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Summer cinema: 'FJI' previews the season's movie offerings, from blockbusters to indies

April 10, 2013


AUGUST HIGHLIGHTS
A high-school senior (Miles Teller) who likes to party is drawn to a mellower student in The Spectacular Now. In this Sundance favorite, Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) falls for the senior, despite their very different outlooks on life. (500) Days of Summer screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber adapted the popular novel, and James Ponsoldt (Smashed) directed. (A24; Aug. 2)

The battles of ancient Greece move from land to sea in 300: Rise of an Empire. The follow-up to the visually inventive 2006 movie 300 is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel Xerxes. The epic pits the Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against invading Persians led by Artemesia (Eva Green) and mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). 300 director Zack Snyder produced and co-wrote the screenplay, but action genre newbie Noam Murro takes over directing duties for the 3D/IMAX feature. (Warner Bros.; Aug. 2)

In 2 Guns, a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) and U.S. naval intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) are both undercover agents, but each thinks the other is a dangerous criminal. Things get even more complicated after their superiors abandon them, giving them no choice but to rely on each other and the shady techniques they've learned. Baltasar Kormákur, who directed Wahlberg in Contraband, helmed the thriller. (Universal; Aug. 2)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the 3D sequel to the 2010 Greek mythology-infused adventure, centers on the quest of Percy, a middle-schooler and demi-god who must find a golden fleece and save Camp Half-Blood, the only refuge for people like himself. Thor Freudenthal ( Diary of a Wimpy Kid) directed this adaptation of a bestselling series of children’s books. (20th Century Fox; Aug. 7)

Budding engineers and speed demons will be doing aerobatics for Disney’s Planes. The spinoff of Cars centers on Dusty the Plane (voiced by Dane Cook), whose biggest dream is to become an air racer—only he’s afraid of heights. True to its Cars inspiration, the 3D feature will be populated with all makes and models of planes and helicopters. (Disney; Aug. 9)

The creator of District 9, Neill Blomkamp, envisions another sci-fi world tainted by inequality in Elysium. The poor live on a decrepit, crime-ridden Earth, while the wealthy float above in a space station. Matt Damon plays the man who could potentially right this wrong, and Jodie Foster is the politician on the space station who serves as his foe. (TriStar; Aug. 9)

A small-time local pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) has to resort to desperate measures after some kids steal his stash and leave him in debt to his supplier (Ed Helms). In We’re the Millers, he pulls together a plan that couldn’t possibly go wrong. He will create a fake family to travel across the border in an RV and pick up a delivery that will put him in the clear. Jennifer Aniston is the cynical stripper/fake wife, while Emma Roberts and Will Poulter play troublemaking teens who pretend to be his kids. (Warner Bros.; Aug. 9)

The makeshift superheroes who made Kick-Ass a cult hit return for Kick-Ass 2. The bravery of originating superhero Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) sets off a wave of copycat vigilantes—and would-be villains. Kick-Ass is joined by Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and newbie Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by comedic legend Jim Carrey, who replaces The Mask with a bandana. With his crew of costumed superheroes, Kick-Ass forms a team to fight off the evil Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). (Universal; Aug. 16)

A generation of girls who came of age in the early 1990s will be treated to their very own retro-fest in The To-Do List. “Parks & Recreation”’s deadpan co-star Aubrey Plaza plays a goody-two-shoes valedictorian in the Class of ’93 who decides to loosen up a bit before college. With the help of her friends (Alia Shawkat and Christopher Mintz-Plasse), older sister (Rachel Bilson) and boss (Bill Hader), she tries to cover more bases during her final summer after high school. First-time writer Maggie Carey makes her directorial debut with a comedy loosely based on her own teenage years. (CBS Films; Aug. 16)

Unseen by humans, the half-angel Shadowhunters kill demons and maintain order in the world. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, an adaptation of the dark young-adult book series, stars Lily Collins ( Mirror Mirror) as a human girl who can suddenly see the Shadowhunters. Her vision creates an unbalance, forcing her to team up with the angel warriors to track down a valuable chalice in a Downworld filled with all kinds of magical creatures. Harald Zwart ( The Karate Kid) helmed the fantasy-action feature. (Screen Gems; Aug. 23)

Five 40-year-olds reunite for a pub crawl in The World’s End—then the apocalypse hits. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg star in their third genre-skewing comedy after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. For what it’s worth, “The World’s End” isn’t just what’s going to happen to the friends, it’s also the final pub on their crawl. Edgar Wright returns to direct the duo and co-wrote the script with Pegg. (Focus; Aug. 23)

How’s this for a premise? In Getaway, a dashboard cam watches a man and gives him instructions. Following them will be his only hope to save his kidnapped wife. Ethan Hawke plays a racecar driver who ends up trapped in the car at the beck-and-call of the remote voice (Jon Voight), and Selena Gomez is the young computer hacker who helps him get his wife back. (Warner Bros.; Aug 30)

Everyone loves the musical group One Direction: Taylor Swift wrote a song about her (failed) relationship with lead singer Harry Styles, and First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama are among the Brit boy band’s fans. One Direction: This Is Us combines footage of the quintet’s tour with behind-the-scenes looks at the teen heartthrobs. Morgan Spurlock ( Super Size Me) takes a break from his usual documentary subject matter to helm the inside look at this decade’s ’N Sync. (Screen Gems; Aug. 30)

ALSO IN AUGUST
In Europa Report, six astronauts travel deep into space in search of signs of life on Europa, Jupiter’s moon. Michael Nyqvist stars in the sci-fi thriller. (Magnet; Aug. 2)

