published Friday, May 13th, 2011

Comics characters dominate summer blockbuster films

When the heat of summer becomes too much to bear, the cool cavern of the cinema is often a welcome escape.

This summer is chock full of prequels, sequels and remakes. It’s a season guaranteed to either thrill or infuriate comic-book fans, as both DC and Marvel have selections being released.

There are pirates, wizards and vampires (no, not “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”). There are penguins, cars and Tiggers.

And definitely, whatever you do, do not leave the 3D glasses at home.

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber.

May

20: “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” 3D, Imax. Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow is larger than life in two dimensions. One can only imagine the Sparrow swagger in three. For this fourth installment of “Pirates,” Depp matches wits with Penelope Cruz, who plays the daughter of villain Blackbeard. Rob Marshall takes over for Gore Verbinski as director.

Also opening in May

26: “Kung Fu Panda 2” 3D.

26: “The Hangover, Part II.”

June

10: “Super 8” Imax. J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg team up for this science-fiction film about a group of teens who witness a train crash and suspect that something not-so-right might be afoot. The more a local deputy (Kyle Chandler) tries to uncover the truth, the more horror he finds.

17: “Green Lantern” 3D. A U.S. Air Force test pilot, Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), becomes the first human member of an intergalactic squadron that exists to protect peace and justice. It’s up to Hal to protect the fate of the universe against enemy force Parallax.

Also opening in June

3: “X-Men: First Class.”

10: “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.”

17: “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.”

24: “Cars 2” 3D, Imax.

24: “Bad Teacher.”

July

1: “Larry Crowne.” Tom Hanks pulls a Streisand as director, producer, star and writer (with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” writer/star Nia Vardalos) of this summer romantic dramedy, about a middle-aged man who sets out to finish his college degree after losing his job at a big-box company. Julia Roberts plays the disallusioned teacher who gets Crowne’s mojo working.

15: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” 3D, Imax. The saga of the most beloved boy wizard of all time comes to a close, 10 years after the first film opened, with part two of the epic film duo based on J.K. Rowling’s final book of the series. Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their quest to find the Horcruxes and destroy evil Lord Voldemort.

29: “Crazy Stupid Love.” Cal (Steve Carell), a man who seems to be living the dream, is thrown for a loop when his wife asks for a divorce. Not knowing how to navigate the singles scene, he takes advice from a player (Ryan Gosling), who might not know what love is all about either. Julianne Moore, Marisa Tomei and Emma Stone co-star.

Also opening in July

1: “Monte Carlo.”

1: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” 3D, Imax.

8: “The Zookeeper.”

8: “Horrible Bosses.”

15: “Winnie the Pooh.”

22: “Captain America: The First Avenger” 3D.

22: “Friends With Benefits.”

29: “Cowboys and Aliens.” 7/29

29 “Smurfs” 3D.

August

5: “The Change-Up.” Is it Freaky Friday for dudes? Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds co-star in this comedy about a married man who switches bodies with his suave, handsome best friend. The movie, directed by “Wedding Crashers’ ” David Dobkin and written by “The Hangover” scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, is likely to have some raunch to it. Leave the maiden aunts at home.

12: “The Help.” Based on the book by Kathryn Stockett, “The Help” is a story told by three women — two black, one white — in 1962 Jackson, Miss. Stockett wrote on her website that she was inspired to write the book after wishing she’d asked the maid who raised her as a child “what it felt like to be black in Mississippi working for our white family.”

19: “Fright Night” 3D. What is it about the 1980s? And vampires? Hollywood’s predilection for both continues with this remake of a 1985 flick about a teenager (Anton Yelchin) who suspects his new neighbor (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths.

Also opening in August

5: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

12: “30 Minutes or Less.”

12: “Late Bloomer.”

12: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.”

12: “Final Destination 5” 3D.

19: “Conan the Barbarian” 3D.

19: “Spy Kids 4.”

19: “One Day.”

26: “Our Idiot Brother.”

26: “Apollo 18.”

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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