As the weather gets warmer, the sun blazing down upon the Earth now until the late hours of the evening, Hollywood and movie theaters are heating up as well.
Moviegoers are now in preparation for a slew of high-budget, effect-heavy summer blockbusters to help them celebrate the changing seasons – and cash in during the dog days of summer.
The Voice has selected nine of these upcoming films, not just to enthrall, but to warn potential customers who may otherwise spend away on brainless, cinematic garble.
5/11 DARK SHADOWS
Genre: Dark Comedy
Release date: May 11
The newest gothic-inspired outing from revered (and often reviled) director Tim Burton takes an odd, albeit refreshing approach to the big-screen version of the television series of the same name.
Star Johnny Depp—Burton’s greatest muse—portrays the centuries-old vampire Barnabas Collins, as he awakes to the wild world of the 1970s. He must adapt to life-in-the-fast-lane while reconnecting with his well-removed relatives.
The plot may be lighthearted and a real treat for fans of Burton, Depp and the director’s revolving door of reoccurring actors. Yet for fans of the old show, a gritty horror cult classic that seeped sex as much as it did terror, the comedy and family-friendly leanings may be too far of a stretch.
Release date: May 18
The classic military board game has been given a modernized treatment for a new generation of action fans. Director Peter Berg hopes to take viewers beyond their table tops and into the vast seas with veteran actor Liam Neeson at the helm.
The trailers reveal two things: heavy use of computer graphics and a twist that fans of the game have been shaking their heads at since last winter: aliens. Unrelated to the original game, this science fiction twist aims to create greater interest for a game that may not otherwise warrant a film adaptation.
When Neeson and his naval fleet encounter the alien armada while on a training run, cinematic adrenaline will certainly take over. Fans of the mindless computer-generated action of “Transformers” will rejoice as the aliens threaten to sink our battleship.
5/25 MEN IN BLACK III
Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: May 25
In this third installment of the “Men in Black” franchise, both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles as Agent J and Agent K. Both the planet and K’s life are at stake, which somehow requires Agent J to travel back in time to the year 1969 to save them both.
In his trip to the past, J discovers that there are hidden secrets to the universe, which all become revealed as he teams up with a young Agent K, played by Josh Brolin.
The duo venture through 1969 fighting off an alien criminal while facing the 24-hour time limit before the gate returning to J’s time is closed forever. Time travel is largely a controversial choice for sci-fi sequels. It remains to be seen how well the “Men in Black” can do the time warp.
Genre: Horror and Science Fiction
Release date: June 8
Landmark director, Ridley Scott, makes his return to sci-fi this summer. The creator of the “Alien” saga is looking to return to the barren emptiness of space and the loneliness of man with this latest effort. Speculations have been made in online forums as to a plot connection between this and “Alien,” and the themes do seem similar.
The trailer shows cutting-
edge set designs that can be expected from Scott after “Blade Runner.” An element of horror is present as in many of Scott’s sci-fi flicks of the past. With a strong cast featuring Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, this film looks to pack a wallop this summer and stand out from the pack of sci-fi flicks in the coming months.
As the crew journeys deep into alien caves in search of answers, viewers will be left to face the horrible fact that in space, no one can hear you scream.
7/3 THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN
Release date: July 3
A reboot of the series brings a new cast and new director to the screen. Taking the lead as Spider-Man in this version is Andrew Garfield (The Social Network). The premise remains the same with Peter Parker as a social outcast trying to get the attention of his high school crush, this time Gwen Stacey.
Parker discovers a mysterious briefcase that had belonged to his father, leading him to investigate his parents’ disappearance. Along his journey, he comes across Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors, a former partner of his father. Connors is the villain known as The Lizard in this depiction of Spider-Man.
Pegged as a more accurate retelling of the comic classic, the all-new cast will hopefully establish the purpose of starting the saga from scratch just five years after “Spiderman 3.”
8/3 TOTAL RECALL
Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: August 3
One of Arnold Schwarz-enegger’s most recognizable flicks of the 1980s is being updated this summer. Fans of the sci-fi epic at first rejoiced at hearing of the remake, but were shocked by a very controversial choice as lead actor: Colin Farrell.
The Hollywood pretty boy and self-professed rebel is looking to strengthen his street cred as he kicks and punches his way through the futuristic dystopia. The plot seems similar with Farrell’s character struggling to discern his role in a nuclear war as he is made an unwitting spy for one side of the conflict.
The trailer displays some very modern and beautiful special effects and set designs, painting an elaborate picture of the future. Farrell’s apparent penchant for martial arts this time around is in stark contrast to the heavy hitting of Schwarzenegger.
Farrell has big shoes to fill this summer, hoping to assert himself as an action hero, but Arnie threatens to make him look like just another wimp.
Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: 2012
For hotshot business tycoon Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), life has always come a little too easy. He’s only 28 years old and a multi-billionaire; beautiful women want him, and the revolting underclass despises him. He has a stretch limousine and all the electronic toys that money, and fame, can buy.
Packer, it seems, has it all – except, he needs a fresh haircut.
This sprawling science fiction story penned by novelist Dan DeLillo and adapted/directed by the masterful David Cronenberg is being hailed as the true movie for our time and place, as technology grows and matures faster than we can keep up. Where the divide between rich and poor no longer widens, it sinks below the ground beneath us.
Fans of hard and subversive dystopian science fiction will most likely adore this flick, vampire-boy Pattinson included. “Cosmopolis” has yet to have a U.S. release, but will surely be picked up by a major studio in time for a late summer release after a big finish at the Cannes Film Festival.
7/20 THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Release date: July 20
Coined as “the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy,” Christopher Nolan’s final Bat-film aims to rise above all other superhero extravaganzas slated for a similar mid-summer release.
The story once again follows actor Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, eight years after The Joker’s sinister reign of chaos and destruction. Weak, broken and emotionally vacant, Gotham City has seen peace while Batman has taken the fall for Harvey Dent’s murderous crimes.
Enter the powerful warlord Bane, played by “Inception” star Tom Hardy, and the confounding vigilante Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway). With his loved ones and hometown under siege, Wayne must once more realize what makes a hero “more than just a man.”
An instant hit for comic book movie fans, if you can get over Bale’s signature Bat-growl and Hardy’s mask-muffled dialogue.
8/3 THE BOURNE LEGACY
Release date: August 3
A new hero is introduced in this film adaptation of the fourth book of the Bourne series. Tony Gilroy returns as screenwriter and takes the helm as director for the series.
Taking the lead role is Jeremy Renner, who plays an estranged assassin who has been affected by the events of the first three films.
Joining Renner are Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton and Oscar Isaac. Reprising their roles are Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn.
However, fans of the film series may sorely miss their beloved hunk, Matt Damon, in the lead role.
This feature was reported and written by Kelly Bracha, staff writer; Adrian Hedden, features editor; and Ben Solis, managing editor.