In Swerve, a Good Samaritan (Jason Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty) stumbles upon a car crash in the Australian outback and is shocked to find a dead man, a beautiful woman, and a suitcase full of money. All he wants is to do the right thing—which will be harder than he thought. (Cohen Media Group; Aug. 9)

Metallica joins the 3D concert movie circuit with Through the Never. Footage from last August’s Vancouver concert run will be intercut with a fictional narrative about the band’s young crew member. (Picturehouse; Aug. 9)

A Middle Eastern woman unloads her troubles to her comatose husband in The Patience Stone, featuring a performance by Golshifteh Farahani, an Iranian whose acting has made her a persona non grata in her homeland. (Sony Pictures Classics; Aug. 14)

An outlaw escapes from prison in search of his wife and child in the thriller Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. This buzzed-about festival title stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 16)

A single woman (Keri Russell) obsessed with Jane Austen goes to a resort specializing in immersive Austen experiences in Austenland. But will she find her Mr. Darcy? Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess directed the adaptation of a novel by Shannon Hale from a script the duo co-wrote. (Sony Pictures Classics; Aug. 16)

A woman from a rural area (Catherine Frot) was plucked from obscurity and became the official cook for French President François Mitterand (Jean d’Ormesson) in the 1980s, forming the basis for Haute Cuisine. Facing snobbish skepticism about her gender and rural provenance, she must cook precisely and ignore those who would revel in seeing her soufflé collapse. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 16)

In the home-invasion horror movie You’re Next, a family and their guests try to fend off sadistic intruders. But one of the victims has an unexpected gift for fighting back. (Lionsgate; Aug. 23)

In Closed Circuit, two lawyers and ex-lovers (Rebecca Hall and Eric Bana) put their shared past aside in order to serve as the defense team in a terrorism trial. Their decision has life-imperiling consequences. (Focus; Aug. 28)

The daily commute for a group of London commuters takes a dark turn in Last Passenger. A sociopathic train driver has plans much darker than making them late for work. (Cohen Media Group; Aug. 30)

A group of college students are terrorized during Thanksgiving break in Satanic. Together, they try to track down the culprit behind these bizarre and increasingly frightening attacks. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 30)

SUMMER TBD
In The Artist and the Model, an aged sculptor and his wife offer refuge to a woman on the run during the darkest days of World War II. (Cohen Media Group)

The second in Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Faith centers on a woman who tries to find happiness by taking a trip as a Catholic missionary. (Strand)

Two men painting traffic lines develop a friendship in Prince Avalanche. David Gordon Green directs Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in the leading roles. (Magnolia)

In SWSW Grand Jury and Audience Award winner Short Term 12, Brie Larson plays a young social worker whose teenage ward has a profound impact on her life. Destin Daniel Cretton directed. (Cinedigm Entertainment)

A defiant 10-year-old Saudi girl wants to buy a bicycle, and concocts a plan to win a Koran recitation competition to fund her act of rebellion. With Wadjda, director Haifaa al-Mansour becomes the first Saudi woman to write and direct a movie. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Release dates are subject to change.


Summer cinema: 'FJI' previews the season's movie offerings, from blockbusters to indies

April 10, 2013

-By Sarah Sluis


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1375268-Summer_Premieres_Md.jpg

Armie Hammer is the masked 'Lone Ranger,' with Johnny Depp at his side as Tonto

Summer 2013 is a chance to catch up with old favorites (Iron Man, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, Mike and Sully, Superman, Wolverine, the Hangover wolf pack) and meet some new blockbuster hopefuls (The Lone Ranger, Pixar’s Planes, Epic’s Leaf Men, a snail named Turbo, and Guillermo del Toro’s latest batch of fantastical creatures). Whether it’s cocktails at Gatsby’s or a pint at The World’s End, let the summer imbibing begin!

MAY HIGHLIGHTS

A family lives the American Dream, only to discover that Dad is a hitman who’s dispatched over 100 victims in The Iceman. Michael Shannon plays real-life contract killer Richard Kuklinski, who was arrested in New Jersey in 1986. Winona Ryder, Chris Evans and Mafia movie mainstay Ray Liotta co-star in director Ariel Vromen’s crime drama. (Milliennium Entertainment; May 3)

When a nemesis tries to take away what Tony Stark holds most dear—his girl and his suit—the Marvel superhero seeks revenge. In Iron Man 3, Robert Downey, Jr. returns as the entrepreneur and vigilante, who has fallen even harder for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Whether it’s catching people falling from a crippled Air Force One or escaping from an attack on his compound, Stark appears to handle it all with ease—even as he harbors quiet doubts about his abilities. Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) directed the 3D/IMAX three-quel. (Disney; May 3)

American tourists party all night in Aftershock, expecting nothing more than a bad hangover the next day. When an earthquake hits the Chilean town where they’re staying, they’re suddenly on their own in a country riddled with panic. Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) stars, produces and co-wrote the script. The cast includes Spring Breakers’ Selena Gomez. (Radius-TWC; May 10)

The opening-night selection of the Cannes Film Festival, The Great Gatsby brings the Roaring Twenties to life in 3D, courtesy of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann, who’s shown he can stage spectacular interpretations of historical periods. Tobey Maguire stars as Nick Carraway, a Midwest transplant who’s awed by the lavish parties thrown by his neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). He’s also entranced by Daisy (Carey Mulligan), despite the fact that she’s married to Tom (Joel Edgerton). Against a background of wealth and privilege, only darkness comes from the pursuit of money and illicit love in this adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. (Warner Bros.; May 10)

