Summer Preview: 35 Reasons We're Psyched for Summer
What do a mutant with muttonchops, a teenage wizard, a gay Austrian fashionista and giant freaking robots have in common? They're all part of this year's ginormous summer movie lineup, with stars and stories so big we can barely catch our breath.
Johnny Depp and Christian Bale as co-stars! A brand-new 'Star Trek' cast! Denzel Washington chasing down baddies, a heaven-bound Pixar creation, new movies from Judd Apatow and Quentin Tarantino ... We don't know about you, but we sure are psyched. Click through for 35 reasons why.
Summer Movies Genre Guides:
Fox / Disney / Universal / Warner Bros.
1. Harry Potter Apparates -- at Last
The world's very favorite wizard, Harry Potter, has been absent from screens for so long that Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrays him, has had time to act in an indie drama ('December Boys'), star in a British made-for-TV historical pic ('My Boy Jack') ... and go full-frontal on stage -- in London and Broadway. In other words, our little boy hero is growing up, and don't think Potter-philes haven't noticed. His fans are maturing too, but they're not too big to shriek like little girls at the sight of him in the hotly anticipated (and pushed from fall '08) 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.' (July 15)
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2. Hugh Jackman Reminds Us He's a Badass
Sure, he was a great Oscars host, but while we can appreciate a dancing, singing Hugh Jackman in a tux, we really love him when he's got his claws out ... as Wolverine, the tortured mutant with the fantastic muttonchops. That's why we're excited for 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine,' which promises not only to breathe life back into the 'X-Men' franchise but also to make us forget the three hours we wasted on 'Australia.' (May 1)
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20th Century Fox
3. Christian Bale to Terminators: "I'm Gonna F***ing Kick Your F***ing A**"
'T4' (is it a sequel? a prequel? both?), i.e. 'Terminator: Salvation,' is shaping up to be even more explosive than star Christian Bale's much-publicized on-set freak out. Even with the tamed PG-13 rating, thanks to a Pizza Hut tie-in, the 'Terminator' franchise appears to have a hit on its hands the size of those giant Terminators grabbing people up for human experimentation. After hearing Bale's rant, we just worry that up against his awesome vengeance, the cyborgs are gonna turn metal tail and run -- we know we would. (May 21)
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4. 'Star Trek' Cast: The Next NEXT Generation
A major emphasis in J.J. Abrams' master plan to reboot the 'Star Trek' franchise was to up the cool quotient in casting (not that Leonard Nimoy, who cameos, isn't one cool cat). The new crew is an eclectic mix of emerging Hollywood talent, starting with It boys Chris Pine (as Kirk) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov), 'Heroes' villain Zachary Quinto (Spock), hilarious Brit Simon Pegg (Scotty), 'Harold' stoner John Cho (Sulu), 'LOTR' vet Karl Urban (Bones) and the super-sexy Zoe Saldana (Uhura), plus turns by Eric Bana, Tyler Perry and Winona Ryder. (May 7)
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5. Is America Ready for 'Bruno'?
As proudly offensive and divisive as was 'Borat,'Sacha Baron Cohen's first foray into brilliant sociological satire disguised as shock humor, the movie's $128 million haul proved there was an audience. But will Americans in a split Prop 8-climate be as welcoming to his latest big-screen caricature, the flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista Bruno, who drags an S&M slave through a mall and attacks a self-defense instructor with two dildos? The side-splitting first trailer tells us "Hell, yes." (July 10)
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6. It's Not About the Robots
Sure, the sequel to 2007's 'Transformers' has a lot going for it: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, a bunch of giant talking robots and, of course, 789 explosions courtesy of director Michael Bay. But if we're honest with ourselves, the real draw of 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' is Megan Fox. Had Megatron been around to see the sexy starlet leaning over the hood of a car in the first flick, he might have just scrapped his whole "I want to destroy mankind" plan. But, hey, then there wouldn't be a sequel. (June 24)
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7. Depp and Bale, the Action/Acting Dream Team
Director Michael Mann's career highlights often involve setting up powerhouse actors in adversarial roles, such as De Niro and Pacino ('Heat'), Cruise and Foxx ('Collateral') ... and now there's Johnny Depp, as Depression-era bad boy John Dillinger, and Christian Bale, as dogged FBI agent Melvin Purvis, in 'Public Enemies.' We can't wait to see these two sink their teeth into a good, old-fashioned action drama without any pirate garb or superhero capes. Good job, Mann. (July 1)
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8. Welcome Back Tarantino, You Inglourious Basterd
Aside from the occasional (and highly strange) cameo on 'American Idol,'Quentin Tarantino hasn't been heard from much since his brilliant two-part revenge fantasy 'Kill Bill' ('Death Proof' was showy and fun, but hardly counts). He returns with a vengeance with 'Inglourious Basterds' (sic), a remake of a 'Dirty Dozen' remake that finds Brad Pitt and pals in the "killing Nazi business ... and business is booming." Expect enormous amounts of gloriously violent Nazi bloodshed. (August 21)
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9. We Like It When Denzel Beats Up Bad Guys
He can pull off any role: the inspirational teacher-coach, the caring husband-dad, even the cutthroat bad guy. But it's action movies that made Denzel Washington a star, and he'll be kicking plenty of bad-guy butt in the 'The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3' -- a remake of the 1974 original -- in which he plays an NYC subway dispatcher trying to thwart a John Travolta-led gang of hijackers. Ah, if only Denzel worked for the subway in real life. You can bet no one would jump the turnstile then. (June 12)
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'Taking of Pelham One Two Three' (1974):