It’s time for this year’s summer movie preview, although if you’re concerned that summer may never arrive with this ridiculous weather, no one would blame you. However, regardless of your personal feelings about the weather, Hollywood still believes summer falls between May and August, so here’s everything you’ll probably want to see this season.
Release dates are subject to change and not all movies may be coming to area theaters, so check your local listings.
‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’
Summer starts off the only way Hollywood seems to know how to start it anymore: with a superhero movie.
Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker, an ordinary man given superpowers thanks to a radioactive spider. You know him better as Spider-Man. Peter loves being Spider-Man, but struggles to keep that life separate from his life as Peter Parker.
Making things more difficult this time around are the emergence of new villains Electro, the Rhino and the Green Goblin. Not to mention the return of his friend Harry Osborn, who seems to have an interest in Peter beyond typical friendship.
Peter must take on multiple foes that all seem to have one thing in common: Oscorp. If you read enough online, you can see where they’re headed with this franchise, but I won’t spoil it for you, although the Internet might anyway. You need to see this one as soon as it releases.
Life is great for a young couple, played by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, after they have baby. But life soon goes from great to insufferably difficult when a few fraternity moves in next door.
When Rogen calls the cops to complain about the noise from one of their parties, the fraternity declares war on the happy little family and a war of hilarity starts. Who will come out on top? The trailer is absolutely hilarious, and Rogen versus Efron is something we should all get behind. It works.
OK everyone, we can forget the Matthew Broderick debacle now. Bryan Cranston is here to save us from that awful 1998 Godzilla movie. While it’s true that Godzilla is a destructive creature of titanic proportions, it was never Godzilla versus Us that everyone wanted to see. It was Godzilla taking on any of the equally gargantuan monsters that roped everyone in. The trailers make it look like it’s still Godzilla wrecking a whole bunch of our expensive stuff, but here’s hoping that maybe they’ll throw us a curveball and have Godzilla bail us out. If you’re near a large format screen when this comes out, it might be worth the trip.
‘Million Dollar Arm’
Jon Hamm and Alan Arkin. Right out of the gate, this movie has all the charisma it needs to succeed. It’s the story of a sports agent (Hamm) who is finding work a little more difficult as larger firms take huge chunks of his clientele.
But while watching a game of cricket on TV, he suddenly has an idea: Find the next great major league pitcher from an Indian cricket league. He and his partner (Arkin) bring over-the-top prospects and try to engineer the impossible by teaching the boys not only how to play baseball, but how to live life. Just to reiterate: Jon Hamm and Alan Arkin are doing a baseball movie. Why wouldn’t you watch?
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are teaming together for a third time, and it promises to be much less interesting than “50 First Dates” or “The Wedding Singer.” This time they’re two single parents who meet on a blind date that doesn’t work out at all.
It’s so bad they never want to see the other person again. So of course they’re going to see each other again because they both sign up for the same dream vacation in Africa and both win. They’ll probably realize how much they really care about each other and their kids and work out all their stuff, but it won’t be very much fun.
‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’
First, let’s put the public relations nightmare surrounding this movie on the backburner and look at the movie itself. The characters from the original X-Men trilogy are going to do a time travel thing and work with their younger selves from the most recent movie “X-Men: First Class” to try and stop the impending apocalypse. So far, there isn’t much more to go on than that, but if the trailers are anything to go on, this movie is going to be setting up something spectacular. Mutants will be doing all the insanely cool stuff we wish we could do. See it.
‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’
Director | Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane’s second directorial credit will go to “A Million Way To Die In The West,” the story of a sheep herder with a yellow streak up his back. Due to this penchant for fear, he backs out of a gunfight and subsequently loses his girlfriend. But soon a mysterious woman rides into town and helps him find a courage he didn’t think existed, and they hit it off. Soon after, her husband, an outlaw of some despicable repute, comes seeking retribution, and it’s up to MacFarlane to put a stop to him. “Ted” was great, and this looks pretty awesome too.
Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, the cold-as-ice villain of “Sleeping Beauty” fame, in this Disney reimagining of the tale. Maleficent has a normal life growing up, until an army invades the land of her people and threatens her way of life.
She quickly rises up to become one of its fiercest champions, but a brutal betrayal begins to turn her toward evil. She places a curse on the invading king’s daughter, Aurora, and the story of “Sleeping Beauty” is begun anew. It’s a new twist on an old tale, and that makes it worth at least one look.
‘Edge of Tomorrow’
Director | Doug Liman
Based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill,” this movie stars Tom Cruise as Lt. Col. Bill Cage, a foot soldier of Earth’s military who is completely unprepared for combat when an invading alien army hits the planet. He dies within minutes, but soon finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day of combat again and again, and dying again and again.
Working with a Special Forces soldier named Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt, he trains each day to take the fight to the enemy, gaining skill and intel that may ultimately save the planet. Even though it’s “Groundhog’s Day” meets “Pacific Rim,” it still looks pretty darn cool.
