2014 Summer Movie Preview

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Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape. (Columbia Pictures)

Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape. (Columbia Pictures)

Summer. It’s that time of year again, and no, I’m not talking about beach weather or water fights. I’m talking about blockbuster season. Every Summer, usually starting in May, Hollywood throws the best it has to offer in big budget action tentpoles. You know the like—superheroes, monsters, disasters, etc.

Last year, there were so many of them that logistically they couldn’t all do well, and The Lone Ranger was left behind in the wake of commercial successes like Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel. So, as the temperature rises, the question lingers: Who will be the winners and losers of the 2014 summer blockbuster season?

Below is a list of this seasons 30 must-see movies. Comedy or drama, foreign or domestic, studio or indie; even if blockbusters aren’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty of variety that’s sure to entice your palate.MV5BMTExMzY5MjAwODZeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDg0NTcxNDAx._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_

The Double
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 9

A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and seductive with women.

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne
Studio: BBC Worldwide
Release Date: May 9

A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.

Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: May 16

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 23

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

Chinese Puzzle (France)
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Romain Durais, Cecile de France
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: May 30

Years after L’Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls, Xavier (Romain Durris)’s life is still a mess. His Ex, Wendy (Kelly Reilley) has left him in Paris and taken their kids to New York. Always up for an adventure, Xavier follows them to the city and begins to piece together a life for himself amidst the cheerful chaos of Downtown Manhattan. An imminent deadline for his new novel, the realities of immigration, and old friends Martine (Audrey Tatou) and Isabelle (Cécile de France) add to the vibrant jumble in this delightful conclusion to director Cédric Klapisch’s trilogy.

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Studio: Disney
Release Date: May 30

Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

A Million Ways to Die In the West
Starring: Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried
Studio: Universal
Release Date: May 30

As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.22_jump_street_movie_poster_1

22 Jump Street
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: June 13

After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.

The Signal
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: June 13

Nick and Jonah are MIT freshmen with a passion for hacking. While driving cross-country through Nevada with Nick’s girlfriend, Hailey, they follow rival hacker Nomad’s clues to a location 180 miles away. After a terrifying confrontation with Nomad in the middle of the desert, the trio regain consciousness in captivity. Struggling to comprehend the true nature of their confinement, they discover they are part of a plot much larger than themselves.

Le Chef (France)
Starring: Jean Reno, Michael Youn, Raphaelle Asogue, Julien Boisselier
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: June 20

Self-taught aspiring chef Jacky (Michaël Youn) has the talent, but not the luck. Star chef Alexandre Legarde (Jean Reno) is in danger of losing his reputation, along with his beloved restaurant. Fate brings the two together and helps them along a journey through the intoxicating world of French haute-cuisine.MV5BMjAwNTk0OTczNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTI3NDE2MTE@._V1._CR29,29,953,1442_SX214_AL_

Third Person
Starring: Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: June 20

This film tells three stories of love, passion, trust and betrayal, in a multi-strand story line reminiscent of Paul Haggis’s earlier Oscar-winning film Crash. The tales plays out in New York, Paris and Rome: three couples who appear to have nothing related but share deep commonalities: lovers and estranged spouses, children lost and found.

Transformers: Age of Extinction
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz
Studio: Paramount
Release Date: June 25

Transformers 4 begins after an epic battle left a great city torn, but with the world saved. As humanity picks up the pieces, a shadowy group reveals itself in an attempt to control the direction of history…while an ancient, powerful new menace sets Earth in its crosshairs. With help from a new cast of humans (led by Mark Wahlberg), Optimus Prime and the Autobots rise to meet their most fearsome challenge yet. In an incredible adventure, they are swept up in a war of good and evil, ultimately leading to a climactic battle across the world.

Snowpiercer (S. Korea)
Starring: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Kang-ho Song, Go Ah-sung
Studio: Weinstein Co.
Release Date: June 27

In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off all life on the planet except for a lucky few that boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, where a class system evolves.

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 2

After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.

