May’s 5 Must-See Movies

This month features refreshing zombie film 'Maggie,' war drama 'Good Kill,' Western 'Slow West,' starring Michael Fassbender, above, sci-fi flick 'Tomorrowland' and some Marvel movie.(YouTube photo)
This month features refreshing zombie film ‘Maggie,’ war drama ‘Good Kill,’ Western ‘Slow West,’ starring Michael Fassbender, above, sci-fi flick ‘Tomorrowland’ and some Marvel movie.(YouTube photo)

Ah, birds chirping and weather warming. It’s spring, thank goodness. The only trouble is, May is not known for its Earth-shattering films.

After careful consideration, I’ve picked your best bets for this merry month of May. Some are stronger than others, but I’ll always choose a good indie over blockbusters any day. Still, I’d be insane not to include “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Now playing: “Avengers: Age of Ultron

With an estimated $187.7-million launch in the United States and Canada, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the second-best domestic movie opening weekend ever, according to the Los Angeles Times. Most likely, had it not been for last weekend’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao “fight of the century” boxing match in Las Vegas, “Avengers” could’ve come in at numero uno. It is the biggest opener for a sequel, beating out 2013’s “Iron Man 3.” The Disney-Marvel movie cost $250 million to make, and the action-packed eye-popper stars Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and James Spader. It is directed by Joss Whedon. Fantasy action adventure. Rated PG-13. 141 min.

Watch the trailer:

May 8: “Maggie

Wake up, Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you: You’re infected. No, it’s not Maggie May, it’s Maggie in May. Maggie (Abigail Breslin) is a doomed teenager who has been bitten by a zombie. She is now highly contagious and will soon feel compelled to eat her loved ones — and everyone else. Although it’s an exhausted genre, what’s compelling about this film is the tender and sensitive portrayal of a grieving father played by the typically un-tender Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is really a two-person film — the Breslin and Schwarzenegger show — but Joely Richardson does a fine job in the limited role of Maggie’s stepmom. It’s an easily relatable and touching family story that sets it apart from your standard undead fare. See our full “Maggie” reviewZombie drama. Rated PG-13. 95 min.

Watch the trailer:

May 15: Good Kill

“Good Kill” premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and, wow, what a cast: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz (yes, daughter of Lenny), Bruce Greenwood, Jake Abel, Dylan Kenin, Zion Leyba, Michael Sheets, Ross Shaw and Peter Coyote. Based on actual events, it is the story of Maj. Tommy Egan (Hawke), a veteran of air combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan who is now a drone pilot dropping bombs on Afghanistan from the safety of a Nevada trailer. Tommy finds his job ethically sickening. The film is also a family drama about his marriage to Molly (Jones), which is tainted by the heavy load of Tommy’s PTSD, and his children are trying to cope with their very-changed father. Greenwood plays his tough boss, and Kravitz his co-pilot. The director and screenwriter is Andrew Niccol (“Gattica”). Thriller drama. Rated R. 102 minutes.

Watch the trailer:

May 15: “Slow West

I’d watch Michael Fassbender in anything, and teenagers will crush on Kodi Smit-McPhee in this incredibly impressive feature-film debut from Scottish writer–director John Maclean. McPhee plays Jay Cavendish, an ill-prepared foreigner searching for his love Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius). Along the trail, Jay meets and becomes protected by Silas Selleck (Fassbender), a bounty hunter. “Slow West” premiered at Tribeca Film Festival to an enthusiastic reception. Go see this coming-of-age romance set in the backdrop of the post-Civil War western frontier. Lots of action and violence, which you know I gobble up in a flick. I’m positive you won’t be disappointed. Go see it. Western action thriller. Rated R. 84 min.

Watch the trailer:

May 22: “Tomorrowland

Two words sum up the reason to see this flick: George Clooney. And no, it has nothing to do with the rumors that he’s finally becoming a father with wife Amal. In Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” Frank Walker (Clooney) is a former boy-genius inventor who lives alone in a high-tech house. Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is a wildly curious teenage girl who stumbles upon a magic ring that changes everything about time and space. It leads her to pound on Frank’s door. After some protesting, they become connected by their shared otherworldly experiences. Cast includes Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy and Thomas Robinson. There are a few more attractions: two-time Academy Award-winning director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”), a screenplay by Bird’s “Lost” co-creator and writer Damon Lindelof, plus lots of cool special effects that can be viewed on dazzling IMAX screens. Nice lasers and impressive sound effects. Don’t expect anything too deep, but it looks like a nice, mindless distraction inspired by Disney theme parks. Disclaimer: I haven’t screened this one yet so I’m just guessing here. Sci-fi fantasy action adventure. Rated PG. 130 min.

Watch the trailer:

This movie I’m tacking on at the bottom as a bonus recommendation. It premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, but has been picked up for distribution and is being released this month. It’s a good indie, and I enjoyed watching it just as much the second time around, so, check it out.

May 15: “Every Secret Thing

As you know, dark and creepy — these are a few of my favorite things. I’m also fond of talented “binders of women.” The all-star cast of “Every Secret Thing” includes Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane and Dakota Fanning. A big hat tip goes to the powerful acting by newcomer Danielle Macdonald. I can’t wait to see her in more movies. Writer Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”) adapted the screenplay and Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand (“Fargo”) is executive producer. This is Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg’s (“Deliver us From Evil,” “West of Memphis”) first narrative feature, and it’s based on the novel by New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman. The cast also features Nate Parker and Common. Crime drama. Rated R. 93 min.

Watch the trailer:

Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.

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