Get out your zombie bingo card, friendos; there are several flicks featuring the walking dead hidden in this summer movie preview. Like Hansel in “Zoolander,” zombies are so hot right now.
Actually, that’s not true; zombies have been popular for a grip.
Now, below you’ll find all the summer movies fit to print — well, at least all the ones that aren’t so far down on the “Limited Release List” that you’ll have to drive to a coast to watch them.
The super-loud, super-stunning, super-explode-y summer popcorn flick is a staple, and you’ve got plenty to look forward to.
Check out Will Smith in “After Earth,” Henry Cavill in “Man of Steel,” Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in “White House Down,” Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in “The Lone Ranger” or Charlie Hunnam in Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim.”
Not apocalyptic enough for ya? Horror fans might be into James DeMonaco’s dystopian nightmare, “The Purge,” James Wan’s evil-spirits-in-the-house flick, “The Conjuring” or Marc Forster’s Brad-Pit-versus-zombiepocalypse “World War Z.”
If comedy is your thing, you might wanna take a gander at Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in “The Internship,” Everyone Who Ever Worked for Judd Apatow in “This Is the End” or Kristen Wiig in “Girl Most Likely.”
If you hate all summer movies because they’re just too loud, stunning and explode-y, then your salvation might be Joss Whedon’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Before you read on, know that all release dates below are subject to change, I kind of lied about all the zombie movies (there are only a few) and I do hope you have a happy summer in and out of the movies!
Friday, May 31
Rated PG-13, Action/Sci-Fi
This original story by Will Smith, adapted and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, plunges us 1000 years after the human race ran away from Earth. Why’d we do that? I dunno; M. Night prolly will tell us in the last few seconds, when we find out Smith’s character was dead the whole time. The setup: A military plane crash-lands on Earth’s surface, leaving only Cypher (Will Smith), and his teen son (Jaden Smith) alive. (Please read the next line in a trailer narrator’s voice.) In a world where nature has reclaimed its hold over the planet, a young man and his father must fight to … look, it’s got mad special effects, and the screenplay might be smarter than some of the other movies being released this season, so we’ll take it.
Now You See Me
Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave “My Brother is James” Franco, and Woody Harrelson play big-time, arena-filling magicians — excuse me, illusionists — led by Morgan Freeman. Their standard schtick takes a bootlegger’s turn when they begin robbing banks during their performances. Whatthewhat?!? Like a buncha Robin Hoods, they steal from the rich (such as banker Michael Caine) and give to the poor (basically, the rest of us.) Hottie police officer Mark Ruffalo is tasked with nabbing the Gob Bluth wannabes — which might be difficult given his partner is a super-distracting, sexy French Interpol agent (Melanie Laurent.)
The Kings of Summer
Three teen boys (Nick Robinson is the cute one, Moises Arias the weird one and Gabriel Basso the ginger) steal the pasta and canned goods from their respective pantries and run, run, run away from the nonstop embarrassment that is their parents (Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie, Marc Evan Jackson, etc.). They build a jankety house in the forest (outside a Boston Market) and plan to live like real men, ignoring the fact that the mere sight of a possum has them fluttering their hands like genteel Southern belles.
Ellen Page plays a member of a hard-core eco-activist group that has no qualms about poisoning its enemies with more than incriminating newspaper stories. Corporate baddie Patricia Clarkson sends in one of her own (Brit Marling) to infiltrate the group, reveal their secret identities and make out with tree-hugger Alexander Skarsgard. If all it takes to snag Skarsgaard is a little naughty eco-action, I have a bra I’ll be tossing into Boulder Creek later today.
Friday, June 7
This cockeyed vision of a revitalized America, featuring 1 percent unemployment and essentially zero crime, offers an unusual method for “paying the piper” — one night a year, the floodgates open and all crime is go for launch. Murders, robberies, rapes — it’s all fine. Folks can either lock themselves indoors and wait out the night behind alarm systems, or head out to rampage. But after a soft-hearted sucker in the Sandin family (Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder) lowers the drawbridge, calls off the moat-gaters and lets in a desperate stranger (Edwin Hodge), they’ve gotta decide whether to give him up, or fight off the masked maniacs waving machetes on the front lawn.