Deliver Us From Evil
Starring: Eric Bana, Olivia Munn, Edgar Ramirez
Studio: Screen Gems
Release Date: July 2

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie, struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. Inspired by the book, which details Sarchie’s bone-chilling real-life cases.1538876_666965496702276_4649606550040539482_n

May in the Summer (Jordan)
Starring: Cherain Dabis, Alia Shawkat, Nadine Malouf
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: July 11

This film follows sophisticated New Yorker May Brennan to her childhood home of Amman, Jordan for her wedding. Shortly after reuniting with her sisters and their long-since divorced parents, myriad familial and cultural conflicts lead May to question the big step she is about to take.

Land Ho!
Starring: Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: July 11

Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, Mitch, a brassy former surgeon, convinces his mild-mannered ex-brother-in-law Colin to take a trip with him to Iceland. The sixty-something pair set off in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavík nightclubs, trendy spas, adventurous restaurants, and rugged campsites. But they quickly discover that you can’t escape yourself, no matter how far you travel.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 11

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: July 11

The film tells a story of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son. The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows.

Sex Tape
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel
Studio: Columbia
Release Date: July 25

When Jay and Annie first got together, their romantic connection was intense – but ten years and two kids later, the flame of their love needs a spark. To kick things up a notch, they decide – why not? – to make a video of themselves trying out every position in The Joy of Sex in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea – until they discover that their most private video is no longer private. With their reputations on the line, they know they’re just one click away from being laid bare to the world… but as their race to reclaim their video leads to a night they’ll never forget, they’ll find that their video will expose even more than they bargained for.

Magic in the Moonlight
Starring: Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Emma Stone
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: July 25

Legendary filmmaker Woody Allen’s latest film is a romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue.Hercules-TheRock-Poster

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane
Studio: Paramount
Release Date: July 25

Based on Radical Comics’ Hercules by Steve Moore, this ensemble-action film is a revisionist take on the classic myth, Hercules. The epic action film also stars Golden Globe Winner Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and Academy Award-nominee John Hurt.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Studio: Disney
Release Date: August 1

An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Let’s Be Cops
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans, Jr
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: August 13

Two struggling pals dress as police officers for a costume party and become neighborhood sensations. But when these newly-minted “heroes” get tangled in a real life web of mobsters and dirty detectives, they must put their fake badges on the line.

The Expendables 3
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: August 15

In the newest installment, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables — but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in The Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

The Liberator (Spain)
Starring: Edgar Ramirez, Maria Valverde, Danny Huston, Imanol Arias
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: August 22

Simón Bolívar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered – it liberated.

Love is Strange
Starring: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei
Studio: Sony
Release Date: August 22

Ben and George take advantage of New York’s new marriage laws and tie the knot after being together for 39 years. Unfortunately, the Catholic school where George teaches does not approve and they reluctantly fire him, forcing the couple to split up and stay with friends while they sell their apartment and look for cheaper housing. George crashes with two gay police officers, while Ben, who’s a painter, bunks with his nephew’s family in Brooklyn – a temporary situation that weighs heavily on all involved.

Cantinflas (Mexico)
Starring: Oscar Jaenada, James Michael Imperioli, Luis Gerardo Mendez
Studio: Pantelion
Release Date: August 29

Cantinflas is the untold story of Mexico’s greatest and most beloved comedy film star of all time. From his humble origins on the small stage to the bright lights of Hollywood, Cantinflas became famous around the world – one joke at a time. Relive the laughter that has charmed generations.

The Notebook (Hungary)
Starring: András Gyémánt, László Gyémánt
Studio: Sony
Release Date: August 29

Towards the end of World War II, people in big cities are at the mercy of air raids and death by starvation. A desperate young mother leaves her 13-year-old twin sons at their grandmother’s house in the country, despite the fact that this grandmother is a cruel and bestial alcoholic. Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. They realize that the only way to cope with the absurd and inhumane world of adults and war is to become completely unfeeling and merciless.MV5BODIxMDUxNjQyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE5MTI2MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_

The Equalizer
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Moretz, Melissa Leo
Studio: Columbia
Release Date: Sept 26

In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.

Mark Mikhail is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering arts and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter: @markmikhail34
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