Avatar: The Last Airbender (July 2)

Summer Movies: The Last Airbender

From the first time I saw the flame-quelling martial arts and giant armada of attacking ships in the trailer, I was hooked. Say what you will about M. Night Shyamalan falling off his game as a storyteller, but the man is gifted when it comes to visuals, and it’s tough to go wrong with an old fashioned kung fu flick. I’m excited to see Dev Patel on screen again after a stellar first showing in Slumdog, and fight coordinator Mark Rounthwaite has worked as a coordinator in flicks from Return of the King to The Bourne Ultimatum. Plus, and I mean this in all seriousness, it’ll be fascinating to see Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi leave comedy behind for a few hours and trade it in for action. Finally, I hear James Cameron invented an entirely new technology for this movie, and I’m dying to see it. In 3D. - Cole Abaius

Predators (July 9)

Summer Movies: Predators

Robert Rodriguez has been envisioning a new Predators film for a long time. Much longer than you may have expected. And now, years after he was tasked to write a script that would put Arnold back in the franchise, he’s ready with a fresh take. And while Arnold didn’t make it into this one, some nasty looking Predators certainly did. If what we saw at the special preview during SXSW in March is any indication, these new Predators are lean, mean and ready for some wicked R-rated violence. And who doesn’t want a little bit of that in their summer? I know that I will be there, ready for some serious carnage. And if the past work of producer Robert Rodriguez is any indication, I have a feeling we’ll get some with Predators. - Neil Miller

Cyrus (July 9)

Summer Movies: Cyrus

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not a huge fan of The Duplass Brothers’ work. Mostly because if there’s not going to be a script, there better be some damned fine improv work on display and less than half an hour of mopey people complaining about being mopey. Luckily, Cyrus stands poised to change my mind because half of that formula is being switched up. The inclusion of John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill represent a marked change in the right direction. The plot is high-concept: what happens when the woman you’ve fallen for has an asshole for a son, and then what happens when John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill are allowed to riff off one another for an entire movie? These are fundamental questions that need answers. Funny ones. And I’m anticipating that the Duplass Brothers are ready to deliver just that. - Cole Abaius

Inception (July 16)

Summer Movies: Inception

Christopher Nolan may not have directed the highest grossing film of all time, but he is the director behind my favorite movie. No, not that one. I’m talking about Memento. Like The Adjustment Bureau, Nolan’s Inception looks to be intelligent science fiction in a normally big and dumb summer slot. The difference though is that this movie also brings the huge spectacle expected of a blockbuster in the form of physics-free gun battles, trippy effects, and a city that literally folds up into itself. Little is known about the story aside from a plot involving a high stakes game of corporate espionage and the theft of ideas. And that’s literal ideas and thoughts. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a master thief who’s able to funnel his consciousness into his target’s subconscious to steal their secrets. It’s Duplicity meets Dreamscape and hopefully much better than either. Along for the ride are Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Lukas Haas, Michael Caine, and Marion Cotillard. - Rob Hunter

The Other Guys (August 6)

Summer Movies: The Other Guys

The other day I watched a little movie called Anchorman, and it reminded me how potent the team of Ferrell and McKay can be. Finally they are back together to show off the first funny buddy cop movie in years. Plus, there’s Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and The Rock along for a ride in the police cruiser. Plus, plus, there’s comedy genius in the form of Rob Riggle, Steve Coogan, and hopefully some un-credited cameos from Ferrell’s friends. Could it resemble a lot of Ferrell’s recent messy exploits? Sure, but the last time he appeared in an Adam McKay film, the world got Stepbrothers, and the time before then was, I don’t know quite how to say this, but, kind of a big deal. - Cole Abaius

The Expendables (August 13)

Summer Movies: The Expendables

Right now, somewhere in the world, there is video proof that Dolph Lundgren can still kick a guy’s ass. That proof is probably in the police station closest to where the actor’s house was broken into by an idiot, but The Expendables seeks to prove the exact same thing. In my mind, I think of this movie a lot like what Wild Hogs would be if it kicked everyone’s ass, lit the bodies on fire, and then jumped over them and 24 school buses in an actual wild hog. Not the motorcycle kind. A live boar that Sly Stallone has tamed and trained to jump over 24 school buses and a pile of flaming bodies. Condense that into celluloid form with liberal amounts of Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Arnie, and what I have to assume is an entire vat of Aspercreme, and you get one highly anticipated flick. Plus, a few people probably want to see Brittany Murphy roll with the homies one last time, right? - Cole Abaius

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13)

Summer Movies: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

It was thought that the combination of the energetic filmmaking style of Edgar Wright with the sharp humor of Brian Lee O’Malley’s popular indie comic might cause the heads of geeks everywhere to explode. It hasn’t yet, but there’s still time. The story of a slacker in love, who must battle the seven evil exes of his lady in waiting, Scott Pilgrim is sure to be an imaginative flick. And if even 5% of the best stuff from the comics ends up in the movie, that’s a whole bunch of good stuff that you’ve probably never seen before in a film. With a pedigree like that, I can’t see any reason to miss this one. - Neil Miller

Piranha 3D (August 27)

Summer Movies: Piranha 3D

As a vegetarian who eats, makes, and enjoys tofu, I’ve never had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into human flesh. But I have eaten fish. Does any of that matter? Not at all, but I promised a sickly little boy on his deathbed that I’d to my best to include the word ‘tofu’ in all six of my selections here and that’s the best I could do for Piranha 3D. The movie features a lot of flesh-eating as a school of vicious piranha are released into Lake Victoria after an underground tremor. It’s summertime on the lake which means plenty of drunken and horny young people just begging to be eaten. Horror films are one of the few areas where I think the 3D conceit can work well, and that combined with director Alexandre Aja’s penchant for blood and gore should make this a fun flick. Of course there’s also sure to be copious nudity too, and when you add in the lovely Elisabeth Shue along with Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss you have the makings of… well I don’t know exactly, but I plan on watching it in theaters this summer. - Rob Hunter

The Adjustment Bureau (September 17)

Summer Movies: The Adjustment Bureau

The writings of Philip K. Dick have been adapted into eight films so far, but the odds are you can’t name more than a few. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault… most of the movies have been utterly forgettable. Blade Runner and Minority Report are classics obviously, and Total Recall has an abundance of goofy charm, but the rest including Paycheck, Imposter, Screamers, and Next are fairly lame. George Nolfi’s directorial debut, The Adjustment Bureau, looks to be one for the minority. Matt Damon stars as a politician running for the US Senate who falls in love with a beautiful (and hopefully flexible) ballerina played by Emily Blunt. Their romance becomes a challenge though as they move from lovers to fugitives when a mysterious organization, the titular Adjustment Bureau, tries to cock block the affair. It seems their relationship is not meant to be so the agents of Fate are stepping in to correct things. Nolfi’s untested as a director (but he did write The Bourne Ultimatum) and the film is more cerebral science fiction than the typical summer movie, but the story and the cast are appealing enough to make this one to watch this summer. - Rob Hunter

Editor’s Note: The day before we planned to publish our Summer Movie preview, The Adjustment Bureau was moved by Universal Pictures to a September release date. We don’t care. We’re leaving it on the list. We still can’t wait to see it. And we certainly don’t have time to pick another movie to fill its spot.

What are you looking forward to seeing this summer?


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