By Sandra Kraisirideja
Summer movie season officially starts Memorial Day weekend, so it appears that Warner Bros. is hoping to get a jump start on the holidays with the release of 3D/2D and IMAX screenings of “Godzilla” on May 15.
My interest in “Godzilla” is based solely on Bryan Cranston’s involvement. His presence adds an air of legitimacy to an otherwise popcorn-genre film. I’m also impressed that the cast includes Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, and David Strathairn. These are all talented actors who don’t typically star in summer blockbusters.
The story is a modern reboot of the original “Godzilla” which was released by Toho Company, LTD, and served as the inspiration for all “big monster” movies that followed. The update revolves around Godzilla battling other creatures that mankind has stupidly brought to life.
“Million Dollar Arm” tells the story of JB, an independent sports agent” who conceives a contest to find cricket players in India who may be converted to Major League baseball players. The movie stars Jon Hamm, in his first starring role, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, and Madhur Mittal. For a full review of “Million Dollar Arm,” click here.
There are also three independent features opening this weekend: “The Discoverers,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and “The Immigrant.”
“The Immigrant” stars Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner. The period drama, set in 1920s New York, follows a Polish immigrant (Cotillard) who is forced into prostitution to try and save her sister, who was quarantined on Ellis Island shortly after their arrival. The film is directed by James Gray, who previously worked with Phoenix on “Two Lovers.”
For a quirky comedy check out “The Discoverers,” written and directed by Justin Schwartz and starring Griffin Dunne. This one can best be summed up by the official summary:
Washed-up history professor Lewis Birch (Dunne) takes his begrudging teenage kids—Zoe (Madeleine Martin, “Californication”) and Jack (Devon Graye, “American Horror Story”)—on a road trip to a conference in hopes of putting his career back on track. But, when Lewis’s estranged father Stanley (Stuart Margolin) goes AWOL on a Lewis and Clark historical reenactment trek, Lewis is forced to make a family detour. The Birch family find themselves on a journey of discovery and connection as they make their own passage west.
Finally, “Half of a Yellow Sun” stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in this politically charged historical drama. The film takes place in 1960s Nigeria, just after it gains independence. The political upheaval serves as a violent backdrop to the personal conflicts between the lovers and their families.