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Hot Summer Movies, From ‘Avengers’ To ‘Minions’

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By Rafer Guzman

Newsday

(TNS)

Everything old is new again this summer, as many familiar characters and beloved titles — some more than 50 years old — return to the big screen.

That means superheroes, of course, and so summer officially begins with the second “Avengers” film on Friday and continues with “Ant-Man” and “Fantastic Four.” We’ll also see sequels to Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted,” the a cappella rom-com “Pitch Perfect” and the Channing Tatum vehicle “Magic Mike.” Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” will get a new sequel; his “Poltergeist” will get an update. George Miller, the action-pulp auteur behind the “Mad Max” franchise, delivers a new one starring Tom Hardy in the title role.

Another clear pattern is emerging: In the wake of hits like “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” we’ll see a wave of female-fronted comedies this summer. Reese Withspoon plays a cop in “Hot Pursuit,” Melissa McCarthy joins the CIA with “Spy” and Amy Schumer takes the spotlight in “Trainwreck.” A smaller but buzzed-about release, “Welcome To Me” (in theaters Friday), stars Kristen Wiig as an oddball who launches her own TV show.

Here are this summer’s biggest movies, plus a few limited releases that may break through the noise.

Friday

Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig are part of the funny cast of "Masterminds," which comes out Aug. 7.

Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig are part of the funny cast of “Masterminds,” which comes out Aug. 7.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” Box-office-wise, the summer may be downhill from here. The Marvel superheroes are back, though the most intriguing casting is James Spader as Ultron, a villainous techno-wizard. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen join the cast as the Maximoff twins.

May 8

“Hot Pursuit” An uptight cop (Witherspoon) is assigned to guard a drug dealer’s widow (Sofia Vergara). Directed by Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses”).

May 15

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Writer-director George Miller returns to his post-apocalypse franchise for the first time in 30 years. Tom Hardy takes over Mel Gibson’s title role; Charlize Theron plays Imperator Furiosa.

“Pitch Perfect 2” A sequel to the 2012 hit about women competing in the male- dominated world of a cappella. With Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. And this time, co-star Elizabeth Banks directs.

"Pitch Perfect 2" reunites the Barden Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow) and picks up a new addition (Hailee Steinfeld).

“Pitch Perfect 2” reunites the Barden Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow) and picks up a new addition (Hailee Steinfeld).

May 22

"Poltergeist" is an update on Spielberg's 1982 classic about a suburban haunted house.

“Poltergeist” is an update on Spielberg’s 1982 classic about a suburban haunted house.

“Poltergeist” Spielberg’s 1982 classic about a suburban haunted house gets an update. With Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. Directed by Gil Kenan.

“Tomorrowland” A jaded genius (George Clooney) and a chipper teenager (Britt Robertson) go in search of a mysterious point in time and space. Named for the 1955 Disney theme-park section. Directed by Brad Bird.

May 29

“Aloha” The latest from writer-director Cameron Crowe stars Bradley Cooper as a military contractor caught between a long-ago love (Rachel McAdams) and a young Air Force officer (Emma Stone). With Bill Murray and Danny McBride.

“San Andreas” Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino star in a disaster movie about the looming earthquake Californians like to call “the big one.” Brad Peyton directs.

June 5

“Entourage” The HBO series about Hollywood wannabes went off the air four years ago; the movie picks up the story. Adrien Grenier leads the crew, while show creator Doug Ellin directs.

“Insidious: Chapter 3” The horror film franchise from writer (and now director) Leigh Whannell continues with a prequel. Lin Shaye returns as the psychic Elise.

“Spy” Melissa McCarthy plays a deskbound CIA analyst who suddenly gets the chance to go deep undercover. With Rose Byrne, Jason Statham and Jude Law. Written and directed by Paul Feig (“The Heat”).

June 12

Chris Pratt stars in the highly-anticipated "Jurassic World," which comes out June 12.

Chris Pratt stars in the highly-anticipated “Jurassic World,” which comes out June 12.

“Jurassic World” That darned park is open again, this time with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard on the premises. The fourth installment in Spielberg’s franchise — and the first since 2001 — is directed and co-written by Colin Trevorrow (“Safety Not Guaranteed”).

June 19

Amy Poehler is the voice of Joy in Disney-Pixar's "Inside Out."

Amy Poehler is the voice of Joy in Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

“Inside Out” A 3-D animated Disney-Pixar movie about the emotions who live inside a young girl. With the voices of Amy Poehler as Joy, Bill Hader as Fear and Mindy Kaling as Disgust. Directed by Pete Docter.

June 26

“Max” A wayward teen finds comfort in the military dog of his older brother, a fallen soldier. With Josh Wiggins, Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church. Directed by Boaz Yakin.

“Ted 2” The fuzzy star of Seth MacFarlane’s raunchy comedy gets married, but must prove that he’s a “person” in a court of law. With Mark Wahlberg and Amanda Seyfried.

July 1

“Magic Mike XXL” The sequel to the 2012 hit “Magic Mike” finds Tampa’s hottest male strippers ready to hang up their chaps — but not before one last show. With Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello and Elizabeth Banks. Steven Soderbergh returns to direct.

“Terminator: Genisys” John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 — the year of the first film’s release. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in this. Directed by Alan Taylor.

July 10

The little yellow babblers from "Despicable Me" are the stars of the show in "Minions," coming July 10.

