Richard Corliss Previews the Movies of Summer 2013

Plan to drive fast, fight zombies and get hungover again

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TIME’s movie critic presents a handy guide to this summer’s cinematic offerings, starting with the…


FAST AND FURIOUS 6  Luke Evans joins Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and franchise enabler Dwayne Johnson in the all-American sports of crashing cars and pummeling rivals. The 2011 Fast Five unaccountably made one 10-best list (TIME’s), but that could have been a fluke of quality or of taste.  (May 24)

THE HANGOVER PART III  Melissa McCarthy joins the infernal trio (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zack Galifianakis) for a third episode whose existence is required only by the $1-billion-plus worldwide box office of the first two. Might be time for an AA intervention. (May 24)

THE WOLVERINE   Or: Hugh Jackman Goes to Japan. After the X-Men trilogy, his own 2009 spinoff and the briefest cameo in X-Men: First Class, the Clawed One faces the Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2007) in a Marvel smackdown directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line).  (July 26)

KICK-ASS 2  Really? The 2010 film, about teenagers with superhero aspirations but no special superpowers, was smart fun that attracted only modest box-office crowds. Nicolas Cage, the nominal star first time around, is replaced by Jim Carrey; and director Matthew Vaughn serves as producer and paterfamilias to new writer-director Jeff Wadlow. But the original trio of teens — Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse — is back, so there’s hope that a small gem might blossom into a franchise. (Aug. 16)

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES   An urban-contemporary Twilight Saga crossed with the Underworld movies, Cassandra Clare’s novels about a New York girl discovering her inner power, and a host of demons trying to destroy her, aim for teen franchise gold. Lily Collins (Snow White in Mirror Mirror) is Clary, the half-angel, all-warrior heroine.  (Aug. 23)


MAN OF STEEL  The Superman saga gets its latest reboot from director Zack Snyder, climbing out of the Sucker Punch doghouse, and producer Christopher (Dark Knight) Nolan. With Henry Cavill as the Kryptonian muscleman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Russell Crowe as Jor-El (Brando played him in 1978). Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane grace the slick supporting cast.  (June 14)

THE LONE RANGER  If Johnny Depp could play a sagebrush lizard in the animated delightRango, can Tonto be beyond his skill set? Rango’s Gore Verbinski directs this origin story of John Reid (Armie Hammer); Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, Depp’s abettors on the Pirates franchise, helped write the script.  (July 5)


NOW YOU SEE ME  A band of magicians acts like Robin Hood, pulling off heists and giving the money away. Clash of the Titans’ Louis Leterrier directs a smart cast, including veterans of Zombieland (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson) and the Dark Knight movies (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman).  (May 31)

AFTER EARTH I Am Legend plus WALL-E: a man and his son (Will and Jaden Smith) crash-land on Earth a thousand years after the apocalypse. The director is M. Night Shyamalan, who made good movies in the last millennium; the writer, Book of Eli’s Gary Whitta. (May 31)

WORLD WAR Z  As in Zombies! Brad Pitt stars as a UN troubleshooter trying to save humanity from a terrorist conspiracy of the walking dead. Pitt also produced this expensive, problem-strewn adaptation of the novel by Max Brooks (Mel’s son), directed by the genre-trotting Marc Forster (Monster’s BallFinding NeverlandThe Kite RunnerQuantum of Solace).  (June 21)

WHITE HOUSE DOWN  Does Hollywood have a POTUS death wish? After Olympus Has FallenG.I. Joe Retaliation and Iron Man Three, the President is in peril again in this fantasy drama from Doomsday-dependent director Roland Emmerich (Independence DayThe Day After Tomorrow2012). Familiar element: a rogue hero, played by Channing Tatum. Weird coincidence: the President is an African-American — Jamie Foxx.  (June 28)

PACIFIC RIM  It’s robots vs. aliens in this worlds-collide action epic — the Earth robot steered by two pilots, one for each side of the machine’s brain. The first film since 2008 directed by Guillermo Del Toro, the Mexican master (Pan’s LabyrinthHellboy) who spent two years preparing the Hobbit series later commandeered by producer Peter Jackson, Pacific Rim could be Transformers with a high I.Q. and a cinematic high.  (July 12)

2 GUNS  In the current climate, that might seem two guns too many. But two is never enough in a Hollywood action picture, especially with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg holding the firearms, as a pair of federal officers double-crossed by the mob ring they have been stealing from. Iceland’s Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband) shot the movie. (Aug. 2)

