May 4: ‘The Avengers’
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RedEye’s 2012 Summer Movie Preview

Superhero movies don’t get much bigger than this Marvel all-star team, comprising Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, in for Edward Norton), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and more. Bonus points for the squad being led by writer-director Joss Whedon (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), who usually has a keen understanding of how to give fans what they want without compromising his vision. Could be awesome. ()
For something new and different, Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”) helms a darkly comic film starring Johnny Depp as a quirky, bizarre yet lovable character in an unusual situation. Now he’s a vampire awoken in the early ‘70s in this big-screen take on the late ‘60s soap opera. Mr. Burton, the time has long passed for you to change it up. ()
The trailer for “The Dictator” suggests the latest from Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat,” “Bruno”) could be hysterical or somewhat funny with a side of uncomfortable. Still, as an oppressive leader working to ensure his country never turns democratic, the comedian gets a good laugh when coming to the U.S. and marveling, “Ahh, America; the birthplace of AIDS.” How many people could pull that off? ()
With no plotline to maintain, the Milton Bradley board game transforms into, seemingly, a spinoff of “Transformers” that takes place in the ocean. Director Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) will hopefully help star Taylor Kitsch (“John Carter”) get his career back on track, and lend credibility to Brooklyn Decker as an actress who does more than wear skimpy clothing. Oh, by the way: Rihanna co-stars. ()
Speaking of Decker, she also stars in this adaptation of the best-selling book, featuring Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Matthew Morrison and many more. At the very least, it looks better than “He’s Just Not That Into You.” ()
Stand up if you’ve spent the last decade since 2002’s “Men in Black II” hungry for another adventure with J and K. No? Didn’t think so. For what it’s worth, when Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time, Josh Brolin makes a good stand-in for a younger Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), and writer Etan Cohen (“Tropic Thunder,” “Idiocracy”) could find new comic life in a series most assumed was dead. ()
Wes Anderson’s (“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Rushmore”) first live-action film since 2007’s disappointing “The Darjeeling Limited” reunites him ¿ with “Darjeeling” co-writer Romon Coppola. Yeesh. On the plus side, this tale of kids in love and adults (including Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand) who search for the youngsters when they flee from their 1960s New England town appears to have more pep than Anderson’s shown in a while. With people, that is, rather than foxes. ()
Where the embarrassing “Mirror Mirror” found silliness in the brothers Grimm’s beloved tale, this 100-percent-guaranteed-to-be-better take finds a much more sinister, stylish tone, featuring an evil queen (Charlize Theron) who isn’t so self-consciously quirky and a heroine (Kristen Stewart) with actual screen presence. And non-distracting eyebrows. ()
Is this the movie that turns Greta Gerwig (“Damsels in Distress,” “Greenberg,” “Arthur”) into a big star? This fun-looking romantic comedy from Fox Searchlight (who converted Zooey Deschanel into a bigger deal with "(500) Days of Summer”) just might do the trick. ()
As far as I can tell, “Prometheus” is neither a prequel to “Alien” nor not a prequel to “Alien.” Whatever it is, Ridley Scott’s latest movie about aliens, co-written by “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, features an awesome cast (including Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace) and a trailer that just plain kicks ass. ()
Hmm, do I get excited about a movie featuring Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Paul Giamatti featuring hair metal music I admittedly enjoy, or lament an adaptation of a Broadway musical that trots out the usual glamour vs. uptight protestors storyline and suggests the music of 1987 was hugely important? I’ll just say I also liked director Adam Shankman’s take on “Hairspray” and leave it at that. (Handout photo)
The world would be a better place without more comedic garbage like “Just Go With It” and “Jack and Jill.” Perhaps Adam Sandler’s latest, in which he plays an irresponsible dad reconnecting with the grown-up son (Andy Samberg) he had when he was 13, will be at least a few steps above awful since it was written by “Happy Endings” creator David Caspe.  (Handout photo)
Is there anything left to explore in the storyline of a man (Mark Duplass) and a woman (Emily Blunt) who are platonic best friends? Writer-director Lynn Shelton (“Humpday”) hopes so, as Duplass¿ character sleeps with Blunt’s character’s sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) and causes the expected complications. This one looks better than it sounds.  (Handout photo)
After only 17 years of making movies, Pixar (“Toy Story,” “The Incredibles”) finally releases a story revolving around a female main character: a princess (voiced by Kelly Macdonald of “No Country for Old Men”) fighting off a deadly curse. Let us all continue to pretend “Cars 2" didn’t exist. (Handout photo)
What, this was a part of history you didn’t know? This action flick actually looks oddly fun, despite coming from the director of the moronic “Wanted.” (Handout photo)
Seeing as the 2011 movies about the end of the world (“Melancholia,” “Take Shelter”) took a decidedly, uh, darker approach to the apocalypse, this comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in which a meteor will soon destroy the earth looks unusually refreshing and entertaining. At least, as entertaining as the extermination of a planet can be.  (Handout photo)
“Magic Mike,” also known as “That movie about Channing Tatum’s days as a stripper.” (Handout photo)
Action movie subtitles always have to be something aggressive, don’t they? Never “G.I. Joe: Reconciliation” or “Alien vs. Predator: Apologies.” Anyway, this sequel to 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” features a smaller part for Channing Tatum and new, buff blood in Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. Action figures, unite! (Handout photo)
