It's that time again - time to kick off the long sleeves and long Johns, show a little more skin, take in a little more sun, and then spend your time (and money) huddling into dark, air-conditioned theaters to enjoy summer's biggest and loudest movie offerings.
We thought 2012 was a monumental year (what with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, etc...) - but 2013 is shaping up to be and even better year, with big superhero tentpoles like Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel; action/sci-fi offerings like Elysium and Star Trek Into Darkness; popcorn flick sequels like Fast and Furious 6 and Hangover 3 - and even some promising genre flicks like The Conjuring or The Great Gatsby.
With so many films contending for your dollars, we've constructed a preview of what's on the docket for Summer 2013, and why you should check out each film (or not). Feel free to jump to any of the respective months of summer, or just hit "view all" for the complete list. You can also click any movie title for more info and previews of that film.
Mob hitman Richard Kuklinski achieved some mainstream fame, thanks to a two-part HBO documentary. Now Kuklinski (nickname "The Iceman") will have his story told in more dramatic fashion, in a new film from director Ariel Vromen (Rx). Man of Steel star Michael Shannon will play Kuklinski, Winona Ryder will play Kuklinski's battered wife, Deborah, and Avengers star Chris Evans will play Robert Pronge, a kindred serial killing spirit that The Iceman bonds with.
OUR TAKE: It's dark subject matter, for sure, but as the masses will learn later on in summer, watching Shannon at work is truly a captivating experience.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) continues both his personal and technological evolution, following the world-changing events of The Avengers. When a maniacal terrorist known as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) targets Tony and those close to him, Stark must prove that the man inside the armor is as formidable as the armor itself.
OUR TAKE: Marvel Movies have officially become synonymous with the phrase "summer blockbusters." Get a ticket, and get ready to kick off the season right. Will it match the epicness of Avengers? Who knows. We're just hoping on an improvement over Iron Man 2.
Inglorious Basterds star Eli Roth stars as "Gringo," a man who heads to Chile to forget his divorce troubles. After hooking up with a group of fellow fun-seekers, things denigrate when a massive earthquake turns the area into an anarchist's paradise, full of savagery and death.
OUR TAKE: Roth is known best for his brand of sadistic horror (Hostel), and even though he's working under a team of Chilean filmmakers this time around, his signature brand of shock-horror seems to be imprinted all over this movie. If you dig that sort of thing, dive in.
Young WWI veteran Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) enters the world of the New York upper-crust elite, wherein a mysterious and eccentric man named Jay Gatsby (Leo DiCaprio) rules the lavish party scene. When Gatsby falls for Daisy (Carey Mulligan), the wife of wealthy brute Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), things take a turn for the tragic.
OUR TAKE: Soon to be known as "friend of high school students everywhere," writer/director Baz Luhrmann is once again making required reading palpable for the younger generation - the same way he did when he turned Shakespeare's lyrical ye olde English prose into the stylish love story, Romeo + Juliet. With Leo DiCaprio once again headlining the film, and Jay-Z masterminding the soundtrack, Gatsby will likely be a pop-culture fixation this summer.
No One Lives
A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country, only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem, as they may have abducted someone much more deadly than they are.
Our Take: Hey, we were pleasantly surprised by the last WWE Studios thriller we saw (Halle Berry's The Call), and this looks like more of the same brand of B-movie horror-thriller entertainment. Luke Evans (Immortals) is becoming something of a big star, and looks like a captivating and brutal lead character.
Drumline director Tina Gordon Chism is back with a film that many will likely label 'the black version of 'Meet the Parents.' The Office star Craig Robinson plays a man in love with Kerry Washington (Django Unchained), but must first win the approval of her bourgeois father, played by David Alan Grier. Hilarity and awkwardness ensue.
OUR TAKE: Romantic comedies led by African-American casts are still unfairly marginalized, but Think Like A Man proved that, despite discriminating tastes, "black movies" can still make a dent in the box office. Social politics aside, Peeples looks like it will be a fairly good time. Always good to see Grier back onscreen.
In this sequel to J.J. Abrams' franchise reboot, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) sets out on a mission to apprehend a terrorist named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has caused death and destruction to both Earth and Starfleet. However, Kirk's brash vendetta could end up putting the entire Enterprise crew at much greater risk than the young Captain ever planned on.
