Summer doesn’t officially start until the middle of June, but we all know that Hollywood plays by its own rules. Every year, the summer movie season seems to start earlier and earlier and this year is no exception. Iron Man 2 kicked it off this weekend, raking in gazillions of dollars and charming critics and run-of-the-mill moviegoers alike. Robert Rodriguez’s Machete closes it out on September 3 with a star-studded tribute to the b-film movie genre. What’s in the middle? Lots of action, comedy and even a little bit of drama.
Here's what to look forward to, complete with movie trailers! Tell us whether you plan to see it or skip it!
1. Sex and the City 2
Sex and the City 2: More marital woes. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Big (Chris Noth) lose their sparkle, post-matrimony. Enter tempters for each, Carrie’s ex, Aidan (John Corbett), and sexy Lydia (Penelope Cruz), and you’ve got some drama. But not too much, of course. After all, this is SATC. The girls do take a decadent romp through Abu Dhabi together, so you can expect plenty of great fashion and smutty sex talk.
2. Iron Man 2
In Theatres Now
Iron Man 2: Everything is bigger and louder and more Hollywood in this sequel to the unexpected 2008 hit: There are explosions, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) faceoffs with a Russian thug (a dreadlocked Mickey Rourke) and others in their own metal armor. Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) gets romantic competition in the shape of a new secretary with plenty of martial arts chops and a hidden agenda (Scarlett Johansson). Will it all work or will it be, well, too much? We’re betting on the witty Downey to pull it all together.
3. Robin Hood
Robin Hood: Russell Crowe plays the 12th century English soldier-turned-vigilante in Black Hawk Down director Ridley Scott’s grown up version of the story, which blends action with romance and drama (he falls in love with Marion, played as a fiercely independent widow by Cate Blanchett, and must inspire his countrymen to band together to fight the French) and fair amount of humor. Watch for Latino actor Oscar Isaac as the wackily evil King John.
4. Letters to Juliet
Letters to Juliet: Gael Garcia Bernal plays the neglectful fiancé of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a starry-eyed romantic who travels to Italy to help an older lady reconnect with the love of her life after 50 years. Expect a lot of gorgeous scenery and lots of romance as Sophie discovers what she really wants out of life.
5. Shrek Forever After
Shrek Forever After: The gang is back, supposedly for the last time, as a married and bored Shrek gets sent to a parallel Far Far Away, in which he never met Fiona. As usual, count on Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots, to steal the movie.
6. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Based on the video game, a prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) teams up with a princess to stop a bad guy from setting loose a sandstorm that can destroy the whole world. Yeah, whatever. Jake Gyllenhaal’s pecs. Yum. We’re there.
7. Get Him to the Greek
Get Him to the Greek: Can Judd Apatow keep us interested in his brand of comedy? Get Him to the Greek, which he is producing, may prove that he's here to stay. Apatow regular Jonah Hill plays a record company intern tasked with shepherding a downward-spiraling rock god, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) to his comeback concert in L.A.’s Greek Theater. The combo of Hill playing the straight man to freak Brand sounds like a match made in humor heaven.
8. The A-Team
The A-Team: This is one you agree to see with your man in return for him seeing Letters to Juliet with you. An update of the 1980s TV show, it focuses on four Iraq war vets who are framed for a crime and then must prove their innocence. Alas, no Mr. T, but at least you get to look at Bradley Cooper for a couple of hours.
9. Toy Story 3D
Toy Story 3D: The dependably great Pixar animated movie series hits the road as a grown up Andy’s toys are donated to a day care and they have to invent a way of getting out. Only 3D could make the sublime Toy Story better.
10. Grown Ups
Grown Ups: Ready for a something a little more adult? Look here, kinda. With a solid cast—Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider and David Spade—this comedy about five friends who get together after 30 years looks to deliver yuks that everyone can relate to. Bonus: it co-stars Salma Hayek, who displayed great comic timing on 30 Rock last year.
