COLUMN: 2015 Early Summer Movie Preview

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It's business time!  The wait is over from the very slow winter and spring seasons!  The massive movie slate of the summer of 2015 has been touted on this website for over a year.  We knew these big hitters were coming and they are finally here.  Let's see how many box office records fall.  If you thought "Furious 7" was a big hit, then you've seen nothing yet.  The summer is where the big boys play.  To split the long season up, here is my complete preview for the early summer months of May and June and their prospective film releases.  As always, dates change and shift all of the time.  Here's what we have to look forward to!  Enjoy!


"Avengers: Age of Ultron"-- Get your red pens and be ready to re-write the record books.  After a $201 million opening overseas this past weekend, the mega-sequel should make a killing stateside after years of hype, build-up, continued individual movie world-building, and hot anticipation.  Three years ago, "The Avengers" blew away the opening weekend record with $207 million and change.  Tracking says it will flirt with that number again.  Expect lines and sell outs!  (trailer)

"Welcome to Me"-- In a dose of counter-programming, former "Saturday Night Live" star Kristen Wiig has been drawing buzz for months on "Welcome to Me" since its debut at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  Wiig plays a sorry lottery winner that drops her meds and starts her own talk show.  James Marsden, Joan Cusack, Linda Cardellini, and Tim Robbins co-star in this film from Shira Piven.  (trailer)

"Ride"-- Helen Hunt steps into the director's chair and stars in this small independent film about a mother who departs to California to keep up with her high school dropout son (Brenton Thwaites of "Maleficent") who decides to become a surfer.  Luke Wilson drops by a a co-headliner as well.  (trailer)

"Far from the Maddening Crowd"-- The classic Thomas Hardy novel of the same name from 1874 gets its fourth film adaptation, this time from "The Hunt" director Thomas Vinterberg.  Carrie Mulligan is Bathsheba Everdene, the new heiress with three suitors (Matthia Shoenaerts, Michael Sheen, and Tom Sturridge) pining for her love.  Calling all English teachers and professors!  (trailer)


"Maggie"-- Nothing on a blockbuster-level wants a piece of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on its second weekend.  Instead, you have two smaller flicks looking to be different.  The first is "Maggie" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in a rare small-scale film.  He plays a loving and defensive father who tries to protect his daughter (Abigail Breslin) who's slowly turning into a deadly zombie.  Word is this is Arnold's best work in years.  Notch this one in your post-superhero hangover radar.  (trailer)

"Hot Pursuit"-- While not competing as chick-flick counter-programming to the brawny blockbusters of the summer, "Hot Pursuit" is close and likely the complete polar opposite to something like "Mad Max: Fury Road."  Reese Witherspoon stars in this road comedy as a bumbling cop tasked with protecting a drug dealer's widow (Sofia Vergara) so that she can avoid the unsavory people on her trail and testify.  Sorry, I'll take the desolate Australian desert please.  (trailer)

MAY 15

"Mad Max: Fury Road"-- Director George Miller abandons "Happy Feet" movies and returns to the fourth installment of the franchise he started over 30 years ago.  Tom Hardy takes over the title role from Mel Gibson and he teams with Charlize Theron to dodge the crazies of the desert in a post-apocalyptic future where resources are scarce, but car stunts are not.  This movie looks as angry as its title suggests!  (trailer)

"Pitch Perfect 2"-- Actress Elizabeth Banks makes her directorial debut in the sequel to the smash musical-comedy from 2012.  The Barden Belles of Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Austin, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hanna Mae Lee, and Kelley Jakle all return for new international competition.  You ladies can skip "Hot Pursuit" and just wait another week for this one.  You know you want to.  (trailer)  

"I'll See You in My Dreams"-- New romance in one's senior years becomes the stage for Blythe Danner and Sam Elliot in this little favorite from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.  Call them old, but the trailer looks completely enchanting compared to most romantic comedies.  Martin Starr, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Mary Kay Place, and Rhea Perlman round out the ensemble.  (trailer)

"Good Kill"-- Director Andrew Niccol re-teams with his "Gattaca" star Ethan Hawke for this timely and grim American military movie about the lives and adversity of drone pilots during the War on Terror in Afghanistan.  Hawke plays a former F-16 pilot who, after six tours overseas, is now reduced to his third tour as a drone pilot losing his edge and his nerve.  Bruce Greenwood plays the commanding officer and Zoe Kravitz is Hawke's new partner.  With the big questions asked by this film, it doesn't deserve to fly under the radar, literally and figuratively.  (trailer

