May 01--Starting Friday with "Iron Man 3," they are going to come fast and furious. Once again, it's the onslaught of summertime movie blockbusters: big, often very expensive films looking for box office domination.
This summer, there isn't quite the emphasis on superhero fare that there was last year, although "Iron Man 3" (reviewed below), the Superman reboot "Man of Steel" and "Wolverine" all are on tap. But the other flicks looking to snag big bucks include a romantic drama ("The Great Gatsby"), a raunchy comedy ("The Hangover Part III"), a 'toon ("Monsters University") and a slew of sci-fi. Plus -- in cloud of dust and a hearty hi-ho, Silver -- the return of "The Lone Ranger."
So, for your summertime moviegoing
consideration, here are 10 upcoming blockbusters that really grabbed our attention:
"The Great Gatsby"
The story: A number of filmmakers have attempted to turn F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel into a coherent film. All have failed -- badly. Now, Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge") takes his shot at bringing Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway to the screen.
The buzz: It's hit ("Romeo + Juliet") or miss ("Australia") with Luhrmann, and the trailers for the film suggest this could go either way. One big plus: a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.
"Star Trek Into Darkness"
Director J.J. Abrams rebooted the "Star Trek" franchise with a vengeance in 2009. This time, a young Capt. James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his new crew take on a mysterious Big Bad named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who may or may not turn out to be Khan Noonien Singh, perhaps the greatest villain in franchise history.
The buzz: The trailers are terrific, and those who have seen the film say Abrams has come up with one heck of a sequel.
"Fast & Furious 6"
The story: Does anyone really expect a story with the "Fast & Furious" franchise? Not really, but this go-round pits Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew against a black-ops bad guy.
The buzz: "Fast Five" was the franchise's biggest hit, and director Justin Lin is back for this installment. Expectations have been high since the spectacular trailer aired during the Super Bowl.
"The Hangover Part III"
The story: In the biggest cineplex throwdown of the summer, the final installment in the dark and raunchy "Hangover" trilogy goes head-to-head with "Fast & Furious." The whole Wolfpack (including the indispensable Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow) returns, as does director Todd Phillips.
The buzz: No one believes for a minute that the comedy won't make a boatload of money. What everyone is hoping is that movie is more like the first "Hangover" (very funny) than the second (a real letdown).
"Man of Steel"
The story: It's another take on the Superman origin story -- as filtered through the dark lens of producer Christopher Nolan and writer David Goyer from the "Dark Knight" series and director Zack Snyder ("300").
The buzz: More than a few folks in Hollywood think this could be the blockbuster of 2013. From the trailers, it definitely looks like this is not the Big Blue Boy Scout, but rather the alienated, brooding Superman that has turned up periodically in the comics.
"World War Z"
The story: After six years of work, Max Brooks' classic sci-fi book finally makes it into theaters. Brad Pitt stars as the former U.N. "hot zone" specialist who is called back to duty to track down the virus that is gradually turning the world into zombies.
The buzz: The film's release was delayed because of reshoots and production issues -- never a good sign. And director Marc Forster hasn't nailed it artistically since "Finding Neverland" nearly a decade ago. But zombies are huge these days (thank you, "The Walking Dead").
The story: In this prequel to the charming "Monsters Inc.," monster buddies Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) meet in college, where they learn about how to scare kids.
The buzz: It's a new riff on a Pixar film that delighted audiences, so there is no reason to believe it won't score again, particularly with the kids.
"The Lone Ranger"
The story: This retelling of the origin story of "The Lone Ranger" has Johnny Depp playing Tonto, so you can expect a little more emphasis on his faithful sidekick.
The buzz: The trailers look kind of cool, and Depp is rather striking as Tonto. But even with Depp, there's something about this $215 million flick that screams "Wild Wild West" -- a wretched, bloated failure back in 1999.
The story: Once again, it's us puny humans against big, bad aliens and, of course, we fight back -- with everything coming down to one last big battle.
The buzz: The trailers make the film look like "Transformers" meets "Rodan," but director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth") is a fanboy fave who is just so darn good that expectations remain high.
The story: In the not-so-distant future, the rich of Earth all live on a orbital space station while the rest of humanity suffers on the dying planet. Matt Damon plays a Earth worker who has to break into the station, Elysium, to find a cure for his radiation illness.
The buzz: It's been building steam over the past few months. Director Neill Blomkamp ("District 9") is wicked smart, the cast includes not only Damon but Jodie Foster as a corporate boss, and the trailers make you really want to see the flick.
For film news and more, follow Charlie McCollum at Twitter.com/charlie_mccollu.
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