Wade (Craig Robinson of “The Office”) is all set to propose to his girlfriend (Kerry Washington). He can’t think of a better time to do it than when he meets her wealthy parents in the Hamptons. Cue a series of comedic mishaps that give the girl’s father a very, very bad impression. Peeples, which was produced by Tyler Perry, combines a little bit of Meet the Parents with the class conflict of Jumping the Broom. ATL and Drumline screenwriter Tina Gordon Chism directed from her own script. (Lionsgate; May 10)

A quarter-life crisis filmed in black-and-white, Frances Ha features Greta Gerwig as a young Brooklyn woman trying to figure out her career and relationships. Think Woody Allen meets “Girls.” Noah Baumbach directed from a script he co-wrote with Gerwig. (IFC Films; May 17)

Set in 1958, Populaire is a French-language homage to ’50s romantic comedies that centers on a young Normandy woman (Déborah François) who is a horrible secretary but skilled typist. Her boss (Romain Duris) encourages her to enter a typing contest, which could be her ticket out of provincial life. Viewers may also recognize co-star Bérénice Béjo from The Artist. (Weinstein Co.; May 17)

Four years after Star Trek successfully re-launched the franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness finds the space crew recovering from an inexplicable act of terror. The Enterprise is called back to Earth, and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) goes on a very personal mission to track down the culprits. J.J. Abrams returns to direct the 3D feature. Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock Holmes”), Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana are among the cast. (Paramount; May 17)

Before Midnight
wraps up the love story of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) that started in 1995’s Before Sunrise and picked up again in 2004’s Before Sunset. This time, the couple are parents of twin girls and vacationing in Greece. Sequels sometimes get a bad rap, but this one has drawn raves at film festivals. Richard Linklater (Bernie) concludes the travelogue romance that spans nearly two decades with a script he wrote with Delpy and Hawke. (Sony Pictures Classics; May 24)

The forest harbors a secret world where miniature Leaf Men battle evil fungi-like Boggans in Epic. When a young woman is shrunk down to Leaf Men-size, she gets drawn into a battle to keep the forest and all the Leaf Men-protected creatures alive. Silly slugs provide comic relief, just like the squirrels in Ice Age. Blue Sky Animation, which was behind both Ice Age and Rio, produced, and Ice Age’s Chris Wedge directed the 3D-animated feature. The vocal cast includes Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé, Jason Sudeikis, Pitbull and Aziz Ansari. (20th Century Fox; May 24)

Hot cars and cool heists remain the winning box-office formula of Fast & Furious 6. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker,and Dwayne Johnson return in the high-octane action series. While Diesel and Walker’s characters are flush with money after a Brazilian robbery, they’re also outlaws. Johnson’s character offers them freedom in return for taking down a crew of mercenary drivers in London. Justin Lin marks his fourth time directing for the franchise. (Universal; May 24)

The wolf pack reunites in The Hangover Part III, which is billing itself as the finale to the comedy trilogy. The gang returns to their old haunting grounds in Las Vegas. Even though there’s no bachelor party, they’re leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy will add their comedy chops to an already talented cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and Heather Graham. Todd Phillips returns to direct the script he co-wrote. (Warner Bros.; May 24)

An undercover agent (Brit Marling of Another Earth) infiltrates an anarchist collective in The East. What she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the leader. Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice) directed from a script he co-wrote with Marling. (Fox Searchlight; May 31)

The sleek sleight-of-hand thriller Now You See Me centers on a team of Las Vegas illusionists who rob banks in Paris and reward their audience with the pilfered cash. Morgan Freeman plays an expert trying to figure out how they pull off their heists. The magicians include Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson. Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, The Transporter) directed. (Summit Entertainment; May 31)

The U.S. is overwhelmed with crime, so the government creates a 12-hour free period to allow all criminal activity in The Purge. When an intruder breaks into the home of Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, they must fight for their safety while keeping their own moral compasses intact. Horror specialists Platinum Dunes (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity) produce, and writer James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13) settles into the director’s chair. (Universal; May 31)

ALSO IN MAY
Two sisters, Caroline and Jackie, find their shared past comes to light when Jackie falls ill during an evening with friends. (Phase 4 Films; May 3)

A wealthy urban family moves to the Mexican countryside in Post Tenebras Lux. Carlos Reygadas (Silent Light, Japon) directed this tale of psychological undoing. (Strand; May 1)

After the Civil War, a couple homesteading in New Mexico is surprised by the arrival of a brother they thought died in battle in Dead Man’s Burden. Clare Bowen (“Nashville”) stars in the western-styled thriller. (Cinedigm Entertainment Group; May 3)

An up-and-comer and a has-been magician team up for a sleight-of-hand competition in Desperate Acts of Magic, which features professional magic tricks shot in single takes. (Gold Cap Films; May 3)

Keanu Reeves stars as a driver for an escort agency in Generation Um… He steals a camera and records the girls as he chaperones them to different clients, providing a glimpse into their secret lives. (Phase 4 Films; May 3)

A Brooklyn couple’s romantic weekend at a bed-and-breakfast goes horribly wrong in the genre-bending horror comedy The Happy House. (First Run; May 3)

A horror fairytale, Kiss of the Damned is a darkly erotic love story of a man and a vampire. Hollywood spawn Xan Cassavetes directed. (Magnet; May 3)

A cancer patient (Trine Dyrholm) discovers her husband’s affair and absconds to Italy in Love Is All You Need. There, she meets none other than a widower in the form of Pierce Brosnan. Acclaimed Danish director Susanne Bier (In a Better World) helms. (Sony Pictures Classics; May 3)

An ode to one of Manhattan’s most legendary department stores, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s features interviews with rapt customers, personal shoppers and window decorators. (eOne; May 3)

