Men in Black

Tommy Lee Jones, left, and Will Smith return for the first time in a decade as Agents K & J, in “Men in Black 3,” opening May 25.

For The Pantagraph

With “Marvel’s The Avengers” having turned into an incredible box office hulk over the weekend, the summer cinema season is off and running.

The fast-and-furious trajectory gets another jolt via this weekend’s lone offering, Tim Burton’s goof on “Dark Shadows,” with Johnny Depp gone all pasty-faced again.

Thereafter: Brace yourself for more of the same: sequels, makeovers, rethinks and toys-into-films.

Almost all in 3-D.

“Men in Black 3.” “Piranha 3DD.” More “Sno- White”-ness. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” “Prometheus” (that is, “Alien VII”).

“The Amazing Spiderman.” “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” “The Dark Knight Rises.” “The Bourne Legacy.” “Battleship.”

And, fancy this, there’s even an original or two — including possible franchise-starters like “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Brave.”

Following are thumbnail previews of the titles most likely to see marquee space hereabouts between next weekend and Labor Day.


- The Dictator (Wed.): Borat and Bruno step aside — here comes Sacha Baron Cohen as Gen. Aladeen, risking life and other people’s limbs to ensure that “democracy never comes to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Megan Fox and John C. Reilly co-star.

- Battleship (5/18): Shades of “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” — yet another Hasbro toy product goes big-screen, this time courtesy the naval combat game. See an international naval war games fleet butt heads/artillery with an alien armada! Behold Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard and Liam Neeson giving/taking the orders! Marvel that it’s NOT in 3-D!

- What to Expect When You’re Expecting (5/18): The bestseller is delivered unto the big screen, intertwining the fates of five expectant couples played/surrounded by an all-starry-cast that includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Dennis Quaid and Chris Rock.

- Chernobyl Diaries (5/25): The “Paranormal Activity” gang moves to radioactivity via this tale about some tourists whose quest for “extreme travel” lands them in Pripyat, former home to Chernobyl nuclear reactor workers and no- supposedly deserted … but not quite, as it turns out.

- Men in Black 3 (5/25): Ten long years after the frankly disappointing No. 2, here comes what the “MIB” makers doubtless hope will be a third-time charmer as Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) return to save the world again from alien infestation. With K not a kid n’more, J is forced to travel back in time to meet a younger version, played by Josh Brolin. 3-D.


- Piranha 3DD (6/1): In which more exposed teen flesh is shredded in 3-D, courtesy another killer pack of piranha, this time invading The Big Wet Water Park. Skip the young stars and dig down deep in the cast for the interesting fish-fodder: Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames, Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff and Clu Gulager (whose son, John, is the director).

- Snow White and the Huntsman (6/1): “Mirror, Mirror,” look who’s nearer — another “SW” retelling, but free of “MM’s” snark and played PG-13 straight (“intense violence/action and some sensuality”). “Twilight’s Kristen Stewart plays a buff Sno- trained by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Charlize Theron pulls evil-queen duty; Sam Claflin handles the princely stuff.

- Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (6/8): This time the path takes the motley menagerie through Europe via a traveling circus. 3-D.

- Prometheus (6/8): Ridley Scott’s “Alien” prequel fearlessly forgoes the “Alien” brand name in apparent hopes of making a played-out franchise look fresh and ne- again. Anyway, it’s only Scott’s second time around with the 33-year-old series, which had lately devolved into those “Alien vs. Predator” smack-downs. Michael Fassbender, Noomie Rapace, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and and Charlize Theron star. 3-D.

- Safety Not Guaranteed (6/8): Comedy from the producers of “Little Miss Sunshine” about a paranoid Seattle grocery store clerk who claims to have solved the riddle of time travel.

- Rock of Ages (6/15): Broadway’s classic-rock shindig comes to the big screen with an all-non-rock-star cast that includes Tom Cruise, Julianna Hough, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary J. Blige, Diego Boneta, Paul Giamatti and Alec Baldwin. 3-D.

- That’s My Boy (6/15): The summer’s requisite Adam Sandler entry, this time with the aging star reunited with the 18-year-old son he fathered when he was the same age. At least Sandler lets someone else play that part — fellow “SNL” spawn Andy Samberg. James Caan, Susan Sarandon, Will Forte and Vanilla Ice co-star.

- The Tortured (6/15): Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen as a “perfect couple” whose young son is abducted/murdered. The killer (Bill Moseley) gets off light. No- the real sentencing, at the hands of the vengeful perfect couple, begins.

- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (6/22): In between delivering speeches in downtown Bloomington and hanging out with Judge Dave Davis, Honest Abe (Benjamin Walker) was also avenging the death of his mother by a frontier bloodsucker. Who knew? Dominic Cooper and Anthony Mackie co-star.

- Brave (6/22): In what may be the most offbeat Pixar offering to date, a king’s daughter, also a skilled archer, defies some age-old customs and “inadvertently unleashes chaos fury,” not necessarily in that order. Despite the heavy premise, it’s still a Pixar comedy, we’re assured. Vocals by Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. 3-D.

- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (6/22): On the eve of the world’s end (an asteroid is headed our way), a soft-spoken insurance salesman (Steve Carell) is abandoned by his wife and taken in by his next-door neighbor, with end-of-days issues of her own. It helps that she’s played by Keira Knightley.

- G.I. Joe: Retaliation (6/29): Channing Tatum and others are back in uniform as more Hasbro toys come to life. They’re up against their enemies at Cobra again. Ray Park, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis co-star.

