First off, forgive us for not having the budget to upgrade this summer movie preview to 3D. Rest assured, there are plenty of eye-popping (brain-numbing?) epics in the preview list that follows, but to our pleasure and surprise there is a surplus of attention-worthy 2D flicks too. Happy summer, movie fans. And this time we mean it. (As always, all dates are subject to change.)
Get Him to the Greek
Jonah Hill plays a record company intern whose career-making assignment could be considered a music business rite of passage: escorting a drug-addled rock star (British comic Russell Brand) to a big gig. From the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Nicholas Stoller.
Jen (Katherine Heigl) and Spencer (Ashton Kutcher) are blissful newlyweds until the day Jen discovers that her dream man was once a government assassin. The news does not thrill her. Catherine O'Hara co-stars in this action-comedy from Legally Blond director Robert Luketic.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are geneticists whose experiment in human cloning goes creepily awry in this thriller from director Vincenzo Natali and executive producer Guillermo Del Toro.
Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, and UFC champ Quinton "Rampage" Jackson are a disgraced special ops team out to clear their name in director Joe Carnahan's adaptation of the 1980s TV show [insert Mr. T joke here].
The Karate Kid
This remake of the 1984 Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita flick about a teenage boy who gains personal wisdom as well as mad skills from a kung-fu master stars Jaden Smith (son of Will) as the pupil, and Jackie Chan as his teacher.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead
There are vampires in the state of Denmark, or so it appears to a young Manhattan director (Jake Hoffman, son of Dustin) whose staging of Hamlet has more bite than he expected. Written and directed by Jordan Galland.
Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly are newly, blissfully in love in this drama from the brotherly filmmaking duo of Jay and Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair). Jonah Hill co-stars as Tomei's clinging, interfering son.
8: The Mormon Proposition
Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) narrates this expose of the Mormon Church's alleged financial support of California's Prop. 8 amendment which denies marriage rights to same-sex couples. Co-directed by Steven Greenstreet and Reed Cowan.
Based on a long-running DC Comics character, this supernaturally tinged comedy-Western features Josh Brolin as badly scarred post-Civil War bounty hunter in search of a mad-dog killer, played, of course, by John Malkovich.
Toy Story 3
Where do toys go when their kid grows up and moves away? After they survive one of their patented Pixar adventures, be prepared to well up as Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the toys of Andy's room see their favorite human off to college. Written by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) and directed by Lee Unkrich.
Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider star as childhood buddies reuniting for the first time in 30 years. We're thinking it's a comedy. Directed by Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry)
Knight and Day
Tom Cruise is a renegade secret agent and Cameron Diaz his unwitting blind date, and, all too suddenly, his reluctant sidekick in a mission to save a brilliant scientist (Paul Dano). Directed by James Mangold (3:10 To Yuma).
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
A dreamboat vampire, a hunky werewolf, a confused teenage girl — stop us if you've heard of this one. Directed by David Slade (30 Days of Night)
The Last Airbender
Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) adapts Nickelodeon's animated fantasy series about a 12-year-old (Noah Ringer) with the ability to control all four elements — water, earth, air, and fire. No pressure there.
Gossip Girl heartthrob Chace Crawford is the best-looking drug dealer on Manhattan's Upper East Side and Emma Roberts his clueless girlfriend in this adaptation of Nick McDonell's bestseller, published, famously, when the author was only seventeen. Directed by Joel Schumacher (St. Elmo's Fire) and featuring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as Crawford's rival.
The Kids Are All Right
Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play a Southern California lesbian couple with two teenagers they had with the sperm of an anonymous donor. When the kids track down their biological father (Mark Ruffalo), the mothers are more than a little freaked. Written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon).
There are villains aplenty in this 3D animated comedy, chief among them the cranky, unfulfilled Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) whose plan to steal the moon is hitting a few snags.
