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Summer blockbusters offer something for everyone

Brendan Praeger

By A Contributor

Every summer Americans flock to the theaters for huge blockbusters, anticipated sequels and crowd-pleasing adaptations — not to mention the frigid blast of air conditioning.

The 2014 summer season really kicked off with the release of “The Amazing Spiderman 2” and “Godzilla,” but several better reasons to head to the theater are coming in the next few months. We’ve sorted the biggest releases for each type of moviegoer.

(A * denotes an anticipated MPAA rating for films that have not yet been rated.) For viewers who want explosions and


‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ June 27, PG-13

So far the “Transformers” movies have been good enough. Robots fight, things blow up and Shia LeBeouf is only mildly annoying.

For the fourth film, Mark Wahlberg takes over as the lead. As for the story… it probably doesn’t really matter.

‘Fast and Furious 7’ July 11, PG-13*

Sadly, Paul Walker’s untimely death means that this will be the last chance to see him in his bestknown role. Rewrites mean the story might be kind of a mess, but the car chases shouldn’t disappoint.

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Aug. 8, PG-13*

The latest version of the Turtles looks less cheesy than the ‘90s live-action versions, but with none of the charm. Still, it’s hard not to get nostalgic when watching mutated house pets beat up villains.

‘The Expendables 3’ Aug. 15, R*

The trailer is really just a list of ‘80s action stars (and Kelsey Grammer, for some reason). The premise of the Expendables franchise seems like a forgettable Saturday Night Live skit, but the first two were fun to watch. This one should be just as fun.

For parents who want to bring their children along:

‘Maleficent’ May 30, PG

This retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” looks intriguing, mostly because of Angelina Jolie’s creepy smile. “Maleficent” will be solid if the story can match the great art and special effects.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ June 13, PG

The sequel to one of the best non-Pixar animated films of the last decade, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” provides a chance to return to a universe that actually seems worth exploring.

For adolescent literature readers:

‘The Fault in Our Stars’ June 6, PG-13

The book was great, and the cast, featuring Shailene Woodley, looks promising, but the trailer for “The Fault in Our Stars” came off as soapy and insincere. Maybe the scenes will work better in context. If it works, keeps the tissues ready.

‘The Giver’ August 15, PG-13*

Any fan of the book will probably agree it’s a travesty the “The Giver” isn’t in black and white, but everything else about the film is promising. Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges bring some prestige to the cast of this long-overdue adaptation.

comedy: “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane’s first movie, “Ted,” was disappointing, but his second effort looks promising. If the final product is as funny as the trailer this could be one of the best comedies of the year.

‘22 Jump Street’ June 13, PG-13

In the trailer, Nick Offerman as the police chief says, “The department invested a lot of money to make sure Jump Street keeps going.” That describes this sequel pretty precisely. Fortunately, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are great as undercover partners, and “22 Jump Street” should keep the franchise rolling.

‘Tammy’ July 4, R*

After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman (Melissa McCarthy) hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Susan Sarandon). McCarthy is funny enough to carry any movie, so this is a safe bet.

<strong>‘Sex Tape’ July 18, R*

When a married couple (Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz) accidentally uploads a sex tape to the cloud, they go on a journey to destroy every copy. Segel and Diaz are both great comedians, and the movie looks like it really earns its “R” rating.

For comic book aficionados:

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ May 23, PG-13

Director Bryan Singer returns to the franchise for the first time since “X2: X-Men United.” Time travel allows the cast of the X-Men trilogy to join the cast of “X-Men: First Class.” Even the worst X-Men movies have been entertaining, and this looks like one of the best.

‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ Aug. 22, R*

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez made one of the most faithful comic book adaptations in history with “Sin City,” and now they’re exploring Miller’s books for more sordid noir stories. “Sin City” was a bit of an acquired taste, but the sequel is long overdue for fans of the books or the original film.

<strong>‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Aug. 1, PG-13

The next step in Marvel’s plan for world domination isn’t as famous as ‘Iron Man’ or ‘Captain America,’ but the movie looks like a blast. Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) plays the leader of and eclectic team of intergalactic crime fighters. Director James Gunn (‘Slither,’ ‘Super’) should bring lots of humor to one of the best-looking movies of the summer.

For a summer date:

‘Blended’ May 23, PG-13

Adam Sandler fans will see his movies whether they’re good or not. (Why else would “Grown Ups 2” exist?) Another pairing with Drew Barrymore means this comedy about two families going on a vacation to Africa should at least be watchable, but Sandler’s glory days are long gone.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Aug. 1, R

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trailer looks like an Audi and Rolex commercial made by a porn director, which might be an accurate representation of the final product. Still, the book somehow connected with its audience, so the movie probably will, too.

For a dose of science fiction:

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ June 6, PG-13

“Edge of Tomorrow” looks like a mixture of “Groundhog Day,” “Independence Day,” and the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan.” Tom Cruise plays a soldier fighting aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle. Director Doug Liman (‘The Bourne Identity’) should ensure good action and narrative.

The 2011 “Planet of the Apes” reboot was better than anyone expected, and the sequel looks similarly great. Andy Serkis returns as ape leader Caesar for full-fledged war between humans and super-intelligent apes.

‘Jupiter Ascending’ July 25, PG-13*

While the plot involving an intergalactic war and the queen of the universe might seem too dense for anyone but serious science-fiction fans, the Wachowski siblings (directors of the Matrix) make it worth investigating. It also stars Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, so there’s something for everybody.

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