Why hello, better movies.
The first half of the year is a notorious dumping ground for studio stinkers — save “The Hunger Games,” of course. We’ve suffered enough! “The Avengers” was just a tasting of the treats in store over the next three months as things heat up in the city. First, we take a look at some of the most hotly anticipated films that we’ve been dying to see since well before the new year.
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
Whether or not you’re a Kristen Stewart fan, one look at the trailer for this gritty re-imagining of the traditional fairy tale is enough to see that this ain’t no “Twilight.” Charlize Theron plays the evil Queen Ravenna, and Chris Hemsworth is the titular Huntsman who — though sent to slaughter Ms. White — becomes her mentor and protector.
We like to talk about Michael Fassbender quite a bit in this paper, because he is so devastatingly handsome. But the main attraction for the film in which he stars this summer is much larger than just one actor. Helmed by “Alien” director Ridley Scott, “Prometheus” shows what happens when humans in the future travel to a foreign planet to discover their origins.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”
We’re not sure how much a camp factor will come into play with this wacky idea for a film, considering President Lincoln will be played by high-brow Juilliard grad Benjamin Walker. But the plot summary really is that Abraham Lincoln decides to vanquish those vamps once he realizes they are planning to take over the U.S.
“The Amazing Spiderman”
Even though there have been a bajillion iterations of Spidey in the last several years, everyone’s anxious to get a look at this one, portrayed by “The Social Network”‘s Andrew Garfield and co-starring his real-life girlfriend Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.
“The Dark Knight Rises”
The final installation of Christopher Nolan’s brilliant imagining of Batman has a few tricks up its sleeve, if the spooky trailer is any indication. Tom Hardy is Bane, one of the nastiest nemeses the Dark Knight has ever encountered. And then there’s Anne Hathaway slinking around as the seductively dangerous Selina Kyle.
“The Bourne Legacy”
Can Jeremy Renner fill Matt Damon’s shoes in the Bourne series? Starring as Aaron Cross, Renner’s first major starring role details the story of a man who must deal with the consequences of Jason Bourne’s actions where “The Bourne Ultimatum” left off.
The summer months are the best time for top-notch funny men and women to take over the box office. So take that, Batman.
“That’s My Boy,” June 15
We’re hoping that the presence of “Saturday Night Live”‘s Andy Samberg will make this movie not stink, especially considering Adam Sandler’s last few films were truly awful (“Jack and Jill,” we’re looking at you). In this one, Sandler plays a man-child who fathered and raised his own child (Samberg) when he was only 18. When they reconnect several years later, each finds themselves coming undone.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” June 22
Consider this one the flip side of “Melancholia,” since it also deals with a heavenly body that is destined to come crashing into Earth. But here, with Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley co-starring, it’s a comedy!
“Madea’s Witness Protection,” June 29
Oh Madea, Madea, Madea. What are you up to now? Rather than getting into trouble herself, she’s hosting a family who is a part of the witness protection program.
“Ted,” July 13
“Family Guy”‘s Seth MacFarlane is the brains behind this story of a man (Mark Wahlberg) whose random wish makes a teddy bear he had as a child come to life — albeit as a foul-mouthed scumbag voiced by MacFarlane himself.
“The Watch,” July 27
Previously titled “Neighborhood Watch” — but likely changed due to tragic events in the news — this comedy stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade as a few suburban renegades who decide to take the law into their own hands but end up finding out that they’re up against extraterrestrials instead.
“The Campaign,” Aug. 10
Why has this not happened before now? Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, two masters of playing awkward schlubs, were destined to have their moment onscreen together. In this film, they play opposing senate candidates Cam Brady and Marty Huggins, respectively. Check out their smear campaigns online.
“We don’t need no superpowers,” say these films about tough dudes duking it out in the past, present and future.
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” June 29
Though 2009’s “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra” only got middling reviews, here we have the second installment, starring looks-that-could-melt-your-semiautomatic Channing Tatum as Captain Duke Hauser alongside Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson.
“Total Recall,” Aug. 3
Filling the shoes of one erstwhile California governor who played the role in 1990, Colin Farrell is a man of the future who goes to a clinic to have memories of a more interesting life planted into his head. When the procedure goes awry (or does it?), he finds himself hunted by the government.
“The Expendables II,” Aug. 17
Chuck Norris is in this movie. That is all you need to know. Liam Hemsworth also joins the rest of the crew, which is on a revenge mission once one of their own gets killed in the line of duty. But come on, Chuck Norris!
“Lawless,” Aug. 31
Rocker Nick Cave penned this Prohibition-era film about brothers who get into the bootlegging business. Given that the film is loaded with top-flight talent like Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Gary Oldman, this could be the sleeper hit of the summer.
For the family
Cranky kids (and adults) always brighten up at the prospect of a couple hours in full-blast air conditioning, and these films will be the icing on that cake.
“Men in Black 3,” May 25
Agent J (Will Smith) must go back in time to the 1960s to save his friend, Agent K (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the “present” and Josh Brolin in the 1960s) before a disaster befalls him.
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” June 8
The runaways from their New York City zoo find themselves in Monte Carlo, joining a circus traveling through Europe in order to remain under cover.
“Brave,” June 22
It’s been so many years, but when asked to do a Scottish accent, we still revert back to that Austin Powers character Fat Bastard saying “Git in mah belleh!” Hopefully this sweet Pixar film about the rebellious daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor in the hills of Scotland will change all that.
“Ice Age: Continental Drift,”July 13
That gaggle of animal pals from the last three “Ice Age” movies come together again to fight pirates and explore the new world.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” Aug. 3
What is Greg going to do with the whole long summer ahead of him? Sorry kid, we don’t feel bad for you.
“The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” Aug. 17
Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) want to start a family but find themselves to be infertile. One night, they write down all the traits they’d want in a child, bury the box of notes in the backyard and boom, a dirt-covered kid appears on their doorstep soon after.
Music in the movie theater
Sing-alongs, dance-offs and an ode to Motown serve up plenty to snap your fingers to.
“Rock of Ages,” June 15
The Broadway musical ode to 1980s hair bands has had a long-awaited film adaptation in the works and we’ve been looking forward to it ever since a photo was leaked of Tom Cruise swinging topless above a stage. The cast is loaded with stars — Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones, Russell Brand and Bryan Cranston — and we’re expecting this to be a top-quality event.
“Katy Perry: Part of Me,” July 5
We’ll doubt that you’re going to get any good gossip out of this film that purports to share what Katy Perry’s life is like on stage and off, but the tweens will be out in full force, as it’ll only be out in 3-D for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“Step Up Revolution,” July 27
A group known for their cutting edge flash mob dance performances must band together when a rich businessman threatens to destroy their neighborhood. So they decide to protest-dance! Perhaps Occupy Wall Street could learn a thing or two from their pop and lock moves.
“Sparkle,” Aug. 17
This remake of the 1976 film of the same name bears many similarities to “Dreamgirls” — being about a 1960s Motown girl group that makes it big — but we’re hearing good buzz for “Sparkle,” which stars Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in her last on-screen performance.