Director Oliver Assayas’ Something in the Air offers a semi-autobiographical look at the French filmmaker’s artistic awakening in the 1970s. (Sundance Selects; May 3)

The classic Henry James novel What Maisie Knew is moved forward over a century in this contemporary update, which centers on a young girl who is caught up in her parents’ acrimonious divorce. The cast includes Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård and Steve Coogan. (Millennium Entertainment; May 3)

In the satire And Now a Word from Our Sponsor, an advertising executive wakes up in a hospital and can only speak in ad slogans. Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey star in a movie that takes “Mad Men” to a new extreme. (108 Media/Paladin; May 10)

The life of “Yoga’s rock star” Krishna Das gets an in-depth look in the documentary One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das. (Zeitgeist Films; May 8)

The recession-themed revenge tale Assault on Wall Street follows a downsized banker (Dominic Purcell) whose anger and rage prompt him to take violent action against those who took his plush life away from him. (Phase 4 Films; May 10)

A down-and-out indie starlet (Halley Feiffer) decides to make her own movie, starring herself and any A-listers she can scrounge up in He’s Way More Famous Than You. (PMK*BNC; May 10)

In Java Heat, an American teams up with a Muslim cop to track down a jewel thief who’s also made off with the Sultan’s daughter. Mickey Rourke and Kellan Lutz star. (IFC Films; May 10)

Genre fans will revel over the spilled blood and guts in No One Lives. A gang kidnaps a wealthy couple, only to come under attack from another brutal killer while holed up at an abandoned house. (Anchor Bay; May 10)

A man has a grand plan to show his girlfriend all his favorite sites in the British Isles, but his dark impulses take over in the black comedy Sightseers. Kill List’s Ben Wheatley directed. (IFC Films; May 10)

Millions of people have watched tennis champs Venus and Serena Williams on the court, but the documentary Venus and Serena shows them off the court, hanging out with each other and training. As they battle through injuries and setbacks during the 2011 and 2012 tennis seasons, the sisters show that being a winner isn’t just about serves and drop shots. (Magnolia; May 10)

Opera gets a post-punk update in Becoming Traviata, a behind-the-scenes look at an inventive staging of Verdi’s masterpiece. (Distrib Films; May 15)

The French-language Augustine explores the blurring boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship between a neurologist and a seizure-prone kitchen maid. The story is based on the real tale of a 19th-century physician who trained Freud. (Music Box; May 17)

The documentary Bidder 70 tells the story of a college student, Tim DeChristopher, who outbid oil and gas companies during a federal land sale. He planned to preserve the forest, but instead was sent to prison for committing two felonies. (First Run Features; May 17)

Three women hiking near Black Rock find themselves in mortal danger when they anger some military veterans. Kate Bosworth, Katie Aselton and Lake Bell star as the three friends, and Aselton also directed. (LD Entertainment; May 17)

In The English Teacher, a dejected playwright’s former teacher (Julianne Moore) decides to stage a production of his failed play with the help of a flamboyant drama instructor (Nathan Lane). (Cinedigm and Tribeca Film; May 17)

In Erased, an ex-CIA agent (Aaron Eckhart) tries to save himself and his daughter after he learns they are being hunted by assassins. (Radius-TWC; May 17)

Freshmen and seniors at an L.A. high school for the arts find their way musically and in life in Fame High, from Oscar-nominated documentarian Scott Hamilton Kennedy (The Garden). (Black Valley Films; May 17)

The future of a young Orthodox Jewish woman living in Israel is determined in Fill the Void. When her older sister dies in childbirth, the loss makes her family re-examine the teen’s upcoming planned marriage. (Sony Pictures Classics; May 24)

Veteran documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Client 9, Casino Jack and the United States of Money) specializes in politically aware documentaries and exploring the foibles of powerful men. Here, he takes on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning in We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. (Focus World; May 24)

Hannah Arendt tells the story of the title character, a reporter who covered the 1960 trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann and wrote a book claiming that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary acts of evil. (Zeitgeist; May 29)

A bank robber breaks out of prison after realizing his former cellmate is a serial killer who has found a new target: the thief’s family. Albert Dupontel stars in the French-language thriller The Prey. (Cohen Media Group; May 31)

After being arrested for an IRA bomb plot, a single mom (Andrea Riseborough) chooses her son over her family: she will spy on her brothers in exchange for freedom. James Marsh (Man on Wire) directed the 1993-set Shadow Dancer. (Magnolia; May 31)

A novice stonemason decides he will build a 1,000-foot stone wall in the doc Triumph of the Wall. Instead of taking eight weeks, it takes eight years, frustrating both the worker and the filmmaker documenting his effort. (First Run Features; May 31)

Audrey Tautou stars as Thérèse Desqueyroux in a new adaptation of the 1927 French novel about a woman who suddenly realizes there may be a way to escape her suffocating marriage. (MPI Pictures; Late Spring)




JUNE HIGHLIGHTS
A thousand years after humanity has abandoned Earth, a father and son end up stranded on the inhospitable planet in After Earth. With his dad injured, Kitai must journey through terrain inhabited by frightening animals and aliens to signal for help and save his family. Real-life father and son Will and Jaden Smith head the cast. Sci-fi veteran M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village) directed from a script he co-wrote. (Columbia; June 7)

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up for the first time since Wedding Crashers with The Internship. In the comedy, the downsized salesmen realize they need to become tech-savvy and somehow manage to land internships at Google. Twice as old as everyone else, and with half the skills to boot, the duo must prove their worth in Silicon Valley. Date Night’s Shawn Levy directed. (20th Century Fox; June 7)