Writer-director Alex Kurtzman takes a break from writing movies like “Star Trek” and “Cowboys and Aliens” to helm this drama in which a man (Chris Pine) must deliver part of the money his late father left behind to a sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew he had. Taking bets now on if this ends with everyone sitting happily around a dinner table.  (Handout photo)
Finally! It’s been five whole years without a “Spider-Man” movie; it’s about time the franchise got a reboot. Kidding aside, director Marc Webb’s ("(500) Days of Summer”) take on the classic superhero doesn’t look totally redundant, and I prefer Andrew Garfield’s snarkier take over Tobey Maguire’s squeaky shyness. Emma Stone’s always a plus too. (Handout photo)
For everyone who ever feels like a plastic bag, this concert film/documentary aims to explain how Katy Perry broke free from a strict religious upbringing to find the strength to rhyme “me” with “me” and inform us of the way that hot girls can melt your popsicle. (Handout photo)
Yet another promising do-over for Taylor Kitsch comes in this Oliver Stone-directed tale of drugs and kidnapping, starring Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as pot growers aiming to rescue the girl (Blake Lively) they both date from a Mexican drug cartel. Stone’s long overdue for something decent, and this could be it. (Handout photo)
“Ted,” the cinematic debut for “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, in which a teddy bear comes to life with an off-color personality that gets in the way of Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis’ relationship. Oscar material? No. Likely to inspire arguments? Yes.  (Handout photo)
“The Dark Knight Rises,” which could be seen as a giant disappointment if it’s not ridiculously awesome. (It will be.) (Handout photo)
We’ll see if this release date holds, as 20th Century Fox recently pulled posters and ads for the comedy in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death. The movie, which looks pretty bad despite being written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Superbad”), features Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as suburbanites whose neighborhood watch group faces an unlikely threat: Aliens! (Handout photo)
Stifle the instinct to scoff at a “Bourne” movie without Matt Damon and trust that director/co-writer Tony Gilroy, who wrote the three Jason Bourne movies, knows what he’s doing and won’t botch the franchise as Jeremy Renner takes over as the new expert killer probably being tracked by the people who created him. (Handout photo)
Seriously? Opening an action movie about a guy who doesn’t know who he is or why he’s such a badass on the same day as a “Bourne” movie? This Colin Farrell-starring remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger flick might look somewhat promising if it wasn’t the work of director Len Wiseman (“Underworld,” “Live Free or Die Hard”), who doesn’t know anything about fun. (Handout photo)
For a change, Meryl Streep plays a fictional character in this film about a couple (Streep, Tommy Lee Jones) who spends a weekend with a therapist (Steve Carell) to see if their 30-year marriage can last much longer. Streep’s “Devil Wears Prada” director David Frankel is behind this too, and he really needs to make up for 2011’s awful “The Big Year.” (Handout photo)
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis running for president? Sounds ridiculous. Which is something director Jay Roach (the “Austin Powers” series) knows something about--though he also helmed HBO’s recent “Game Change” too, so he’s got more political cred than you might think. (Handout photo)
Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton (“Warrior”) star in this family flick about parents who bury a box of wishes for what their child would be like, and from the dirt pops a kid whose live parallels their plan. Quite the summer of movies about people spontaneously appearing from unlikely places, huh? (Handout photo)
Before “Dreamgirls” made a musical out of the story of Motown and the Supremes, the 1976 movie “Sparkle” did something similar, featuring songs composed by Curtis Mayfield. The biggest thing about this remake is, needless to say, its inclusion of Whitney Houston, who plays the mom of a rising pop star (Jordin Sparks). (Handout photo)
The 2010, we’re-not-too-old-for-this-[bleep] action flick “The Expendables” wasn’t so bad, and I remember absolutely nothing about it. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris join the party for this sequel, which looks like a thoughtful, quiet examination of life’s hardships and complexities. No. (Handout photo)
Featuring the same stop-motion animation as “Coraline,” this comic thriller focuses on a young boy (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee of “The Road”) who can speak with the dead, and thus serves as a valuable asset in a town overrun by zombies and other paranormal intrusions. Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann and John Goodman also lend their voices to a film that will look good, whether or not it’s actually good. (Handout photo)
There’s something funny about an action movie centered on a bike messenger, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt picks his projects really carefully, and director/co-writer David Koepp’s last directorial effort was the wildly underrated “Ghost Town.” (Handout photo)
Movies like “Employee of the Month” didn’t do Dax Shepard any favors, but he’s great on NBC’s “Parenthood” and stars in this movie (which he wrote and co-directed) about a former getaway driver who defies the Witness Protection program for the sake of his girlfriend’s (Shepard’s real-life better half Kristen Bell) dreamjob. Can’t say I expected Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold to co-star in a movie any time soon.  (Handout photo)
Formerly called “The Wettest County in the World,” then “The Wettest County” and now “Lawless,” this frequently delayed Depression-era tale of bootlegging from director John Hillcoat (“The Proposition”) and stars Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman needs to come out already, ‘cause I’m tired of including it in every seasonal preview.  (Handout photo)
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