MAY 22

"Tomorrowland"-- Director Brad Bird ("The Iron Giant," "The Incredibles," "Mission: Imposible Ghost Protocol") and writer Damon Lindelof ("Lost," "Prometheus") are out to prove that Disney can strike gold twice making movies based on theme park attractions.  George Clooney and Britt Robertson star in this closely-guarded plot about a futuristic alternate world parallel to our own that is only accessible to special rare people.  When you craft something this intentionally obscure, you either get "The Matrix" or "Jupiter Ascending."  Let's hope it's former and not the latter.  (trailer)

"Poltergeist"--The 1982 Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg horror classic gets a modern reboot and remake from producer Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan ("Monster House").  Sam Rockwell and Rosemary DeWitt play the beleaguered parents and Jared Harris plays the spiritual medium hoping to save the family's lost children from the angry apparitions that have taken over thier suburbia home.   Call me when they overdo it and ruin a classic.  (trailer

MAY 29

"San Andreas"-- Dwayne Johnson re-teams with his "Journey 2" director Brad Peyton and leads the way in this earthquake disaster flick that thinks "2012" wasn't enough to destroy Los Angeles and the California coast.  "The Rock" is a fire department helicopter pilot who tries to rescue his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) and their daughter (Alexandria Daddario).  Gee, I wonder how that turns out.  My money's on the People's Champ.  (trailer)

"Aloha"-- Cameron Crowe climbs up off the mat from the weak punch that was "We Bought a Zoo" for his first film since 2011.  "Aloha" is an ensemble romantic comedy, naturally (as if there is any other film genre he makes anymore), set in the Hawaiian military community about a hot shot defense contractor (Bradley Cooper) who finds a new love interest (Emma Stone) while cleaning up the past with an old flame (Rachel McAdams) who's still around.  Crowe netted a top-notch supporting cast including Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, and Danny McBride.  Touchy-feely meets hula dancing and men and women in uniform.  (trailer)


"Spy"-- The "Bridesmaid" and "The Heat" duo of star Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Fieg have another comedy that promises to be over-the-top with fat jokes and fish-out-of-water gags.  McCarthy plays a CIA desk analyst thrust into action when the top two spies (Jude Law and Jason Statham) get their cover blown tracking Rose Byrne's arms dealer posse.  You know its's going to be (sarcastically) special when 50 Cent plays himself.  (trailer)

"Entourage"-- The former HBO series and brainchild of Mark Wahlberg gets a movie treatment with the original cast of Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrera, and Jeremy Piven in tact.  Apparently, Warner Bros. thinks this could be as successful on the big screen as "Sex in the City" was, only for the d-bag/broski crowd.  Good luck!  (trailer)

"Insidious: Chapter 3"-- The third chapter of this horror series loses director James Wan ("Furious 7") and goes the prequel route to explain the origin of the resident psychic of the series (Lin Shaye).  With a cast headlined by Dermont Mulroney and Stefanie Scott, this looks like a big step down without Wan and company.  (trailer)


"Jurassic World"-- Fourteen long years after "Jurassic Park III," life found a way to bring us back to Costa Rica and more dinosaur thrills.  Set 22 years after the first "Jurassic Park," Isla Nublar is now a fully-functioning and wildly popular theme park destination, run by a team consisting of Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Irfan Khan, and original actor B.D. Wong.  When a genetically-modified freak dinosaur breaks lose and starts killing other dinosaurs, the running and screaming amps up.  Expect a big home run from Pratt and Universal Pictures.  (trailer)


"Inside Out"-- After an off-year delay was caused by the reworking of "The Good Dinosaur" (due this November), Disney/Pixar returns with hopefully a dose of what Pixar used to do best: striking original storytelling.  Much of their previous perfection has been lost by repetitive sequels and missteps.  Oscar winner Pete Docter ("Monsters, Inc." and "Up") hopes to change that trend with this inventive family film about little characters that represent a little girl's emotions inside her head.  Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, and Mindy Kaling lend their voices to play the emotions of Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Disgust respectively in what looks like a legit winner already that runs competition-free in the third weekend of June.  (trailer)


"Ted 2"-- Also running competition-free (for no reasons to be scared of) is the sure-to-be-raunchy sequel to the 2012 wildly successful loser of a film comedy.  Seth McFarlane returns behind the camera as the director, lead writer, and voice of Ted, our new favorite talking teddy bear belonging to Mark Wahlberg's John.  This time around, Ted wants to get married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and have kids, which means he needs a sperm donor, but not before a court case is necessary to prove he's a "person."  Great.  We're getting sperm jokes and terribly dumb and manufactured courtroom drama.  Can we go back to weed and hookers?  (trailer)