It’s been eight years since Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson last teamed up together — in “Wedding Crashers” — and expectations are surely high. I’m a little wary since the last flick written by Mr. Vaughn was “Couples Retreat” and he’s nabbing both story and screenplay credits here. On the other hand, the premise was designed for Wilson and Vaughn: Two middle-aged salesmen get laid off, and because of their “life experience,” they’re brought in to Google to battle other interns for jobs. Cue the generational jokes, the low-down fight tactics and the lesson in the end that people over 25 might still be useful in the digital age.
Much Ado About Nothing
Joss Whedon (yes, Joss Whedon) directs this modern, black-and-white adaptation of Shakespeare’s story of the sickeningly clingy love between sweet Hero (Jillian Morgese) and brave Claudio (Fran Kranz), and the antagonistic love generated between cranky Beatrice (Amy Acker) and mouthy Benedick (Alexis Denisof).
Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
Considered a precursor to today’s television pundits (see Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly), talk show host Morton Downey Jr. spent a good part of the ’80s riling up audiences, making inflammatory statements and showing off his pearly whites in what looked like more of a grimace than a smile. Interviews with his friends and family, colleagues and frenemies round out this documentary by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger.
Wish You Were Here
A dreamy vacation to Southeast Asia turns horrifying fast when one of the travelers (Antony Starr) goes missing. As authorities unravel the case, it looks more and more as if ol’ Mr. Starr might have been involved in a few bad business dealings and a lot of drugs, leaving the remaining three (Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer) wondering who they’d gone on vacation with. Worse, I’m willing to bet when they finally reached their destination, Marty Moose told them Wally World was closed.
Violet and Daisy
Not rated, Action
Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel play a couple of fashion-obsessed teens who also happen to be assassins working for Danny Trejo. Tasked with what sounds like a relatively easy mark (none other than James Gandolfini), the girls realize soon after arriving at his apartment that something’s very wrong. “Precious” screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher wrote and directed, but this movie’s probably not based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire.
Are you there, God? It’s me, Fritzie. This flick’s adapted from Judy Blume’s novel about Davey (Willa Holland), who travels to New Mexico with her mother and younger brother after her father dies during a holdup. Worse, everybody seems to be all up in Davey’s grill, wanting her to cheer the heck up. The only person who understands Davey’s angst is her new friend, Wolf (Tatanka Means.) Judy Blume co-wrote the script with son Lawrence, who then went on to direct the film. It’s a family affair! It’s a family affaaaair.
Wednesday, June 12
This is the End
First-time director Evan Goldberg, who wrote for “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express” and “Da Ali G Show” (all better than “Wedding Crashers”), co-wrote this flick about a bunch of celebrities facing the end of the world while partying at James Franco’s house. (Doesn’t sound like the worst way to go, does it?) The cast list reads like a Judd Apatow reunion: Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, etc. and then tosses in Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari and a bunch of your other favorites. Everything you could imagine going wrong during the apocalypse does — because it’s the apocalypse, silly. And so they hide in Franco’s house.
Friday, June 14
Man of Steel
There has been lots of whining about giving the title role to Brit Henry Cavill, but since Daddy Superman is played by Aussie Russell Crowe, snarking about it feels like a lost cause. Instead, let’s focus on director Zack (“300”) Snyder’s re-imagining of Superman, bolstered by Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan’s hand in writing the story. Nolan knows a thing or two about rebooting a franchise (he did the Christian Bale “Batman” reboot), so having him lurk in the background might do this other franchise some good, too. This Superman looks far less fluffy than previous iterations, with Clark Kent set to battle his own kind on behalf of the human race.
The Bling Ring
Director Sofia “Lost in Translation” Coppola (whom I have a huge girl-crush on) adapted a Vanity Fair article (“The Suspect Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales) into this flick about five girls (Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock and Israel Broussard — sorry, Broussard) so obsessed with celebrity they break into several homes in the Hollywood Hills (including Paris Hilton’s and Lindsay Lohan’s) and steal all the shoes, jewelry and dresses they can carry. The question will be whether being busted by the po-po just translates into stealing the limelight.
