As it does every year, the official summer movie season starts earlier and earlier. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” kicked off this year’s season on May 2, so we’re already well into it.
But there are still lots of big-budget spectacles, sequels and action movies on the horizon. Here’s what’s in store for the next couple of months (release dates are subject to change):
“Maleficent” — Angelina Jolie looks ravishingly wicked as the iconic villain from “Sleeping Beauty,” a vindictive fairy who puts a curse on an infant princess only to realize that the child may be the only one who can restore peace to their world.
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” — Seth McFarlane (“Ted”) directs, co-writes and stars in this comedy set in the old West about a cowardly farmer who falls for the mysterious new woman (Charlize Theron) in town and must face her gun-slinging husband.
“Edge of Tomorrow” — Tom Cruise stars in this sci-fi actioner as a soldier fighting in a war with aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop. Think of it as “Groundhog Day” with weapons.
“The Fault in Our Stars” — Fans of the book have been anxiously awaiting this film adaptation about a 16-year-old cancer patient (Shailene Woodley, riding a current hot streak) who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she meets and falls in love with a boy (Ansel Elgort) who has a prosthetic leg. Tearjerker alert!
“22 Jump Street” — Sequel to the surprise hit comedy that was inspired by the TV show “21 Jump Street.” This time, officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) go undercover at a local college to nab a drug dealer. And hopefully the same success as the first film.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” — More adventures with Hiccup and Toothless. If you know what that means, this movie is for you.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” — Or as I call it: “Transformers: Milking it for All it’s Worth,” as Shia LaBeouf is out and Mark Wahlberg is in for the fourth installment in the mega-successful franchise.
“Jersey Boys” — Clint Eastwood directs the film adaptation based on the Broadway musical about how four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey came together to form iconic 1960s rock group the Four Seasons.
“Tammy” — Melissa McCarthy brings her brand of physical comedy (is she trying to become the female Chris Farley?) to this tale of a woman who loses her job and finds out her husband is cheating on her. So she hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Susan Sarandon, sure to be a delight).
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — Sequel to the reboot “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” following ape leader Caesar and his followers who face off against a group of humans that survived the devastating virus from the first film.
“Sex Tape” — Comedy about a married couple (Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz) who record their racy activities on video then discover that the footage has been leaked online. I smell a new hashtag: #accidentalporn.
“The Purge 2: Anarchy” — Sequel to the surprise sci-fi hit, this time following a young couple who try survive on the streets after their car breaks down right as the nation’s annual “purge” – where nothing is illegal – commences.
“Jupiter Ascending” — Wachowski siblings Andy and Lana (“The Matrix” movies) helm another sci-fi offering set in the future about a genetically engineered “interplanetary warrior” (Channing Tatum) who tells a destitute janitor (Mila Kunis) that her “genetic signature” makes her royalty and an heir to Earth. If it’s anything like my handwriting, my genetic signature is illegible.
“Hercules” — The second “Hercules” film this year (after “The Legend of Hercules”), but this one has Dwayne Johnson. That’s supposed to be a selling point.
“Get On Up” — A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history. Chadwick Boseman (“42”) stars.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” — Another Marvel comic book gets the big-screen treatment, this one set in the far reaches of space, where an American pilot named Peter Quill, or as he calls himself, Star-Lord, and a gang of misfits become unlikely heroes.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — Reboot of the film series based on the popular kid comics about four turtle brothers skilled in martial arts who rise from the sewers to battle evil.
“The Expendables 3” — Who says action heroes have to fade away gracefully? Not these guys – everybody’s back, and then some: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford. Oh, and a little guy named Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” — The sequel to the first film based on the dark comics by Frank Miller finally gets released almost 10 years later, after being plagued with delays and casting changes. Hopefully the wait was worth it.