‘The Fault In Our Stars’
This is the story of Hazel and Gus, two teenagers who fall in love after meeting in a cancer support group. Shailene Woodley of “Divergent” fame plays Hazel, while the role of Gus will be played by Ansel Elgort, Woodley’s on-screen brother in “Divergent.” The two have unconventional ideas about love and wits to match anyone who challenges them. Based on the novel of the same name, it actually doesn’t look bad.
‘22 Jump Street’
Officers Schmidt and Janko are going back undercover. Having survived their undercover high school assignment, they’ll now take on the equally challenging task of infiltrating college.
Their issues with each other were not completely resolved in the last movie, so when Janko hits it off with a fellow jock while Schmidt throws in with the art crowd, they begin to question their partnership … again. There’s no doubt it’s going to be a funny movie, but it does feel a little repetitive doing a slight variation of the first storyline.
‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’
Hiccup and Toothless are back, and with the dragons and Vikings now living in harmony, everything seems to be working out just fine. However, when that peace is threatened by a Viking with a lust for power known as Drago, the duo must take to the skies to defend everything they hold dear. “How To Train Your Dragon” was one of DreamWorks Animations best efforts to date, and there’s every reason to believe this sequel will be worth your time.
Clint Eastwood has a strong track record as a director, so before we go any further it should be stated that you need to see this movie. Eastwood brings us the story of The Four Seasons, the ‘60s rock band that changed the music industry with their unique sound. Based on the Tony-Award winning musical, this is new territory for Eastwood, but almost everything he touches turns into gold, and you need to see it.
‘Think Like A Man Too’
This sequel to “Think Like A Man,” a film inspired by Steve Harvey’s “Act Like A Woman, Think Like A Man,” reunites all the couples from the original film as they take a group trip to Las Vegas to celebrate a wedding. If there’s one thing to learn from movies set in Vegas, it’s that nothing ever goes how it’s supposed to, so expect lots of hijinks and awkwardly amusing situations. It’s hard to get excited for something you’ve seen a hundred times before.
‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’
Michael Bay brings us a fourth installment in the Transformers franchise, but this time without Shia LeBouf screaming “BUMBLEBEE!” at the top of his lungs. No, this time we’re treated to a Transformers movie centered around an auto mechanic and his daughter who accidentally discover something that causes the Autobots and Decepticons to return in full force for another all-out war against each other.
As is always the argument when at least three movies exist in a series, you know what you’re walking into with a Michael Bay “Transformers” movie. Make your ruling based on that knowledge.
‘Deliver Us From Evil’
Eric Bana plays New York City police officer Ralph Sarchie, an officer with more than his share of problems, who is saddled with a case full of the inexplicable and the macabre.
He recruits a priest with skills in exorcism to help him fight the evils that are terrorizing the city. There’s not much to go on here, so it’s really just a question of whether or not you’re into the supernatural. If so, this movie is probably for you.
‘Earth To Echo’
“Earth to Echo” is about three boys who make a discovery of the alien variety. Faced with the challenge of aiding an extraterrestrial in desperate need of their help, the boys will have to defy their parents and the authorities in order to do whatever it takes to aid the creature. This one falls into the “handheld camera” category, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing what looks to be a very interesting movie.
Director | Ben Falcone
Tammy (McCarthy) is a woman with an incredibly poor run of luck. A busted car, the loss of her job and a cheating husband are all contributors to Tammy’s awful circumstances. To make matters worse, the only place she can turn is to her mother (Sarandon), a woman with a strong desire to head to Niagra Falls, so Tammy decides to go with her. This movie is along the same lines as “The Guilt Trip,” but McCarthy and Sarandon are much easier to enjoy on a road trip than Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand.
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’
Caesar, played by Andy Serkis, and the rest of the hyper-intelligent apes that escaped captivity return to wage war against a small pocket of human survivors. After an uneasy peace is reached, humans and apes maintain a coexistence the both sides know can never last. War is inevitable. Only one question remains: Who will come out on top? “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was excellent. This looks even better.
Jupiter Jones (Kunis) has always believed she was destined for greatness. It was foretold in by a prophecy based on the time of her birth. However, her reality is that of a maid with dreams of space and the reaches beyond. It’s not until Caine (Tatum), an ex-military hunter who has been genetically upgraded, pursues her that she begins to realize what the prophecy might mean: an inheritance with the power to alter entire galaxies and change the destinies of worlds.
‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’
Dusty is a racing plane that finds his entire world turned upside down when his engine is damaged. He may never race again, and so he begins to live life as a firefighter plane. He teams with Blade Ranger, a rescue helicopter, and his team of aerial heroes as they learn what teamwork means and how important relying on one another to save lives can be. The premise sounds great for kids, but adults be warned: this movie features Dane Cook as the lead. You can do better.
‘The Purge: Anarchy’
Director | James DeMonaco
Hopefully the New Founders have brought us a legitimately entertaining Purge, unlike last year’s boring effort. This time a couple finds themselves stranded outside when the Purge commences, exposing them to all kinds of dangerous situations with every sort of murderous person in the city. Can they survive the night? Maybe. This rendition of the Purge would have to actively try to be less interesting and predictable than the first one, so feel free to give it a shot.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson provides us with our second Hercules story this year, but it simply has to be better than the abysmal effort from Kellen Lutz. Johnson’s Hercules is a mercenary who travels Greece with five warriors, selling his sword for coin. But when the king of Thrace calls upon his services, Hercules will have to embrace a past he has denied until now. He will have to become the legendary warrior he was destined to be. Be skeptical, but give it a chance.
