By the Numbers

Article excerpt

Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic

It doesn't take a professor of dark arts to recognize "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" as the No. 1 most anticipated movie of the summer.

Entertainment Weekly's reader survey gave the eighth Potter movie an impressive 58 percent in a poll of summer's most eagerly awaited films, beating out such potential blockbusters as "Captain America: The First Avenger," "The Hangover: Part II," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and the latest "Transformers."

The "most anticipated" movies -- including all these and a handful more -- are usually "the best marketed" ones. And often, those are the films with built-in appeal, such as sequels, remakes and action tales starring comic-book heroes.

After all, it's difficult to anticipate a motion picture you know little or nothing about, right?

My personal list of most anticipated movies includes Tom Hanks' second directorial project "Larry Crowne," Guillermo del Toro's remake of the thriller "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" and Wayne "Joy Luck Club" Wang's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," an intimate look at the world of Asian women.

And, yes, I am champing at the proverbial bit to see Part 2 of "The Deathly Hallows," just to shake off the frigid paralysis of "Part 1" and witness the emergence of Harry, Hermione and Ron as the Three Musketeers of a brave, new world.

Here are the summer movies of 2011. Some dates will be changed as the summer progresses, so check Time out! for updates.

May 13

"Bridesmaids"-- After tentative forays onto the big screen in supporting roles, "Saturday Night Live" regular Kristen Wiig shows what she can really do as the star and co-writer of a gal-pal comedy that skates the line between "The Hangover" and any Judd Apatow production of choice. Wiig plays a woman with conflicting emotions about her best friend (Maya Rudolph) getting married and leaving her -- single.

"The Double Hour"-- A poor maid and a Stoic cop meet at a speed-dating event and hit it off. Then comes that ill-timed robbery that threatens their newfound happiness.

"Everything Must Go"-- When a husband (Will Ferrell) discovers his wife has dumped his possessions on the front yard and locked the door, he stages a yard sale to make a new life.

"Hesher"-- Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bad, bad boy who hates shirts in this curious black comedy about a control-freak high school punk who inserts himself into the house of a grieving father and son (Rainn Wilson and Devin Brochu) unable to control anything. The omnipresent Natalie Portman plays a checkout girl.

"Meek's Cutoff"-- Evoking the naturalism of a documentary, Kelly Reichardt's 1845-set drama demonstrates the harsh conditions three families face when they hire a mountain man guide (Bruce Greenwood) to lead them along the Oregon Trail over the Cascade Mountains. A classic study of survival.

"Priest"-- In this post-apocalyptic action thriller,legendary warrior priest (Paul Bettany) sets out to rescue his niece (Lily Collins), abducted by a murderous pack of vampires (are there other kinds?) before they turn her into a blood sucker. It's not being screened for film critics, and we all know what that means, don't we?

"Wretches and Jabberers" -- A documentary about how two men with autism head out on a quest to change the world's attitudes about disabilities and intelligence.

May 14

"Forks Over Knives"-- Can degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes be cured or curtailed by an all-plant diet? Research and this documentary say: Yes!

May 20

"First Grader"-- National Geographic presents a doc about an 84-year-old Kenya resident who wants to go to school for the first time. And he won't be discouraged. Call it Kenya's no adult left behind act.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"-- Oscar-winning director Rob "Chicago" Marshall takes over for Gore Verbinski. …