My full summer movie preview won’t come until Memorial Day weekend, but there are lots of big titles opening in what I like to call the pre-summer movie season. In other words: The month of May.
Here’s a look (dates subject to change):
▪ “Captain America: Civil War” – Unless you live in a cave, you know that the next installment in the behemoth Marvel universe has Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) coming to blows with Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Buzz: The movie’s already a hit overseas, where it opened last week, earning more than $200 million. It looks poised to break box office records stateside, too. No superhero fatigue here.
“Money Monster” – A smarmy TV host/financial guru (George Clooney) and his producer (Julia Roberts) are held hostage by an irate investor (Jack O’Connell) who takes over their studio at gunpoint.
Buzz: The film certainly looks promising with its star wattage in Clooney, Roberts, the up-and-coming O’Donnell (“Unbroken,” “Starred Up”) and a little director named Jodie Foster.
“Love & Friendship” – Based on a novella by Jane Austen (which makes me run the other direction), this drama is set in the 18th century, where the seductive and manipulative Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale) uses devious tactics to win the heart of an eligible bachelor (Xavier Samuel).
Buzz: This certainly looks to appeal to the Merchant Ivory set, further classed up with director Whit Stillman, known for his stately indie dramas “Metropolitan” and “The Last Days of Disco.”
“The Angry Birds Movie” – The wildly popular (and addictive) smart-phone game comes to life on the big screen, about a bird (voice of Jason Sudeikis) with a temper problem and his outsider buddies who battle green piggies who take over their island. Because why not?
Buzz: For some reason, most movies based on video games are like kryptonite for critics, but they usually still do well with audiences, and anticipation seems high.
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” – Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron return in this sequel to the 2014 frat-boys-vs.-new-parents comedy. This time, a wild sorority moves in next door, led by Chloe Grace Moretz (“Carrie,” “The 5th Wave”).
Buzz: There’s no reason whatsoever for this sequel, except to make more money and further show off Efron’s abs. Comedy sequels don’t usually do as well as their originals (“Deuce Bigalo: European Gigolo,” anyone?), but people looking for mindless laughs might bite.
“The Nice Guys” – A private eye (Ryan Gosling) and a hired heavy (Russell Crowe) investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncover a conspiracy.
Buzz: The trailer looks darkly hilarious, and the stars seem all too game. Bonus cool points in director Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”).
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” – This sequel to Tim Burton’s 2010 hit has Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returning to the whimsical world of Wonderland to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).
Buzz: James Bobin takes over directing duties (he gave us the delightfully nostalgic reboot of “The Muppets”), and his take looks just as visually adventurous as Burton’s outing. Nice and trippy.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” – The world’s original mutant, Apocalypse, awakens after thousands of years and is none too happy (you know how mutants get with too little sleep), triggering a battle for a new world order. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and others return.
Buzz: The most recent X-Men outing, “Day of Future Past,” was the most popular of the franchise so far, so fans are ready and waiting. And this time we’ll apparently get more of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who stole the show in “Days.”