Summer movie preview: 79 films to get you through August
It's summer time, and Hollywood knows what you want the same thing it gave you last summer.
That includes big-budget superhero spectaculars, robots and monsters, dragons and apes, and action aplenty. There also will be some comedy, a bit of romance and something for the kids.
Among the familiar names this summer are your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, the Tokyo-stomping Godzilla, the evil queen Maleficent, claw-fisted Wolverine, a muscular Hercules, the truck-turned-hero Optimus Prime and four familiar turtles with crazy martial-arts skills.
Here's a rundown of 79 movies arriving from May through August. (Some release dates are tentative.)
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" • Marvel's web-spinner returns, again played by Andrew Garfield, to face new enemies the power-surging Electro (Jamie Foxx) and frenemy Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) and reconcile his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
"Blue Ruin" • An outsider's attempt at revenge in his childhood home goes awry in this dark thriller, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
"Breathe In" • A foreign-exchange student (Felicity Jones) tempts the married professor (Guy Pearce) in her host family in this melodrama (a Sundance 2013 title) by director-writer Drake Doremus ("Like Crazy"),
"Stranger by the Lake" • A young gay man (Pierre Deladonchamps) falls for a guy (Christophe Paou), and becomes entangled in a murder case, in this French thriller.
"Neighbors" • Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne star in this comedy as a married couple with a new baby who are forced to move next door to a rowdy fraternity where Zac Efron is the big man on campus. Directed by Nicholas Stoller ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall").
"Dancing in Jaffa" • A documentary that follows dancer Pierre Dulaine, who returns to his birthplace in Israel to teach ballroom dancing to Jewish and Palestinian kids.
"Fading Gigolo" • John Turturro directs and stars in this comedy as a guy who decides to become a professional Don Juan to help his cash-strapped buddy (Woody Allen), who becomes his manager.
"Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" • In this animated tale, Dorothy (voiced by "Glee's" Lea Michele) goes back to Oz when a new menace, The Jester (voiced by Martin Short), threatens her friends.
"On My Way" • Catherine Deneuve stars in this French romance as a woman who hits the road to escape her troubles and ends up taking her grandson (Nemo Schiffman) along for the ride.
"Only Lovers Left Alive" • Indie god Jim Jarmusch tells his version of a vampire story, a centuries-long romance between a jaded rock star (Tom Hiddleston) and his lover (Tilda Swinton).
"13 Sins" • A salesman (Mark Webber) is sent on a series of increasingly gruesome errands in this horror thriller.
"Godzilla" • Japan's most terrifying export returns, facing off against even nastier monsters. The human cast includes Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Kick-Ass"), Elizabeth Olsen, Andy Serkis, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe.
"God's Pocket" • Philip Seymour Hoffman makes one of his last screen appearances in this dark comedy-drama, as a meat-truck driver dealing with the death of his unloved stepson. Christina Hendricks and John Turturro star in the directorial debut of "Mad Men" star John Slattery, which premiered at Sundance '14.
"Locke" • Tom Hardy ("The Dark Knight Rises") stars as a construction manager dealing with personal failings and a major concrete project all over the phone while driving his BMW.
"Million Dollar Arm" • "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm plays a sports agent who goes looking for potential baseball talent among India's cricket players.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" • Marvel's mutants team up for the ultimate crossover, as Prof. Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his nemesis Magneto (Ian McKellen) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to reconcile the younger Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and prevent a war against mutants. Cast members of "X-Men" and "X-Men: First Class" who return include Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult and Anna Paquin. Directed by Bryan Singer, who helmed the first "X-Men."
"Belle" • In the 18th century, a mixed-race daughter (Gugu Mbatha Raw) of a Royal Navy admiral is raised by her rich great-uncle (Tom Wilkinson) and experiences both privilege and prejudice in this drama, inspired by a true story.
"Blended" • Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore ("50 First Dates") reteam in this comedy, this time as bickering single parents who are thrown together with their kids on an African vacation.
"Chef" • Jon Favreau, having directed the first two "Iron Man" movies, returns to his low-budget roots starring as a master cook who has a meltdown and takes his act on the road in a food truck. Sofia Vergara and John Leguizamo co-star.
"Maleficent" • Angelina Jolie stars as the evil queen from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" in a live-action action drama that tells the fairy-tale story from her perspective. Elle Fanning plays Princess Aurora.
"Chinese Puzzle" • Writer-director Cedric Klapisch continues the story of the roommates from "L'Auberge Espagnole" (2002) and "Russian Dolls" (2005). This time, Xavier (Romain Duris) is 40 when his wife, Wendy (Kelly Reilly), leaves him for another man and moves with their two kids to New York.
"Cold in July" • Director Jim Mickle ("We Are What We Are") creates some Texas noir in this Sundance '14 entry, as a regular guy (Michael C. Hall) kills an intruder in his house and must reckon with revenge from a man (Sam Shepard) who thinks the dead man is his son.