Friday, June 21
World War Z
“Quantum of Solace” director Marc Forster helms this Brad Pitt-versus-zombies flick. Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a UN employee reluctant to leave his family in the face of a worldwide zombie outbreak, but he does anyway to locate the source of the pandemic — which he believes is somewhere in Russia. Expect these zombies to be much, much faster than the ones you’re used to on “Walking Dead.” I guess that’s not very fast but still …
This is a kid movie starring all the ruffians from “Monsters, Inc.” as they look back at college. I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing any ice luges, beer pong or buckets of jungle juice spiked with Everclear being made in a bucket in the tub, but a girl can dream.
As Cool as I Am
This movie is also listed as a comedy, but I don’t think the story of a miserable couple (Claire Danes and James Marsden) who married in their teens because they were knocked up with their daughter (Sarah Bolger) and are now cheating, lying about where they are and ignoring said daughter sounds like much of a laugh riot.
Arthur (Terence Stamp) takes pride in being the crankiest old man around until his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) passes away and leaves him with a final wish: that he spend time with the local singing group she attended for years. Faced with retirees learning to dance the robot, sing Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” and perform in front of crowds, Arthur begins to lighten up and reconnect with his estranged kid (Christopher Eccleston.)
Friday, June 28
White House Down
Not rated, Action
German director Roland Emmerich might be fighting for Michael Bay’s throne; after shooting “Universal Soldier,” “Stargate,” “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012,” it can certainly be said Emmerich likes to blow things up. In “White House Down,” Channing Tatum applies for a Secret Service position he has no hope of getting until the White House is attacked and the president (President Jamie Foxx, no less!) is taken hostage — minutes after his interview and with his daughter trapped inside. I guess that’s a lucky break?
A high-strung FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a crass Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) are forced to partner up to take down a drug kingpin. Beer, Spanx-jokes and high jinks ensue. Directed by Paul “Bridesmaids” Feig. Putting Bullock and McCarthy together could very well prove to be amazing and the fact the film is rated R could mean the comedy flowed freely, but I’m a touch concerned the release date has already been pushed once — that’s sometimes a sign of trouble.
It’s kinda weird to see a Jason Statham film slated for limited release — it’s not as if he went all experiment-y and rogue and made a silent, black-and-white film featuring smoking mimes who speak Dutch backward. This is classic Statham: An ex-military man, now homeless and looking like Woody Harrelson after a serious bender, sneaks into an empty home, cuts his mullet with a sunroof, puts on some fancy clothes and goes straight after the folks who ruined him in the first place.
Wednesday, July 3
Despicable Me 2
One-time super-villain Gru (Steve Carell) is called in to the Anti-Villain league to help stop a new baddie. Directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and writers Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul also return.
The Lone Ranger
Not rated, Action
Director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp set aside their pirate garb in favor of cowboy hats to re-imagine the classic tale of the Lone Ranger. John Reid/Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) returns to the small western town where he grew up and is soon deputized with his father’s badge. An ambush leaves him injured and his brother dead. NOOOOOO! He’s healed by Tonto (Depp, wearing more feathers, dirt and facepaint than ever), and soon the two team up — sort of undercover? — to take down corrupt railroad moguls and politicians. Also stars Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper and Tom Wilkinson.
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Kevin Hart’s sold-out Madison Square Garden performance from 2012 hits the big screen. In related news, my new favorite joke is, “Why can’t Germans tell jokes timing.”
Friday, July 5
The Way, Way Back
Duncan (Liam James) is a miserable teen who expects to be even more miserable by the time the summer is over, since he’s spending it with his mom (Toni Collette) and her horrible, cruel new boyfriend (Steve Carell — playing a jerk, and not a funny one). This is new … ) But this movie is from the folks who made “Little Miss Sunshine,” so he makes friends with a deadbeat (Sam Rockwell) who works at a water park. And that leads to more friends, heart-to-heart talks and staring at girls’ bums. All is not lost, Young Duncan.
Friday, July 12
YAY! Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy” and “The Hobbit”) directed and co-wrote (along with Travis Beacham and Drew “Ironman 3” Pearce) this surreal flick about an alien invasion. Just listening to Charlie Hunnam’s throaty voice explaining the invasion came from underwater, deep in the volcanic circle known as the Pacific Rim, and not from space as imagined, was enough to get me, uh, interested in watching the film. But with del Toro at the helm, both the aliens and the man-driven robots built to fight them, will certainly be epic. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Hey, this is just more ‘Transformer’-type stuff,” then you don’t know del Toro.
