25 buzz-worthy films


Ah, summer, when a young person’s fancy turns to superheroes and space opera, romantic comedies and goofy Westerns.

Summer is the blockbuster, bill-paying season for the studios, and it’s genuinely weird to think that 10 or 12 years ago it was big news when there was a comic book character on the screen.

These days, comic-book movies are the dominant summer form. There are no fewer than three movies featuring Marvel Comics characters this summer: Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy, a team that only hardcore Marvel nerds know. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” kicks off the season this weekend.

Here are 25 buzzy movies coming out between now and the end of summer. Release dates are, as always, subject to change. Some of the following may be great, some may be terrible. Either way, at least there will be air conditioning.

May

“Neighbors”

Nick Stoller directs Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as new parents who have Zac Efron’s fraternity move in next door in this film of the semi-improvised, “are they just making this up as they go?” genre. (May 9)

“Godzilla”

Here is the big question for this, the second reboot inside of 20 years for this classic kaiju franchise. Is it just me or does Godzilla keep getting bigger? Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche and Ken Wantanabe star. (May 16)

“Million Dollar Arm”

Jon Hamm stars as sports agent J.B. Bernstein based on the true tale of baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, whom Bernstein discovered after they won a reality show. With Bill Paxton, Alan Arkin, Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal. (May 16)

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

This highly anticipated sequel unites the contemporary “X-Men” and “X-Men: First Class” storylines into one big continuity, starring the whole gang: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and franchise newcomer Peter Dinklage. It deals with a war of survival across two time periods, hence the “future past” subtitle. (May 23)

“Blended”

The third romantic comedy pairing Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (see also “the Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates”), “Blended” concerns two single parents who find themselves at a family resort together after a lousy blind date. Cuteness likely ensues. (May 23)

“Maleficent”

Angelina Jolie plays the titular villain with the epic cheekbones who curses Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). Think “Wicked” using “Sleeping Beauty” instead of “The Wizard of Oz” as source material. Visual effects expert Robert Stromberg tries his hand at directing. (May 30)

“A Million Ways to Die in the West”

Seth MacFarlane writes, directs and stars in this Western comedy set in 1882 Arizona. With Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson. (May 30)

June

“The Fault in Our Stars”

Two teens meet and fall in love at a cancer support group. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who played siblings in “Divergent,” star. New drivers and their dates will be lining up soon to swoon. (June 6)

“Edge of Tomorrow”

Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) directs Tom Cruise — who just seems to play sci-fi/action heroes now — and Emily Blunt as future soldiers stuck in a time loop of fighting and dying in the same battle over and over again. (June 6)

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

This sequel to the excellent 2010 animated feature about vikings who figure out how to ride dragons, pits the dragonriders against an external, possibly-also-dragon-based threat. Stars Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig and America Ferrera. (June 13)

“22 Jump Street”

Nobody expected the 2012 movie “21 Jump Street” to be as funny as it was. But Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill were great as undercover cops infiltrating a high school. Now they are undercover cops at a college. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the dudes behind both the first “Jump Street” and the smash hit “The Lego Movie.” (June 13)

“Jersey Boys”

Tony-award winning Broadway musicals don’t always make a smooth transition to the big screen, but this one has Clint Eastwood at the helm (not known as a song-in-his-heart director) and Christopher Walken’s singular presence. (June 20)

“Think Like A Man Too’’

The various couples from the first ensemble comedy reunite for a big Las Vegas wedding. Then the bachelor and bachelorette parties spiral out of control, ending with most of the cast in jail. Sounds like a matrimonial “Hangover” movie: engagement ring, wedding ring, suffering. The increasingly popular Kevin Hart stars, with Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Romany Malco and Megan Good. (June 20)

“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Director Michael Bay slots Mark Wahlberg into the now-departed Shia LaBeouf’s slot as the human point-of-view character. Co-stars Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammer and a bunch of Autobots, Decepticons and yes, nerds, Dinobots. (June 27)

July

“Tammy”

Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone co-write and co-direct a comedy about a woman who decides to split on her no-good husband. Her only option out of town? A road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). (July 2)

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Apes and humans battle for Earth domination, and you can probably guess who’s gonna win. Andy Serkis stars as Caesar, who is pictured in one image holding a short-barrel shotgun. So know that this movie has apes with shotguns and act accordingly. (July 11)

“Boyhood”

In “Boyhood,” an early contender for movie of the year, director Richard Linklater followed his cast for 12 years, chronicling the life of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his family (mother Patricia Arquette, father Ethan Hawke and sister Lorelei Linklater). One of the great cinematic achievements of the age. (July 11)

“Jupiter Ascending”

This planet-hopping, sci-fi/fantasy blowout by Andy and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix,” etc.) looks to be the best kind of bonkers space opera. Turns out that Russian maid Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) has the genetic makeup to be the next Queen of the Universe. Channing Tatum (and his abs) star as gene-spliced warrior Caine Wise, and Sean Bean plays the scoundrel Stinger. (July 18)

“Planes: Fire & Rescue”

A sequel to the animated “Cars” spin-off “Planes.” Stars Dane Cook. So, yeah, that happened. (July 18)

“Hercules”

The always-likable Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson stars as the demigod of myth. Directed by Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour”). If it’s a hit, everyone will smell a franchise. If it bombs, well, Johnson still has the “Fast and Furious” movies. Co-starring John Hurt, Irina Shayk and Ian McShane. (July 25)

August

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

A true test of the juggernaut power of Marvel comic book movies. Unlike Spider-Man and the X-Men, the Guardians are a true B-list franchise, space-faring superbeings who fight intergalactic menaces. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan and Vin Diesel. Think “cosmic Avengers” — at least, Marvel hopes you think as much. (Aug. 1)

“Get on Up”

This is a guts move, a biopic about the almighty James Brown, one of the most important and charismatic people in the history of American popular music. Will it work? Directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help”). Chadwickj Boseman, who starred as Jackie Robinson in “42,” plays the Godfather of Soul. (Aug. 1)

“A Hundred-Foot Journey”

Helen Mirren stars in this tale about competing restaurants in the south of France, but it could be a hard dish to sell during the summer. Directed by Lasse Hallström. (Aug. 8)

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

A reboot of the most weirdly indestructible kiddie franchise of all time. I have been told the turtles now have noses. Is nothing sacred? (Aug. 8)

“The Expendables 3”

The third in the “Expendables” franchise focuses on the ongoing adventures of older action franchise veterans. Features Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li and Terry Crews among other “Expendables” vets, as well as a cast of younger actors. Also, Harrison Ford is in this one because if there is one thing Harrison Ford does not care about, it is what you think of his career choices. (Aug. 15)

Star Tribune (Minneapolis) and Fresno Bee reports were used in this article.


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