Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.
Our Take: The first Despicable Me was a surprising mix of heart and slapstick super villain hijinks – and this sequel looks to be giving us more of both. In the showdown between this film, Pixar’s Monsters University and Fox’s Epic, our money is on team Gru.
A masked hero (Armie Hammer) and his Native American companion, Tonto (Johnny Depp), fight injustice in the Old American West. This time, the threat comes from industrialist Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) – who utilizes the recent invention of railroad technology to carve a path of malevolence on his way to money and power.
Our Take: If director Gore Verbinski and his Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp have made this reboot anything like the first installment of that Disney theme park ride adaptation, then Ranger could be a winner – despite the long-chronicled troubled production that plagued it.
After having the greatest time of his life three summers ago, Lenny (Adam Sandler), decides he wants to move his family back to his hometown and have them grow up with his gang of childhood friends and their kids. But between old bullies, new bullies, schizophrenic bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, psycho grade school girlfriends and 400 costumed party crashers, he finds out that sometimes crazy follows you.
Our Take: Look, if you liked the first one, then enjoy the second one. If the first one had you feeling embarrassed for its cast… well, this sequel has gone so far as to play the Taylor Lautner card.
Even with giant two-man piloted robots called “Jaegers” at their disposal, humanity stands on the brink of extinction thanks to “Kaiju,” giant monsters that appeared from an inter-dimensional portal deep within the Pacific Ocean. An odd-pair of pilots and their obsolete Jaeger may be all the defense Earth has left.
Our Take: Hey, we’ere the sort of people who are instantly taken in by the thought of watching giant robots battle it out with giant monsters – but that’s just us. Pacific Rim is still going to be a hard sell for the average moviegoer, who likely scoffs at its über-geeky premise, even with a respected name like Guillermo del Toro attached to it.
Based on a true story, Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
Our Take: We predicted that Saw and Insidious director James Wan’s homage to ’70s and ’80s horror flicks could end up being the horror movie hit of summer 2013. We’re sticking to that.
Julian (Ryan Gosling), a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death.
Our Take: Nicolas Winding Refn and his Drive leading man Ryan Gosling are back with another violent crime-thriller featuring a poker-faced protagonist. If you liked Drive (like we did) then get ready for something even more dark and ambitious from Refn – otherwise, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea.
A recently slain cop (Ryan Reynolds) joins a team of undead police officers – including his partner, an old western sheriff (Jeff Bridges) – working for the Rest in Peace Department while trying to find the man who murdered him.
Our Take: The immediate “Men In Black meets Ghostbusters” comparison isn’t really throwing us off: At the very least, R.I.P.D. looks like good old-fashioned summer popcorn fun. Director Robert Schwentke turned an obscure comic book like RED into a box office hit – no reason to doubt that he’ll do the same for this Peter Lenkov graphic novel.
Frank Moses and his motley crew of retired assassins return for a second outing. This time the agency has an open contract on Frank, leading to more elite spy action/comedy.
Our Take: While the director of the first film has departed (to helm RED 2‘s box office competitor, R.I.P.D.), it’s really the all-star cast – Bruce Willis Helen Mirren, John Malkovich – that’s the draw, and they’re all back for more. And with new additions like Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones, this franchise is slowly morphing into a slightly classier version of The Expendables. Count us in.
A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail (voice Ryan Reynolds) achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.
Our Take: Besides Pixar, DreamWorks (Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon) is the studio we rely on for quality animated features that appeal to both old and young. That’s why we’re sincerely hoping that Turbo is something insightful, and not just Dreamworks’ version of the Car$ franchise.
Based on the highly regarded comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan (Hugh Jackman), the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, adamantium claws will clash with samurai steel as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will change him forever.
OUR TAKE: It already looks much better than the first film, but in a summer crowded with some impressive superhero blockbusters, it is facing stiff competition. Luckily for director James Mangold and Fox, fans of this sub-genre tend to see ALL the films on the docket. Will The Wolverine also manage to push the shared X-Men universe in a new and better direction? We’re hoping.
The Smurfs 2
The Smurfs team up with their human friends to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by Gargamel since she knows a secret spell that can turn the evil sorcerer’s newest creation – creatures called the Naughties – into real Smurfs.
Our Take: The kids laugh and cheer, while our own childhood continues to die slowly…
Other July Movies
- The Way, Way Back (7/5) – A boy befriends a water-park employee (Sam Rockwell) who helps him man up against his mother’s lover (Steve Carell).
- Girl Most Likely (7/19) – Imogene (Kristen Wiig) is a Manhattanite playwright plagued with insecurity, who attempts a fake suicide to get attention. The move lands her at home at the Jersey Shoe in the company her gambling addict mom (Annette Bening) and a host of colorful characters.
- Blue Jasmine (7/28) – Woody Allen’s new film about a NY housewife’s life crisis, starring Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett and Louis C.K.