April 27--Winter is over, right? Please? So it's time to start thinking about the movies summer will send our way.
Usually, the warm-weather months are all about explosions and aliens, but on paper at least, this year appears to offer a little something for everyone. Documentaries? Several. Animation? A bunch. Something from France? Oui. A double dose of Ryan Reynolds on one July weekend? You're in luck. Coming-of-age comedies? Coming in droves. A farce about typists? That's here, too.
Here's what to look for in theaters this summer (keeping in mind that dates sometimes change):
IRON MAN 3
The second one fell victim to Lousy-middle-movie-of-a-trilogy Syndrome, so let's hope the third time's a charm.
THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST
Mira Nair brings the popular novel to the screen, where it's always swell to see Liev Schreiber in a leading role.
THE ANGELS' SHARE
From Scotland, the wry comedy about a man with a surprising gift for evaluating rare Scotch whisky could make even teetotalers consider the merits of the beverage.
BERT STERN: ORIGINAL MADMAN
According to this documentary portrait, the legendary photographer was also the original creep.
Thor Heyerdahl's epic journey across the Pacific is the subject of a beautifully shot docudrama. From Norway, it was nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar, but audiences here will be getting an English-language version.
THE GREAT GATSBY
Based on the epic razzle-dazzle in the trailer, it looks like Baz Luhrmann's version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald masterpiece will definitely be a "boat against the current."
His supporting performances are often the funniest things in the movies in which he appears. This romcom gives Craig Robinson a shot at the lead.
An earthquake hits Chile. Bloody violence ensues.
AT ANY PRICE
Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham and Zac Efron star, not convincingly, in a melodrama about how the family farm crisis hits one Iowa clan.
SOMETHING IN THE AIR
The great French director Olivier Assayas returns with a look at French political unrest.
IN THE HOUSE
Francois Ozon's thriller, "Swimming Pool," was one of the most mysterious movies of recent years. He returns to that territory in a drama about a boy whose essay results in unintended consequences for the family of a French teacher. With Kristin Scott Thomas.
STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS
Take two for J.J. Abrams' sexier, funnier take on Spock, Kirk, Uhuru and the rest of the gang.
Michael Shannon is -- sorry -- chilling as the title character, a mob hitman who tries to balance his vicious criminal life with being a loving dad and husband. Would you believe it? That doesn't work.
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
Much like "Mamma Mia!" this one has Pierce Brosnan as a distracted businessman who finds love on holiday in a coastal Mediterranean paradise.
Hey, gang, let's go on a camping vacation on a Maine island where we're completely cut off from civilization, specifically medical professionals. What could go wrong?
FAST & FURIOUS 6
This time, the speed demons all decide to go to graduate school, where they debate the merits of Kierkegaard vs. Nietzsche. Just kidding. They drive like bats out of hell.
THE HANGOVER PART III
Another movie series that faced a slump in its second outing, "The Hangover" tries to right the ship by returning to where it all began: Las Vegas.
The title of the computer-animated comedy is, apparently, ironic: All of the action takes place in a peaceful-seeming back yard, where tiny creatures create havoc.
Eventually, movie fans are going to discover what a vibrant and unique screen presence is Greta Gerwig. This black-and-white charmer about a free spirit could be the one that finally does it.
NOW YOU SEE ME
A fun-sounding cast -- Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fischer, Michael Caine -- in a caper about magicians who moonlight as bank robbers.
STORIES WE TELL
Actress/director Sarah Polley takes as her subject her own life -- specifically, the lies her parents told her and why they did it.
WHAT MAISIE KNEW
A fine ensemble cast -- Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgard and astonishing little Onata Aprile -- brings subtlety to a contemporary adaptation of the Henry James story about the danger in which a child is placed by an ugly divorce.
Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey try to protect their family when criminals break into their gated community.
Will Smith, Jaden Smith, M. Night Shyamalan, the future. I'm in.
Resolution: I'm going to work on getting excited about Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in an arrested-adolescence comedy. I really am. I mean it.
The third in a movie trilogy that just keeps getting better. Eighteen years after their characters met in "Before Sunrise," we catch up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, now married (happily, let's hope).
Alexander Skarsgard, Brit Marling and Ellen Page in a serious-minded drama about the moral gray areas encountered by members of an environmental group who use the tactics of terrorism to get across their point.
A comedy that is unlikely in about a million ways starting with this: It's about a French typing competition.
THE KINGS OF SUMMER
The idea of a coming-of-age movie about runaways is not fresh. But this good-natured comedy finds all sorts of ways to make the characters and situations feel new.
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Two couples go on a fabulous vacation, but not everyone has a chance to unpack.
MAN OF STEEL
Superman gets the "Dark Knight" treatment: He's torn between helping people and keeping secret the burden of his extraordinary gifts. Henry Cavill leads an eye-popping cast: Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne and Russell Crowe.
THIS IS THE END
Lots of funny guys -- Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, James Franco -- play twisted versions of themselves confronting an unfunny subject: the end of the world.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Joss Whedon brought together his pals Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg to put together a modern take on Shakespeare's much-filmed romantic comedy.
WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS
There's a fictionalized Julian Assange movie coming up with Benedict Cumberbatch as the notorious secret unveiler, but this one's a documentary from the Oscar-winning director of "Taxi to the Dark Side."
Ideally, if Pixar is going to do sequels, it would just produce a "Toy Story" every couple of years, but it could be fun to hang with Sully and Mike again. And I am intrigued to hear what Helen Mirren's voice will have to do with them.
WORLD WAR Z
The beloved comic novel about zombies appears to have been altered substantially on the way to this oft-delayed movie version starring Brad Pitt.
