Next Friday marks the release of Iron Man 2, and kicks off the summer movie season, when the studios roll out their biggest potential moneymakers. This summer is littered with potential blockbusters, sequels, and 3D spectacles that have become all the rage. The first weekend of May has been a powerhouse of opening weekends, including Spider-Man 3′s$151 million, Spider-Man‘s$115 million, and the original Iron Man‘s$98 million. Of course, the summer is not always about blockbusters but also quality. With that in mind, here are the 5 summer movies I’m looking forward to most. Among those not making my list that figure to be big hits: Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After, Sex and the City 2, Grown Ups, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Dinner for Schmucks, Jim Carrey’s latest I Love You, Philip Morris, and Iron Man 2
5. The Expendables (August 13th)
I get nervous every time Sly Stallone writes a script and steps behind the camera. But this one seems more fun in nature. The plot centers around Stallone leading a team of mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a dictator in South America. The cast is stellar, boasting current action stars like Jason Statham and Jet Li with a mix of legends like Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, and even a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also along for the ride is Mickey Rourke, whose star has continued to climb back to prominence. This one figures to be pure action in the fun way of the ’80s action movies like Predator or Commando. And with character names like Lee Christmas, Yin Yank, Toll Road and Hale Caesar, this one figures to be a lot of fun to see at the theater.
4. The Other Guys (August 6th)
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights) reunite to bring us the latest in their brand of comedy. It’s no secret Ferrell movies have been weak both in quality and box office revenue the last few times around. But He and McKay have had great success in the past, and the addition of Mark Wahlberg, Samuel L. Jackson, and The Rock figure to help. Ferrell and Wahlberg star as two second rate cops with much different backgrounds who want to do their best to step up like the top cops in town (The Rock, Samuel L. Jackson). The trailer looks hilarious, and as long as Ferrell can get back to his comic roots, this one figures to be a riot.
3. Toy Story 3 (June 18th)
This long awaited 3rd chapter in Pixar’s biggest franchise figures to be one of the top grossing films of the year. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are back lending their voices to Woody and Buzz, who this time find themselves and the other toys in a day care center after their original owner has grown up. The script is written by Michael Arndt, who wrote Little Miss Sunshine. Most of the original voice cast is back, and they’ve added Michael Keaton and Whoopi Goldberg among others. Pixar movies have been the beacon of quality in animation and film in general over the years, so I have to think Toy Story 3 will be no exception. I figures this to be a big summer blockbuster, and probably one of the better movies of the season.
2. The A-Team (June 11th)
Normally, converting TV shows in to movies has been disastrous (Leave it Beaver, Bewitched). But the A-Team has always been a fun concept that you can run as a separate entity entirely. I’ve been looking forward to this movie since the rumors first started years ago. Liam Neeson stars as Hannibal, who leads a group of war vets accused of a crime they didn’t commit in an attempt to clear their names while no doubt involving themselves in some great action. The A-Team was a fun show, and I have high hopes for this movie. Bradley Cooper also stars.
1. Inception (July 16th)
Not much is known yet about this thriller. The plot involves technology that can penetrate the minds of people by invading dreams and stealing ideas. It seems like an interesting concept for me. What really sells it though is the direction of Christopher Nolan, who with the Batman movies and The Prestige, has become one of the top directors in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been on a roll of strong performances lately, leads a stellar cast that includes Michael Caine and Tom Berenger. Nolan has become a master storyteller, and lends a great quality both visually and aesthetically to his films. This is one I simply can’t wait to see.