The alien creature that stalked Arnold Schwarzenegger back in 1987 and then spawned a host of bad sequels is back, thanks to executive producer Robert Rodriguez. Adrien Brody, Lawrence Fishburne, and Topher Grace are the unlucky mercenaries about to become alien bait.
This sequel to the decidedly creepy Spanish horror film Rec (the Hollywood version was called Quarantine) picks up moments after the original ended, as a special ops team enters a Barcelona apartment whose inhabitants are infected with a virus that turns them drooly and demonic.
Arguably the most anticipated movie of the summer, if not the year, this thriller from writer-director Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) is shrouded in secrecy. We do know that Leonardo DiCaprio heads up a team of "dream thieves" that includes Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ken Watanabe (though maybe he's the bad guy).
A 10-year-old boy fights with his father on Christmas Eve and runs away to Dublin, with a neighbor girl in tow. Filmmaker Lance Daly's follow-up to The Halo Effect has been much admired on the festival circuit.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Nicolas Cage, teaming up again with National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub, plays a modern-day conjurer who enlists an NYU student (Jay Baruchel) to help him save the world from an evil wizard (Alfred Molina). The adventure film is reportedly inspired by the Mickey Mouse sorcerer sequence in Fantasia (that scares us just a little bit).
Dinner for Schmucks
The schmuck is Barry (Steve Carell), a nerd deluxe who's thrilled to be invited by his boss (Paul Rudd) to a dinner for big shots. What Barry doesn't know is that he's being set-up for big-time ridicule in this comedy from director Jay Roach (Meet the Fockers).
Life During Wartime
It's been 12 years since writer-director Todd Solondz's hilarious yet emotionally wrenching suburban black comedy, Happiness. In this sequel, the filmmaker catches up with the original characters, but has recast all the roles, as if to acknowledge that neither he nor his characters can possibly be the same people a decade later.
Angelina Jolie channels her inner Jason Bourne — she leaps, she kicks, she kills — in director Phillip Noyce's action thriller about a CIA operative who's accused of being a Russian spy. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star.
The Adjustment Bureau
It's love at first sight for Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) and ballerina Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), but is it fate or sinister earthly forces conspiring to keep them apart? Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of a 1954 story by Phillip K. Dick.
The Dry Land
After a reunion with his wife (America Ferrera) takes a violent turn, James (Ryan O'Nan), a West Texas soldier newly home from the Iraq War, takes a road trip to visit his war buddies (Wilmer Valderrama, Diego Klattenhoff) and hopefully find some inner peace. Written and directed by Ryan Piers Williams.
The Extra Man
It's a collision of eccentrics when a lonely, cross-dressing teacher (Paul Dano) becomes the roommate of an "escort" (Kevin Kline) for wealthy widows. Based on a novel by Jonathan Ames, this new film from co-directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor) features Katie Holmes, John C. Reilly and the rarely seen but always welcome Patti D'Arbanville.
Legend has it that there once was a secretly wealthy Tennessee hermit who decided to throw his own funeral so that he could hear the stories people had to tell about him. In this beautifully acted 1930s period piece from director Aaron Schneider, Robert Duvall is the hermit, Sissy Spacek his old flame, and Bill Murray the town's newly energized funeral director.
Newly released from the Dutch army (Thure Lindhardt), a young man falls in with a neo-Nazi street gang, only to find himself having romantic feelings for one of the members (David Densik). When they become lovers, things get dicey in this debut feature from Nicolo Donato.
Hey, man, don't delete that chain letter that just landed in your inbox. If you do, the sender is going to snatch you up, wrap you in chains (get it?) and torture you. To death!
In this fact-based drama, set in the late 1990s, Luke Wilson stars as a fixer of troubled businesses who meets two guys (Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht) who've figured out a way to transmit pornography over the Internet. Wilson helps them get organized and super-rich, and then the real trouble begins. Co-starring James Caan and directed by George Gallo.