"A Million Ways to Die in the West" • Seth McFarlane ("Family Guy," "Ted") directs and stars in this bawdy Western comedy (partly filmed in Utah) as a farmer who falls for a woman (Charlize Theron) only to learn that her estranged husband is a notorious gunslinger (Liam Neeson).
Also in May
"Decoding Annie Parker" • Samantha Morton plays the title role, a woman with a family history of breast cancer who joins forces with a geneticist (Helen Hunt) to prove a genetic link to cancer.
"The Immigrant" • Marion Cotillard stars in this period drama, set in 1920 Manhattan, as a Polish immigrant thrown into prostitution by a nasty charmer (Joaquin Phoenix) but seeking escape with a debonair magician (Jeremy Renner).
"Walk of Shame" • A one-night stand leaves a TV reporter (Elizabeth Banks) stranded in L.A. with no phone, car, money or ID on the day of a major job interview.
"The Fault in Our Stars" • John Green's best-selling novel arrives on the big screen, with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Gus, teens who meet and fall in love in a cancer support group.
"Edge of Tomorrow" • Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in this adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's acclaimed science-fiction manga, as soldiers in a future war who must relive the final moments of battle over and over again.
"For No Good Reason" • Ralph Steadman, the illustrator who made Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo visions come to life, is profiled in this documentary. Johnny Depp (who played Thompson in "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas") is our guide into Steadman's weird world.
"How to Train Your Dragon 2" • It's been four years since the wonderful first installment of this animated franchise, where we met the young Viking named Hiccup and his dragon companion, Toothless. Now, the two discover a hidden ice cave that is home to hundreds of dragons and the legendary Dragon Rider.
"Night Moves" • Three environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard) plot to blow up a dam in this minimalist drama from director Kelly Reichert ("Meek's Cutoff," "Wendy & Lucy").
"22 Jump Street" • Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as undercover cops, this time infiltrating a college, in a sequel to 2012's "21 Jump Street" (which was itself a reboot of an old Johnny Depp TV show).
"Words and Pictures" • An English teacher (Clive Owen) and an art instructor (Juliette Binoche) spark a romance, while their prep-school students debate which is more powerful the word or the picture.
"Jersey Boys" • The Broadway hit, which chronicles the career of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, gets a big movie adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood, who knows music (e.g., "Bird") and is one of the few active directors old enough to remember Valli & Co. in their heyday.
"The Grand Seduction" • A small fishing town is desperate to lure a factory that will save the area's economy, but to do so the residents (led by Brendan Gleeson) must persuade a young doctor (Taylor Kitsch) to live there.
"Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon" • Mike Myers (yes, Austin Powers) makes his directorial debut with this documentary profile of Shep Gordon, whose career ranged from managing rock acts (including Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd) to launching the career of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.
"Think Like a Man Too" • The sequel to 2012's romantic comedy (based on Steve Harvey's self-help best-seller) brings back all the couples for a wild Vegas wedding where nothing goes according to plan.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" • So what's new in Michael Bay's fourth movie based on the Hasbro cars-into-robots franchise? This time, there are Dinobots (dinosaur-looking robots) in the mix, and Mark Wahlberg in the lead instead of Shia LaBeouf.
"Boyhood" • Director Richard Linklater's latest, filmed over the course of 12 years and focusing on a kid (Ellar Coltrane) growing from 5 to 18, was a big surprise hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
Also in June
"Obvious Child" • Known at Sundance '14 as "that comedy about abortion," this low-budget romantic comedy follows a stand-up comic (Jenny Slate) as she contemplates ending a pregnancy after a disastrous one-night stand.
"The Rover" • Guy Pearce stars in this Australian thriller as a man seeking revenge on the biker gang that stole his last possession his car. Robert Pattinson co-stars as a luckless gang member who becomes the man's unwilling assistant.
"The Signal" • Another Sundance '14 title, this one a science-fiction tale of hackers lured to a remote location by a mysterious online entity.
"Yves Saint Laurent" • A biographical drama from France, tracking the life of the famed fashion designer (played by Pierre Niney) and his longtime relationship with his business and life partner, Pierre BergÃ© (Guillaume Gallienne).
"Tammy" • Melissa McCarthy does what she does so well abandoning all dignity to make us laugh as a down-and-out woman hitting the road with her booze-sodden grandma (Susan Sarandon). McCarthy wrote the movie with the film's director, and her husband, Ben Falcone (best known as the air marshal in "Bridesmaids").
"Deliver Us From Evil" • A thriller in which a New York cop (Eric Bana) and a priest (Edgar Ramirez) join forces when demonic possessions overrun the city.
"Earth to Echo" • Kids find something mysterious, and wondrous, in this sci-fi adventure that's filmed "found footage" style.
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" • The human survivors of the simian plague face off against the evolved descendents of Caesar (Andy Serkis) in this sequel to the 2011 thriller "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Judy Greer and Jason Clarke star.
"And So It Goes" • Rob Reiner directs this comedy, starring Michael Douglas as a real-estate agent who's put in charge of the granddaughter he never knew he had.