Grown Ups 2
Whose idea was this? Sigh. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade are old high school pals who reunited two summers ago to act like buffoons. Now Sandler is moving his new family back to his old hometown. A deer pees on him while he’s sleeping and some fratties push him off a rock into some water in front of girls in bikinis. How embarrassing. All of it.
Wednesday, July 17
Not rated, Family
A snail becomes crazy-fast after being sucked into a race car and ingesting nitrous and stuff. And then he wins the Indy 500. So, basically, whippets make him awesome. Nice one, DreamWorks.
Friday, July 19
Not rated, Action
A group of black-ops agents (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren) come out of retirement — again — to free an incarcerated scientist (Anthony Hopkins) in order to find and defuse some megaton bomb he created and save the world. Also stars Mary-Louise Parker and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
On the one hand, this flick’s got Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker and Ryan Reynolds in it. And, on the other hand, they’re deceased-now-zombie police officers inducted into the Rest In Peace Department who go around the world of the living getting rid of the dead who hang on for too long, the bad-dead who look super fake, and Bridges sounds as if he’s got a sweater in his mouth. There’s so much camp here, it’s in-tents. Hahahah. Oh.
Not rated, Horror
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play married paranormal experts investigating a spooky, family farmhouse. The spirit grabs the little girls’ legs as they sleep and pulls them out of bed, sends birds smashing into their windows, leaves bruises and smashed mirrors everywhere and basically scares the living heck out of this poor family (helmed by Lili Taylor.) In all their years investigating paranormal cases, they’ve never seen one like this. And guess what … IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY!
Girl Most Likely
Kristen Wiig stars as a rising New York playwright who loses her career, her pretend Dutch husband and her lunch all in one fell swoop. After a short psychiatric flip-out, she’s sent to live with her mother (Annette Bening); her mom’s fake CIA agent/boyfriend, George Boush (Matt Dillon); her kid brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), and the drama student (Darren Criss) who rents her old room. I have a good feeling about this one. This bon mot from Bening is awesome: “If I say I’m sorry, I’m worried you’d just get all mad, and yell at me … for ruining your life.”
Friday, July 26
Not rated, Action
Everybody’s (my) favorite (bearded) X-peep, Wolverine, wanders the Earth tortured by his freakish abilities while the rest of us are tortured by his new, depressed hobo couture look. But one night, a redheaded Japanese chick named Yukio tears apart a dive bar with her samurai sword and Wolverine believes he’s found a new bestie. They travel to Japan, where her master, Kenuichio Harada, promises to make Wolverine mortal. Uh, uh, no, no, no. In the IMmortal words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”
Wednesday, July 31
The Smurfs 2
Not rated, Family
Everything I ever wanted to know about the “Smurfs” I learned when I was in grade school. And “Donnie Darko” taught me: “Papa Smurf didn’t create Smurfette; Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel’s evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village. But the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her.” This, of course, goes directly against what Gargamel is trying to do in this new movie: He’s made a few more faux Smurfs (they’re called “Naughties,” but they look like a couple of people you’d see smoking outside the Fox on any given night.) And the idiot believes the Naughties are going to corrupt the Smurfs, so they’re all Naughties. But we already know what’s gonna happen; Donnie Darko already explained this to us ages ago.
Friday, Aug. 2
Not rated, Action
An undercover officer (Mark Wahlberg) and a DEA agent (Denzel Washington) are set up by the mob, so they partner to protect themselves from both the mob and their respective enforcement agencies. This apparently requires a lot of wrestling and wisecracking. But I get it. Lots of things require wrestling and wisecracking. Like dates.
Cockneys vs Zombies
This is a limited-release film, and we don’t tend to cover many of those in summer movie previews, but I mean, look at the title. You’re probably gonna wanna road trip with me to wherever it screens. And I totally understand and respect that. I do. But there’s room in the pickup for only one more, and I’m saving that for Skarsgard.