IMDb Picks: May 2014

by IMDb-Editors | created - 08 Apr 2014 | updated - 01 May 2014 | Public

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they recommend for May 2014.

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1. 24: Live Another Day (2014)

TV-14 | 46 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Jack Bauer comes out of hiding in London to head off a massive terrorist attack while being hunted down by American forces dispatched by President James Heller.

Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Yvonne Strahovski, Tate Donovan, Mary Lynn Rajskub

Votes: 40,941

"Shut it down." This famous line that finished "24" marked the end of Agent Jack Bauer's bone-breaking exploits, fading out a television series that left an indelible mark on our culture, for good or ill. Jack's relentless pursuit of terrorists and apparent inability to be killed was an exciting hook for nearly a decade, even though the show overstayed its welcome by a season or two.

Nevertheless, fans buoyed by the promise of a theatrical continuation have good reason to be excited by Kiefer Sutherland's return to television in his signature role.

"24: Live Another Day" gives viewers everything they loved and missed about Jack Bauer, but with a fresher take on the action television genre. This time, he's an outlaw in a bold new world where bombs are less of a threat than rogue technology, computer hackers are the new heroes as well as the villains, and the threat... well, to reveal any more risks spoiling it. Rather, take comfort in knowing that you only have to watch a few minutes of Day 9 (the start of which takes place between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM) to realize how much we've missed Jack and Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub).

Series Premiere: 8pm Monday, May 5, on Fox.

2. Louie (2010–2015)

TV-MA | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

The life of Louie C.K., a divorced comedian living in New York with two kids.

Stars: Louis C.K., Hadley Delany, Ursula Parker, Pamela Adlon

Votes: 70,159

When we last saw "Louie" way back in June of 2012, he had spontaneously travelled to China after back-to-back devastating events in both his personal and professional lives. The season 3 finale trip to China feels like the best metaphor for how C.K. is approaching his show: jumping headlong into a situation, keeping his mind and heart open, and interacting with the people he meets in an honest, straight-forward way - being human. Fans of the show know that this is not the usual sit-com (thank goodness); instead, it seems to be focused on redefining what "situational comedy" is now, and could be in the future. A good part of the bittersweet joy in watching the show is seeing C.K. stretch and permanently change those boundaries in new directions with each episode. I can't wait to see what "Louie" explores next in the territory ahead.

P.S. In light of the recent Letterman retirement news, I recommend going back and rewatching the "taking over Letterman" arc in the last several episodes of season 3 - it really does make you wonder "what if?"

Season Premiere: 10pm Monday, May 5 on FX.

-Heather Campbell

3. Chef (2014)

R | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

A head chef quits his restaurant job and buys a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman

Votes: 171,924 | Gross: $30.64M

The notion of Jon Favreau creating a movie based on the small, newish world of the food truck business, after spending the past several years making blockbusters, feels so refreshing and smart to me. Sure, it gives Favreau a platform to examine modern forms of criticism and their effect on creativity, but more than anything he seems reinvigorated by the process of making this movie, which is good news for film fans everywhere. Also, I hold a special place in my heart for films about making food, and for road trip films, and this features both those elements in spades. Note: eat before you head into the theater, or be certain to have an amazing dinner planned for after viewing!

The film opens in US theaters May 9th.

--Heather Campbell

4. God's Pocket (2014)

R | 88 min | Crime, Drama

51 Metascore

A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something's amiss.

Director: John Slattery | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, Richard Jenkins, John Turturro

Votes: 10,042 | Gross: $0.10M

From the first moment I heard it was being made, the basic elements of God's Pocket had my interest piqued: an adaptation of a classic Pete Dexter working class novel with a cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks and Richard Jenkins, and directed by John Slattery (the episodes of "Mad Men" he's directed have been some of my favorites) - this movie and I, we were made for each other. The movie's trailer only confirmed my suspicions. Watching it feels so much like reading the novel, which is a rare, enviable feat - and God, is it good to see Philip Seymour Hoffman again.

The film opens in US theaters May 9th.

--Heather Campbell

5. Penny Dreadful (2014–2019)

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein, and medium Vanessa Ives unite to combat supernatural threats in Victorian London.

Stars: Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Rory Kinnear

Votes: 100,286

Odds are most IMDb users have some familiarity and, perhaps, affection for the classic monsters of literature and the silver screen. We're talking about Frankenstein, Dracula, and other beings that went bump in the night who, thanks to Hollywood's drive-in creature feature era, have been relegated to the occasional big-screen reboot, nostalgic visitations, and little else.

What executive producer John Logan is promising with "Penny Dreadful" is to explore the emotional, soul-rending pain these creatures endured because they are outsiders; our sense of dread at their appearance and appetites is matched by their struggle to exist in a world that fears and detests them.

In other words, as Logan put it in a letter to critics in a press packet, it's a coming-of-age story. And who doesn't love those?

Series Premiere: 10pm Sunday, May 11, on Showtime.

--Melanie McFarland

6. Million Dollar Arm (2014)

PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

56 Metascore

A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.

Director: Craig Gillespie | Stars: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Alan Arkin, Suraj Sharma

Votes: 40,836 | Gross: $36.45M

Are you already tired of the summer’s big-budget action movies and R-rated comedies? Then you should take a look at Million Dollar Arm, which stars "Mad Men"’s Jon Hamm as a down-on-his-luck sports agent who heads to India to try to find new baseball talent. I saw the movie at last month’s CinemaCon convention, and I feel comfortable describing it as a crowd-pleaser that’s equal parts Moneyball, Slumdog Millionaire and The Blind Side. It’s a good story, well-told, and deserves to find an audience this summer.

