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Summer movie season has arrived. There are an insane number of films on the following list, and plenty of room for optimism. To that end, we've tried to cut back on the snarky comments about pointless sequels and loathsome actors — although it's nearly impossible to let those infernal pirates sail by without a slap or two. But, hey, they can take it, because they're really, really rich, and because everyone knows pirates can't read. Happy summer.

All dates listed are tentative.

Starring: Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tom McInerny, Toby Stephens
Directed by: Christopher Smith
On a corporate retreat in Budapest an international arms dealer and his six employees are attacked by crazed mercenaries, who — we're just guessing here — must be pissed over not having received a bulk discount. (Magnolia) June 8.

Starring: Michel Piccoli, Bulle Ogier, Ricardo Trépa
Directed by: Manoel de Oliveira
For this delightfully unexpected project, 99-year-old Portuguese director de Oliveira, a master himself, wonders what might have become, in their later years, of Severine and Henri, the two main characters from Luis Buñuel's 1967 masterpiece Belle de Jour. Piccoli reprises the role of Henri while Ogier takes over as Severine, a part originally played, so indelibly, by Catherine Deneuve. (New Yorker Films) June.

Directed by: Guy Maddin
This new 90-minute silent film from Canadian filmmaker Maddin is a black-and-white comedy/melodrama/tragedy about a man who's flashing back to a childhood spent in the orphanage his crazy parents ran inside a lighthouse, on a remote island. There's a mad scientist, twin teen detectives, and a mother who takes turpentine baths to "wash away the sin!" (Tartan) July.

Starring: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Heather Matarazzo, Roger Bart
Directed by: Eli Roth
In a decidedly unkempt Slovakian dungeon, three vacationing Americans are flayed, decapitated, and generally mistreated by insane rich men with knives. Summer movie fun for the whole family. (Lionsgate) June 8.

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Jean-Paul Rouve, Clotilde Courau
Directed by: Olivier Dahan
Raised in a brothel, blind for a time as a child, and suspected of murder, French chanteuse Edith Piaf is long overdue for a biopic. The year's first bit of Oscar buzz is building for Cotillard's fierce performance. (Picturehouse) Mid- to late June.

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
A band of very pretty people rob a casino. (Warner Bros.) June 8.

Starring: Louis Koo
Directed by: Johnnie To
Young Hong Kong gangster Jimmy (Koo) is trying to go straight, but pending corruption charges force him to battle his way to the top of the crime family. (Tartan) Summer.

Directed by: Keven McAlester
A documentary on the life of Roger Kynard "Roky" Erickson, whose 1960s band the 13th Floor Elevators are considered the inventors of "psychedelic rock." After a drug bust, Erickson went into a Texas mental hospital and came out delusional and paranoid. The film tracks an attempt by his younger brother to save him. (Palm) Late June.

Starring: Loren Horsley, Jermaine Clement, Brian Sergent, Rachel House
Directed by: Taika Waititi
At a "dress as your favorite animal" party, a New Zealand oddball named Lily (Horsley), dressed as a shark, falls for a lonely guy named Jarrod (Clement), dressed as an Eagle. Love and comic mayhem follow. (Miramax) June 29.

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon
Directed by: Tim Story
In this sequel to a film every comic geek saw but few loved, a silver-skinned cool dude superhero on a surfboard joins forces with the Fab Four to once again defeat the evil Dr. Doom. (Fox) June 15.

Starring: Billy Connolly, Carrie-Anne Moss, Dylan Baker, K'Sun Ray
Directed by: Andrew Currie
In 1950s suburbia, where an invasion of zombies has been thwarted and the flesh-eaters turned into household servants, young Timmy's family finally gets a zombie housekeeper/pet of their own, a benign, wise hulk that Timmy dubs "Fido." (Lionsgate) June 15.

Starring: Sam Worthington, Victoria Hill, Gary Sweet, Matt Doran
Directed by: Geoffrey Wright
Australian filmmaker Wright (Romper Stomper) sets Macbeth (Worthington) and his murderous mum (Hill) in a modern-day Melbourne, where Duncan (Sweet) is a crime boss whose end is near. (Union Station Media/Truly Indie) July.

Starring: Emma Roberts, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tate Donovan
Directed by: Andrew Fleming
The rare summer movie that may appeal to your grandmother, this big-screen adaptation of the young-adult mystery series stars Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric, niece to Julia) as a modern-day version of the plucky 1930s teen sleuth. Give it a chance, though: Fleming wrote and directed Dick. (Warner Bros.) June 15.

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Chuck Wilson is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group. VMG publications include Denver Westword, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Houston Press and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.