Buffy fans, rejoice! Fanboy favorite Joss Whedon, who recently had blockbuster success directing The Avengers, now provides a film for his legions of “Firefly,” “Angel” and “Buffy” loyalists. The black-and-white Much Ado About Nothing offers a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s play about the game of love. Whedon fans will note the movie is cast with many of his regular players. At the Toronto Film Festival, Whedon acolytes gave the feature their seal of approval. (Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate; June 7)

Where better to spend the apocalypse than with friends? Six pals hang out in a house in Los Angeles as the city crumbles in This Is The End. Friendships are strained as supplies dwindle and cabin fever sets in, but then comes the true test—venturing outside. Frequent collaborators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (The Watch, The Green Hornet) share directing duties and co-wrote the script. The cast of comedy heavyweights includes Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Michael Cera. (Columbia; June 12)

Mean Girls meets Ocean’s 11 in The Bling Ring. Director Sofia Coppola, who has made a career out of covering the ennui of the privileged, here turns to young wannabes who rob celebrities’ houses to score designer bags and clothes. Based on real teens who raided the closets of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, this story is ripe for Coppola’s touch. Emma Watson leads the cast, and Leslie Mann (This Is 40) plays the flailing mom of one of the thieves. (A24; June 14)

Henry Cavill isn’t a household name yet (except for fans of his role in “The Tudors”), but he will be once he dons Superman’s suit for Man of Steel. 2006’s Superman Returns failed to re-launch the franchise, but this installment has Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) as executive producer and Zach Snyder, who has directed comic-book adaptations Watchmen and 300, at the helm. Partly an origin tale, Man of Steel also focuses on Superman saving the world from annihilation. Amy Adams plays the love interest, and the deep cast includes Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne. If that’s not epic enough, it will also release in 3D and IMAX. (Warner Bros.; June 14)

It’s back to school for Sully and Mike in the 3D-animated Monsters University, the prequel to the 2001 feature that put the scream-generating duo on the animated map. Turns out that when they first met in college, the round green alien and his tall furry companion weren’t friends, they were enemies. Replete with collegiate humor for the parents and couples that will likely turn out for this Pixar comedy, this follow-up to Monsters Inc. promises plenty of the same charm as the original. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return to voice the leading roles. (Disney; June 21)

Brad Pitt plays a UN thinking man at the center of the government response to a zombie epidemic in World War Z. He balances his desire to save his family and wife (Mireille Enos of “The Killing”) with trying to figure out what’s behind the massive infestation. The twist on these frightening zombies is their ant-like cooperation, which allows them to swarm in pursuit of humans. Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) directed this adaptation of the innovative book of the same name. (Paramount; June 21)

Fresh off her hit Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy teams up with Sandra Bullock for the buddy-cop comedy The Heat. Bullock plays an uptight, arrogant FBI agent who is forced to partner up with a coarse, short-tempered officer from the Boston P.D. (McCarthy). Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids, helmed the comedy, which has had great preview reactions that convinced Fox to give it prime summer placement. (20th Century Fox; June 28)

What if Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar directed the campy ’70s comedy disaster Airplane!? The answer to that question is I’m So Excited!. As the pilots of a plane with faulty landing gear circle around to burn fuel, the flight attendants flirt and flit about with the pilots and passengers in first class. In the face of death, they turn to sex and druggy cocktails, and let loose their most scandalous secrets. (Sony Pictures Classics; June 28)

A policeman rejected for a Secret Service job ends up protecting the President anyway in White House Down. While cop Channing Tatum tours the White House with his daughter, the building is taken over by a paramilitary group. Faster than you can say “Die Hard in the White House (Part II),” Tatum must outwit the villains and save the President, played by Jamie Foxx. Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow) directs a different sort of disaster picture. (Columbia; June 28)

ALSO IN JUNE
The documentary Dirty Wars tails an investigative reporter as he goes to remote areas of Afghanistan to suss out military malfeasance. (IFC Films; June 7)

The documentary Hey Bartender takes viewers into the world of craft cocktails and mixologists, featuring some of the most famous bars and bartenders in the business. (4th Row Films; June 7)

Judy Blume’s coming-of-age novel Tiger Eyes will arrive on the big screen with her imprint. She co-wrote the screenplay and her son Lawrence directs. Willa Holland (“Gossip Girl”) stars as a 17-year-old coping with her father’s death and developing a friendship with the one boy who understands her. (Freestyle Releasing; June 7)

Two siblings and their partners travel to Cambodia in Wish You Were Here. After a night of partying, the boyfriend of the younger sister disappears, and each of the remaining travelers only knows part of the story of what happened Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price and Teresa Palmer head the cast. (eOne Films; June 7)

Bees are dying around the world. In More Than Honey, macro-photography takes viewers inside the insects’ hives and explores why the plight of bee colonies matters to the rest of us. (Kino Lorber; June 12)

The documentary Pandora’s Promise attempts to bridge the divide between the naysayers and advocates of nuclear energy. Could this power source be the world’s best choice for “clean” energy? (Robert Stone Prods.; June 12)

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
combines animation from children’s book author and illustrator Tomi Ungerer with stories about his controversial life and art. (First Run; June 14)

In Just Like a Woman, Sienna Miller plays a Chicagoland housewife who absconds to Las Vegas, intent on changing her fortunes by winning a belly-dancing contest. (Cohen Media Group; June 14)

Three teens spend a summer building a house in the woods to escape from their families in The Kings of Summer, a Sundance Film Festival pickup. (CBS Films; June 14)

Going one step further than VH1’s “Behind the Music,” the documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom gives backup singers just outside the limelight a solo opportunity, telling all about their experiences harmonizing for legendary performers. (Radius-TWC; June 14)

