By Matt Wiley

It’s sure to be a blockbuster summer with more popcorn, apocalypses, sci-fi, superheroes and action than in recent memory. From family-friendly monsters trying to get a college degree to Superman, escape the summer heat with some summer movies at the Muvico Starlight 20, located on Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. or at the Cobb Grove 16 Theatre & Cinebistro, located in The Grove at Wesley Chapel plaza.

The following is a self-proclaimed movie buff’s (trust me, I used to work at Blockbuster) preview of what to check out (or not) on the big screen during the next few months. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, let us know in the comments at or WCNeighborhoodNews. com, where there are even more previews and trailers to help you decide what to see this summer.



“Iron Man 3” – (Now playing, PG-13) The world is threatened once again, this time by Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin, and who better for the job of protecting it than Robert Downey, Jr., errr Iron Man? Expect to see the usual suspects reprise their roles in this third installment in the Marvel superhero’s franchise, which is directed by Shane Black, including Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jon Favreau (who directed the original), as well as newcomer Guy Pearce.


“Star Trek: Into Darkness” – (Now playing, PG-13) Soon to be Star Wars VII director J.J. Abrams steps back into the director’s chair for the sequel to the 2009 Star Trek franchise reboot (Commence nerd arguments regarding loyalty and conflict of interest). “Into Darkness” finds the universe endangered by an intergalactic terrorist with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his Enterprise crew in hot pursuit.


“The Hangover : Part III” – (May 24, R) The epic conclusion to the drug and booze cruise that is the “Wolf Pack” trilogy, but this time, there’s a new format. Maybe Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis remember everything? Doubtful.


“After Earth” – (May 31, Not Yet Rated) Will Smith and son Jayden try to help director M. Night Shyamalan redeem his post-“Signs” directing reputation on the big screen by crash landing on Earth in a film set 1,000 years after our planet is evacuated.



“This Is The End” – (June 12, R) Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson star alongside enough cameos to make heads spin in an apocalyptic survival tale, following a party at Franco’s house. Based on a bogus trailer put out by Rogen and Jay Baruchel (“She’s Out of My League”) about two guys stuck together in a room after the world ends, Rogen & Co. present (what looks like) a hilarious, raunchy and gory tale of the end times. I’m there.


“Man of Steel” – (June 14, PG-13) It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a potential new franchise to replace “The Dark Knight,” and many on the inter-Web speculate that it also could be the first of many films leading up to a D.C. Comics “Justice League” movie, similar to Marvel’s “The Avengers” last summer. From director Zach Snyder (“300”) and writers Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer (the latest Batman trilogy) comes a Superman film (the first in seven years), re-thought and set in a “more realistic world,” in which men from other planets can fly. Henry Cavill (“Immortals”) stars alongside Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon.


“Monsters University” – (June 21, Not Yet Rated) It’s been 12 years since we last heard from Monsters, Inc., employees Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal), but Disney Pixar brings the two “scarers” back to the big screen this summer to show us how they got their degrees in being scary.


“World War Z” – (June 21, Not Yet Rated) Based on the Max Brooks novel of the same name, a virus is turning much of the world into (CGI) hordes of zombies. Thank God we have Brad Pitt, playing a U.N. employee, to stop the virus from spreading. Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball”) directs Pitt as a man trying to save both his family and humanity. Development issues and script re-writes have plagued this film (see what I did there?) from the start, but hopefully it will be a fine addition to the zombie-survival genre, as the first made on a big-budget scale

“White House Down” – (June 28, Not Yet Rated) The idea already has been played out once this year in “Olympus Has Fallen,” but Ronald Emmerich (“2012”) directs what has been deemed “Die Hard in the White House,” about an off-duty police officer (Tampa Bay’s own Channing Tatum) on a tour of the national landmark with his daughter when it is taken over by armed men. Jamie Foxx (“Django Unchained”) plays the President. Yippee-ki-yay. Make John McClane proud, Mr. Tatum.



“Despicable Me 2” – (July 3, PG) Gru (Steve Carrel) and his mischievous little minions return in a follow-up to 2010’s “Despicable Me.” Expect safe family fun from the world’s nicest villain and a bunch of adorable little, yellow guys. Al Pacino, Russell Brand and Kristen Wiig lend their voices.


“The Lone Ranger” – (July 3, Not Yet Rated) Disney takes on the classic radio & TV hero of the ‘50s. Johnny Depp trades in his pirate hat for face paint and a feather in the role of Tonto, while Arnie Hammer (“The Social Network”) takes on the lead role as the masked renegade.


“R.I.P.D.” – (July 19, PG-13) Policeman Ryan Reynolds (“Green Lantern”) dies and goes to… the R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department), a group of undead cops who try to keep the world safe from undead forces. Partnered with Jeff Bridges, (who still looks to be in character following 2010’s “True Grit”), Reynolds tries to find the man behind his murder in this Robert Schwenke (“R.E.D”) film.


“The Wolverine” – (July 26, Not Yet Rated) Hugh Jack(ed)man is the true man of steel as everyone’s favorite mutant who battles samurais with his blades in modern-day Japan. James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) directs in a sort-of-sequel to 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”



“Elysium” – (August 9, Not Yet Rated) Director Neil Blomkamp returns to the director’s chair in his follow-up outing to 2009’s visually stunning “District 9,” a play on South African Apartheid, with “Elysium.” Matt Damon plays a common man living on earth, while 2154 society’s 1% reside on a space station. Damon decides to bring the rich back to his level. Jodie Foster costars.


“Kickass 2” – (August 16, Not Yet Rated) A sleeper hit in theaters, 2010’s “Kick-Ass” told a different kind of superhero story, in which the young heroes have no actual powers pulled straight from Mark Millar’s comic book of the same name. The action/comedy sequel brings Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) back to the screen to take on Red Mist’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, better known as “McLovin”), with new additions, including Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes


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