Blockluster Summer 

There’s plenty of summer apocalypse left in the wake of “Godzilla.” Here are films positioned to take over the world, trailed by their feisty competition.

click to enlarge "Transformers: Age of Extinction"

"Transformers: Age of Extinction"

June

"Edge of Tomorrow" — Can director Doug Liman offer a fresh take on the alien apocalypse the way he reinvented the spy genre with "The Bourne Identity"? It depends on how cleverly Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt get in and out of their time-loop battle between humans and an alien race. June 6

"22 Jump Street" — The sequel to 2012's comic spin on the old Johnny Depp television series re-teams Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum for a cop comedy that likely will retain just enough street cred from the well-received original to take prisoners at the box office. June 13

"Jersey Boys" — The peripatetic filmography of Clint Eastwood follows his hard-boiled look at J. Edgar Hoover with an adaptation of a Tony-award winning musical, about the high-pitched singing group, the Four Seasons. Could be a surprise summer hit. June 20

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" — Hopefully whenever aliens do land on our planet to sort through the charred remains, their higher intelligence can answer how an unassuming if admittedly fun brand of old Hasbro toys could be transformed into this giant, goofy, nonsensical but unstoppable money-making juggernaut. June 27

July

"Tammy" — You don't have to be a fan of Melissa McCarthy ("Mike and Molly") to appreciate the potential in the teaser trailer for this comic farce about a hapless criminal. July 2

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" — Set a decade after the previous installment, this follow-up imagines war between human and ape survivors of the previous ape apocalypse. Would either outcome be the eventual evolution of human beings who re-engineer superapes, resulting in a Möbius strip of sequels? Executive producers will say "yes" after reaping the banana-load of goodwill generated by the first installment. July 11

"Jupiter Ascending" — If you bet the Wachowski-"Matrix" team ego would never go bigger than "Cloud Atlas," you just lost. One of the summer's biggest wild cards is this outsized space opera starring Mila Kunis as an Earth princess and Channing Tatum as her pointy-eared guardian. The gargantuan buffet of intergalactic and intergeneric ideas in the film's latest trailer recalls, well, everything, including "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "The Fifth Element," "Thor," "Dune," "The Terminator," Disney's "John Carter" and even, at times, "Game of Thrones." And not just because of the flying dragons. NOTE: "Jupiter Ascending" has been pushed back to April 2015 for wide release.

"Magic in the Moonlight" — A Woody Allen comedy about magic, mystery and romance set in the 1920s French countryside seems like the safest bet there is, because at this point a Woody Allen comedy about cancer in present-day Arkansas probably would be as well. July 25

August

"Guardians of the Galaxy" — It doesn't have the instant name recognition of other Marvel Studios properties, but the trailer promises just as much fun — if audiences can get past Bradley Cooper as a computer-rendered super-raccoon. Aug. 1

"Into the Storm" — People love looking at tornadoes, as long as they aren't headed their way, which means this "found-footage" thriller about gargantuan twisters threatening small towns "Jaws"-style probably will whip up a sizable audience. Aug. 8

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" — If you thought you would only be subjected to one loud, juvenile, live-action cartoon franchise-cum-movie produced by Michael Bay this summer, think again. He's also behind a reboot of Kevin Eastman's comic books about four turtle heroes with ninja powers. Bay watch: Megan Fox from "Transformers" plays the intrepid reporter-teenage-boy eye candy who gets the scoop in this franchise reboot. Aug. 8

The Stragglers
(films in limited release)

Summer's lower-budget dramas, comedies and action films tend to be overshadowed by the blockbuster giants, but usually are worth seeking out.

Out Now

"The Double" — Stylish Dostoyevsky adaptation starring Jesse Eisenberg.

"The Immigrant" — Period drama from James Gray ("We Own the Night," "Two Lovers") starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard.

"Palo Alto" — High school drama starring James Franco and directed by Gia Coppola, granddaughter of Frances Ford and niece of Sofia.

June

"Code Black" — Documentary about one of the oldest and busiest emergency rooms in America.

"Ivory Tower" — Documentary questions the value of higher education.

"The Rover" — Robert Pattinson and Guy Pierce in a "Mad Max"-style post-apocalypse scenario.

"Venus in Fur" — Roman Polanski adapts a kinky 2011 Broadway play.

July

"Mood Indigo" — Audrey Tautou cast in an alternate reality amid romantic whimsy by director Michel Gondry.

"A Most Wanted Man" — Another unusual spy thriller by director Anton Corbijn ("The American") this time starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

August

"Calvary" — Dry comedy from the maker of "The Guard" about a good priest (Brendan Gleeson) facing death threats from a mysterious parishioner.

click to enlarge "Frank"
  • "Frank"

"Frank" — Quirky British comedy about an indie-rock band, with the added risk of hiding charismatic star Michael Fassbender under a beach-ball sized mask.

"Life of Crime" — Early adventures of Elmore Leonard's character Ordell Robbie (Mos Def), best known from "Jackie Brown," itself adapted from Leonard's "Rum Punch."

"Starred Up" — Gritty prison drama from director David Mackenzie ("Mister Foe"), a wake-up call for the lazy end of summer.

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