A successful Arab surgeon living in Israel discovers his wife was a suicide bomber in The Attack. Undone by the knowledge, he goes in search of the extremists who recruited her. (Cohen Media Group; June 21)

In As Cool As I Am, Claire Danes and James Marsden play self-centered parents of a girl (Sarah Bolger) who was born when her parents were still teens. As she turns 14, she experiments with boys and starts noticing that her parents’ marriage is not exactly what it seems. (IFC Films; June 21)

Somali pirates capture a cargo ship in A Hijacking, setting off a psychological game of wits between the CEO of the shipping company and the pirates. (Magnolia; June 21)

The owner of a mannequin store finds his urge to kill awakened in Maniac, as The Lord of the Rings’ Elijah Wood takes on a darker role. Say it ain’t so, Frodo! (IFC Midnight; June 21)

A curmudgeonly retiree (Terence Stamp) finally sheds his boring routine in Unfinished Song. His wife (Vanessa Redgrave) persuades him to join a seniors’ singing group, where he’s encouraged by the group’s leader (Gemma Arterton) to belt out tunes. The U.K.-set comedy-drama released there as Song for Marion. (Weinstein Co.; June 21)

Rufus and Martha Wainwright honor their folk-singer mother Kate McGarrigle in Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You. Home movies and archival footage help tell her story. (Horse Pictures; June 26)

In Byzantium, two women (Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan) each befriend a man while hanging out in a coastal resort. Then they share a little secret: They’re vampires. From Interview with the Vampire director Neil Jordan. (IFC Films; June 28)

In Call Me Kuchu, Uganda’s first openly gay man fights for justice in a country that punishes homosexuality with death. (Cinedigm; June TBD)

A man seeks the support of his fiancée when he decides he wants to transition to being a woman in Lawrence Anyways. Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother) directed the drama, which won the Queer Palm at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. (Breaking Glass Pictures; June TBD)

In Vehicle 19, Paul Walker stars as a man who picks up a rental car with a bound woman in the trunk and license plates that make him the target of corrupt police officers. (Ketchup Entertainment; June TBD)

In Violet & Daisy, Saoirse Ronan (The Host) and Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”) play teenage assassins whose perspective changes when they meet their latest target, an ailing shut-in played by former “Sopranos” mob boss James Gandolfini. Oscar-winning Precious screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher makes his directing debut. (Cinedigm; June TBD)



JULY HIGHLIGHTS
Rest assured, Despicable Me 2 includes plenty of minion moments, as well as secret lairs and wildly transforming cars worthy of a James Bond movie. In the 3D sequel to the 2010 hit animated feature, the villainous Gru (Steve Carell) is brought on as a consultant for the Anti-Villain League, helping them get inside the head of the latest evil mastermind who wants to destroy the world. The same creative team from the original returns: directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin and writing duo Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. (Universal; July 3)

Johnny Depp applies makeup and hair extensions once again for The Lone Ranger. This time, he’s not a pirate, but Tonto, a Native American spirit warrior and the Lone Ranger’s sidekick. The Social Network’s Armie Hammer plays the title role, a former Texas Ranger who becomes a masked vigilante intent on taking down outlaws in the American West. Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer guide Depp on his latest adventure. (Disney; July 3)

A quiet boy (Liam James) embarks on a summer of self-discovery while trapped at a beach house with his mom (Toni Collette) and her questionable new boyfriend (Steve Carell) in The Way, Way Back. To get away from his family, he takes a job at a local water park, where a brash manager (Sam Rockwell) takes him under his wing. This Sundance Film Festival selection, from the screenwriters of The Descendants, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, commanded a high price from Fox Searchlight. Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet and Rob Corddry round out the cast as the family’s neighbors and friends. (Fox Searchlight; July 5)

In Grown Ups 2, Adam Sandler moves back to his hometown with his family, and he and his friends learn some important lessons from their kids. Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade return as Sandler’s buddies, along with Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello as the spouses. Dennis Dugan reprises as director. (Columbia; July 12)

Director Guillermo del Toro, a Hollywood legend in creature design, unveils some amazing new monsters in Pacific Rim. Brutish sea creatures, the Kaiju, have risen from the ocean’s depths and taken millions of human lives. Two pilots (Charlie Hunnam and Rinko Kikuchi) manning a robot are the only hope for saving humanity. The cast of the 3D feature also includes Idris Elba (“The Wire”) and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). (Warner Bros.; July 12)

A freak accident makes a speed-loving snail incredibly fast in Turbo. After proving his worth in underground races, and befriending a gang of misfit and trash-talking snails, he vows to compete in the Indy 500. Ryan Reynolds voices the lead character in this comedy-heavy animated movie about following your dreams. (20th Century Fox; July 17)

In Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig was a failed owner of a cupcake bakery. In Girl Most Likely, she’s a failed playwright who has to move back home with her mom (Annette Bening), brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), her mom’s boyfriend (Matt Dillon), and a boarder (Darren Criss of “Glee”). The directors behind American Splendor, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, helmed the project. (Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate; July 19)

Aging elite operatives return in Red 2, this time traipsing to London, Moscow and Paris in search of a portable nuclear device. Bruce Willis leads as retired CIA operative Frank Moses, who wants to stop the terrorists, assassins and shady government officials who are all vying for a chance to wield atomic power. Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren and Catherina Zeta-Jones add star power to the silver-flecked crew. (Summit; July 19)

Based on a comic book that combines crime-fighting with the undead, R.I.P.D. centers on a murdered cop who teams up with a couple of police officers who help him track down his killer. Their job, as part of the “Rest in Peace Department,” is to help the dead find justice. The comic genre amalgamation stars Kevin Bacon, Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. (Universal; July 19)