THE BLING RING
This true story -- teenagers pilfer gems and clothes from Grade B "stars" like Paris Hilton -- seems right up director Sofia Coppola's alley. With Emma Watson and Tessa Farmiga.
It's a big summer for French movies. This one's about a famed neurologist and his complex relationship with a patient.
THE WAY WAY BACK
When it was at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the buzz on this comedy/drama was deafening. Toni Collette, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell star in a coming-of-age film from the writing team behind "The Descendants."
Sounds like a remake of the Michael Mann classic that starred Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Isn't. Instead, Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock team up to lampoon buddy-cop movies.
WHITE HOUSE DOWN
The year's second action movie set in a White House that is under attack. With Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.
TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM
Wildly entertaining documentary in which the background singers of the '70s and '80s, including Merry Clayton and Darlene Love, finally get a spotlight shined on them.
The great German actress Barbara Sukowa plays the writer/philosopher.
Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton pop up in a small Irish town, which seems like good news until it becomes apparent they are vampires and they are hungry.
THE LONE RANGER
Based on all the publicity so far, it should really be called "Tonto." The Indian sidekick is played by Johnny Depp and Mr. Hi-Ho is played by Armand Hammer.
DESPICABLE ME 2
The three little girls who softened up a hard-hearted villain (voiced by Steve Carell) return in an animated sequel. Now, he's their dad.
KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN
And to think he picked that title even before his recent DUI arrest.
Somali pirates commandeer a Danish ship.
Based on the trailers, Guillermo Del Toro's action movie, in which enormous robots try to fight off an alien attack, looks like it could be the popcorn movie of the summer.
GROWN UPS 2
Oh, you know. Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson, Kevin James.
I'M SO EXCITED
Pedro Almodovar makes his first comedy in who knows how long. Set almost entirely on an airplane, it's about a flight where there are musical numbers, pot, rampant nakedness and other forms of TSA-disapproved behavior.
MORE THAN HONEY
Our vanishing bee population is the documentary's subject.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
The "Drive" team of Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn hooks up again for a stylish-looking crime drama about a thug with a very nasty mom (Kristin Scott Thomas, who appears to be channeling Lady MacBeth).
Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in a buddy cop movie with a twist: Their police colleagues are all undead.
He's a snail and, oddly, also a racer. And since he's voiced by Ryan Reynolds, he's the second half of a very busy week at the box office for the former Mr. Scarlett Johansson.
Another reteaming of a successful combo -- director James Wan and actor Patrick Wilson of "Insidious" -- crafts a story about debunking the supernatural.
The most interesting thing about the sequel, which is again about retired secret agents who go back on the clock, is that it unites two memorable Hannibal Lecters: Anthony Hopkins ("The Silence of the Lambs") and Brian Cox ("Manhunter").
GIRL MOST LIKELY
Kristen Wiig plays another screw-up, this time with Annette Bening as her mom.
The true story of a notorious killer whale.
Hugh Jackman straps on the adamantium claws again.
Michael Cera -- remember him? -- plays a creep who single-handedly turns his friends' journey to Chile into a disaster that trip insurance does not cover.
Still blue, still annoying.
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
The Greeks and Persians in another battle featuring vicious weapons and airbrushed-on six-packs.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
"Smashed" writer/director James Ponsoldt follows up with a sweet tale of high school love co-starring Shailene Woodley (of "The Descendants").
They are wielded by Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.
THE ACT OF KILLING
Shocking documentary in which we hear from Indonesian death squad killers trying to describe what it is like to end a life.
Based on the explosive trailer, this Matt Damon/Jodie Foster adventure is the movie I'm most anticipating this summer. Neil Blomkamp, who made "District 9," wrote and directed the tale of a dystopic future where wealthy people get the heck out of impoverished, dangerous Earth while the poor fight to survive.
From the people who brought us "Cars."
WE'RE THE MILLERS
It has been nine years since Rawson Marshall Thurber made the hilarious "Dodgeball," but he finally returns to comedy. Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston star in the tale of drug dealers on the run from the feds.
Woody Allen's annual summer outing stars Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin and the loveliest parts of San Francisco.
IN A WORLD
Actress Lake Bell wrote and stars in a farce set in the world of the voice performers who compete for jobs doing the narration in movie trailers.
Set in the 1980s, when computers were starting to be smarter than us, it's about software engineers taking on their creations.
Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford in a thriller that sets out to do for the corporate world what "The Firm" did for lawyers.
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
The high school student, who also happens to be the son of Poseidon, embarks on another mythic adventure.
THE TO-DO LIST
Aubrey Plaza (who is 28, for the record) as a teenager determined to lose her virginity before she starts college.
Average people strap on costumes and fight crime in the sequel, which reunites Chloe Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
Something wonky is happening on a remote space station, where Sharlto Copley, who is also in "Elysium" this month, is one of the resident astronauts.
THE WORLD'S END
Remember way back in June when a bunch of American comic actors faced off against the end of the world? Here's the same story with Brits (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman).
MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
A girl tries to find her mom, who was snatched by demons.
Family getaways can be stressful, especially if a team of masked killers is preying on you.
Jon Crowley has directed a couple of smart melodramas ("Boy A," "Intermission"), and this one about a lawyer couple (Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall) defending a terrorist sounds like a good fit for him.
It would probably love to be mentioned in connection with "Speed": An ordinary guy (Ethan Hawke) must follow the instructions of a madman in order to save his wife.
ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US
An in-concert look at a band that was popular, like, forever ago.
Movie critic Chris Hewitt can be reached at 651-228-5552. Follow him on twitter.com/ ChrisHMovie.
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