the happygirl guide to movies this weekend

I love summer movies. They're typically popcorn-fueled films that are funny or suspenseful or touch the geek in me. Sure, autumn is for Oscar movies but summer is just about fun. Wild fun in a cool, dark theatre, an escape from the hot summer nights.

Here's what you need to know about movies opening this weekend:



"After Earth"


I once interviewed Will Smith and we joked about the fact that he OWNS the summer. He still does.  This time he's starring once again with his son Jaden. (They also appeared in "The Pursuit of Happyness" together).  "After Earth" delivers exactly what you hope for in a Will Smith summer blockbuster -- suspense + action. The premise: After crash landing on Earth after the planet has been abandoned for 1000 years, Kitai (Jaden) must save the lives of both he and his father after his dad Cypher (Will) is injured.

Who will like this movie:  Fathers and sons. If you're into bonding, space, adventure and dramas by director, M. Night Shyamalan, this is your pick for the weekend.
Suggested snack: Starbursts.


"Now You See Me"



I'll be honest. I will see anything with Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo or Morgan Freeman. Add in magic and I'm sold. The premise:   "Now You See Me" is the story of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their shows. It's brilliant, actually and it's the kind of summer film that's clever and wildly entertaining.  In addition to Caine, Ruffalo and Freeman, "Now You See Me" has a dream cast including Woody Harrelson, Common, Jesse Eisenberg and Isla Fisher. Together they're, well, they're magic.

Who will like this movie: If you played with a magic kit for one entire summer when you were a kid, this is your pick.
Suggested Snack: Swedish Fish.


"The Kings of Summer" (select cities)


Do you remember how cool summer was as a kid? In the morning you threw on the first pair of shorts and t-shirt you could find. You grabbed your sneakers, whatever change you had and your bike and you were gone exploring with your friends until the street lights came on that night. There were forts to be made,  pools to be jumped in and ice cream that melted too fast.

If you look upon summer days as idyllic, then "The Kings of Summer" is going to make your heart swoon.  The premise: "The Kings of Summer" is the story of three boys who run away to spend the summer together in the woods building one hell of a house. It's the kind of thing you thought about doing as a kid but never did because A.) There were too many weird, furry things that lived in the woods and B.) Your mom made a Jello cake every Monday and there was no way you were ever going to miss even one.

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullaly turn in funny, poignant performances as the parents who *will* remind you of your own mom and dad.

Who will like this movie: If you had dreams of taking off with your friends when you were kids and living on ravioli and candy, this movie will make you feel nostalgic. It's this generation's "Stand by Me."
Suggested Snack: A bucket of buttered popcorn sprinkled with M&M's.

"The East" (select cities)



We're going into darker territory here. Think politics and drama in this Zal Batmanglij film about covert attacks, infiltration and danger. The premise: Brit Marling stars as a woman willingly infiltrating an anarchy group attacking corporations. Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson and Jason Ritter also star.

Who will like this movie: If you're a fan of Alexander Skarsgard or you like dark dramas, this is your pick this weekend.
Suggested snack: A simple black coffee.