The film opens in US theaters May 16th.

--Ray Subers

7. Godzilla (2014)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.

Director: Gareth Edwards | Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 344,655 | Gross: $200.68M

When I first heard that Gareth Evans was remaking Godzilla I had zero interest in seeing it. I’m not big into monster movies and this just seemed like an unnecessary remake. But I grew more curious as they slowly revealed Godzilla with each new poster, and even moreso when I realized that Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Juliette Binoche were in the cast. And then I saw the trailer. Wow! I think it’s safe to say this Gareth Edwards reboot will be one of the biggest films this year and I will be among the many that will go see it opening night.

The film opens in US theaters May 16th.

--Michelle Nelson

8. The Good Wife (2009–2016)

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Alicia has been a good wife to her husband, a former state's attorney. After a very humiliating sex and corruption scandal, he is behind bars. She must now provide for her family and returns to work as a litigator in a law firm.

Stars: Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry

Votes: 62,321

Disruption, chaos, a lover's scorn turned to all-out warfare -- all of these colored this wild ride of a fifth season, which saw Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) try her hand at making bold moves on behalf of her own career by sailing under her own power, destroying any good will that remained between her and former lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles). His venom is understandable; Will championed Alicia as fiercely as he loved her, helping her resurrect her career and holding her hand as she wrestled with whether to stay in her marriage, only to see her mount a coup and join other associates in going out on her own. The tit-for-tat battles between Lockhart/Gardner and Florrick/Agos to retain and steal one another's clients were fascinating to watch. Then tragedy struck out of left field, like lightning, and changed the drama's direction yet again.

Few shows keep audiences on their toes like "The Good Wife" has. Even fewer have a history of writing finales that prove to be game changers. Yet that's precisely what this show does every May...and yes, we'll be there that night, waiting to see what fireworks the producers put in place for its upcoming sixth season.

Season Finale: 9pm Sunday, May 18 on CBS.

--Melanie McFarland

9. RuPaul's Drag Race (2009– )

TV-14 | 45 min | Game-Show, Reality-TV

RuPaul searches for America's next drag superstar.

Stars: RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Jason Carter

Votes: 10,818

Squirrel-friends, I can count the number of reality shows that I watch with either passion or regularity on one set of my un-manicured claws. But this one reels me in year after year with its celebration of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent -- and some of the best bitchy one-liners in primetime.

This season has featured some stellar contestants and as of this writing, it's still any queen's game. (This fan's cheering for Bianca Del Rio.)

But the true joy of the "Drag Race" finale isn't that it's the best thing on television. On the contrary, each year its live production has grown more and more excessive, almost to the point of being a hot mess. We love it anyway because it brings back a variety of favorite she-devils and heroines from seasons past and present and, just like any family reunion, emotions run high. One minute, everything's gorgeous; in the next, everyone's behavior gets hideous. All part of the process of finding out who gets crowned America's Next Drag Superstar.

We just hope that this time around, the producers heed a combination of advice from Coco Chanel and the show's founding drag mother RuPaul: Resist the temptation to over-accessorize...and don't (bleep) it up.

Season Finale: 10pm Monday, May 19 on Logo. (Ninety minutes)

--Melanie McFarland

10. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy

Votes: 614,036 | Gross: $233.92M

Amongst a sea of comic book movies hitting theaters this year, X-Men: Days of Future Past is arguably the most exciting one. The movie ambitiously combines the casts of the original X-Men series with the X-Men: First Class crew, which means we’ll get to see Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine interacting with Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. Making this installment even more awesome is the introduction of Peter Dinklage (aka Tyrion Lannister) as a villain who creates the Sentinels (yes, we’re finally getting to see the Sentinels in action!). There’s some concern that the movie might have to juggle too many characters, but that was a problem the early X-Men movies dealt with pretty well.

The film opens in US theaters May 23rd.

--Ray Subers

11. The Blacklist (2013– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A new FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen, has her entire life uprooted when a mysterious criminal, Raymond Reddington, who has eluded capture for decades, turns himself in and insists on speaking only to her.

Stars: James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold

Votes: 156,361

"The Blacklist" has become my must-see show and I am both excited and a bit nervous about the season finale. James Spader is always exceptional in the roles that he plays, but as Reddington, he takes it to a whole new level. I change my mind each week whether he's a good guy or a bad guy. In fact, over the course of the past season there have been so many twists and turns, I still don't know who to trust. But it doesn't matter, because I'm hooked! If you haven't watched the series, I highly recommend you add this to your Watchlist.

Season Finale: 10pm Friday, May 23 on NBC.

--Michelle Nelson

12. Hannibal (2013–2015)

TV-14 | 44 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.

Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne

Votes: 200,565

We all know how this ends, right? And I'm not talking about watching The Silence of the Lambs or its sequel, either. Remember, in the opening scene of the second season premiere we watched Hannibal, chillingly portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, go after his one-time ally Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) with a gigantic kitchen knife and a cold, predatory glint in his eye. Then it jumped back a few months, to a point in time in when Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was the one locked up for murder and Hannibal was still a trusted, respected consultant for the FBI who, unbeknownst to his colleagues, enjoyed making people into gourmet meals. But the tables are turning now and Will's promised reckoning feels tantalizingly closer. The question is whether any of the characters we've grown to love will come out alive... and if not, which recipes the not-so-good doctor will use to get rid of the evidence.

Some of our answers will be served in a few weeks. As for the others, we would be more than happy to get a third season to savor more courses.

Season Finale: 10pm Friday, May 23 on NBC.

--Melanie McFarland



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