It’s almost summertime and, as the song says, the living is easy. Especially if you’re a superhero. Last year the summer movie season took off with a bang, helped by the giant hammer wielded by “Thor.” This year he’s back…and he’s bringing some friends with him. Hopefully if you’re reading this you’ve already seen (or plan to see again) “The Avengers.” Remember to sit through the credits next time.
Here is a list of some of the movies we’ll be talking about this summer. Some synopsis information courtesy of our friends at the Internet Movie Data Base. As always, release dates are subject to change at the whim of the studio.
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Joss Whedon
The best of the Marvel World…well, minus the X-Men and Spider-Man…team up to save the earth. Trust me, after this thing makes $100 million opening weekend (only it’s two and a half hour running time prevents me from predicting $125 million) Warner Brothers will team Whedon with Christopher Nolan for the ultimate “Justice League of America” film!
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy
Directed by: John Madden
A group of English retirees travel to India with the plans of staying in a fashionable hotel. What they find is the Marigold Hotel. Madden directed Dench to an Oscar in “Shakespeare in Love.” Look for our review when the film opens wide on May 11.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green
Directed by: Tim Burton
When I was 10 years old I would sprint home from school to catch the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows.” The film finds Victorian age vampire Barnabas Collins loose in the late 20th century. Though the television series was quite serious, this looks more like a vampire-out-of-water comedy. Burton has hit and missed when he’s tackled previously known projects (“Planet of the Apes, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Look for original series star cameos from David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and the original Barnabas, Jonathan Frid. Sadly, Frid just passed away last month, prophetically on Friday, April 13th.
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris and John C. Reilly
Directed by: Larry Charles
According to Sacha Baron Cohen, he loosely based his script on “Zabibah and the King,”a novel reportedly written by former Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein. Here the star of “Borat” and “Bruno” portrays General Aladeen, a proud oppressor of the people.
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Kirby
Directed by: David Weaver
After serving 20 years in prison, a man tries to walk the straight and narrow path. But he soon learns the past isn’t something he can easily ignore.
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson and Rhianna
Directed by: Peter Berg
Yes, the popular board game is now the film. And if my eyes don’t deceive me, there’s a little bit of Transformers thrown in for good measure. Ah, the power of the people at Hasbro!
Starring: Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Tanya Wexler
What happened when Doctor Mortimer Granville invented the vibrator? I’m sure it’s pretty darn funny. Perhaps even hysterical!
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Emma Roberts and Ed Harris
Directed by: Dustin Lance Black
A sheriff sees his state senate bid slide out onto the ice when his daughter begins to date the son of a charming but psychologically disturbed woman with whom the sheriff has engaged in a two-decade-long affair. Writer/director Black won an Oscar for his screenplay for “Milk.”
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez and Matthew Morrison
Directed by: Kirk Jones
Five intertwined stories focus on couples about to welcome their bundles of joy into the world.
Starring: Jesse McCarthy and Olivia Dudley
Directed by: Bradley Parker
On an “extreme tour” of the abandoned city of Pripyat, where the former workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor lived, six tourists discover they are not alone.
Starring: Josh Lucas and James Cromwell
Directed by: Chris Eyre
In an attempt to reconnect with his life, a man buys and rehabs a used sailboat.
MEN IN BLACK 3
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
To save Agent K from death by alien Agent J must travel back to the 1960s. Let me say here that when I saw “No Country for Old Men” I said that Josh Brolin reminded me of a young Tommy Lee Jones. Here, Brolin plays A YOUNG TOMMY LEE JONES!
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand
Directed by: Wes Anderson
When a young couple flee their small town the locals form a search party to find them. After films like “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tannenbaums” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” I’ll follow Wes Anderson anywhere.
Starring: Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis
Directed by: John Stalberg
When the pot loving high school valedictorian faces the consequences of a drug test he conspires to find a way to have the entire school fail the test.
