Here are brief takes on the movies our Ticket reporters are most looking forward to this summer.
SARAH LINN’S PICKS
‘The Hangover Part II’
“The Hangover” was the breakout hit of the summer of 2009, ushering in a new era of raunchy comedy and introducing the Wolfpack — funny guys Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis — to the world. If director Todd Phillips’ “Hangover” sequel delivers half the laughs of the original, I’ll be a happy woman.
‘X-Men First Class’
It’s getting increasingly difficult for me to squelch my squeals of excitement every time I see a trailer for this stylish reboot. I’m eager to see how “Layer Cake” director Matthew Vaughn and his exceptional cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon, to name a few) handle the notoriously twisted “X-Men” mythology.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’
Put simply, this is the movie I’ve been waiting for since I stood in line for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 2001. This isn’t only the final film in the beloved fantasy series based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books, it’s the end of an era.
‘Cowboys & Aliens’
“Cowboys & Aliens” combines an out-of-this-world concept with a dynamite cast and a dedicated director with serious geek cred. The plot may sound ludicrous — the denizens of an Old West outpost protect their homes from space invaders — but it’s head and shoulders above such science fiction-flavored failures as “Wild Wild West” and “Jonah Hex.”
PATRICK S. PEMBERTON’S PICKS
‘Kung Fu Panda 2’
The first “Kung Fu Panda” was funny, clever and succinct, with Jack Black doing what he does (except in the form of a large Chinese bear). And, of course, who doesn’t want to see a roly-poly panda do Jackie Chan moves in slow motion?
This one gets my vote solely on the fact that it is directed by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, who gave us “Freaks and Geeks,” the short-lived but brilliant comedy that spawned the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen and Linda Cardenelli. Here Apatow’s guy-comedy enterprise reaches out to its feminine side.
‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’
You’d think movie audiences would be penguin’d out by now. But, come on — tell me Jim Carrey living in a New York apartment with six penguins isn’t going to be a hoot. One funny Jim Carrey facial expression — or a sweet, touching scene with a Gentoo Penguin — and I’m sold.
After viewing the first “Cars” flick, I thought it was the weakest of the Pixar canon. But after several viewings — I have a 7-year-old, mind you — I’ve come to respect it more. It’s still on the bottom of my Pixar favorites, but even a low-rung Pixar flick is better than most others out there.