11. Knight and Day
Knight and Day: Cameron Diaz is back in territory where she excels—goofy comedy/action flicks. Here, she plays a regular girl who meets a what she thinks is a regular guy on a plane (Tom Cruise) and ends up globetrotting with him as a fugitive.
12. Twilight: Eclipse
Twilight: Eclipse: Teen angst, here we come. Take your little cuz, or indulge your high school fantasies; wither way, you can look forward to seeing more of the delicious Wolf Pack this time around.
13. The Last Airbender
The Last Airbender: M. Night Shaymalan takes a break from his surprise-ending mysteries by directing this adaptation of the cult comic fave, in which a boy who can control the elements fights to save mankind from baddies. See this one in 3D, with your little ones or nieces and nephews.
Restrepo: Thought The Hurt Locker was rough? This documentary, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance is the real thing. It follows a platoon (including several Latino soldiers) deployed to one of the most dangerous postings in the world (named after a Colombian-born Army medic killed in action), in Afghanistan’s insurgent-infested Korengal Valley. Harrowing but necessary.
Predators: In this Robert Rodriguez-produced reboot of the movie series, a group of elite fighters, including characters played by Brazilian actress Alice Braga and Rodriguez fave Danny Trejo, get hunted down by a alien race on another planet. Yeah, we’re about ready for the anti-Avatar.
16. Despicable Me
Despicable Me: Here’s an animated warm and fuzzy: An embittered loner who has been elaborating plans to steal the moon meets three orphan girls. Can we doubt that his hard little heart will melt and he will learn to love? Nope, and that’s a comforting thought.
Alamar (To the Sea): This small Mexican film has all the makings of a gem: It’s about a couple who decide to split up—he’s Mexican and likes a simple life in the jungle, she is Italian and wants to return home with their 5-year-old son, Natan. But before Natan goes, his father takes him on a trip to teach him about his Mayan roots.
Inception: The Dark Knight director Chris Nolan returns in a sci-fi action flick whose intricate plot is has been kept under wraps for years. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a thief who has made a living stealing ideas from the dreams of sleeping victims. His isolating line of work has cost him almost everything in his life, but he has a chance to redeem himself when he takes on a job not stealing an idea, but implanting one. Co-starring Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) and Marion Cotillard, it’s an intriguing premise.
19. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child: This seminal, influential Puerto Rican-Haitian artist, who rose to fame under the hedonistic, pressure cooker art world of the 1980s, died of an overdose in 1988. Two years before that, his friend Tamra Davis filmed an interview with him. The never-before-seen footage also shows him painting, talking about his unique art and upbringing and being playful in the midst of a troubled time. This film is not only a revelation, but a treasure.
Salt: What other actress can open an action movie as well as any actor? None but Angelina Jolie, who returns as an American operative accused of being a Russian double agent. Car chases, gun flight, acrobatic fights ensue as the baddest b*tch runs rampant over the big screen. Sign us up.
Beastly: More cheesy teen angst! In this take on “The Beauty and the Beast”, an arrogant, popular boy is turned into a scarred beast (by a witchy Mary-Kate Olson) in order to learn the value of loving someone on the inside. Co-starring Vanessa Hudgens as the girl who sees past the ugly.
22. Step-Up in 3D
Step-Up in 3D: Yes, the pickin’s get slimmer in August, traditional dumping ground for movies that can’t make it in June or July. But hey, this isn’t really about the storyline, it’s about the dancing. Lots of cool, abrobatic up-to-the-minute dancing. Just enjoy and go home to practice in front of the mirror.
23. The Expendables
The Expendables: OK, payback time again. You made your guy go to Beastly and now you gotta go with him to The Expendables, yet another action flick about a team of warriors with nothing to lose and everything to prove, and which just may live up to its name. But then again, starring Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Austin, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and David Zayas (Dexter), it may just be a testosterone circus worth watching, if only for the laughs.
Machete: Robert Rodriguez directs cousin and professional badass Danny Trejo in this long-brewing movie about an ex-Mexican Federale who is hired to off a Senator (Robert DeNiro) but realizes he’s been set up. With Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan and weirdly, Steven Seagal. Somehow, we're sure this will work.