- Magic Mike (6/29): If Channing Tatum in uniform in “G.I. Joe” is one for the guys, then Channing Tatum out of uniform (and more) in “Magic Mike” is one for the ladies. Steven (“Ocean’s 11”) Soderbergh directs the tale, based on Tatum’s own real past as a male stripper. Alex Pettyfer and Matthe- McConaughey co-star (and co-shed).

- People Like Us (6/29): “Star Trek’s” Chris Pine plays a fast-talking salesman whose latest deal falls through on the day his father dies. When he’s called home to help put things in order, he uncovers a surprise: a 30-year-old sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never kne- about. Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde and Philip Baker Hall co-star.

- Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection (6/29): She’s baaack — this time housing a high-level NYC CEO (Eugene Levy) enrolled in the Witness Protection Program after he blows the whistle on a Ponzi scheme.


- The Amazing Spiderman (7/3): Toby Maguire’s out and Andre- Garfield’s in, as yet another superhero franchise is given the re-boot. This is the “untold story,” we’re told, focusing on a “different side” of the P. Parker saga. In other words: we get to sit through another franchise start-up story. This time, Emma Stone is high school crush Gwen, and Sally Field and Martin Sheen are Aunt May/Uncle Ben. Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary and Campbell Scott co-star. 3-D.

- Savages (7/6): We don’t usually associate vet director Oliver Stone with big summer flicks. But here he comes, with an adaptation of Don Winslow’s best-seller about a Mexican drug cartel moving in on a So-Cal marijuana farm, with really nasty results. Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Aaron Johnson and Emile Hirsch star.

- Ice Age: Continental Drift (7/13): Scrat’s still chasing that nutty acorn after all these epochs — but this time it triggers world-changing consequences. 3-D.

- Ted (7/13): The first R-rated computer-animated comedy, from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane (natch), casts Mark Wahlberg as an adult still contending with the consequences of the randy teddy bear he wished to life as a kid. Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, MacFarlane, Joel McHale and Patrick Warburton co-star.

- The Dark Knight Rises (7/20): Director Christopher Nolan’s third time plunging the “Batman” franchise further into darkness, with most of the regulars back: Christian Bale (DK), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox). Newcomers: Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake), Tom Hardy (Bane) and Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate). 3-D.

- Neighborhood Watch (7/27): Some sci-fi comedy company for “Men in Black 3,” with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as a suburban neighborhood-watch klatch for dads only, who uncover a plot to invade/destroy the world. Will Forte and Billy Crudup co-star.

- Step Up Revolution (7/27): The feet keep moving for the “Step Up” franchise, this time in the direction of a wealthy businessman’s daughter (Kathryn McCormick), who turns up in Miami to find love with a fello- dancer (Ryan Guzman).


- The Bourne Legacy (8/3): Still another franchise makeover, this time with Matt Damon out as series namesake Jason Bourne, and Jeremy Renner in as someone else. This fourth visit to the Robert Ludlum universe where nothing is ever what it seems does feature some familiar series faces: Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn.

- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (8/3): The second “Wimpy Kid” movie is derived from creator Jeff Kinney’s fourth book, charting hero Greg Heffley’s “worst summer ever.”

- Total Recall (8/3): Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mind-games hit of ’90s yore is no- grist for the remake mill, this time with the considerably less-hulky Colin Farrell as the factory worker whose memory is tampered with, turning him into a hunted man with a ne- reality. Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho and Bill Nighy co-star.

- The Campaign (8/10): Will Ferrell as a long-term congressman who commits a major pre-election public gaffe and Zach Galifianakis as the naïve tourism director turned into his rival by a pair of wealthy CEOs. John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Brian Cox and Jason Sudeikis co-star.

- Hope Springs (8/10): Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell come back for summer-movie seconds, this time allied with Meryl Streep. She plays a wife who, in a bid to rene- the spark with her husband (TLJ), drags her mate to a marriage therapy retreat headed by a renowned specialist (Carell).

- The Odd Life of Timothy Green (8/15): Disney fantasy-comedy, with Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgarton as a happily married, but childless, couple who find a bundle of joy on their doorstep one stormy night. It’s actually a 10-year-old bundle (CJ Adams), whose origins prove to be … unusual.

- The Expendables 2 (8/15): The inevitable sequel to the 2010 hit — sort of the “Grumpy Old Men” for ’80s action icons, like Sly Stallone, ex-Gov. Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. They’re again joined by fresher blood, like Jason Statham and Jet Li.

- ParaNorman (8/15): From the makers of “Coraline,” another comedy using old-school stop-motion animation — this time, on behalf of a tale about a small town under siege by zombies. Only a resident misfit kid, Norman, has the power to communicate with them and find out whassup. Vocals by Casey Affleck, Tempestt Bledsoe and John Goodman. 3-D.

- Sparkle (8/15): Remake of the ’70s cult hit about the musical prodigy (Jordin Sparks) becoming an R&B diva in between extreme family strife. Chief point of interest: Whitney Houston’s planned comeback vehicle — playing the mother role — is no- her epitaph.

- The Apparition (8/24): Boo. Again. A young couple (Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan) is tormented by an apparition conjured during a too-successful university parapsychology experiment. They can run, but they can’t hide.

- Hit and Run (8/24): A former getaway driver (Dax Shephard) busts out of the Witness Protection Program to drive his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) to L.A. so she can land her dream job. Complications: pursuing feds, led by Tom Arnold; pursuing former gang members, led by Bradley Cooper.

- Premium Rush (8/24): Not since “Quicksilver” … anyway, for those who’ve been waiting ever since, here comes the world’s second bicycle messenger movie, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt dodging vehicles and pedestrians.

- Lawless (8/31): A little end-of-summer-movie-season moonshine — the true story of the infamous Bondurant Bros. (Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy), the bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain co-star.


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