Director | Jake Kasdan
Jay (Segel) and Annie (Diaz) are a married couple with a sex life that has grown depressingly stagnant. In order to spice things up, they decide to film themselves trying every position listed in “The Joy of Sex” in one marathon session. Unfortunately, their video makes its way into public view, and they have to scramble to save their reputations by recapturing the compromising tape. This sounds just crazy enough to be awesome.
‘Step Up All In’
Director | Trish Sie
“Step Up All In” will feature cast members from the previous installments as they team up to compete in a Las Vegas dance battle. There will be dancing. There will be some half-hearted effort at a functional plot, but realistically, this one is just for die-hard fans of the franchise. There’s nothing to offer newcomers here.
‘Get On Up’
Chadwick Bosman continues to show his versatility as an actor, transitioning from his run as heroic baseball player Jackie Robinson in “42” to musical icon James Brown in “Get On Up.” This film with give an unflinching look at the life and legacy of James Brown through all his trials and tribulations as he rises through the ranks from destitute musician to become one of the most influential artists in history.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
The Marvel Universe expands even further include the Guardians of the Galaxy, a team of superhero renegades formed out of necessity by Peter Quill (Pratt). Quill, who also answers to Star Lord, forms the team when he’s pursued by a bounty hunter who wants to reacquire a mysterious orb Quill stole from a ruthless villain known as Ronan.
Along for the ride are Rocket, a technologically gifted raccoon with a penchant for violence and his tree humanoid bodyguard Groot, plus the vicious Gamora and the battle-thirsty Drax the Destroyer. When Quill discovers the orb’s true purpose, he and his ragtag group must truly unite in order to save the galaxy from certain doom. Marvel will continue to kill it with this one.
‘Into The Storm’
Director | Steven Quale
Some disaster movies look great on paper and transition well to film. Some look terrible and still manage to pull off a halfway decent movie. This one aims to do neither. A town is ravaged by tornadoes beyond belief, with an even greater storm looming on the horizon. Watch as this story, told through the eyes of storm chasers, unfolds on the big screen. Or don’t. Because nothing is ever going to beat “Twister.”
Lucy wakes up in a hotel room after a night of wild partying with something sewn into her stomach. She’s being forced to be a human trafficking mule by dark organizations with bad intentions. But she soon turns the tables on her runners when the package she’s carrying turns her into an unstoppable weapon, complete with telekinesis. “Lucy” has elements of “Limitless” to it, but with the adrenaline turned all the way up. Plus, it’s got Morgan Freeman. That guy rules, so this movie has to, right?
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael are coming back to the big screen courtesy of Mr. Michael Bay. Thankfully, Bay abandoned his original plan to have the Ninja Turtles come from space, giving this movie potential to succeed.
Shredder and the Foot Clan are descending upon New York City, and it’s up to our heroes in a half-shell to save the day, along with April O’Neill (Fox). The decision to cast Fox as O’Neill is regrettable, but hopefully Bay can give this movie everything it deserves. Get excited. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming.
‘Let’s Be Cops’
When two friends attend a costume party dressed as cops, they’re the life of the party. But they soon find themselves embroiled in turmoil with real criminals and detectives, they’ll have to put their “reputations” on the line. The premise is funny enough, and the trailer is fantastic, but some movies sneak all the funny parts into the trailers, so see this one with that in mind.
‘The Expendables 3’
The Expendables crew reunites in this third installment to take on Conrad Stonebanks, an old acquaintance of Barney (Stallone) who helped co-found the Expendables. Barney was forced to kill him when he turned to arms dealing, or so he thought. With Stonebanks making it his goal in life to destroy the Expendables, can Barney and his ever-expanding crew of action superstars put a stop to the villain? Probably. You get the sense Stallone’s going to keep doing these until the well dries up, but they’re pretty decent action flicks, so said well may not run dry for some time.
Based on the critically acclaimed novel of the same name, “The Giver” is the story of a boy named Jonas who lives in a world with no color that is governed by conformity. It’s not until Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory that he comes to understand why his world is the way it is. The history of his town and the people within it is not a pleasant one, and Jonas must come to terms with that. The story is excellent, and if delivered to us properly, could be the sleeper hit of the summer. And again, Morgan Freeman is in it, so it’s got to be great.
‘Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’
Closing out the summer season is this “Sin City” sequel, complete with all the requisite grit and black-and-white-with-some-color style of filmmaking its predecessor provided us. So far all we know is that the film will feature two of Miller’s more famous works, and that the good guys will fight the bad guys, but if you’re a fan of how the first one looked, then this is going to work out perfectly for you. And it’s a nice, albeit pretty dark, way to wrap up the summer.
So there you have it. This summer’s must-see films, along with a few maybe-sees. There is plenty to choose from this summer, from renegade superheroes to buddy cops with maturity issues, and everything in between. So grab your popcorn and candy, get out of the sun for a minute, and enjoy the ride.