ on June 20; and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on June 27.
I’d love to make fun of Transformers 4, but the truth is I want to see it – and for no other reason than Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci are in it.
Highlights of the following month include “Tammy” on July 2; “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” on July 11; “Jupiter Ascending” and “Planes: Fire and Rescue” on July 18; and “Hercules” on July 25.
Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon and Dan Akroyd seem like a reliably funny lineup in “Tammy.” And don’t be surprised if you walk away from July thinking Channing Tatum’s performance in “Jupiter Ascending” was the best part of the month. I never expected to write that either. But he also stars in “Foxcatcher,” which is expected to be released sometime this year, and it has all the right ingredients to win several awards.
Sure, he was in “Magic Mike,” but so was Matthew McConaughey.
“Foxcatcher” is a drama based on a book written by Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz and tells the story of how paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont killed his brother, Dave Schultz, who was also an Olympic wrestling champion.
In the movie, Tatum plays Mark Schultz, Mark Ruffalo plays Dave Schultz, and Steve Carell plays John du Pont. I have a feeling – even without seeing the movie – that it will mean Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Tatum, Ruffalo and Carell.
August releases include “Get On Up” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Aug. 1; “Lucy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” on Aug. 8; “The Expendables 3″ and “The Giver” on Aug. 15; and “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” on Aug. 22.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest Marvel Comics film and will likely be a hit among nerds like me, and the latest Sin City will have a strong following.
I love a good biopic, so I hope “Get On Up” is a good one. The story of the Godfather of Soul puts Chadwick Boseman, who recently played Jackie Robinson in “24,” in the lead.
At the very least, “Get On Up” will better than sci-fi flick “Lucy,” but not nearly as popular as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “The Expendables 3,” which stars nearly every Hollywood actor 55 and older.
I’m most curious about “The Giver,” which is an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s popular, timeless novel. It has a stacked cast with Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Alexander Skarsgard, but I’m always a little nervous about any classic novel being turned into a movie.
For example, I refused to see “The Great Gatsby” last year. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story is my favorite of all time, and I couldn’t see it tarnished in any way. Maybe it wasn’t. I’ll never know. When I knew there was a 3D version, I completely lost interest.
September offers “This is Where I Leave You,” a drama starring Tina Fey, on Sept. 12 and “The Equalizer,” a thriller starring Denzel Washington, on Sept. 26.
October will deliver the much-anticipated “Gone Girl” on Oct. 3, and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and “The Interview” on Oct. 10.
Directed by David Fincher, who most recently worked on two seasons of “House of Cards” and won an Oscar for “The Social Network,” the thriller “Gone Girl” is based on a Gillian Flynn novel of the same name that tells the story of a woman’s mysterious disappearance on her wedding anniversary. The movie stars Ben Affleck in the lead role, and Neil Patrick Harris has a supporting role.
I’m also really looking forward to seeing my buddy Alexander on the big screen.
November will bring “Big Hero 6″ and “Interstellar” on Nov. 7; “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Fury” on Nov. 14; and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1″ on Nov. 21.
Of those, I am most looking forward to “Dumb and Dumber To,” which is maybe all you need to know about me.
The December lineup is full of releases that tug at my heart and includes “Exodus” and “Paddington” on Dec. 12; “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” on Dec. 17; “Annie” on Dec. 19; and “Into the Woods,” “Night at the Museum 3″ and “Unbroken” on Dec. 25.
I’ve always had a special place in my life for the adorable Paddington Bear, and the Night at the Museum trilogy is one I can easily watch with the family on a cold, snowy day.
I’m also looking forward to “Annie,” which stars Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role. I thought the talented 10-year-old girl deserved an Oscar for her performance in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” two years ago, and I’m looking forward to her portrayal of the much-adored orphan Annie. The movie also stars Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks, a modern Daddy Warbucks, and Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan.
“Annie” will most likely be quickly overshadowed by “Into the Woods.” Directed by Rob Marshall, the popular Broadway musical will be transformed into a musical fantasy film with help from Meryl Streep as The Witch, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Johnny Depp as The Wolf.
You can count on Streep and Depp getting Oscar nods for their roles.
“Unbroken” will likely be nominated for Best Picture. It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and who was a prisoner of war for two years in Japan during World War II. The screenplay was written by Joel and Ethan Coen, and the film is directed and produced by Angelina Jolie.
“Lou Zamperini is the toughest man I have ever met,” Jolie told the Associated Press. “He’s a fighter and true hero.”
She also said his journey can remind us of what we’re capable of.
“Gain strength from our family, identify our fears and our pain, come face to face with darkness and never give up,” Jolie said.