- X-Men: First Class- The lone wide release this first weekend of June is the fifth film incarnation in the X-Men canon. Of course, it may be easy to be confused as to whether this film (which goes back in time to Kennedy-era, pre-mutant establishments) is a prequel, re-boot, stand alone franchise, free-floating comic-book adaptation. Whichever it is, we'll meet Professor X and Magneto as lads, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust), who coincidentally was slated to direct the third installment (X-Men: The Last Stand), before handing the reins to Brett Ratner, in what was considered by most to be the blunder of the franchise. Bryan Singer, the director of the first two, serves as producer, and the cast includes Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult and Kevin Bacon. After Thor, this marks comic book adaptation number two in summer 2011.
- Beautiful Boy- Drama about a husband and wife grappling with the news that their 18-year-old son committed a mass shooting as his college before taking his own life. Stars Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, in a film that made the festival circuit last fall. On a side-note, what became of Maria Bello...a few short years ago she made such an imitable and striking (and awards-worthy) presence in such films as The Cooler (2003) and especially A History of Violence (2005), she should have an amazing career going on now...what happened?
- Beginners- Quirky dramedy from director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) that stars Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor, centering around an older father coming out of the closet late in life and his son. The trailer hints at a probably very-acted, bittersweet comedy, that might prove overly precious. That being said, with terrific actors like Plummer and McGregor, this will likely be another strong player in the limited release market.
- Love, Wedding, Marriage- Directed by Dermot Mulroney, in his debut, this indie romantic comedy stars Mandy Moore, a soon-to-be-married gal unraveling while her parents (played by James Brolin and Jane Seymour) announce their separation. Twilight-glarer Kellan Lutz plays her intended groom.
- Submarine- A hit at last years Toronto Film Festival, this British quirkfest comes courtesy of Ben Stiller and The Weinstein Company in a tale of idiosyncratic teenage love. Also stars Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine.
- Midnight in Paris- Woody Allen's latest and best in years is expanding in it's third weekend of limited release from 58 screens to 147. It's already making a huge dent on art-house returns, even netting the highest per-screen average of the year in it's debut weekend. Let's keep it going, it's a wonderful movie.
- The Tree of Life- Terrence Malick's latest, and polarizing effort is expanding from 6 screens to 20. It's first weekend per-theater average netted the second highest of any film in 2011. All should check it out, and keep the debate alive.