Iron Man 2 - May 7th: Locking down the same "first weekend in May" release slot as the original, Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2 effectively kicks off the summer. Robert Downey, Jr. returns as Tony Stark in the highly-anticipated follow-up to the spectacular Iron Man. The buzz on this project has been incredibly varied for the past few months, and as we approach the release date (which is only two and a half weeks away as I type), word of mouth seems to be on a positive upswing. Here's hoping this film can capture the tone of the original and not succumb to Spider-Man 3 syndrome (read: too many characters involved).
Robin Hood - May 14th: Look, it's obvious to everyone that this looks like Gladiator 2. But I'm willing to give director Ridley Scott the benefit of the doubt on this one; he's directed these period pieces before (2005's Kingdom of Heaven, most recently) and I honestly believe that he wouldn't be returning to the genre if he didn't have something original to contribute. These projects are too expansive and exhausting to be a cash grab, and this production in particular has a troubled history (one which I'll detail if I review the film). I don't think this will be the best movie of the summer by a long shot, but I think it'll definitely be watchable.
MacGruber - May 21st: I've never seen the MacGruber sketch on Saturday Night Live, so unless I score some sort of free screening to this movie there's no way I'm seeing it. Val Kilmer's presence is almost enough to change my mind, but not quite. That being said, this film obviously doesn't take itself seriously and might be a fun ride for fans of the sketch.
Shrek: Forever After - May 21st: There's no way I'm seeing this. This franchise should have ended years ago.
Sex and the City 2 - May 27th: Someone explain to me why these women are in Dubai or wherever the hell they are. Never mind - I don't care.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time - May 28th: Mike Newell may be a respected director, and I may have played (and enjoyed) the old school PC game and two of the four new releases for the next generation consoles, but the horrific miscasting of Jake Gyllenhaal combined with Bruckheimer's signature style in all the wrong ways tells me to avoid this at all costs. The buzz on this one is not good, so I'm probably going to sit it out and - maybe - wait for the DVD.
Get Him To The Greek - June 4th: The spiritual sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall features Russell Brand reprising his hilarious role as British rocker Aldous Snow in this comedy from Universal Pictures. Jonah Hill (NOT reprising his Sarah Marshall character) plays a record label intern tasked with the titular job, and craziness ensues on their quest to arrive at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. I'm actually looking forward to this one - Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller wrote and directed this film, so I'm sure it will have similar sensibilities (and hopefully a Kristen Bell cameo).
Killers - June 4th: This cinematic pile of potential garbage stars two of the least interesting people in Hollywood right now: Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. If this movie was made in 2003 or 2004, it may have been watchable. But now, after Mr. and Mrs. Smith and so many other similar movies already released? I think I'll pass.
The A-Team - June 11th: I wasn't on board with this film after seeing the teaser trailer, but after seeing the full-length cut, I think I'm sold. Jessica Biel (me-YOW) actually delivers the following line: "They specialize in the ridiculous!" Obviously we know what kind of movie this is going to be, and with a cast that features Liam Neeson, The Hangover's Bradley Cooper, and District 9's Sharlto Copley, you can count me in for the absolute insanity we're sure to see on the big screen.
The Karate Kid - June 11th: As soon as this project was announced, I knew I had no interest. Some of you may feel differently, and that's the only reason I've included this movie. Jackie Chan as Mr. Miyagi? Sorry dude - you can definitely kick ass, but you're no Pat Morita. And I'll reiterate the vocal cry collectively raised by the internet since the day we heard the project was announced: this film is set in China. They do kung fu in China. They do karate in Japan. This should be called The Kung Fu Kid. Actually, this project probably shouldn't exist at all. Go back and watch the original; Elisabeth Shue is worth the re-watch.
Jonah Hex - June 18th: Another film with a troubled history, this one has been getting some really awful buzz lately. Based on the comic of which I've read a few (thanks Jared), Jonah Hex is essentially an Eastwood-esque cowboy who wanders through the Old West kicking ass and getting all kinds of revenge. Rumors of the inclusion of supernatural elements coupled with this film being the live-action directorial debut of director Jimmy Hayward have me more than a bit wary, not to mention the fact that it's halfway through April and we haven't seen any footage yet. Tread carefully with this one, but the "Josh Brolin vs. John Malkovich" factor may be enough to put it over the edge.
Toy Story 3 - June 18th: Pixar's next animated film will be good, I'm sure - but that doesn't mean I plan on seeing it. We grew up with Toy Story, but I feel like I've outgrown these characters. A third film just seems like a retread. I've heard fantastic things about the final 30 minutes of the movie, so maybe I'm wrong. But I just don't have much interest in revisiting Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the gang anymore.
Knight and Day - June 25th: Now this is a film I'm looking forward to. Tom Cruise is back, and this time it appears as if he's fully aware of the public perception of him as a crazy man. If his performance in the trailer is any indication of the tone of this movie, I'm going to absolutely love it. He's wild ("I'm the guy!") and outrageous, and if I can just get past the fact that Cameron Diaz is in this movie, I'll be good to go.
Twilight Saga: Eclipse - June 30th: Is it time for another one of these already? Yeesh.
The Last Airbender - July 2nd: M. Night Shyamalan hasn't made it easy to be one of his supporters with his past few directorial efforts, but I'm still holding out hope that he can bring something interesting to the table. This film, based on a well-loved cartoon, has been drawing racial controversies over the casting of the lead characters, but since I've never seen the original show I have nothing on which to base my perception. Even though I consider myself a fan of Night, I still might not see this one in theaters.
Predators - July 7th: Nimrod Antal's Predators looks like the Predator sequel we should have gotten back in the last 1980's. Robert Rodriguez is producing the film, and even though there's some bizarre casting going on here (Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace), I think this one could be just enough to hold action fans over until The Expendables.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice - July 16th: Nic Cage as a sorcerer teaching Jay Baruchel the art of magic? As awesome as Cage was in Kick-Ass, I'll probably sit this one out as well.
Inception - July 16th: Hands down my most anticipated film of the summer (and arguably the year). I fully expect for this to be one of my favorite movies of all time - which I realize is a mind-boggling amount of pressure to put on any film - but I'm confident that Chris Nolan, DiCaprio, and Co. can rise to the occasion.
Dinner for Schmucks - July 23rd: I like Steve Carell, and I like Paul Rudd. But I just don't think this movie looks very funny.
Salt - July 23rd: Tom Cruise was attached to this film and ended up dropping out. The film was re-worked for Angelina Jolie, but watching the trailer it's obvious that they didn't do too much altering to the script; this still feels very much like a Tom Cruise movie. Looks cool to me, so I'll probably see it.
The Other Guys - August 6th: The latest film from director Adam McKay sounds like a concept I came up with years ago: what is it like to live in the same world as a supercop? Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play regular police officers in the same precinct as two supercops played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson. I'm glad to see Ferrell continuing to stay away from sports-themed comedies since he overdosed on those a few years back, and this looks like a worthy follow-up to Step Brothers.
The Expendables - August 13th: I've written about this project before, and I've yet to see a trailer for the movie. But I'm sure it'll be awesome.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - August 13th: The teaser trailer for this film is one of my favorite teasers in recent memory, and after reading the fantastic source material on which this film is based, I'm totally sold on this movie. The casting is absolute perfection, and Edgar Wright looks like he could provide a real game-changer with this movie. I can't wait.
Now you can respond with some real answers when your friends ask you, "what movies are coming out this summer?" I'll keep you updated along the way, and maybe I'll do a little recap at the end to compare my predictions with my actual reactions. As always, thanks for reading. Until next time...