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Summer movies preview: Here are our top picks

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Published : 2014-05-02 20:50
Updated : 2014-05-02 20:50

Movies are as seasonal as mini-golf, food trucks and iced tea. The temperature rises, the studio release schedule heats up, and Pow! Bang! Bam! goes the soundtrack. To help you sort through the coming months of megaplex madness, we’ve picked 10 popular genres and focused on the likeliest winners in each category.

RomComs:

― “Sex Tape”

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, a married couple with the blahs, make a naughty video that escapes their control thanks to this new thing called the Internet. Unless they can retrieve it before it’s discovered, they’re a click away from ridicule and worse. The film’s packed with funny people, including Jack Black, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe and Ellie Kemper.

― “Think Like A Man Too”

The various couples from the first ensemble comedy reunite for a big Las Vegas wedding. Then the bachelor and bachelorette parties spiral out of control, ending with most of the cast in jail. Sounds like a matrimonial “Hangover” movie: engagement ring, wedding ring, suffering. The increasingly popular Kevin Hart stars, with Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Romany Malco and Megan Good.

Kid stuff:

― “Maleficent”

Angelina Jolie goes dark and intense in Disney’s villain-centric reworking of the Sleeping Beauty story. The film explains why the spell-caster bitterly cursed the young princess (Elle Fanning) to hibernate on her 16th birthday. From the badly wronged witch’s point of view, it’s simple payback. Look into Jolie’s pulsing eyes and tell her she’s wrong ― I dare you.

Bombastic beasts:

― “Godzilla”

The stomping sea monster is a brilliant concept rarely executed well. Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) may be the man to make that right. He announced he aims to make the movie as emotional, realistic and dark as possible. Previews show monumental power unleashed on an unprepared humanity including Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Elizabeth Olsen and David Strathairn, none of whom do schlock.

― “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

A pandemic has left a band of human survivors among genetically evolved apes ruling San Francisco. The chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis), lovingly raised by humans but brutalized by others, is the conflicted leader of the apes’ society. Will he find an accord with the armed humans who emerge from hiding, or lead his colony against them in a species-against-species war?

Song & dance biopics:

― “Jersey Boys”

Clint Eastwood’s prior experience with movie musicals was limited to the regrettable “Paint Your Wagon.” This time, though, he’s behind the camera for the story of the rise of doo-wop dreamboat Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young, a vocal dead ringer) and the Four Seasons. Expect retro-chic looks, backstage squabbles, hit songs and Christopher Walken as the well-connected wise guy godfathering their careers.

― “Get On Up”

Chadwick Boseman plays the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown, in this music-filled biography from Tate Taylor (“The Help”). The mercurial R&B legend rose from poverty to superstardom, battled drug addiction, was arrested for domestic violence and repeatedly faced financial ruin, but the tone here is mostly upbeat. The all-star cast includes Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Dan Aykroyd. Good God!

Science fiction:

― “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

The Billion-Dollar Behemoths are back, in a new setting. Instead of pulverizing urban centers, they’re wrecking that nostalgic, rural Chevy commercial America that Bay reveres. Mark Wahlberg stars as a farmer who tinkers with an odd vehicle and declares, “I think we just found a Transformer!”

Young adult drama:

― “Boyhood”

Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette star as the parents of Ellar Coltrane in this domestic epic. Director Richard Linklater (“School of Rock”) filmed over a dozen years, capturing his young star’s passage from first grade to college in real time. It’s an enchanting coming-of-age drama like no other. Magically, its transitions never feel gimmicky. It plays like art, not time-lapse photography. 

By Colin Covert

(Star Tribune (Minneapolis))

(MCT Information Services)

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