Summer movies to tempt you off the couch

Summer could easily be bookended by two exciting superhero movies—that is, if your summer ended in July. With all the hype they’ve been getting, you may not realize that there are more movies coming out than “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises”—but what are they? Here’s a glimpse at what else may occupy some of those summer nights when you have nothing else to do.

“The Avengers”: May 4

What do you get when you combine stars like Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, and Samuel Jackson into one movie? The most powerful superhero movie of all time. (And I’m not just making that claim because I’m a total Joss Whedon fangirl. Okay, maybe just a little bit.) Comic book brand Marvel combined its main superheroes into one series and called it “The Avengers,” and since the comic exists, the movie was inevitable sometime soon, right? Of course. It was supposed to be a secret, but “Thor” villain Loki will probably terrorize the good guys in this ensemble film. And since it’s written and directed by Joss Whedon, it’s just going to be an all-around great movie. –Andie Hutner

“Men in Black III”: May 25

So you may be thinking to yourself, “Why did they make another ‘Men in Black’ movie 10 years after the last one? Didn’t ‘Men in Black II’ end on a fairly ambiguous note that could have been wrapped up way sooner?” Well from the trailer, it looks like it was a great idea to wait. The movie adds a new piece to the puzzle of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J’s (Will Smith) relationship: whether or not Agent K has been dead for 40 years. There’s also time travel to the past where Agent J tries to stop an alien from assassinating Agent K (played in the past by Josh Brolin), adding a whole new dimension to the franchise beyond the usual alien suspects. Plus, they’ve clearly used the past decade to update their special effects. It looks awesome, and we all know trailers never lie, so I’m totally going to go see it. –Alieza Schvimer

“Rock of Ages”: June 15

The latest Broadway musical to be turned into a film, “Rock of Ages” features the music of ’80s bands including Journey, Foreigner, Poison and Bon Jovi. It’s a love story that takes place at a Hollywood club in 1987, but I’m pretty sure the selling point of the film is Tom Cruise as aging musician Stacee Jaxx. Yes, he even has a girl’s name. It seems silly, but the cast is stellar, including stars like Russell Brand, Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta Jones, Bryan Cranston, Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, and of course the aforementioned Cruise. –Andie Hutner

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”: June 22

Do you like the Civil War but find that the history aspect bogs you down? Well, then this movie might be for you. It stars Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln, though it’s Lincoln like you’ve never seen him before. This incarnation of our 16th president fights vampires after learning that his mother was murdered by such a supernatural creature. The film is based on a 2010 book by Seth Grahame-Smith. Fun fact: Benjamin Walker played Andrew Jackson in rock Broadway musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” so he’s sacrilegiously making his way down the dollar bill presidents. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for Washington. –Andie Hutner

“Brave”: June 22

Yes, Pixar is finally producing a film that has a main female protagonist. What a progressive concept! All joking aside, “Brave” looks like it has the makings of another great Pixar blockbuster. The film, which takes place in 10th century Scotland, focuses on princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), who wants nothing to do with her birthright and the suitors her parents have chosen for her. Of course, this wreaks havoc in her parents’ kingdom, and she learns the true meaning of bravery along the way. Apparently, it’s not a cartoon retelling of “Braveheart,” which I totally thought it was considering the title and the fact that its set in Scotland, but I still think it will be a great film. –Andie Hutner

“Magic Mike”: June 29

Channing Tatum as a male stripper may seem like an obvious role to anyone who has ever seen his abs. The role seems even more like typecasting if you know his background. Tatum actually was a male stripper before getting into acting and “Magic Mike” is loosely based on his life. Tatum has been recently branching out from stoic action hero roles (see “21 Jump Street”) and now has a chance to show some more serious emotion in what appears to be a character-driven story, albeit one with a lot of naked men. Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s Eleven”) directs, which should give Tatum a chance to shine. –Trevor Leuzinger

“The Amazing Spider-Man”: July 3

The superhero movie of the summer that no one other than me is looking forward to, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” picks up 10 years after the first “Spider-Man” began the superhero-movie craze that is finally beginning to die down. So what will make this worth seeing? This is Marc Webb’s (“(500) Days of Summer”) second feature film, and it will be interesting to see how he handles this material. He is helped by a brilliant cast headed by the young and beautiful Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) as Peter Parker and Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as his love interest Gwen Stacy. Martin Sheen plays Uncle Ben and character actor Rhys Ifans is the villain, Lizard. The movie probably won’t add much to the Spider-Man story, but I will pay admission just for the scenes of Spidey swinging through New York City. –Trevor Leuzinger

“Savages”: July 6

Marijuana, love triangles, Mexican drug cartels—one of these things is not like the others, but somehow Oliver Stone (“Wall Street”) made a movie involving all of them. Blake Lively (no one will know her name in the movie anyway) has two boyfriends, Ben and Chon, who happen to be business partners. But when they defy the new cartel in town, the leader, Elena (Salma Hayek), sends her creepy honcho, Lado (Benicio del Toro), to capture the girl. Somehow, true love will prevail (except there are two guys so who knows how that will work out cleanly). John Travolta is also in the movie as a federal agent. The boyfriends are played by Taylor Kitsch (“John Carter”) and Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass”) which probably won’t give quite the star power needed to have this movie make a dent in a loaded summer. –Trevor Leuzinger

“The Dark Knight Rises”: July 20

One of the most anticipated films of the summer, “The Dark Knight Rises” aims to provide a thrilling conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Set eight years after “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises” features Batman returning to Gotham while a new villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), threatens to raze the storied city. Anne Hathaway’s role as Selina Kyle promises a novel interpretation of Catwoman, one that hopefully exceeds Halle Berry’s failed attempt in 2004. Audiences have set high expectations for “The Dark Knight Rises,” seeing as its predecessor was considered one of the best films of 2008, in part because of Heath Ledger’s haunting Joker. While an Oscar nomination is probably not in the cards for Tom Hardy, Bane is the antithesis of Batman and will ideally be an equally enticing character to watch. –Glenn Harris

“Total Recall”: August 3

It’s a re-make of a sci-fi classic that is sort of like what the “Bourne” series would be if it were set in the future. Colin Farrell is a seemingly normal man suffering from nightmares until he goes to a business that allows any fantasy you want to become a memory. “Memories” rush back to him and people start to try to kill him. Luckily he has the necessary skills to protect himself and find the truth. The director of the “Underworld” series, Len Wiseman, is at the helm, and Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale are either friends or enemies, although nothing is certain. The summer is light on movies set in the future so this has a chance to do well, and, with Farrell in it, it should. –Trevor Leuzinger

“The Bourne Legacy”: August 3

Bourne is back, except this time he’s played by Jeremy Renner and his name is Aaron Cross. So really, the studio is simply using the Bourne brand name to sell tickets to a movie. Hopefully Renner is a suitable replacement for Matt Damon. The only thing keeping this movie from seeming wholly unnecessary is the star-studded cast. Somehow, they convinced Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton to be in the movie. Norton in a villain role is worth the price of admission alone. –Georgie Morvis

  • Gr

    Can not express how excited I am to see Tom Cruise in this! It’s almost a continuation to Lestat