As the first few days of May pass by, and many of us give each other the fond wish of “May the 4th Be With You,” the first of the summer movie blockbusters has hit screens with “The Amazing Spiderman 2” pulling in almost $36 million on opening day!
Here is our annual “Summer Movie Preview” so you can mark your calendars early! As always, thank you to our friends at the Internet Movie Data Base for some synopsis information. Please note this is not an all-inclusive list so check your local papers for the films that snuck past us. And remember, all opening dates are subject to change based on the whims of the studios. Enjoy!
Starring: Jon Favreau and Scarlett Johansson Directed by: Jon Favreau
After losing his fancy restaurant gig a chef starts up a food-truck business in the hopes of rekindling his passion for food. After two “Iron Man” films and “Cowboys and Aliens” Favreau is returning to his small film roots.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska Directed by: Richard Ayoade
A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and seductive with women. I guess if you can believe Jesse Eisenberg as a seductive womanizer you can ALMOST see him as Lex Luthor.
Documentary Directed by: Stephanie Soechtig
An inside look at how what we eat actually makes us sicker than we should be. The poster states that “Congress says Pizza is a Vegetable.” And a very tasty vegetable at that.
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christina Hendricks Directed by: John Slattery
When Mickey’s crazy stepson Leon is killed in a construction ‘accident’, nobody in the working class neighborhood of God’s Pocket is sorry he’s gone. “Mad Men’s” Slattery directs Hoffman in one of his last roles. A great supporting cast, including Richard Jenkins and John Turturro make this an anticipated film for me.
Starring: Seth Rogen and Zac Efron Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
A young couple with a newborn baby have to deal with the problems that come with living next to a college fraternity house. Ironically, Rogen is the adult here. Not to be confused with the underrated John Alvidsen film that starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Remember the 1998 version that starred Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno? I’m sorry. Here, the world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Director Edwards also did 2010’s “Monsters.” And really, what giant lizard has a chance against Walter White and Kick-Ass?
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard Directed by: James Gray
On the mean streets of Manhattan, Ewa falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. Jeremy Renner helps round out the Oscar nominated (and, in Cotillard’s case, winning) cast.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM
Starring: Jon Hamm Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Hamm stars as a sports agent who scours India for cricket players good enough to pitch in the majors. Based on a true story about two boys who, I believe, were signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN
Starring: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis and Peter Dinklage Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson
A foul-tempered Brooklyner is told he has ninety minutes to live, sending him rushing all over New York to make amends. Of course, in real life, Robin Williams would need twice that much time just to apologize to all of the people whose jokes he’s stolen over the years. Director Phil Alden Robinson helmed two of my all time favorite films: “Field of Dreams” and “Rhinestone.” Don’t judge me!
Starring: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore Directed by: Frank Coraci
After a bad blind date, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship. When he’s not giving Rob Schneider a paycheck, Sandler has made some very good comedies with Barrymore (“The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates”). Nothing from the trailer tells me this will be any different. In what I think is a weird side job, I recently caught director Coraci and a friend tracking down the best sandwiches in New York.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy Directed by: Bryan Singer
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. An intriguing premise with both casts taking center-stage. Don’t look for director Singer on the publicity tour.
Starring: Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning Directed by: Robert Stromberg
A vindictive fairy is driven to curse an infant princess only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace. So that whole “Sleeping Beauty” thing was just a mis-understanding?
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Starring: Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival. After the success of “TED” this ranks as the must see comedy on my list.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
Starring: Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt Directed by: Doug Liman
A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way. Cruise’s second straight sci-fi film (after “Oblivion.”) I’m still waiting for him to do the Les Grossman film.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Starring: Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort Directed by: Josh Boone
Two teenagers, one who relies on an oxygen tank and the other with a prosthetic leg, meet and fall in love at a cancer support group. I’m assuming you’ll need lots of Kleenex.
Starring: Kate Lyn Sheil and Joe Swanberg Directed by: Ti West
Two journalists set out to document their friend’s search to find his missing sister. Did I mention that the sister went off and joined the People’s Temple?
22 JUMP STREET
Starring: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum Directed by: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college. After the lackluster performance of both “The Lone Ranger” and “Transcendence” I’m thinking Johnny Depp is wishing he didn’t die in the first film.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
Starring the voices of: Jay Baruchel and Kristen Wiig Directed by: Dean DeBlois
It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk. When an adventure leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
Starring: John Lloyd Young and Christopher Walken Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Based on the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, Eastwood presents the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, warts and all.
Starring: Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde Directed by: Paul Haggis
Three interlocking love stories involving three couples in three cities: Rome, Paris, and New York. The film also stars Mila Kunis and James Franco. Haggis won two Oscars for writing and producing “Crash.”
Starring: Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton Directed by: Joon-ho Bong
In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life on the planet except for a lucky few that boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system evolves.
THEY CAME TOGETHER
Starring: Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler Directed by: David Wain
When Joel land Molly meet, it’s hate at first sight: his big Corporate Candy Company threatens to shut down her quirky indie shop. Romantic complications ensure. Sounds like “You’ve Got Mail” without email….or Tom Hanks.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Starring: Mark Wahlerg and Nicola Peltz Directed by: Michael Bay
An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots and Decepticons – and a paranoid government official – on them. Always good and bad with these films. Here good = no Shia LaBeouf. Bad = no Megan Fox!
JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE
Starring: Andre’ Benjamin Directed by: John Ridley
A biography of musician Jimi Hendrix before he hit the big time. Sadly, it has to be before he hits the big time because Hendrix’s family would not allow the use of his original songs so expect a lot of Hendrix-covered tunes. Director (and screenwriter) Ridley just won an Oscar for his screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.”
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Starring: Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez Directed by: Scott Derrickson
NY police officer Ralph Sarchie (Bana), investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon Directed by: Ben Falcone
Husband and wife McCarthy and Falcone (he played the air marshal in “Bridesmaids”) wrote this tale about a woman who, after losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.
Starring: Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo Directed by: John Carney
A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. So nice to see Knightley in a film that takes place in THIS century.
AND SO IT GOES
Starring: Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton Directed by: Rob Reiner
A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he’s suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home. Even though he’s had more misses than hits lately, Reiner still remains one of my favorite filmmakers.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis Directed by: Matt Reeves
Survivors of the simian plague trigger an all-out war between humanity and Caesar’s growing forces. I believe it was Caesar who said “Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.” But he said nothing about those damn, dirty humans!
THE FLUFFY MOVIE
Starring: Gabriel Iglesias Directed by: Manny Rodriguez
Comedian Iglesias performs on the big screen.
Starring: Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis Directed by: Andy and Lana Wachowski
In the future, a young destitute human woman gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe, and begins her destiny to finish the Queen’s reign. Sure to be another dazzling sci-fi treat from the Wachowski siblings.
PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE
Starring the voices of: Dane Cook and Julie Bowen Directed by: Roberts Gannaway
The sequel nobody asked for starring a person nobody likes (I’m looking at you, Dane Cook). When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. I only learned a few months ago that I knew Julie Bowen’s dad when I lived in Baltimore. Small world.
THE PURGE: ANARCHY
Starring: Frank Grillo and Zach Gilford Directed by: James DeMonaco
A young couple works to survive on the streets after their car breaks down right as the annual purge commences.
WISH I WAS HERE
Starring: Zach Braff and Kate Hudson Directed by: Zach Braff
Already infamous because Braff financed it via a Kickstarter campaign, the film tells the story of Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity and a purpose for his life.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson and Ian McShane Directed by: Brett Ratner
Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord. If this performs like “Tower Heist” Ratner may be begging Chris Tucker to do “Rush Hour 4.”
A MOST WANTED MAN
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright Directed by: Anton Cobijin
A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror. With the exception of the upcoming “Hunger Games” sequels, this is Hoffman’s final performance.
Starring: Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel Directed by: Jake Kasdan
A married couple wake up to discover that the sex tape they made the evening before has gone missing, leading to a frantic search for its whereabouts. Director Kasdan did the very funny “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
CHILD OF GOD
Starring: James Franco and Tim Blake Nelson Directed by: James Franco
A dispossessed, violent man who’s life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation. Franco also co-wrote the screenplay. When does this guy sleep?
GET ON UP
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis Directed by: Tate Taylor
A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history. Boseman was outstanding as Jackie Robinson in last year’s “42.”
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Starring: Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana Directed by: James Gunn
In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan. This is a part of Marvel Studios second phase of films. If that doesn’t make you want to see this, how about Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon?
Starring: Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johannson Directed by: Luc Besson
A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic. Besson has featured a lot of lady ass-kickers, from Anne Parillaud in “La Femme Nikita” to Natalie Portman in “The Professional” so I don’t expect ScarJo to disappoint here.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Starring: Megan Fox and Will Arnett Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Johnny Knoxville voices Leonardo. I don’t remember April O’Neil being that hot!
LET’S BE COPS
Starring: Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. Directed by: Luke Greenfield
Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted “heroes” get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line.
THE EXPENDABLES 3
Starring: Sylvester Stallone and Harrison Ford Directed by: Patrick Hughes
Barney (Stallone and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Once again a great package for most of the action stars of the last three decades. Except the apparently “lazy and greedy” Bruce Willis.
Starring: Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep Directed by: Phillip Noyce
In a seemingly perfect community, one without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world. Do you hear that? It’s nomination number nineteen knocking on Meryl’s door.
FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
Starring: Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba Directed by: Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez
The town’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more reviled inhabitants.
Starring the voices of: Rupert Grint and Anthony Heard Directed by: Juan Jose’ Campanella
A young man named Amadeo sets off on an unexpected adventure with the players of his beloved Foosball game.
LIFE OF CRIME
Starring: Jennifer Aniston and John Hawke Directed by: Daniel Schechter
Two men hit it off in prison, where they were both doing time for grand theft auto. Now that they’re out, they’re joining forces for one big score. I will assume Aniston is NOT one of the men.
Starring: Karl Urban and James Marsden Directed by: Erik Van Looy
Five friends who share a loft for their extramarital affairs begin to question one another after the murdered body of an unknown young woman is found in the property. I hope it wasn’t Cyclops or Dr. McCoy that did it!