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The May Mix: a marvelous melange of art and commerce

Is any film release from May 2013 going to gross more than the hours away “Iron Man 3”? I’d bet against it. The film hasn’t even hit U.S. shores yet, and it’s already taken in a quarter of a billion dollars! Some lukewarm reviews, so far, suggest that “Iron Man 3” could be simply riding on the coattails of the monumental success of last year’s “The Avengers”. But whether it’s a good film or a rotten one(or even something in between)won’t really matter—it’s going to garner a fortune. And then on May 17th we get “Star Trek Into Darkness”—J.J. Abrams follow-up to his highly successful, critically lauded, Kirk, Spock & co. retro-reboot. It’s not nearly as certain of an “enterprise”(sorry, couldn’t help myself), but it should reap massive rewards on the back of its predecessor as well. “Fast & Furious 6” and “The Hangover Part III” will also rake in cash hand-over-fist—but both will accomplish this without lightening my wallet. As for the latter—I didn’t even like the original “The Hangover”(sue me!). And regarding the former, my Vin Diesel sequel this year is going to be September’s “Riddick”(more on that series at another time).

But, stop the presses—there are an awful lot of artistic options coming up this month for a change. In fact, the very same day as Robert Downey Jr. dons his metal suit for the fourth time, we see the limited release of Olivier Assayas’ “Something in the Air”—and the advance buzz on the director’s latest is very promising(rumor has it that it will also be available via Video On Demand!). And I should be ready to forgive Baz Luhrmann for 2008’s tepid “Australia” right around May 10th, when his eagerly awaited “The Great Gatsby” hits theaters starring Leo DiCaprio as Fitzgerald’s mysterious millionaire. The trailer has had me excited for months—hopefully the project will live up to its hype. Just a week later, Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” arrives starring the delectable Greta Gerwig. This is GG’s second go-round with Baumbach after 2010’s terrific “Greenberg” starring Ben Stiller. Baumbach has impressed me consistently ever since 2005’s “The Squid and the Whale”. And is there anyone left on the planet that I haven’t made aware of my seconds-counting anticipation of Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” coming Memorial Day weekend? If so, please pass it on. I doubt there will be anything I look forward to more in 2013 than this Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy continuation—and I’m looking forward to a lot!

So, overall, a pretty eclectic mix for the unofficial launch to the summer season. Blockbuster sequels, comic book heroes, art films, romance—a little taste of something for just about everyone. Now, of course, the prospect of all of them actually turning out any good, is a risky proposition. But at least one or two of these releases has to hit pay dirt, right? And I hope to witness the creative stars aligning more than once this month. Then, I’ll expound on the results of my experiences right here when I do!

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