Thursday was the first day of spring, and with it comes Hollywood’s lineup of mostly comedies and sequels to usher in the warm months. Here are some highlights (release dates subject to change):
“Noah” – Adventurous director Darren Aronofsky follows up “Black Swan” with this epic tale of the biblical Noah (Russell Crowe), who suffers visions of an apocalyptic flood. This is already generating some controversy from Christian groups. Not getting a blessing from the pope didn’t help much.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still finding his footing in the modern world but now must face a new threat from his past: a Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Expect this to have more humor than the first “Captain” outing, since Joe and Anthony Russo, best known for their work on TV’s “Arrested Development” and “Community,” are co-directing this time around.
“Rio 2” – Love birds (literally) Blu and Jewel decide to teach their offspring how to live in the wild like “real” birds, so they head to the Amazon, where I’m sure everything goes as planned.
“Transcendence” – Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (“Inception”) makes his directorial debut with this story about a terminally ill scientist (Johnny Depp) who uploads his mind into a computer, creating a new form of intelligence that allows him to wield great power. And with great power comes ... well, you know.
“Walk of Shame” – Elizabeth Banks gets a chance to carry a film on her own in this comedy as an aspiring news anchor who is compromised after a one-night stand leaves her stranded in downtown L.A. without a phone, car, ID or money – and only eight hours to make it to a very important job interview. Sounds like “Adventures in Babysitting” without the baby-sitting.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” – When I first heard about the reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, I was very vocal about saying it was unneeded. Then I saw it – and loved it – so I’m really looking forward to this second installment (a fourth one is already in development) that finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) facing new threats: Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti).
“Neighbors” – A couple (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties when the house next to them is turned into a fraternity. Zac Efron tries his hand at raunchy comedy as one of the frat rats. The film just premiered at the SXSW Film Festival to sold-out crowds. Many are betting that this could be the big-studio comedy to beat this year.