"Jupiter Ascending" • Andy and Lana Wachowski ("The Matrix") direct this sci-fi fantasy about a poor human woman (Mila Kunis) who learns she's destined to rule the universe. Channing Tatum, sporting pointy ears as a human-wolf hybrid, plays her defender.
"Planes: Fire & Rescue" • Last summer's flying Disney characters return to action this time helping save lives and putting out fires.
"The Purge: Anarchy" • Last summer's kill-or-be-killed thriller gets a sequel, too with innocents caught outside during the annual "all crime is legal" spree.
"Hercules" • Dwayne Johnson shows why his old nickname was "The Rock" in a new take on the Greek mythology based on Steve Moore's comic book and directed by Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour," "Tower Heist").
"Sex Tape" • A couple (Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel) try to spice up their marriage by videotaping their lovemaking and then must scramble when the tape goes missing.
"Step Up: All In" • A dance competition in Las Vegas provides the excuse for an all-star assembly of performers from the past "Step Up" movies. (Don't hold your breath expecting Channing Tatum, though.)
Also in July
"Begin Again" • A down-and-out record executive (Mark Ruffalo) discovers a fledgling singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) in this musical tale by director John Carney ("Once").
"A Most Wanted Man" • Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a German anti-terrorism master in this adaptation of John LeCarrÃ©'s post-9/11 thriller.
"Third Person" • Paul Haggis ("Crash") directs this drama, with three interlocking stories of coupling and uncoupling. The cast includes Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, James Franco and Adrien Brody.
"Wish I Was Here" • Zach Braff's crowd-funded comedy-drama, in which he plays a 35-year-old struggling actor who ends up home-schooling his two kids.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" • James Gunn ("Slither") directs Marvel Comics' space-going adventure about a mismatched group of criminals led by the wise-cracking Peter Quill, alias "Star Lord" (Chris Pratt), and including an alien assassin (Zoe Saldana), a thieving raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a tough tree (voiced by Vin Diesel). Also starring John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace and Karen Gillan ("Doctor Who").
"Calvary" • Brendan Gleeson plays a priest who's told in confessional that one of his parishioners plans to kill him, in this comedy-drama by writer-director John Michael McDonagh that also played at Sundance '14.
"Get On Up" • Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in "42," plays a very different icon in this biography: soul singer James Brown. Directed by Tate Taylor ("The Help").
"Lucy" • Until Marvel gives Black Widow her own movie, this is the next best thing: Scarlett Johansson kicking butt as an unwilling drug mule who discovers when the drugs start leaking into her body that she has unlocked incredible mental powers. Morgan Freeman also stars.
"The Hundred-Foot Journey" • An Indian family moves to Paris, and opens a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred restaurant, in this family drama. Helen Mirren stars, and Oprah Winfrey is among the producers.
"Into the Storm" • Massive tornadoes strike a city in this disaster thriller.
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" • The pizza-loving crime-fighting reptiles are back. Megan Fox plays intrepid TV reporter April O'Neil.
"Let's Be Cops" • Buddies (Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.) dress up as policemen for a costume party, and then get caught up in real crime, in this action comedy.
"The Giver" • Lois Lowry's dystopian teen novel is adapted to film, with a young man (Brenthon Thwaites, from "Oculus") receiving the memories of his society from The Giver (Jeff Bridges) and learning the secret that could change it all. Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes and Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd also star.
"As Above, So Below" • In this thriller, archaeologists digging in the catacombs under the streets of Paris uncover secrets the dead don't want revealed.
"The Expendables 3" • Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham and pals are back for more action with Mel Gibson as Stallone's former partner, seeking to destroy the group. Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes and Harrison Ford also join in.
"What If" • Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in this romance as best friends who wonder what would happen if they got serious.
"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" • Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller join forces again, directing this anthology of hard-boiled tales (based on Miller's graphic novels). The cast includes Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Lady Gaga and returning "Sin City" combatants Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba and Bruce Willis.
"When the Game Stands Tall" • Jim Caviezel stars in this biography of Bob Ladouceur, a high-school football coach whose teams set a record 151-game winning streak.
"November Man" • Pierce Brosnan plays an ex-CIA operative who returns to the spy game and finds himself up against his old protÃ©gÃ© (Luke Bracey).
"Underdogs" • In this animated tale, a soccer fanatic (voiced by Rupert Grint) is challenged to a game which he might win when his arcade-game foosball players to come to life .
"One Chance" • Tony-winning British actor James Corden stars in this inspirational true-life story, playing Paul Potts, a shop assistant who became an opera star after appearing on "Britain's Got Talent." David Frankel ("The Devil Wears Prada") directs.
"Jessabelle" • A young woman (Sarah Shook), recovering from an accident, has a run-in with something spooky and connected to her dead mother in this horror thriller.
"The Loft" • In this thriller, five guys (including Karl Urban and James Marsden) sharing a loft for extramarital affairs start suspecting each other when a dead woman is found there.
Also in August
"Gabrielle" • Gabrielle Marion-Rivard plays the title role in this French-Canadian drama as a woman with Williams syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects development) who falls in love and seeks to establish her independence.