Blockbusters, cartoon dramas, movie sequels – it must be summer!

‘Edge of Tomorrow’ with Tom Cruise. Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

By TY LANDIS | Metro Monthly Arts Writer

TY LANDIS | Image courtesy of WFMJ

Ty Landis | Image courtesy of WFMJ and Ty Landis

Whether you’re a junkie for blockbusters or an admirer of the less familiar, change-of-pace film, this summer’s crop of movies aims to please all tastes. While barbeques and days at the pool can prove taxing, it’s all a matter of going the extra mile to seek out the seasonal gems. If this isn’t your prerogative, these next three months are loaded with the usual popcorn-munching fare that we’ve grown accustomed to each year. Now, let’s just cross our fingers and hope that at least a few can deliver the goods.

June

Edge of Tomorrow (June 6 – Rated PG-13) – The reliable director Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) is no stranger to summer actioners, this time helming a sci-fi action-thriller about a soldier (Tom Cruise) who finds himself caught in a time loop while in a war with aliens. Full disclosure: when Cruise’s name is attached to a project, I’m usually there. With Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and Noah Taylor.

22 Jump Street (June 13 – Rated R) – Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in this sequel to the 2012 hit based off of the popular 80s TV series. This time, the charismatic duo goes undercover at a local university where the laughs hopefully prove to be as effective as they were in the first entry and as drunkenly gleeful as college itself.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13 – PG-13) – While Disney’s “Frozen” owned the box-office in 2013, the Dreamworks sequel to the 2010 animated success should have no problem getting kids and adults to the multiplex for another adventure between Viking Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) and his faithful dragon, Toothless. With the voices of Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harrington, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Kirsten Wiig.

Jersey Boys (June 20 – Rated R) – Though not likely to tickle the fancy of the younger demographic frequenting theaters this summer, this Clint Eastwood directed-biopic/musical following the iconic ‘60s group the Four Seasons could serve as a nice change of pace for moviegoers. Let’s just hope the film isn’t as dry as its trailer or as crusty as the 84-year-old Eastwood.

The Rover (June 20 – Rated R) – Australian director David Michôd returns to the outback for another tale of violence and revenge in this dystopian drama following a hardened policeman (Guy Pearce) and his attempts to force a wounded thief (Robert Pattinson) to help him catch his gang.

Transformers – Age of Extinction (June 27 – Not Yet Rated) – Michael Bay’s fourth entry in this flamboyantly loud franchise swaps out its prior lead Shia LaBeouf for Mark Wahlberg and a few other cast additions. Whether the latter proves to be an upgrade or not, the main attraction has never been the human characters, but the Autobots and their battle with the Decepticons. With John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Kelsey Grammer, Titus Welliver and Nicola Peltz.

July 

Tammy (July 2 – Rated R) – The first week of July is usually reserved for the summer’s biggest blockbuster, but this year, comedic wonder Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”) will have to suffice. McCarthy plays a woman who hits the road with her profane and alcoholic grandmother after getting fired from her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful. With Susan Sarandon, Sandra Oh, Toni Collette, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates

Boyhood (July 11 – Rated R) – It’s hard not to get excited for Richard Linklater’s (the Before series) 12 years (all with the same cast) in the making drama following the life of a young man, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), from ages 5 to 18. With a concept this novel, few filmmakers are capable of transcending such an ambitious blueprint, but Linklater is worth putting your money on. And get comfortable, this is the director’s longest film so far, clocking in close to three hours.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11 – Not Yet Rated) – The latest incarnation of the franchise focuses on the growing rift between the genetically evolved apes and their leader Caesar and a band of humans who survived a deadly virus a decade earlier. Led by director Matt Reeves (“Let Me In”), “Dawn” has the potential to be this summer’s best and most intelligent sequel. With Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis and Jason Clarke.

Life Itself (July 11 – Unrated) – Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) focuses on the life of the legendary and inspiring film critic Roger Ebert.

Jupiter Ascending (July 18 – Not Yet Rated) – Andy and Lana Wachowski (“Cloud Atlas”) bring their visionary palette to the sci-fi genre with their latest adventure, a colorful, special-effects-driven adventure following a young destitute woman (Mila Kunis) who awakes to her true destiny in the universe when a genetically engineered ex-military hunter (Channing Tatum) arrives on Earth to track her down.

A Most Wanted Man (July 25 – Not Yet Rated) – Though he passed away earlier this year, Philip Seymour Hoffman will grace the screen in one of his last completed roles. This spy-thriller follows a Chechen Muslim who gets caught in the international war on terror after illegally immigrating to Hamburg. With Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Bruhl.

August

Calvary (Aug. 1 – Not Yet Rated) After he is threatened during a confession, a good-natured priest (Brendan Gleeson) must battle dark forces closing in around him. With Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, M. Emmet Walsh.

Get on Up (Aug. 1 – Not Yet Rated) A chronicle of James Brown’s (Chadwick Boseman) rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1 – Not Yet Rated) – Perhaps Marvel’s biggest gamble yet, the James Gunn-directed ”Guardians” sports an eclectic cast and finds a space adventurer (Chris Pratt) the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain. Gunn has been a talent to watch, but the film’s trailers have been less than promising. With Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close and Benicio Del Toro.

Lucy (Aug. 8 – Not Yet Rated) – A woman (Scarlett Johansson), accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior. From director Luc Besson.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Aug. 8 – Not Yet Rated) – The hard-shell warriors reemerge in a new decade to battle Shredder and his evil Foot Clan.

The Expendables 3 (Aug. 15 – Not Yet Rated) – The aging action stars return once again, this time incorporating some younger blood into the mix to help them take down an arms dealer. With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Frank Miller’s Sin City – A Dame to Kill For (Aug. 22 – Not Yet Rated) It’s been nine years since the star-studded original won over newbies and fans of the source material. This time, the town’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more-reviled inhabitants. With Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Josh Brolin and more.

About Ty Landis – Ty Landis is the *and a freelance film critic/journalist from Youngstown. He is now a current contributor to In Review Online, Movie Mezzanine, and Sound on Sight. Ty also hosts and produces the film-oriented podcast, “Almost Arthouse,” which is available via iTunes, as well as maintaining his own WordPress blog (www.serenecinema.com), where you can find links to his work.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ opens on July 11. Electronic image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ opens on July 11. Electronic image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

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