It’s May so it must be time to take a look at what’s headed to theaters over the next four months as Hollywood’s extended summer movie season heats up. We’ll start with our guesses for the ten best bets for the summer season (no guarantees, you may wish to place your own wagers), followed by some possible stand-outs, several movies with big questions left to be answered, and the rest of the season’s new films. Summer has started, so we should too…
Marvel kicks off the summer with a sequel to 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, to take on the new threats of Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Rhino (Paul Giamatti), and the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). Opens Friday (check back for our review).
If you’re looking for something less action-packed to start off the summer you might consider director Amma Asante‘s Belle starring Doctor Who‘s Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role of an illegitimate mixed-raced aristocrat struggling to find her place in late 18th Century Britain. Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Sarah Gadon, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, Tom Felton, James Norton, and Emily Watson also star. Opens May 2nd in select cities in limited release before a wider distribution.
I’m intrigued by the premise of director/star Jon Favreau as a fired chef who decides to open his own food truck business. Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Sofía Vergara, and Oliver Platt also star. Opens May 9th in select cities in limited release before a wider distribution.
The new update on a Hollywood Godzilla movie is going to be huge. The question is will it be any good (or at least better than the last one)? Early trailers have teased us less with the creature than with a focus on images of the devastation caused by the big guy’s attack and the more dramatic elements of the story. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, and David Strathairn star. Opens May 16th.
Director Bryan singer returns to the franchise in an attempt to successfully unite the original X-Men films with the cast of X-Men: First Class when Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) heads back into the past to enlist the help of Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to stop the rise of the Sentinels and the end of mutant kind. The cast includes Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Lucas Till, Patrick Stewart, and both Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto. Opens May 23rd.
Taking place five years after the original film (leaving ample room for the adventures covered in the animated series), the sequel returns Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his now dragon-riding friends and introduce the young viking’s mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) and the dangerous new threat of Drago Bludvist (Djimon Hounsou) who plans to raise an army of dragons to take over the world. Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Craig Ferguson all return to voice their characters. Opens June 13th.
Once writer/director John Carney returns to musically-themed romance this time between a grizzled music executive (Mark Ruffalo) and talented singer-songwriter (RF favorite Keira Knightley). Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival under the (much better) title Can a Song Save Your Life?, the film’s supporting cast includes Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, Mos Def, and Adam Levine. Opens July 4th.
The sequel to 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes may not return star James Franco, but it should ape up the action with humanity’s survivors (Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell) in a war against Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes (Judy Greer, Toby Kebbell). Opens July 18th.
Marvel Studios is certainly taking a chance on the lesser-known rag-tag space adventurers which including a living tree (Vin Diesel) and murderous swearing raccoon (Bradley Cooper). I’m less psyched than most for the choice of James Gunn to helm the offbeat space adventure, but as a fan of the comic characters I’m certainly on-board to see where he can take them. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Rooker, and John C. Reilly also star. Opens August 1st.
After nearly a decade we finally get the long-promised Sin City sequel. I named the first film one of my Top Ten Films of 2005, so you know I’m ready to see what Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez have in store the second time around. Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, and Jaime King. Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Josh Brolin, and Jamie Chung also star. Opens August 22nd.
Angelina Jolie stars in yet another live-action fairy tale film with a focus on the Disney villain’s point of view. I’m not sure this one will be any more successful than either Mirror Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsman, but I do love the barest glimpse of the style of the film I’ve seen so far and Jolie seems perfect casting. Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple also star. Opens May 30th.
With absolutely no expectations Jonah Hill Channing Tatum teamed-up for the surprisingly funny new take on the television show of the same name. This time the pair head to college for more undercover mayhem and their own kind of justice. Ice Cube, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Amber Stevens, and Jillian Bell also star. Opens June 13th.
All the regulars are back for one (last?) ride. It will be interesting to see how the movie incorporates Paul Walker‘s real-life death (Walker died during the filming of the sequel) and how that will effect the storyline (reports have stated Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, will be used as stand-ins with the help of CGI to complete his role in the film/series) while the series also must juggle introducing a new director (James Wan) and villain (Jason Statham) to the mix. Opens July 11th.
Can The Wachowskis capture the magic of the original Matrix or will this sci-fi/fantasy adventure starring Mila Kunis as a maid chosen to save the Earth and the entire universe from an evil queen be something similar to the mixed results of Cloud Atlas and decreasing quality of The Matrix sequels? Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Vanessa Kirby, and Tuppence Middleton also star. Opens July 25th.
Can Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne deal with their new fraternity Neighbors? Will anyone without ovaries enjoy Sarah Drew‘s Mom’s Night Out? How will God’s Pocket, one of the last movies completed by Philip Seymour Hoffman before his death, measure up? Does John Hamm have a Million Dollar Arm? Can Seth MacFarlane pull off a western-comedy with A Million Ways to Die in the West? Can stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt and director Doug Liman unite in The Edge of Tomorrow to create an action sci-fi flick more memorable than Cruise’s last one? Will Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort‘s love story of two young cancer survivors in The Fault in Our Stars be the perfect anti-summer drama or as sappy as it sounds?
After replacing Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg, does director Michael Bay have any chance of breathing life into the supremely awful Transformers franchise with Transformers: Age of Extinction? What will happen when a group of teens discover extra-terrestrial life in Earth To Echo? Will Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz‘s Sex Tape be better than Zack and Miri’s Porno? Can director Brett Ratner turning an aging Dwayne “It’s Okay to Call Me The Rock Again” Johnson into Hercules? Can the movie adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey live up the steamy novel that spawned it? Just how angry will producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman make fans with the new live-action version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Can supporting names like Meryl Streep and Katie Holmes help sell the adaptation of the award-winning (but also heavily-challeged/banned) young adult novel The Giver to audiences?
Elizabeth Banks takes a Walk of Shame. Dorthy (Lea Michele) returns to Oz in the animated Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for yet another romcom in Blended. Director Tim Story reunites the cast of the first film for Think Like a Man Too. Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon star in the chick road flick Tammy. Planes gets its own sequel with Planes: Fire & Rescue. Producer Oprah Winfrey and director Lasse Hallström unite for the adaptation of The Hundred-Foot Journey. Students document the effects of a tornado in Into the Storm. Everyone you’d expect, and more, is back for The Expendables 3. Will either late summer horror/thriller flick Jessabelle or The Loft make an impact with audiences?