STILLWATER, Okla. — Animated Features
Computer-generated films are a dime a dozen these days, but there are a few that actually stick out this summer.
• Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 26): Remember when Jack Black used to be, well, kind of funny? The irritating comedian returns to what seems to work for him these days, animated comedy. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much new to this sequel. 1 of 5 stars
• Cars 2 (June 24): This film’s best one-liner, “Is the Pope mobile Catholic?” is already in the “Cars 2” preview, so there isn’t much motivation otherwise to see this movie. The first “Cars” was surprisingly enjoyable for all ages, but this one seems to be a bit of a stretch. These mischievous automobiles become international spies … yeah, really. 2 of 5 stars
• The Smurfs (August 3): Once a live-action Neil Patrick Harris gets bombarded by “Smurfs,” the (insert the word Smurfs here) jokes can begin. Seriously, it should be a mother-Smurfing good time. Get the point? 4 of 5 stars
The summer season would not be complete without our era’s top performers making an appearance.
• Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20): Two of the three top stars in the “Pirate” series are gone, but fear not — Johnny Depp is still on board! That may be the only positive to take away from the fourth film of the franchise. Well, that, and the zombies that Captain Jack Sparrow must thwart. 2 of 5 stars
• The Tree of Life (May 27): This drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn doesn’t carry the same hype as other films to make this list, but a summer-movie rundown would be incomplete if those two A-listers weren’t included. However, this isn’t exactly a summer blockbuster you pay inordinate amounts of money to go see in the theater. Go ahead and wait to rent this one. 1.5 of 5 stars
• Larry Crowne (July 1): Tom Hanks returns to his comedic roots in this awkward comedy co-starring Julia Roberts as a community college instructor and Hanks’ love interest. We haven’t seen our era’s best actor bumble around this much since “The Money Pit.” It should be comic gold. 4.5 of 5 stars