The little yellow babblers from “Despicable Me” are the stars of the show in “Minions,” coming July 10.

“Minions” The little yellow babblers from the “Despicable Me” films get their own feature, and a new supervillain, Scarlet Overkill (the voice of Sandra Bullock). Also with Jon Hamm.

“Self/Less” A radical new medical procedure transplants the consciousness of a dying man (Ben Kingsley) into a healthy body (Ryan Reynolds). There are complications. Directed by Tarsem Singh (“The Cell”).

July 17

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel's "Ant-Man."

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel’s “Ant-Man.”

“Ant-Man” Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a master thief who becomes a superhero — albeit a very small one. With Michael Douglas. Written by Rudd and Adam McKay; directed by Peyton Reed.

“Trainwreck” Screenwriter Amy Schumer plays a non-monogamous woman who might be ready to settle for one guy (Bill Hader). With Colin Quinn and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Judd Apatow.

July 24

Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne play Quentin and Margo in "Paper Towns," a film based on the John Green novel.

Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne play Quentin and Margo in “Paper Towns,” a film based on the John Green novel.

“Paper Towns” An adaptation of a novel by John Green (“The Fault in Our Stars”) about a high-school boy (Nat Wolff) trying to track down an elusive girl (Cara Delevingne). Directed by Jake Schreier.

“Pixels” When Earth is attacked by giant video-game icons from the 1980s, including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, humanity’s last hope is a middle-aged arcade champion (Adam Sandler). Directed by Chris Columbus.

“Southpaw” Antoine Fuqua’s drama about a washed-up boxer staging a comeback stars a jaw-droppingly ripped Jake Gyllenhaal. With Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams.

“The Irrational Man” Per the official press notes, Woody Allen’s latest “is about a tormented philosophy professor who finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.” With Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone and 23-year-old newcomer Jamie Blackley.

July 31

“The Gift” Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall are a married couple whose life is turned upside down by an old acquaintance, played by writer-director Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby”).

“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” Tom Cruise returns as agent Ethan Hunt, who must prove that the nefarious Syndicate is real. With Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner. Directed and co-written by Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”).

“Vacation” The Griswolds are heading to Wally World again, but young Rusty, played by Anthony Michael Hall 32 years ago, is now a grown man played by Ed Helms. With Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

Aug. 7

“Fantastic Four” Another Marvel superhero team — but this one features Miles Teller as Mister Fantastic, Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch and Jamie Bell as the Thing. Toby Kebbell plays the villain, Doom.

Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig are part of the funny cast of "Masterminds," which comes out Aug. 7.

Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig are part of the funny cast of “Masterminds,” which comes out Aug. 7.

“Masterminds” Zach Galifianakis plays an armored-car driver who is lured into a crime scheme but left holding the bag. With Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson. Based on a true story; directed by Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite”).

“Ricki and the Flash” A comedy-drama about an aging rocker (Meryl Streep) who tries to reconnect with her estranged family. With Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield and Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer. Directed by Jonathan Demme.

Aug. 14

“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Director Guy Ritchie takes on the 1960s television series about two agents, an American (Henry Cavill) and a Russian (Armie Hammer), who join forces. With Hugh Grant and Alicia Vikander.

Corey Hawkins stars as Dr. Dre in "Straight Outta Compton," which tells the story of the group N.W.A.

Corey Hawkins stars as Dr. Dre in “Straight Outta Compton,” which tells the story of the group N.W.A.

“Straight Outta Compton” A biopic of the pioneering gangsta-rap group N.W.A. O’Shea Jackson Jr. portrays his father, Ice Cube; Paul Giamatti plays the co-founder of Ruthless Records, Jerry Heller. Directed by F. Gary Gray.

Aug. 21

“Sinister 2” The sequel to the 2012 horror film centers on a mother (Shannyn Sossamon) and her young sons (real-life twins Robert and Dartanian Sloan).

Aug. 28

“Hitman: Agent 47” Rupert Friend (Showtime’s “Homeland”) plays a super-engineered human assassin. Based on the Danish video games. With Zachary Quinto.

AND KEEP IN MIND . . .”Good Kill” (May 15). Ethan Hawke and writer-director Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”) reteam for a drama about American soldiers who kill Middle-East insurgents from remote locations.

“Love and Mercy” (June 5). Paul Dano and John Cusack play the young and old Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson. Paul Giamatti is Eugene Landy, his controversial handler.

“Live From New York!” (June 12). A documentary about NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” featuring interviews with scores of alums. Directed by Bao Nguyen.

“The Wolfpack” (June 12). Crystal Moselle’s documentary introduces the six Angulo brothers, ages 11 to 18, who have rarely been allowed out of their apartment and have grown up watching about 5,000 movies.

“Dope” (June 19). Rick Famuyiwa’s coming-of-age comedy, about punk-hip-hop kids in a rough Southern California neighborhood, was a Sundance hit. Forest Whitaker narrates.

“Mad Women” (July 24). The latest from Jeff Lipsky is a satirical comedy about a mother who becomes an outspoken political maverick. With Christina Starbuck and Reed Birney.

“Lila and Eve” (July 31). Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez are the mothers of murdered children who decide to go on a killing spree of their own. Directed by Charles Stone III.

©2015 Newsday

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Hot Summer Movies, From ‘Avengers’ To ‘Minions’