Hugh Jackman returns in The Wolverine as the sharp-clawed mutant superhero. This time, he’s on his own in Japan, where he will be pushed to his physical and emotional limits. His foe is the Silver Samurai, who wears an electrified suit of armor. James Mangold (Walk the Line, Knight and Day) directed the latest 3D entry in the X-Men saga and Wolverine’s second standalone film. (20th Century Fox; July 26)

Does Woody Allen watch “Real Housewives”? The writer-director’s latest, Blue Jasmine, focuses on a crisis in the life of a fashionable New York City spouse. The cast of luminaries includes Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K. and Bobby Cannavale. The feature will also be a Big Apple repatriation of sorts, after Allen’s recent outings in European cities. (Sony Pictures Classics; July 28)

An evil wizard creates Smurf-like Naughties in The Smurfs 2. When his plan goes awry, he kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris. The CG/live-action hybrid, which will release in 3D, stars Neil Patrick Harris and features the voice of Katy Perry as Smurfette. (Columbia; July 31)

ALSO IN JULY
The bittersweet feeling of looking back at old events is explored in Israel: Home Movie. Amateur footage of refugees arriving in the country and Israelis celebrating the end of the “last war” in 1968 put the country’s history in a melancholy, introspective light. (Alma Films; July 10)

Blackfish examines the story behind the notorious performing orca whale Tilikum, which killed several people while in captivity. (Magnolia; July 12)

In The Conjuring, a couple working as paranormal investigators (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) encounter their most frightening case yet: a demon terrorizing a family in a remote farmhouse. James Wan (Saw) directed. (New Line; July 12)

An American tourist (Michael Cera) and a girl called Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) take a hallucinogen on a trip to Chile, to comedic (and life-changing) results. The Maid’s writer-director Sebastián Silva directed. (IFC Films; July 12)

An exacting French vineyard owner questions whether he wants his offspring to be his successor when the brilliant, California-trained son of his manager arrives in town. An English-language remake of You Will Be My Son (Tu Seras Mon Fils), reversing France and California, is already in the works. (Cohen Media Group; July 12)

Set in 1980, Computer Chess pits the software programs of geeks against each other in a chess competition set in decidedly unglamorous surroundings. (Kino Lorber; July 17)

In the chilling, surreal documentary The Act of Killing, leaders of Indonesian death squads re-enact their murders in the style of Hollywood action films—their version of reality. (Drafthouse Films; mid-July)

A crew of lightning-fast thieves from Eastern Europe has robbed 152 jewelry stores since 2002. Smash and Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers features interviews with members of the team—some in prison, some still stealing diamonds. (Goldcrest Films; July 31)



AUGUST HIGHLIGHTS
A high-school senior (Miles Teller) who likes to party is drawn to a mellower student in The Spectacular Now. In this Sundance favorite, Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) falls for the senior, despite their very different outlooks on life. (500) Days of Summer screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber adapted the popular novel, and James Ponsoldt (Smashed) directed. (A24; Aug. 2)

The battles of ancient Greece move from land to sea in 300: Rise of an Empire. The follow-up to the visually inventive 2006 movie 300 is based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel Xerxes. The epic pits the Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against invading Persians led by Artemesia (Eva Green) and mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). 300 director Zack Snyder produced and co-wrote the screenplay, but action genre newbie Noam Murro takes over directing duties for the 3D/IMAX feature. (Warner Bros.; Aug. 2)

In 2 Guns, a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) and U.S. naval intelligence officer (Mark Wahlberg) are both undercover agents, but each thinks the other is a dangerous criminal. Things get even more complicated after their superiors abandon them, giving them no choice but to rely on each other and the shady techniques they've learned. Baltasar Kormákur, who directed Wahlberg in Contraband, helmed the thriller. (Universal; Aug. 2)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the 3D sequel to the 2010 Greek mythology-infused adventure, centers on the quest of Percy, a middle-schooler and demi-god who must find a golden fleece and save Camp Half-Blood, the only refuge for people like himself. Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) directed this adaptation of a bestselling series of children’s books. (20th Century Fox; Aug. 7)

Budding engineers and speed demons will be doing aerobatics for Disney’s Planes. The spinoff of Cars centers on Dusty the Plane (voiced by Dane Cook), whose biggest dream is to become an air racer—only he’s afraid of heights. True to its Cars inspiration, the 3D feature will be populated with all makes and models of planes and helicopters. (Disney; Aug. 9)

The creator of District 9, Neill Blomkamp, envisions another sci-fi world tainted by inequality in Elysium. The poor live on a decrepit, crime-ridden Earth, while the wealthy float above in a space station. Matt Damon plays the man who could potentially right this wrong, and Jodie Foster is the politician on the space station who serves as his foe. (TriStar; Aug. 9)

A small-time local pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) has to resort to desperate measures after some kids steal his stash and leave him in debt to his supplier (Ed Helms). In We’re the Millers, he pulls together a plan that couldn’t possibly go wrong. He will create a fake family to travel across the border in an RV and pick up a delivery that will put him in the clear. Jennifer Aniston is the cynical stripper/fake wife, while Emma Roberts and Will Poulter play troublemaking teens who pretend to be his kids. (Warner Bros.; Aug. 9)

The makeshift superheroes who made Kick-Ass a cult hit return for Kick-Ass 2. The bravery of originating superhero Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) sets off a wave of copycat vigilantes—and would-be villains. Kick-Ass is joined by Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and newbie Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by comedic legend Jim Carrey, who replaces The Mask with a bandana. With his crew of costumed superheroes, Kick-Ass forms a team to fight off the evil Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). (Universal; Aug. 16)