OUR TAKE: Since it's our Most Anticipated Film of 2013, you know we'll be in attendance. We have a sneaking suspicion that pretty much every other thrill-seeking summer moviegoer will be there, too.
A teenager named Mary (voice of Amanda Seyfried) is shrunk down by some tiny forest creatures in order to join a battle against an evil that threatens both their world and ours. From the makers of Ice Age and Robots.
Our Take: 20th Century Fox scored a hit in the animated feature genre with the Ice Age franchise - but films like Robots weren't nearly as memorable the films from competing companies like Pixar and Dreamworks. Going with a title like "Epic" is also setup for a box office punchline, but with an all-star cast (which includes Christoph Waltz, Colin Farrell, Beyoncé, Steven Tyler and others) - and the fact that it's the only animated feature occupying the Memorial Day block - it could be a hit.
Dom Teretto (Vin Diesel) and his racing/robbing crew are approached by lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to help bring down a notorious European racing/robbing crew led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), whose ranks include... Letty? (Michelle Rodriguez). The Fast and the Furious gang working on the side of the law? It's happening!
OUR TAKE: Ever since part 4 we've recognized the extended lease on life this franchise has received - and unlike some, we were A-OK with Fast Five transitioning into a more standard action-heist format. Well, everyone should be happy with the level of vehicular mayhem seen in the "Fast 6" trailers - and that girl brawl between Rodriguez and MMA actress Gina Carano (Haywire) could be one of the best battles of the summer. Count us in.
The story will be different this time, as Wolfpack members Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) try to help Alan (Zach Galifianakis) seek counseling following the death of his father. But when a gangster (John Goodman) takes Doug hostage, the Wolfpack must nab the infamous Chow (Ken Jeong) to make an exchange.
OUR TAKE: Hey, at least it's something (sort of) new, right? Take away the existence of Part II (or Part I, depending on your preference) and you still have a comedy franchise populated with fun characters and outrageous hijinks. And so far, Part III looks to have plenty of both.
In a distant future, a father and son team (Will and Jaden Smith) crash-land on an Earth abandoned some 1,000 years prior. With the father injured, the son must venture out alone into a savage planet full of deadly beasts, in order to signal for help.
Our Take: Sci-fi is having a good year, but there's a lot riding on this film - primarily because it is the vision of "fallen from grace" director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). The father-son Smith family team also has some viewers rolling their eyes - but so far, this film looks like one of Shyamalan's most intriguing visions to date. And, with script help from Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta, there could be actual sentiment built into all the twists and turns of the plot.
FBI agents (Mélanie Laurent and Mark Ruffalo) track a team of illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson) who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.
Our Take: The trailers have been intriguing, but Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier is mostly known for making fluffy popcorn entertainment. And, with a big tease of a mystery like this film is dangling, the payoff better be epic.
If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? Over the course of a single night, a family will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.
Our Take: The concept is deliciously sick, the cast - which includes Sinister star Ethan Hawke and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey - is talented and the thrills look, well, thrilling. The only worry we have is an overabundance of socio-political commentary, as evidenced in the trailer.
Other May Movies
- Dead Man's Burden (5/3) - In this indie western, a wife and husband's scheme is complicated by the return of the wife's presumed-dead brother.
- Kiss of the Damned (5/3) - A beautiful vampire falls for a human writer, but when her mischievous sister arrives, the situation is pushed too far.
- Love Is All You Need (5/3) - Two "bruised souls" - whose respective children are about to marry - come to Italy for the wedding, meet and connect.
- What Maisie Knew (5/3) - A watchful child is shuffled between her neglectful parents, and forced to establish her own moral order to the world.
- Assault on Wall Street (5/10) - Uwe Boll is back with another violent fantasy, this time about a disgraced man (Dominic Purcell) who decides that shooting up Wall Street is the way to get payback.
- Black Rock (5/17) - Three childhood friends take a girls' weekend as adults, only to find themselves in a fight for survival.
- Before Midnight (5/24) - In this third chapter of Richard Linklater's love drama, we find Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Deply) still talking love almost two decades later (in both real-world and film time).
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