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey and Juno Temple
Directed by: William Friedkin
In order to pay off a debt, a man puts a hit out on his mother so he can collect the insurance money. One of the greatest directors of his generation, Friedkin won an Oscar for “The French Connection” and gave us “The Exorcist” and “Sorcerer” in the 1970s.
Starring: Danielle Panabaker and Ving Rhames
Directed by: John Gullagher
There were so many naked breasts in “Piranha 3D” that I joked in my review they should have called the film “Piranha 3DD.” I need to start copywriting my ideas. Since Lake Victoria is no longer friendly our fishy pals head to a nearby water park.
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.
Starring: Robert Pattinson and Chrisina Ricci
Directed by: Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod
The chronicle of a young man’s rise to power in Paris via his manipulation of the city’s most influential and wealthy women.
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED
Starring the voices of: Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon
While still trying to return to New York the animals become part of a traveling circus in Europe.
PEACE, LOVE AND MISUNDERSTANDING
Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Directed by: Bruce Beresford
An uptight NYC lawyer takes her two teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse upstate for a family vacation.
Starring: Michael Fassbinder, Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace
Directed by: Ridley Scott
A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading themon a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. Is this the prequel to Scott’s “Alien?” If it is, he isn’t saying.
ROCK OF AGES
Starring: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Julianne Hough
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Based on the Broadway musical, the story follows two young people trying to make it big in Los Angeles while they sing some of the greatest songs of the 80s! I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say just seeing Tom Cruise belting out “Pour Some Sugar On Me” in ass-less chaps will be worth the price of admission.
THAT’S MY BOY
Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and James Caan
Directed by: Sean Anders
As Adam Sandler’s favorite web site, we’re proud to announce this upcoming film which follows the adventures of a young man who has been separated from his father for some time. My son saw an early preview of this film a few months ago and told me that, if they keep it rated “R” and don’t cut anything, it would be the funniest Adam Sandler film EVER! Wow…that’s MY boy.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
Starring: Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt
Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Invited by a female friend to vacation with her family after the death of his brother, a young man must face the music after sleeping with her sister.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rufus Sewell
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Possibly the greatest title for a movie EVER. When our 16th president learns that vampires are threatening to take over our country he decides to kick a little ass!
Starring the voices of: Kelly McDonald and Billy Connolly
Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell
Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. PIXAR’s first film with a female lead has had a lot of behind the scenes problems while in production.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Starring: Steve Carell and Keira Knightley
Directed by: Lorene Scafaria
As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart accompanied by a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.
TO ROME WITH LOVE
Starring: Penelope Cruz and Alec Baldwin
Directed by: Woody Allen
A series of vignettes showing people from all walks of life dealing with the predicaments of falling in love.
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
Starring: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Framed for crimes against the country, the G.I. Joe team is terminated by the President’s order. Or a cross between “The A-Team” and “Mission: Impossible 4.”
Starring: Matthew McConnaughey and Channing Tatum
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
OK, I’ve officially declared June 29th as Channing Tatum day. Here he stars as a male stripper, which he used to be. It’s been three films since director Soderbergh announced his retirement from films. I’m expecting at least another three more.
PEOPLE LIKE US
Starring: Chris Pine and Olivia Wilde
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
After his mother passes away a man must deliver a $150,000 inheritance to the sister he’s never met.
TAKE THIS WALTZ
Starring: Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams
Directed by: Sarah Polley
A happily married woman falls for the artist that lives across the street.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Starring: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone
Directed by: Marc Webb
In this reboot of the story Peter Parker follows clues that may tell him more about his parents. Oh, and meets the Lizard!
THE MAGIC OF BELLE ISLE
Starring: Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen
Directed by: Rob Reiner
In an effort to tap into his original talent, a wheelchair-bound author moves to a rural town, where he befriends a single mother and her three kids.
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch and Blake Lively
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Two pot growers team up to take on the leader of a Mexican drug cartel who has kidnapped their shared girlfriend.
ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT
Starring the voices of: Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguzamo
Directed by: Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier
Adrift on an iceberg, Manny, Diego and Sid find themselves dealing with everything from pirates to sea creatures.
Starring: Cilian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: Rodrigo Cortes
When a psychologist and her assistant study paranormal activity, they are led to investigate a world-renowned psychic.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
When a young boy wishes for his teddy bear to come to life he doesn’t realize that 20 years later he’s going to have to deal with the consequences of his wish. From the hysterical and twisted mind of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, who also voices TED.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
The final chapter in director/co-writer Christopher Nolan’s outstanding film series, featuring the mega bad guy Bane. And hello Cat Woman.
Starring: Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn
Directed by: Akiva Shaffer
A group of neighborhood fathers form a group to keep their homes safe and unwittingly come up against a band of aliens.
STEP UP REVOLUTION
Starring: Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick
Directed by: Scott Speer
Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations to become a professional dancer. She sparks with Sean, the leader of a dance crew whose neighborhood is threatened by Emily’s father’s development plans. Now that I read this again I realize this is pretty much the same plot as “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo!”
Starring: Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins and Rachel Weisz
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles
A look at what happens when partners from different social backgrounds engage in physical relationships.
THE BOURNE LEGACY
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Rachel Weisz fans rejoice! Two movies on the same day. In this one we learn that Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne wasn’t the only mysterious agent for the C.I.A.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS
Starring: Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron
Directed by: David Bowers
With school out for the summer, it’s time for Greg to decide what he’s going to do with his free time.
Starring: Juno Temple and Kate Bosworth
Directed by: Elgin James
Two friends face a life changing event after they leave their home and follow two boys they’ve just met to Los Angeles.
Starring: Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale
Directed by: Len Wiseman
A revamping of the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic featuring a great supporting cast including Bryan Cranston, Ethan Hawke and Bill Nighy.
2 DAYS IN NEW YORK
Starring: Chris Rock and Julie Delpy
Directed by: Julie Delpy
A woman breaks up with her lover and takes their daughter to live with her in New York City.
Starring: Dominic West and Rebecca Hall
Directed by: Nick Murphy
In early 20th Century England a hoax investigator checks into the story about the ghost of a child.
Starring: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis
Directed by: Jay Roach
Two rival North Carolina politicians with presidential aspirations tangle with one another. Director Roach has done two outstanding political films for HBO (“Recount” and “Game Change”) so he knows his way around the material.
Starring: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by: David Frankel
After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship.
THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
Starring: Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Peter Hedges
After a childless couple bury a box in their backyard, which contains all of their wishes for an infant, a child is born.
THE EXPENDABLES 2
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Directed by: Simon West
Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat. West directed the action packed “Con Air.”
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee and Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Chris Butler and Sam Fell
A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.
Starring: Jordan Sparks and Whitney Houston
Directed by: Salim Akil
Set in the 1960s, three sisters form girl group and soon become Motown sensations, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart. A remake of the 1976 film that introduced Irene Cara and Lonette McKee. Houston’s first acting role since 1996’s “The Preacher’s Wife” and, sadly, her last.
HIT AND RUN
Starring: Kristin Bell, Bradley Cooper and Dax Shepard
Directed by: David Palmer and Dax Shepard
A man jeopardizes his status in the Witness Protection Program to help his girlfriend get to Los Angeles.
LITTLE WHITE LIES
Starring: Marion Cotillard and Jean Dujardin
Directed by: Guillaume Canet
A near-fatal accident leaves one friend in the hospital while the rest go on their annual vacation. But their secrets and personal grief threaten to drive them apart. A huge hit in its native France, the film should get extra attention thanks to its two Oscar winning co-stars.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon
Directed by: David Koepp
A Manhattan bicycle messenger is followed by a corrupt cop who is interested in his next delivery.
Starring: Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman
Directed by: John Hillcoat
During the depression a group of bootleggers are threatened by the authorities that want a piece of their profits.
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick
Directed by: Ole Bornedal
A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.