Live action dominates the summer blockbuster season

Godzilla leads the summer movie onslaught in an attempt to recapture the style and seriousness of the Japanese film monster’s legacy. Publicity photo Godzilla leads the summer movie onslaught in an attempt to recapture the style and seriousness of the Japanese film monster’s legacy. Publicity photo

It’s mid-May: The crushing tide of summer movies is just around the corner. Gear up.

Actually, we don’t really have a summer movie season anymore. Of all the traditions Star Wars ushered in—it was released on May 25, 1977, just in time for Memorial Day—summer release dates have largely gone kerblooey. To wit: Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released on April 4, a previously unheard of time for big budget action flicks.

But there is still mucho big, big explosion-filled stuff coming this season. And, just in case you don’t want your eardrums to explode along with a bunch of robots, cars, and buildings, there are some smaller releases, too.


Another year, another movie about a giant something-or-other smashing stuff. Last year it was Pacific Rim. This year, it’s a giant radioactive lizard-thing. The trailer reveals little of the plot, and one of my colleagues, a bona fide giant robot/monster movie fan, thinks the movie looks deadly serious, just like the Japanese Gojira from 1954 (that’s the one sans Raymond Burr). It can’t be worse than the 1998 Matthew Broderick-starring Godzilla. (May 16)

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Wolverine, the 2013 Hugh Jackman standalone, was the X-Men apex. Why crap it up with a Bryan Singer-directed prequel/sequel? Sure, Singer is the brains behind the bulk of the X-Men franchise, but his last job helming Professor X and the crew was the good X2 (2003), and he hasn’t directed a decent movie since. (And Jack the Giant Slayer is just terrible.) Happy news: Almost every cast member from previous X-Men films appears, so the star wattage will be blinding. (May 23)


A live-action expansion of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty story is needless, but if any actor was born to play Maleficent, the Mistress of All Evil, it’s Angelina Jolie. It will likely be worth seeing for that reason alone. (May 30)

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Seth MacFarlane returns to live action with this aware-of-itself western. The trailer, which features five deaths—one of them funny—and a musical number, seems like standard MacFarlane: We’ve been told he’s funny by people we respect, so why not just assume it will be funny (even if Ted wasn’t great)? (May 30)

The Fault In Our Stars

Shailene Woodley, apparently not content with conquering YA action films (Divergent), will also conquer YA weepies. She has cancer. Her boyfriend has cancer. I read somewhere even cancer has cancer, which, like two negatives in algebra, actually cancels the cancer out. Cancer is now hosting a podcast and writing a memoir about working with Woodley. (June 6)

Edge Of Tomorrow

It must be summer if Tom Cruise is starring in an action movie that looks terrible! He dies a lot (which he sort of did in the rotten Oblivion). Emily Blunt is in EoT, too, and she looks like an ass-kicker. Good. Action movies need women kicking ass more than they do in the Marvel movies, which relegate women to non-ass kicking roles unless they’re Scarlett Johansson. (June 6)

22 Jump Street

It looks exactly the same as 21 Jump Street, which can’t be bad. Unless it’s exactly the same like The Hangover II was exactly the same as The Hangover—you know, a remake without jokes. But Jonah Hill is a savvier writer than the Hangover crew, right? Right? (I hope I’m right.) (June 13)

The Rover

Another YA alum, Robert Pattinson, makes his non-YA thriller debut. He stars with Guy Pearce in grizzled mode, and if history has taught us anything that means there will be lots of killin’. (June 20)

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

The only thing worse than a Shia LaBeouf-starring Transformers movie is a Mark Wahlberg-starring Transformers movie (that’s a guess). People of Earth: Stop buying tickets to these shit shows. Hopefully this movie’s subtitle hints at the shelf life of this franchise. (June 27)


Melissa McCarthy wrote the screenplay for this comedy with her husband Ben Falcone, who also directs. Even in the darkest moments of The Heat and Identity Thief—and there are plenty—McCarthy shines brightly. Let’s hope Tammy is Bridesmaids-funny. (July 2) 

Jupiter Ascending

Mila Kunis is Jupiter, a janitor (yeah, O.K.), who just happens to be someone who could save the universe from an evil queen. This movie is the brainchild of the Wachowskis, which explains why its trailer feels so much like The Matrix. It can’t be worse than Cloud Atlas, and if we’re lucky it will feel as fresh as Neo’s first adventure before the two sequels killed the good vibes it created.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

“From Producer Michael Bay” reads the first title card in the trailer. So that’s why it feels like another Transformers movie. If you read the Interwebs, you’ve heard the grumbles about changes in the turtles’ origin story. That doesn’t mean the movie is good or bad; that just means longtime fans are butthurt. Will TMNT be good? Honestly, it doesn’t look half-bad. Plus, William Fichtner is Shredder, so you know one thing: Shredder is ridiculously handsome. (Aug. 8)

The Expendables 3

Man, Sylvester Stallone is really milking this old-guys-blowing-shit-up routine, and to be fair, he’s done it better than anyone else—admittedly a low bar. Good news: Wesley Snipes is out of prison and in an action movie again. It hasn’t really raised the star power of the other olds in the series, and it didn’t hurt or hinder current stars. But Snipes was always fun to watch, even in rotten movies (Blade: Trinity). Here’s hoping he’s back, and that Stallone can still provide the goofy fun. (Aug. 15)

Enjoy the air conditioning, kids. See you in the fall for the awards-hungry movies.

Playing this week

Amazing Spiderman 2
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Brick Mansions
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Captain America:
The Winter Soldier
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Fading Gigolo
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Heaven Is For Real
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Le Week-end
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Lunchbox
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Mom’s Night Out
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Monuments Men
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Other Woman
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Railway Man
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Rio 2
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Movie houses

Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX