Summer Movie Preview 2014
Hollywood’s busiest season kicks off this weekend.
Sequels? Check. Comic-book movies? Check. Animated family films? Check. A Woody Allen movie? You got it. Special-effects extravaganzas? Triple-check.
With The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the summer movie season has officially begun. Get ready for the time of year in which more popcorn is consumed than any other. Below is a list of some of the 50-plus films heading our way between now and Labor Day. Release dates are subject to change.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, review here
Fading Gigolo, review here
Blue Ruin, review here
Decoding Annie Parker: The true story of a Toronto woman’s (Samantha Morton) historic battle with cancer in the 1970s. Aaron Paul co-stars as her husband and Helen Hunt plays her doctor.
Neighbors: The buzz is strong on this R-rated comedy about a pair of new parents (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) forced to move next door to a raucous fraternity house led by a party animal (Zac Efron).
Only Lovers Left Alive: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston play centuries-old bloodsuckers in love in writer-director Jim Jarmusch’s moody take on the genre. Even vampires get the blues.
The Devil’s Knot: Atom Eyogan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica) revisits the case of the West Memphis Three with this dramatized reenactment of the murder of three young boys, the despair of one of their mothers (Reese Witherspoon) and the private investigator (Colin Firth) who isn’t convinced the cops have arrested the right people.
Mom’s Night Out: A group of stressed-out moms ask their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours so they can go out and have a little fun.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return: In this animated fable, Dorothy (voiced by Lea Michele) returns to Oz to help protect her friends from a new menace who calls himself the Jester (Martin Short).
Chef: Jon Favreau wrote, directed and stars in this comedy, shot partly in Miami, about a chef who loses his business and must start from scratch driving a food truck. The impressive supporting cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Sofia Vergara.
Godzilla: Yes, another one. We’re just as tired of giant monster movies as you are. But the insane trailers for director Gareth (Monsters) Edward’s take on the iconic creature promise a tremendous show. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche are among the puny humans scrambling to deal with the giant, pissed-off lizard.
Million Dollar Arm: Mad Men’s Jon Hamm is a sports agent who comes up with a creative way to recruit Asian cricket players into Major League Baseball.
Belle: Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in this fact-based story of the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral raised by aristocrats (Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson).
Locke: Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) has earned strong reviews — and is the only actor on-screen —in this thriller about a man driving through London who gets a series of mysterious phone calls.
Blended: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore pair up for the third time (after The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates) as a couple who go on a disastrous blind date, then are forced to spend time together with their families during a vacation in Africa.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: The heroic mutants (including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Nicholas Hoult and Ellen Page) must travel back in time and team up with their younger selves to defeat a foe who threatens the future of our existence.
Maleficent: Angelina Jolie radiates elegant evil in this Disney tale about the villainous fairy from Sleeping Beauty and the young princess (Elle Fanning) she curses.
A Million Ways to Die in the West: Seth McFarlane (Family Guy, Ted) wrote, directed and stars in this comedy about a cowardly sheep farmer trying to learn courage. Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris are among the people helping him out.
The Fault in Our Stars: Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are two witty, unconventional teenagers who fall in love at a cancer survivors’ support group.
Edge of Tomorrow: Tom Cruise stars in this sci-fi thriller as a soldier fighting an alien invasion who falls into an infinite time loop and gets killed over and over again. Think Groundhog Day, except not funny.
22 Jump Street: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller return for more comic misadventures with the pair of undercover cops, this time assigned to pass themselves off as college students.
How to Train Your Dragon 2: The second chapter in a proposed animated trilogy catches up with Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless five years after the events of the first film.
Lullaby: Garrett Hedlund stars as a man estranged from his family who finds out his sick father (Richard Jenkins) plans to take himself off life support in 48 hours.
Witching and Bitching: Alex de la Iglesias’ campy, outrageous comedy about a gang of robbers fleeing from the cops who wind up in a town populated by witches.
The Signal: Three vacationing college students (Brandon Thwaite, Olivia Cooke and Robert Longstreet) on a road trip are lured into a desolated area by a computer genius who has bad things in store for them.
Jersey Boys: Clint Eastwood directs this adaptation of the Tony award-winning smash Broadway musical about the four young men who went on to become The Four Seasons.
Think Like a Man Too: Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall and the rest of the gang from the first film reunite for a wedding in Las Vegas in this sequel to Steve Harvey’s best-selling book about relationships.
The Rover: Two men (Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson) travel through the Australian outback in search of a gang of car thieves.
Transformers: Age of Extinction: Mark Wahlberg takes over leading-man duties from Shia LaBeouf in the fourth installment in director Michael Bay’s money-minting sci-fi franchise.
Living is Easy with Eyes Closed: This Spanish charmer centers on a schoolteacher (Javier Camara) in 1966 who drives to Almeria in hopes of meeting John Lennon, who is filming a movie there.
Deliver Us From Evil: A New York City police officer (Eric Bana) joins forces with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) who specializes in exorcisms to solve a series of supernatural crimes.
Earth to Echo: Three best friends start receiving strange, encoded text messages after a new construction project is launched in their neighborhood. Be careful where you dig.
Tammy: After hitting rock-bottom, a woman (Melissa McCarthy) agrees to take her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon) on a road trip to Niagara Falls.
And So It Goes…: Michael Douglas is a selfish real-estate agent who relies on the help of his neighbor (Diane Keaton) to raise the granddaughter he never knew he had.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The survivors of a deadly virus that spread a decade ago band together to rise against the evolved apes and their leader Caesar (Andy Serkis).
The Fluffy Movie: Concert film starring the popular stand-up comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias.
Jupiter Ascending: Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) return to the sci-fi genre with this futuristic adventure about a woman (Mila Kunis) targeted for death by the Queen of the Universe and the soldier (Channing Tatum) assigned to carry out the mission.
Begin Again: Once writer-director John Carney returns with another story about love and music. Keira Knightley and Adam Levine are college sweethearts whose relationship is tested when he lands a major record deal. Mark Ruffalo is the former music executive who steps in to fill the void.
The Purge: Anarchy: In this sequel to last year’s surprise hit, a young couple tries to survive the annual night of government-sanctioned crime and terror when their car breaks down before they can reach the safety of their home.
Planes: Fire & Rescue: In the sequel to the Cars knockoff, Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) sets aside the racing career and enters the arena of aerial firefighting.
Hercules: Dwayne Johnson and director Brett Ratner tackle the mythical hero, placing him in a reality where the supernatural does not exist.
Boyhood: Director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the coming-of-age of a boy named Mason, the son of Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.
Sex Tape: As a lark, a married couple (Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz) film a raunchy, three-hour sex tape to spice up their love life. Then the tape goes missing, and the Internet beckons.
Step Up: All In: More phenomenal dancing and thin storytelling as an all-star troupe from the previous films travels to Las Vegas to compete in a big dance-off.
Calvary: A priest (Brendan Gleeson) is threatened during confession by one of the members of his parish and must reap the consequences.
Get On Up: The Help director Tate Taylor takes on the life of the legendary James Brown, starring Chadwick Boseman (42) as the Godfather of Soul.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Marvel Comics space superhero team comes to the screen, starring Chris Pratt as the pilot leading a squad of misfits, including a talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).
Wish I Was Here: Zach Braff (Garden State) used Kickstarter to help raise the budget for this drama about a 35-year-old father and husband trying to make sense of his life.
The Hundred-Foot Journey: An Indian chef (Manish Dayal) opens an elegant restaurant in the south of France, but the proprietor (Helen Mirren) of a classical French restaurant just one hundred feet away disapproves and declares war.
Into the Storm: The destruction of a town by a swarm of tornadoes is recounted by storm chasers, high schoolers and ordinary people.
Lucy: Writer-director Luc Besson (The Professional, The Family) directs Scarlett Johansson as a woman forced to become an unstoppable warrior.
Magic in the Moonlight: The latest romantic comedy from Woody Allen is set in 1920s Paris and stars Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden and Jacki Weaver.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Producer Michael Bay revives the once-popular franchise about the martial arts superheroes. Expect a darker, more somber tone than the series of films released in the 1990s.
Let’s Be Cops: Two friends (Dwayne Johnson and Jake Johnson) dress up as police officers for a costume party, then are mistaken for the real thing and are forced to play along.
As Above, So Below: Two archaeologists search for treasure in the miles of catacombs beneath Paris and uncover something else.
Desert Dancer: The true story of an Iranian man (Reece Ritchie) who risked his life in 2009 to start a dance company in his home country, where dancing is forbidden.
The Expendables 3: Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford join the merry band of mercenaries led by Sylvester Stallone, this time squaring off against an arms dealer (Mel Gibson).
The Giver: Director Philip Noyce (Salt, Patriot Games) directs this adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Newbury Medal-winning novel about a young man (Brenton Thwaites) living in a seemingly perfect world of complacency who learns the truth about his reality. Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Alexander Skarsgard co-star.
Life After Beth: When his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) mysteriously rises from the dead, a young man (Dane DeHaan) sets out to do all the things he had regretted not doing with her before. But there’s something different about Beth…
What If: A medical school dropout (Daniel Radcliffe) and an animator (Zoe Kazan) wrestle with the eternal question Harry and Sally once explored: Can a man and a woman who share great chemistry just be best friends?
Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis and Rosario Dawson return for another adaptation of Frank Miller’s pulpy graphic novels, directed by Robert Rodriguez.
If I Stay: Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie) stars in this adaptation of Gayle Forman’s novel about a college-bound young woman forced to make a difficult decision after a family accident.
When the Game Stands Tall: Jim Caviezel stars as Bob Ladouceur, the legendary football coach who led a high school team on a record-breaking winning streak of 151 games.
November Man: An ex-CIA agent (Pierce Brosnan) goes up against his former pupil (Olga Kurylenko) in a mission involving the Russian president.
Underdogs: This animated Argentine import centers on a boy’s adventures with the players of his beloved Foosball game.
Jessabelle: A young woman (Sarah Snook) returns to her Louisiana hometown to recover from an accident and confronts an evil spirit that has been waiting for her.
The Loft: A group of friends (including James Marsden, Rhona Mitra, Wentworth Miller and Karl Urban) who share a loft as a place to cheat on their respective spouses turn on each other after a woman’s body is found in the apartment.