In the world of movies, summer begins this weekend. The season kicks off with a string of May blockbusters poised to rake in the cash and entertain the entertainment-thirsty and popcorn-hungry masses.
To be honest, this summer looks the same as any recent movie summer — potentially blockbuster-packed, with at least one huge (hopefully) release per week from May to mid-August. There are some smaller works scattered across the landscape, but we’ve left them aside in this roundup. Who cares about drama in the summer? We want explosions, big and booming.
What follows are some highlights of the big films you’ll no doubt be sick of hearing about in the next few months.
And just as an aside, our picks for this summer’s biggest hits include “Indiana Jones,” “Sex and the City” and “Mamma Mia!” Maybe “The Dark Knight.” The two films we can’t personally wait to see? “Speed Racer” and, of course, Indy, because when you’re our age, there’s nothing like a blast from the baby-boomin’ past.
Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) fabricates a high-tech suit of armor that, among other things, can zip through the sky faster than a jet plane. He uses it to fight evil. This Marvel Comic superhero may not be as popular as Spider-Man, but he’s every bit as legendary to comic fan boys. Co-starring Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow. (May 2)
The first film directed by the Wachowski Brothers since they concluded their “Matrix” trilogy. It incorporates a Japanese anime aesthetic into a live-action environment. Expect extraordinary, mind-blowing eye candy. Emile Hirsch bears a striking resemblance to his animated counterpart. With Matthew Fox as Racer X, Christina Ricci as Trixie and John Goodman as Pops. (May 9)
‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’
The lion (or is that Jesus?) is back, as is the White Witch (or is that Satan?) in this adaptation of the second book by C.S. Lewis. The three siblings return to Narnia a year later to discover their beloved fantasyland in turmoil. They team with a heroic prince (Ben Barnes) to overthrow the tyranny at hand. (May 16)
‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’
Da-da-da-daaa, da-da-daaaaa! The ultimate summer movie is upon us — and it’s a throwback to the ultimate summer movie of the ’80s. Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford reunite, with Cate Blanchett upping the evil ante and Shia LeBouef giving the series a booster shot of youth as Indy’s possible son. Karen Allen returns for the first time since the original movie as feisty Marion Ravenwood. Can’t wait for the whip! (May 23)
‘Sex and the City: The Movie’
This is what happens when four actresses leave a popular TV show to have hit movie careers, but those hit movie careers never materialize. (May 30)
‘You Don’t Mess with the Zohan’
Adam Sandler as an Israeli Mossad agent who becomes a New York City hairdresser because all tough guys want to do is tease and color. Also starring Henry Winkler, Rob Schneider and — oh, God, what’s this? — Mariah Carey? Did anyone involved not see “Sparkle”?! (June 6)
‘The Incredible Hulk’
Marvel’s other major superhero for the summer gets a reboot after Ang Lee’s first fumbled attempt. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is on the lam trying to find a cure for what turns him big, green and mean. Norton has distanced himself from the film, citing that he disapproves of the final cut. Uh-oh … May not be so incredible. (June 13)
M. Night Shyamalan, who has yet to make a film as good as his “Sixth Sense,” tries yet again, this time with the story of a natural crisis that threatens to eradicate the world of all human life. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. (June 13)
Steve Carell as that spy spoof TV icon of the ’60s? Anne Hathaway as Agent 99? Terrene Stamp as arch-nemesis Siegfried? You can be sure we won’t miss it. (June 20)
In this twist on superheroes, Will Smith stars as an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck superhero who hires a P.R. agent (Jason Bateman) to repair his public image. (July 2)
‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’
Guillermo del Toro helms this sequel to his original quirky film about a band of mythical, misfit superheroes who keep evil at bay. Looks absolutely wild. Starring Ron Perlman as the titular character with a fondness for kittens. (July 11)
‘The Dark Knight’
Christian Bale’s Batman returns to do battle with The Joker (the late Heath Ledger). Christopher Nolan reprises directing chores. Bound to be dark and moody, but it has major competition from … (July 18)
This bubbly, frothy, happy musical is based on the Broadway hit and features all of ABBA’s biggest hits. Stars Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. We’re dancing queens already! (July 18)
‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’
We want to believe, too, that this film will be worth our time five years after the series was canceled. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return to do their Mulder and Scully routine. (July 25)
‘The Midnight Meat Train’
Grisly horror a la Clive Barker as a New York photographer hunts a serial killer. Starring Bradley Cooper (“Alias”), Vinnie Jones and Brooke Shields. (Aug. 1)
Seth Rogen and James Franco star as laid-back druggies who witness a cop-committed murder and go on the run to save their lives in this pothead-comedy. With Rosie Perez and James Remar. (Aug. 8)
Ben Stiller’s latest writing directing effort stars Stiller (naturally) as an actor shooting a big-budget war movie who accidentally gets caught up in a real-life war. With Robert Downey Jr. as a method actor who portrays an African-American soldier by tinting his skin black. Tom Cruise reportedly has a cameo as a studio exec that is so funny it will singlehandedly revive his career. (Aug. 15)
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