Summer blockbusters. Next to Thanksgiving and Christmas, those precious three months of sun and fun may be the most lucrative seasonal opportunity for Hollywood to serve up amusing comedy romps and mind-blowing adventure flicks theater-goers still continue to ponder (read: “Inception”).
Whatever the genre, summer movies are notoriously coveted on those rainy days when nothing but an over-priced bucket of artery-clogging buttered popcorn and a good escape matinee will do. And for the upcoming season, it’s all about the sequels. So sit back, relax and enjoy the previews.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:
Release date: May 20
It wouldn’t be much of a summer movie line-up without a rum-boozing Jack Sparrow leading the pack. Since 2003, when we were first introduced to the swashbuckling high tides of this commandeering Caribbean crew, the franchise has exploded, punctuating nearly every other summer with the offbeat eccentricity of Johnny Depp. But since the first installment, the tides have turned, plot lines have grown increasingly more complicated and we’ve lost some critical cast members and even the original director, Gore Verbinski — these are stranger tides indeed. With the newest release set to focus more on Sparrow’s quest for the enigmatic Fountain of Youth and his titillating sexual tension with Blackbeard’s daughter, played by Penelope Cruz, audiences have to wonder if this newest “Pirates” was worth the wait, or if perhaps the quest should’ve ended with the final seaside sunset.
The Hangover Part II:
Release date: May 26
Crude, hilarious and bizarrely entertaining, “The Hangover” gave us three best friends that anyone could have. After cringing through the outrageous (mis)adventures of Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms, it didn’t seem possible that their rufie-induced antics could get any more ridiculous. Think again. This time Stu (Ed Helms) is the one getting hitched. The crew travels to Bangkok for the ceremony, where Stu opts for a dull and sober pre-wedding brunch, hoping to avoid the same fuzzy fate the crew endured in Las Vegas, only to lose Stu’s fiancée’s younger brother when him, Alan and Phil decide to go out for a “few” drinks. Bringing back cast favorites like Ken Jeong (Galifanakis’s wedding plus one) and new special guest stars, like Liam Neeson and Nick Cassavetes, “The Hangover Part II” is set to deliver the same one-liners and laugh-out-loud raw humor audiences couldn’t get enough of. We’ll cheers to that.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II:
Release date: July 15
Prepare to embark on the final frontier because the closing film installment of Harry Potter will finally reach its conclusion this July. After getting a taste for director David Yates’ cinematic translation of J.K. Rowling’s beloved world of muggles and wizards in November, fans have been wondering how Yates will wrap up the decade-long saga. Though the tension was successfully built in the first installment, the epic battle between Potter and Lord Voldemort looms, and so does that debatable epilogue that Rowling gave readers. We all know the ending, but we don’t know the silver screen journey we’ll take to get there. We can count on one thing, though, it’ll be magical.