Though summer doesn't officially begin for at least a few weeks, in movie terms it got off to a faster-than-expected start last week with "Fast Five," and is now set to really explode with the release of the first big superhero flick.
So, here are the 10-plus movies I'm most looking forward to seeing between now and the end of August, with a couple of caveats. First of all, these are only my picks. It won't have every superhero movie coming out (there are four, if you're wondering) or pirates, and though there is an animated sequel, it's not "Cars 2." And second, these are only the movies likely to open where I live, so though I really want to see the British flick "Submarine," you won't find it here today.
And with that, in order of release (which may, of course, change), here goes:
May 6: "Thor"
I'm thinking I'll skip "Captain America" unless it just gets some really big buzz, but this is one "Avengers" lead-in I'm definitely in for. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Chris Hemsworth as the warrior cast out of Asgard and sent down to Earth, I've been hearing that, like the first "Iron Man" flick, this will be one with almost as brain as brawn (and hopefully a lot of fun, too.)
May 13: "Bridesmaids"
I know women are funny, and you most likely do, too. So why is it so rare for a group of truly funny chicks to get to star in a movie where they get to really act up? That's a topic for another day, but this time out veryfunnywoman Kristen Wiig, who wrote the script, is the maid of honor planning a rambunctious bachelorette party and more that should just be a hoot to watch.
May 26: "The Hangover Part II" and "Kung Fu Panda 2"
At least there's a week off between "Bridesmaids" and the sequel to the movie that's pretty much its dude equivalent. The first "Hangover" was nothing but funny, so especially when Ken Jeong turns up again as Zach Galifianakis' "plus one," this one should be, too. And as for "Kung Fu Panda 2," I'm thinking it will share an impressive trait with its predecessor: Being an animated movie that's better than the Pixar movie it shares the same year with (Yes, I thought "Kung Fu Panda" was better than "Wall-E," and am certain the sequel will be superior to "Cars 2.")
June 3: "X-Men: First Class"
I doubt director Matthew Vaughn can re-create the genuine comic-book spirit that pervaded "Kick-Ass," and probably won't really try, but as the trailers have gotten better, I'm more and more convinced that this tale of the cold-war origins of Magneto, Professor X and other mutants (though a lot less than in "X-3") should be a real winner.
June 10: "Super 8"
If it's what I'm expecting, than director J.J. Abrams' flick about a group of kids who make an otherworldly discovery should harken back to the kinds of movies that Steven Spielberg made back in the '80s, and that would be just fine with me.
July 8: "Horrible Bosses"
The workplace revenge comedy is a truly tired gambit, but since this comes from "King of Kong" director Seth Gordon and stars Charlie Day of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," I'm hoping this tale of three friends who conspire to murder their bosses will be dark enough to be a summer treat.
July 15: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
Though "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (two movies you'll notice didn't make this list) should give it a run for the money, the end of Harry Potter's long saga (in 2D for me) should be the box office champ this summer, and just a much better movie than either of those. Bring it on.
With the most "Snakes on a Plane" title of this summer, as long as Jon Favreau's flick indeed delivers plenty of the titular cowboys (Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford among them) battling alien invaders, how can you really go wrong? Also this week, Steve Carell makes his first post-"Office" movie appearance in "Crazy, Stupid, Love" as a dude facing divorce who gets advice on pitching woo from ladies' man Ryan Gosling. The thought of the two of them together already makes me laugh.
Aug. 12: "30 Minutes or Less" and "The Help"
"30 Minutes or Less," Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to the sublime "Zombieland," stars Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari as two dudes forced to rob a bank. I'm betting on very funny. And in genuine counterprogramming, "The Help," based on Kathyrn Stockett's novel about a Southern woman who leads a group of Mississippi house maids to tell their stories, should finally make a big star out of Emma Stone.
Aug. 26: "Our Idiot Brother"
With Paul Rudd unleashed to be genuinely funny as the titular idiot and Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks and Rashida Jones all tarring as his sisters, I'm hoping this will somehow be as good as the sum of its parts.
So, there you have it. A few more than 10, and I'm still sure I left some out, so please feel free to add any I may have snubbed, and have a perfectly pleasant Tuesday. Peace out.