Assuming that The Avengers isn’t still hogging every theatre screen, here are some of the titles you can expect to see on the multiplex marquee in the two and a half months of summer that remain.
Rock of Ages (June 15)
starring: Julianna Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin
directed by: Adam Shankman
What it’s about: A waitress and busboy fall in love during the 1980s.
Why it might be good: With Mission: Impossible 4, Tom Cruise proved once and for all that, while he may be certifiably insane, he’s still one of the world’s top movie stars.
Why it might not: It’s unlikely that we’ll see him dangling from a skyscraper in this one.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June 22)
starring: Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
What it’s about: Abraham Lincoln avenges the death of his mother, who was murdered by vampires.
Why it might be good: According to Tommy Lee Jones, Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance is the most nuanced and realistic portrayal of the iconic presi- oh wait, wrong movie.
Why it might not: A vampire movie featuring Abraham Lincoln is still a vampire movie, and if there’s one thing the world could use less of, it’s vampire movies.
Brave (June 22)
starring: Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters
directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
What it’s about: A Scottish princess breaks an age-old custom and is cursed by an eccentric witch. In order to undo the curse, she must discover the meaning of true bravery.
Why it might be good: Apart from Cars 2 and maybe the original Cars, Pixar’s track record has been just about perfect.
Why it might not: The trailer looks like a Scottish tourism ad. For once, I’d like to see a shot of the Scottish highlands that isn’t accompanied by bagpipe music on the soundtrack.
Seeking a Friend For the End of the World (June 22)
starring: Steve Carrell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey
directed by: Lorene Scafaria
What it’s about: A man goes on a road trip to reunite with his high school girlfriend. Also, a giant meteor is scheduled to crash into the planet, ending life on Earth as we know it.
Why it might be good: Few actors are as good at alternating between broad comedy and serious drama as Steve Carrell.
Why it might not: It sounds like a dumbed down version of the classic Canadian film Last Night.
Magic Mike (June 29)
starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn
directed by: Steven Soderbergh
What it’s about: A veteran male stripper coaches a younger protege, falls in love with his protege’s sister.
Why it might be good: It’s based on Channing Tatum’s real life experience as a male stripper, so at the very least, it should be realistic.
Why it might not: In this one, Tatum is acting opposite Alex Pettyfer, not Jonah Hill.
Ted (June 29)
starring: Mark Walberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
directed by: Seth MacFarlane
What it’s about: A man must choose between his fiance and his best friend, a talking teddy bear.
Why it might be good: If the scene from the trailer where Mark Wahlberg lists off a hundred white trash names in 20 seconds is representative of the rest of the movie, this could be a comedy classic.
Why it might not: It’s by the creator of Family Guy, which kinda reminds me of that time I went to buy lottery tickets with Mr. T. Cut to flashback of me buying lottery tickets with Mr. T. “I pity the fool who doesn’t win the lottery.”
People Like Us (June 29)
starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer
directed by: Alex Kurtzman
What it’s about: A struggling businessman is instructed in his father’s will to give $150,000 to a half-sister he never knew existed.
Why it might be good: It doesn’t have vampires, zombies, or aliens in it. In fact, it doesn’t seem to feature any CGI at all. Who on earth decided to release this thing during the summer?
Why it might not: If Chris Pine delivers a wooden performance, reviewers will be unable to resist the obvious pun.
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)
starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen
directed by: Marc Webb
What it’s about: After getting bit by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker develops superpowers which he uses to unravel a mystery from his past while pursuing his high school crush.
Why it might be good: The idea of an ordinary teenager who gains the strength and agility of a spider is an intriguing one. I mean, what would you do in such a situation? Fight crime, swing from skyscraper to skyscraper, briefly join a professional wrestling league—the possibilities are endless.
Why it might not: According to my research, there was a popular movie made just 10 years ago that had a very similar premise.
Savages (July 6)
starring: Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively
directed by: Oliver Stone
What it’s about: Two marijuana growers battle a Mexican drug cartel.
Why it might be good: The trailer features a shot of the two heroes wearing Mexican wrestling masks while holding bazookas.
Why it might not: It’s directed by Oliver Stone, who hasn’t made a good movie since 1999.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13)
starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Aziz Ansari, Jennifer Lopez
directed by: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier
What it’s about: The Ice Age gang goes on a new adventure. This one has something to do with pirates.
Why it might be good: By now, the Ice Age animators have had more practice at animating pre-historic animals than anyone else in the world. If there’s any truth to the saying, “Practice makes perfect,” then Ice Age 4 should be the closest thing to perfection that humans have yet achieved.
Why it might not: There’s no truth to that saying. The Ice Age movies have been getting worse and worse.
The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)
starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
directed by: Christopher Nolan
What it’s about: Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Batman returns to Gotham to prevent Bane from destroying the city.
Why it might be good: Reasons are too many to list.
Why it might not: Can’t think of anything to put here.
The Watch (July 27)
starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade
directed by: Akiva Schaffer
What it’s about: A neighbourhood watch group battles an alien invasion.
Why it might be good: Like Attack the Block, it promises to offer a new twist on a tired genre.
Why it might not: The title used to be Neighbourhood Watch, but was shortened to The Watch following the Trayvon Martin shooting. Which begs the question: How many other things were changed for the sake of political correctness?
Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)
starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
directed by: Tony Gilroy
What it’s about: A super agent not named Jason Bourne becomes involved in some Bourne-esque intrigue.
Why it might be good: It’s not directed by Paul “Shakey-Cam” Greengrass, so there’s a good chance that someone remembered to bring a tripod to the set.
Why it might not: After getting out-acted by Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 4 and Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr in The Avengers, it’s becoming harder and harder to remember why Jeremy Renner was ever a big deal to begin with.
Total Recall (Aug. 3)
starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel
directed by: Len Wiseman
What it’s about: A factory worker suffering from violent nightmares begins to suspect that he’s a spy whose memory has been replaced.
Why it might be good: It stars Colin Farrell, an infinitely superior actor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, star of the original Total Recall.
Why it might not: It’s unlikely that Farrell’s audio commentary track will come anywhere close to matching the zany brilliance of Schwarzenegger’s classic commentary on the original Total Recall DVD.
The Campaign (August 10)
starring: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis
directed by: Jay Roach
What it’s about: Two rival politicians run for office in North Carolina.
Why it might be good: It’s a movie about a political campaign that’s being released in the middle of one of the biggest political campaigns in history. If it isn’t good, it will at least be timely.
Why it might not: The trailer looks like a rejected SNL sketch.
ParaNorman (Aug. 17)
starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman
directed by: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
What it’s about: A boy with the ability to communicate with the dead must prevent a horde of zombies from invading a small New England town.
Why it might be good: It’s by the same studio that produced Coraline, one of the best animated movies of recent memory.
Why it might not: Zombies rank just below vampires on the list of things that people need to stop making movies about.
The Expendables 2 (August 17)
starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Liam Hemsworth
directed by: Simon West
What it’s about: A group of elderly men struggle with steroid addiction.
Why it might be good: Unlike the first Expendables movie, Sylvester Stallone didn’t direct this one. So there’s that.
Why it might not: To improve upon the first Expendables, you’d have to change a lot more than just the director.
Lawless (August 29)
starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce
directed by: John Hillcoat
What it’s about: Three brothers launch a bootlegging business during the Prohibition era, run into problems with the law.
Why it might be good: With the possible exception of Shia LaBeouf, the cast is one of the best ever assembled.
Why it might not: When it premiered at Cannes, it received some polite notices, but few raves.