Summer At The Cineplex

Sure, you saw Downey Jr. in the Iron Man suit, and the glamorous Gatsby, but what about the rest of the blockbusters vying for your money?

Yes, I know. A couple of the big summer movies have hit screens already, and I'm a little late to the preview party. There was this whole thing with the dog being sick, and I lost my favorite fork. ... I'm just a little behind and out of sorts.

Please accept my apologies. To you, my God (Martin Scorsese) and my mother (Frances Grimm), I make the solemn oath that I will not be late again until the next time I'm late.

Iron Man 3 and The Great Gatsby got things rolling in grand, big box office fashion. Iron Man 3 getting butts in seats is no big surprise, but considering the critical drubbing and "arty" nature of Gatsby, its success is a bit stunning. Looks like somebody knew what they were doing when they delayed the release from last Christmas until this summer. Speaking for myself, I'm going against the grain with most critics on Gatsby. I happen to think it's a blast.

So, yeah, we are a few weeks in, but there are plenty of summer movies left, and here's a sample of what's coming your way. Look elsewhere in this paper for my review of Star Trek Into Darkness, which I didn't see until a few hours after this already late preview was due.

The Hangover Part III (May 24): The closer we get to the opening date on this one, the more my excitement mounts. I got a bad taste in my mouth after Part II and I want the Wolf Pack back to being funny. I can tell you that the moment in the trailer when Bradley Cooper is hanging off the side of a building and wondering whether Zach Galifianakis managed to get a picture of him already qualifies as one of the year's funniest movie moments.

Fast & Furious 6 (May 24): These crazy car movies show no sign of stopping. Dwayne Johnson makes his 118th appearance in a movie this year, with yet another franchise under his big-ass wrestling belt. That douche Vin Diesel is in it too.

Before Midnight (May 24): For those of you who would rather see people having civilized discussions while giving goo-goo eyes rather than see stuff blowing up, Richard Linklater continues the saga of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in their third movie, after Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

After Earth (May 31): Oh lordy, they are still giving M. Night Shyamalan money to make movies, and now his ego is being matched up with star Will Smith's gargantuan ego in this post-apocalyptic sci-fi thing. Shyamalan made three good movies (Signs being my favorite) and then he just went bat shit with films like The Village and The Happening. He only co-wrote the screenplay, which means it has a shot at being semi-cohesive.

The Purge (May 31): Ethan Hawke gets another summer movie with this freaky looking sci-fi about a future where, on one night a year, people are allowed to commit any crimes they want. This has feel-good movie of the summer written all over it.

The Internship (June 7): I know we are not supposed to judge a movie by its trailer, but the one for this comedic reteaming of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson didn't make me laugh. Not once.

Much Ado About Nothing (June 7): Joss Whedon follows up The Avengers with a low-budget, modern take on the Shakespeare classic.

Man of Steel (June 14): Within this film lie the biggest hopes for the summer. Superman got a bad rap in his last outing (I, for one, liked Superman Returns and truly dug Brandon Routh). Warner Bros. tries to revive the biggest superhero of them all with a reboot co-produced by Christopher Nolan. It looks like some of the darkness that ran through his Batman movies has spread to Superman. I must admit, the preview trailers are giving me chills. As for Henry Cavill, he hasn't impressed me in other films, but he looks good in tights. And we're talking about tights that don't have the famed Superman red briefs! That's kind of messed up.

This Is the End (June 14): This looks to be in competition with The Hangover Part III for the year's biggest comedy. Writing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg make their directorial debuts with a tale of the apocalypse as seen from inside James Franco's house. Too many funny guys in this movie for it to bomb out. That just can't happen, right?

The Bling Ring (June 14): I'm hoping this film about young girls going on a crime spree, based upon a true story, is better than the similarly themed Spring Breakers. Sofia Coppola directs Emma Watson stealing things from celebrities.

Monsters University (June 21): Is it just me, or does this sequel to the 2001 heart-warmer look kind of lame? I don't really know if I need to see these cartoon monsters in college, and the sound of Billy Crystal's voice has not endeared itself to me over the years. I used to love the guy, but I sort of left his fan camp after Mr. Saturday Night (Yep ... I just dropped a Mr. Saturday Night reference in a 2013 summer movie preview. Thank you ... thank you very much).

World War Z (June 21): Brad Pitt's zombie flick has gone through reshoots, and that's always a worrisome thing. Still, I love the zombies piling up on each other in the previews, and the plane disaster looks freaky. Not sure what they are rating this, but if it comes in at PG-13 ... LAME!

The Heat (June 28): Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy team up for director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) as an FBI agent and cop teaming up to take out a drug kingpin. McCarthy got an Oscar nomination the last time she was with Feig, and I doubt that will happen this time out. Still, could be fun.

White House Down (June 28): Following in the footsteps of Olympus Has Fallen, we get another film where the president and his pad are in jeopardy. This time we get Jamie Foxx as the president and Channing Tatum as the hero.

The Lone Ranger (July 5): The idea of Johnny Depp playing Tonto, and his crazy getup, have me cautious about this one. Gore Verbinski directs, with Armie Hammer as the title character. If I had to pick five bombs this summer before they came out, I would bet this one could be very, very bad.

The Way, Way Back (July 5): Sam Rockwell is in this coming-of-age comedy. This is all you need to know.

Pacific Rim (July 12): Big alien monster-type things strike the Earth and huge robots piloted by humans are sent to defend. This looks AMAZING, and Guillermo del Toro directs, so it will be something to see. I'm hoping this puts Michael Bay's big robots to shame.

Grown Ups 2 (July 12): I miss Adam Sandler. That dude used to make me laugh and laugh hard. The first Grown Ups was one of his worst movies. Looks like the Sandler comedy slump will continue.

R.I.P.D. (July 19): Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds are dead cops going after dead bad guys. Pretty funny that Bridges is doing a thinly veiled version of his True Grit character.

The Wolverine (July 26): This one is going to be a better offering than the first solo outing for Hugh Jackman's piece of the X-Men because it's not just Wolverine ... it's THE Wolverine. The original Wolverine movie title didn't have the "The" in it, making it a nonstarter from the get-go.

Blue Jasmine (July 26): Usually I'm all like "Woody Allen can go screw himself!" But his latest has Louis C.K. in it, so I'm curious.

2 Guns (Aug. 2): The good news is that this film stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. The bad news is that it is directed by the guy who did Contraband, which was an unholy dump of a movie.

The Smurfs 2 (Aug. 2): The poster for this thing has a Smurf doing the peace sign with his two fingers which, of course, can also stand for the number 2. Somebody got paid a lot of money to come up with that.

Elysium (Aug. 9): From the director of District 9, this stars Matt Damon (with a shaved head) in a future where the Earth has gone to shit and the rich live in space. Jodie Foster co-stars.

Kick-Ass 2 (Aug. 16): Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse all return for a new round of comic vigilantism. Jim Carrey joins the cast as Colonel Stars and Stripes, and all signs point to hilarious as far as his participation is concerned.

The To Do List (Aug.16): Aubrey Plaza blew my ass out of the water with her performance in Safety Not Guaranteed. This one has her starring as a soon-to-be college freshman looking to get some things out of the way before starting the pursuit of her degree. Looks very, very dirty.

Riddick (Sept. 6): Somebody actually gave that douche Vin Diesel money to make another Riddick movie.

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