The heat is on, not only outdoors but on the big screen as Hollywood rolls out its biggest, priciest and most heavily-hyped movies over the next three months. While Iron Man 3 may have gotten a jump start at the cineplex, there is plenty more to look forward to below. Note: All release dates are subject to change.
The Hangover Part III - Opens May 24:
The “Wolfpack” comprised of stars Bradley Cooper (fresh off his Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook), Ed Helms and Zack Galifianakis take a road trip this time around. Their numerous adversaries, inadvertent victims and/or allies are played by Heather Graham (returning from the first Hangover), Melissa McCarthy, John Goodman and The New Normal’s Justin Bartha. And, of course, Ken Jeong is once again on hand as the oft-naked Mr. Chow.
Fast & Furious 6 - Opens May 24:
Musclemen Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson (who seems to be in every other movie nowadays), Tyrese Gibson and Jason Statham and their muscle cars once again crash onto the big screen. Michelle Rodriguez also returns as tough yet sensitive car thief Letty. Few fans likely go to the Fast & Furious films for their plots, but are instead drawn by the admittedly cool spectacle of flying, rolling, cartwheeling roadster mayhem. This one definitely looks like it will fulfill their expectations.
The Kings of Summer - Opens May 31:
A big hit at January’s Sundance Film Festival. Three teenaged boys, seeking to escape their repressive home lives, decide to build a house in the woods for themselves and live off the land. They face unexpected environmental and relational challenges along their coming-of-age path. Karen Walker herself, Megan Mullally, appears as the mother of one of the boys.
This Is the End - Opens June 12:
James Franco, the hardest-working man in movies after Dwayne Johnson, teams up with funny guys Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Jason Segel. They and a host of other celebs play themselves, who unfortunately have to confront the end of the world while attending a party hosted by Franco. Reportedly, the gay-curious Franco (see his recent turns in Milk, Howl, The Broken Tower and Interior. Leather Bar; no, Oz The Great and Powerful doesn’t count) is raked over the coals about his sexuality in this comedy.
Man of Steel - Opens June 14:
Super-stylish director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) teams up with the Dark Knight producer-writer team of Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer for this new, darker take on Superman’s origin and exploits. Henry Cavill (The Tudors, Immortals) stars in the title role, with Oscar nominee Michael Shannon opposite him as evil General Zod. The all-star supporting cast includes Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Pa and Ma Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne, in colorblind casting, as news editor Perry White. Gay fave Christopher Meloni (Oz) also appears as a military bigwig.
World War Z - Opens June 21:
Brangelina’s male half, Brad Pitt, produced and stars in this apocalyptic chiller. He plays a United Nations worker and family man who races around the world in order to stop an unknown virus that is rapidly turning humanity into flesh-craving zombies. The film’s trailer showing the creatures literally crawling over themselves like ants to scale walls and catch their prey is truly unsettling. These aren’t your traditional, slo-mo walking dead. Lost hottie Matthew Fox co-stars.
I’m So Excited - Opens June 28:
Pedro Almodóvar’s latest looks like a return to all-out comedy form after the gay filmmaker’s more serious, recent endeavors such as The Skin I Live In and Broken Embraces. Almost entirely set on a passenger jet forced to keep circling Mexico City due to a malfunction, it sounds like a delirious spoof of the old Airport disaster movies. A healthy dose of bisexuality, a drug-fueled orgy and Pointer Sisters songs are reportedly thrown into the mix. Almodovar regulars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz head the cast.
The Heat - Opens June 28:
The potentially hilarious teaming of Oscar winner Sandra Bullock and Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy has definitely piqued my interest. Here, they play a mismatched FBI agent and a Boston cop assigned to work together in order to take down a ruthless drug lord. Directed by Paul Feig, whose last film was the estrogen-powered monster hit Bridesmaids.
White House Down - Opens June 28:
Gay director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla, 2012) is not one to be outdone when it comes to large-scale destruction on screen. Although the similarly-plotted Olympus Has Fallen beat it to theaters, this action-thriller about bad guys attacking 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and attempting to kidnap the President (played by Jamie Foxx) will probably leave the earlier movie in the dust. Channing Tatum (Magic Mike) stars as the Commander-in-Chief’s studly, tank top-clad bodyguard.
The Lone Ranger - Opens July 3:
Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) stars as the masked do-gooder of radio, TV and a flop 1981 big-screen take on the legend. Johnny Depp is at his side as devoted Native American partner Tonto. The new version recounts the hero’s beginnings while pitting him against arch-enemy Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and other miscreants played by Oscar nominees Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham Carter. Hi-yo, Silver, away!
Pacific Rim - Opens July 12:
In what may well be this summer’s most original adventure, the human race is forced to battle massive monsters from another dimension who invade Earth by creating giant robot warriors. Charlie Hunnam, who played the original twink Nathan on the British Queer as Folk and now appears on Sons of Anarchy, has his first lead action movie role as the robots’ chief pilot. Written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro of Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth fame.
The Hot Flashes - Opens July 12:
I've actually already seen this sports-tinged comedy, which could emerge as the sleeper hit of the summer. The stellar, menopausal quintet of Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah (in a lesbian role), Camryn Manheim, out comedian Wanda Sykes and Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen are former high school athletes who re-group to save their deceased friend's mobile breast cancer clinic. It is hilarious, heartfelt and, most significantly during a special effects-dominated season, human.
The Wolverine - Opens July 26:
Our favorite adamantium-clawed hero returns, once again played by one of our favorite leading men of screen and stage, Hugh Jackman. His latest adventure, which reportedly takes place after the events of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, finds Logan in Japan fighting ninjas, gangsters and the villainous female mutant, Viper. Famke Janssen is also slated to make a re-appearance as Jean Grey/Phoenix. Of course, the main draw for many will be Hugh taking his shirt off.
The Smurfs 2 - Opens July 31:
Oh no! Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) has been abducted by that nasty Gargamel (Hank Azaria). The Smurfs’ human friend, gay poster boy Neil Patrick Harris, must come to their aid. Other gay actors or community favorites in this sequel’s voice cast include AlanCumming, Christina Ricci, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and the late, great Jonathan Winters. With so much GLBT energy in these family films, I’m surprised the Smurfs don’t change colors from blue to rainbow!
Elysium - Opens August 9:
Matt Damon and out actress Jodie Foster (she did finally come out at the Golden Globes, didn’t she?) headline this sci-fi opus from the writer-director of the terrific District 9. Set in the year 2159, Damon plays a lower-class, earthbound worker who becomes contaminated by radiation and must break into the space station community of the wealthy to find a cure. Foster is the amoral Corporate Authority out to stop him. It sounds like it will play with class issues the way District 9 potently did with race.
Lovelace - Opens August 9:
A big-screen biography of 1970’s porn star Linda Lovelace. Though she suffered greatly, Lovelace’s popularity helped legitimize the adult industry and arguably helped to empower women at the height of the sexual revolution. Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Les Miserables) takes on the title role, with Peter Sarsgaard as her abusive husband and James Franco (again!) making a cameo as Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. Co-directed by gay filmmakers Rob Epstein and JeffreyFriedman (The Celluloid Closet, Howl).