A generation of girls who came of age in the early 1990s will be treated to their very own retro-fest in The To-Do List. “Parks & Recreation”’s deadpan co-star Aubrey Plaza plays a goody-two-shoes valedictorian in the Class of ’93 who decides to loosen up a bit before college. With the help of her friends (Alia Shawkat and Christopher Mintz-Plasse), older sister (Rachel Bilson) and boss (Bill Hader), she tries to cover more bases during her final summer after high school. First-time writer Maggie Carey makes her directorial debut with a comedy loosely based on her own teenage years. (CBS Films; Aug. 16)

Unseen by humans, the half-angel Shadowhunters kill demons and maintain order in the world. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, an adaptation of the dark young-adult book series, stars Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror) as a human girl who can suddenly see the Shadowhunters. Her vision creates an unbalance, forcing her to team up with the angel warriors to track down a valuable chalice in a Downworld filled with all kinds of magical creatures. Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) helmed the fantasy-action feature. (Screen Gems; Aug. 23)

Five 40-year-olds reunite for a pub crawl in The World’s End—then the apocalypse hits. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg star in their third genre-skewing comedy after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. For what it’s worth, “The World’s End” isn’t just what’s going to happen to the friends, it’s also the final pub on their crawl. Edgar Wright returns to direct the duo and co-wrote the script with Pegg. (Focus; Aug. 23)

How’s this for a premise? In Getaway, a dashboard cam watches a man and gives him instructions. Following them will be his only hope to save his kidnapped wife. Ethan Hawke plays a racecar driver who ends up trapped in the car at the beck-and-call of the remote voice (Jon Voight), and Selena Gomez is the young computer hacker who helps him get his wife back. (Warner Bros.; Aug 30)

Everyone loves the musical group One Direction: Taylor Swift wrote a song about her (failed) relationship with lead singer Harry Styles, and First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama are among the Brit boy band’s fans. One Direction: This Is Us combines footage of the quintet’s tour with behind-the-scenes looks at the teen heartthrobs. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) takes a break from his usual documentary subject matter to helm the inside look at this decade’s ’N Sync. (Screen Gems; Aug. 30)

ALSO IN AUGUST
In Europa Report, six astronauts travel deep into space in search of signs of life on Europa, Jupiter’s moon. Michael Nyqvist stars in the sci-fi thriller. (Magnet; Aug. 2)

In Swerve, a Good Samaritan (Jason Clarke of Zero Dark Thirty) stumbles upon a car crash in the Australian outback and is shocked to find a dead man, a beautiful woman, and a suitcase full of money. All he wants is to do the right thing—which will be harder than he thought. (Cohen Media Group; Aug. 9)

Metallica joins the 3D concert movie circuit with Through the Never. Footage from last August’s Vancouver concert run will be intercut with a fictional narrative about the band’s young crew member. (Picturehouse; Aug. 9)

A Middle Eastern woman unloads her troubles to her comatose husband in The Patience Stone, featuring a performance by Golshifteh Farahani, an Iranian whose acting has made her a persona non grata in her homeland. (Sony Pictures Classics; Aug. 14)

An outlaw escapes from prison in search of his wife and child in the thriller Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. This buzzed-about festival title stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 16)

A single woman (Keri Russell) obsessed with Jane Austen goes to a resort specializing in immersive Austen experiences in Austenland. But will she find her Mr. Darcy? Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess directed the adaptation of a novel by Shannon Hale from a script the duo co-wrote. (Sony Pictures Classics; Aug. 16)

A woman from a rural area (Catherine Frot) was plucked from obscurity and became the official cook for French President François Mitterand (Jean d’Ormesson) in the 1980s, forming the basis for Haute Cuisine. Facing snobbish skepticism about her gender and rural provenance, she must cook precisely and ignore those who would revel in seeing her soufflé collapse. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 16)

In the home-invasion horror movie You’re Next, a family and their guests try to fend off sadistic intruders. But one of the victims has an unexpected gift for fighting back. (Lionsgate; Aug. 23)

In Closed Circuit, two lawyers and ex-lovers (Rebecca Hall and Eric Bana) put their shared past aside in order to serve as the defense team in a terrorism trial. Their decision has life-imperiling consequences. (Focus; Aug. 28)

The daily commute for a group of London commuters takes a dark turn in Last Passenger. A sociopathic train driver has plans much darker than making them late for work. (Cohen Media Group; Aug. 30)

A group of college students are terrorized during Thanksgiving break in Satanic. Together, they try to track down the culprit behind these bizarre and increasingly frightening attacks. (Weinstein Co.; Aug. 30)

SUMMER TBD
In The Artist and the Model, an aged sculptor and his wife offer refuge to a woman on the run during the darkest days of World War II. (Cohen Media Group)

The second in Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Faith centers on a woman who tries to find happiness by taking a trip as a Catholic missionary. (Strand)

Two men painting traffic lines develop a friendship in Prince Avalanche. David Gordon Green directs Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in the leading roles. (Magnolia)

In SWSW Grand Jury and Audience Award winner Short Term 12, Brie Larson plays a young social worker whose teenage ward has a profound impact on her life. Destin Daniel Cretton directed. (Cinedigm Entertainment)

A defiant 10-year-old Saudi girl wants to buy a bicycle, and concocts a plan to win a Koran recitation competition to fund her act of rebellion. With Wadjda, director Haifaa al-Mansour becomes the first Saudi woman to write and direct a movie. (Sony Pictures Classics)

Release dates are subject to change.
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