The Other Guys
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg channel their inner Serpico in this comedy about two mediocre New York detectives who get a shot at the case of a lifetime. Co-starring Eva Mendes and Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman).
Step Up 3D
Filmmaker Jon M. Chu, who received some surprisingly good reviews for his work on Step Up 2, returns to direct the third installment in the popular series about the underground dance scene in New York. This edition has been filmed in 3D, so expect to be kicked in the face by a hot dancer.
Eat Pray Love
Writer-director Ryan Murphy took time away from his hit TV show Glee to direct Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in the film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestselling memoir about her worldwide search for enlightenment after a rough divorce. James Franco, Billy Crudup, and Richard Jenkins co-star.
Action gods Sylvester Stone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Dolph Lundgren join forces to kick ass and blow things up in a film co-written and directed by Sly himself.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The road to everlasting love isn't going to be easy for musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), who must vanquish his new girlfriend's seven exes, all of whom happen to have super powers. Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead).
The Lottery Ticket
It takes luck to win a mega-millions lottery ticket but it may take a miracle for Kevin (Bow Wow), a young Atlanta man, to keep his family, friends, and neighbors from getting their mitts on the ticket over a long Fourth of July weekend. Ice Cube and Loretta Devine co-star in director Erik White's debut comedy.
Nanny McPhee 2
When two spoiled city kids visit their country cousins on an English farm, it's a culture clash that only the ugly yet magical Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) can resolve. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maggie Smith co-star for director Susanna White in the second film of a projected trilogy.
Drunk and jealous that his best friend Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) didn't choose him to be her sperm donor, Wally (Jason Bateman) replaces the donor's swimmers with his own. Kassie moves away, but seven years later she's back, and wow, that kid sure looks like Wally, doesn't he? Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory) co-direct.
For the snazzily dressed, super-efficient L.A. bank-robbing gang led by Idris Elba (Obsessed), there's one last big heist to pull off. Their plan is brilliant, but the L.A. detectives played by Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez have one of their own. Paul Walker, Zoë Saldana, and Hayden Christensen co-star.
The Tillman Story
Josh Brolin narrates Amir Bar-Lev's documentary about Dannie and Patrick Tillman's crusade to prove that their son Pat, a pro football star who enlisted right after 9/11, died from friendly fire in Afghanistan.
Going the Distance
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play it for laughs in this comedy about the perils of sustaining a long-distance love. Christina Applegate and Ron Livingston co-star. Nanette Burstein (American Teen) directs.
The Last Exorcism
An evangelical priest (Patrick Fabian) who's spent his life performing fake exorcisms on deluded people may have finally stumbled upon the real deal. Daniel Stamm directs a horror movie produced by actor-director Eli Roth (Hostel).
Spring break. College kids. Zillions of flesh-eating piranha fish. Got it? Elizabeth Shue and Jerry O'Connell try to save the day (but not their careers). Directed by Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes).
After a battle with local tribesmen in Northern Britain, circa 117 A.D., a band of Roman soldiers try to get home in this action drama from the talented writer-director Neil Marshall (The Descent). Michael Fassbender and Dominic West star.
"I am death's booking clerk, death's bellhop." So states the narrator of Martin Booth's 2004 novel, A Very Private Gentleman. In this film version, directed by Anton Corbijn (Control), George Clooney is that "bellhop," who may or may not be an assassin, but either way, might soon be hunted like one.
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Born To Be A Star
When a Midwest nerd (Nick Swardson) finds out that his parents were once porn stars, he hits the road to Hollywood to see if he too has the goods. Tom Brady directs this comedy, co-written by Adam Sandler.
Director Robert Rodriguez, with the help of co-director Ethan Maniquis, has gone and made a real movie out of the fake trailer he created for the 2007 anthology flick, Grindhouse. In his first starring role, the great Danny Trejo plays an ex-Mexican Federale who's been "set up, double-crossed, and left for dead."