ELYSIUM  In the future world of 2154 (hmmm, the same year Avatar was set in), rich humans luxuriate on an Edenic space station called Elysium, while the 99 percent are stuck on Earth. (Hmmm: the same rich-poor dichotomy as in such recent fables as In Time and Upside Down.) It may sound like a sci-fi rehash, but we trust South African auteur Neil Blomkamp, who made his revelatory directorial debut with District 9, to provided new thrills and insights. Starring Matt Damon, Bourne again as a proletarian rebel, and Jodie Foster as the CEO of Elysium. (Aug. 9)


THE INTERNSHIP  Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play two middle-aged, unemployed salesmen who land an internship at Google and try adapting to the digital age. Is the plot a metaphor for the plight of these comedy stalwarts, neither of whom has starred iu a mainstream hit in four or five years?  (June 7)

THIS IS THE END  Think of Night of the Living Dead with the paranoia but not the zombies, or a one-room Pinter play with way more shouting. That was the 8-min. Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse that Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel shot in 2007 after appearing in Knocked Up. In this feature version they expand the cast (to everyone who’s been in a Judd Apatow movie, plus Emma Watson) and occasionally go outdoors. The dick jokes and moronic wit still apply.  (June 12)

THE HEAT  It’s a cop comedy, with girls: FBI agent Sandra Bullock and Boston policewoman Melissa McCarthy find that opposites distract as they chase a drug lord. Paul Feig, who scored with gyno-giggles in Bridesmaids, directs. (June 28)

R.I.P.D. Or: Zombie Cops! Ryan Reynolds, a recently deceased policeman, joins the Rest In Peace Department of undead vigilantes to find his murderer. This weird comedy presence, directed by Red’s Robert Schwentke, sports a cast of veteran overachievers: Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon and Mary-Louise Parker.  (July 19)

WE’RE THE MILLERS Weeds meets The Joneses: a pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) must quickly assemble a fake family (Jennifer Aniston, Will Poulter and Emma Roberts) to help him smuggle a drug cache into the U.S. across the Mexican border. Americans have voted to legalize marijuana in 18 states; will they elect We’re the Millers as a breakout August comedy?  (Aug. 9)

THE WORLD’S END  Director-writer Edgar Wright and writer-star Simon Pegg, along with designated lovable-oaf character actor Nick Frost, created Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, two of the past decade’s finest genre-bending comedies. They’re back with a movie about a five-friend pub crawl that explodes into a defense of imperiled Planet Earth.  (Aug 23)


EPIC  Animation director Chris Wedge takes a break from the Ice Age series for this world war of forest folk that sounds like J.R.R. Tolkien meets Hayao Miyazaki.  (May 24)

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY  Pixar’s first prequel feature sends Monsters, Inc. creatures Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) back to their college years, under the severe tutelage of M.U. Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren). A Pixar Harry Potter — and Hagrid?  (June 21)

DESPICABLE ME 2  Me Two is a July-August theme, with second chapters in six other franchises —Grown UpsRedWolverineKick-AssThe Smurfs and Percy Jackson — among the post-Independence Day offerings. In this sequel to the 2010 animated smash, the naughty-nice Gru (Steve Carrell’s voice) faces a new world-dominator wannabe, voiced by Andy Garcia. Tell the kids the adorable Minions are back.  (July 5)


FRANCES HA  Two indie icons, director Noah Baumbach and actress Greta Gerwig, cowrote this Nouvelle Vagueish comedy about a drifting New Yorker (Gerwig) in search of an apartment, and a life, of her own.  (May 17)

BEFORE MIDNIGHT  Indie directors love sequels too. Every nine years, Richard Linklater visits the sometime lovers Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in a different European country. After a Vienna tryst in the 1995 Before Sunrise and the Paris rendezvous in the 2004 Before Sunset, they hook up in Greece. But where will they meet in 2022?  (May 24)


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING  From maxi to mini: The Avengers’ director Joss Whedon shot this non-star update of Shakespeare’s rom-com in his backyard.  (June 7)

THE BLING RING  Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, obsessed with her clothes, had nothing on the gang of klepto-cuties who in 2010 stole frocks and jewels from the homes of L.A.’s glitterati. Coppola’s highly-caffeinated film version, based on a Vanity Fair article, stars Emma Watson, a long way from Hogwarts.  (June 14)

I’M SO EXCITED  Pedro Almodovar, perhaps the world’s top director-showman, returns to his campy, dyed roots in ’80s comedy with this delirious comedy about the passengers and crew on a plane that may be headed for disaster. Think Flight, relaunched as farce.  (June 28)

BLUE JASMINE  Woody Allen is back home for just the second time in his last nine films. The plot synopsis — “the story of the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife” — hints at a quarter-century-later return to Allen’s murky psychodramas starring Mia Farrow. Cate Blanchett heads the writer-director’s usual sterling cast: Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Sally Hawkins and Louis C.K.  (July 26)

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, we incorrectly identified the villain from Fast 6 as Chris Evans