We're only a couple weeks out from another summer blockbuster season filled with sequels, prequels, remakes and even some fresh new ideas. Here's a look at what's on tap throughout the first half of the summer months.
Captain America: Civil War - May 4th
Guaranteed to be this summer's biggest box office smash, Captain America: Civil War is also the first major release to kick off the festivities. After a disappointing debut for the DC Comics universe with Dawn of Justice, all eyes will shift back to the well-developed series that Marvel has put together. In a well constructed set of interweaving storylines, the pinnacle of the action will finally reach theaters on May 4th as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) feud over the future of the Avengers.
The Nice Guys - May 20th
Speaking of the Marvel film universe, Iron Man 3 director, Shane Black, transitions to the comedy caper genre with the intriguing movie prospect, The Nice Guys. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as an "enforcer" and a private investigator whose decide to work together to uncover the disappearance of a young woman and the death of a porn star. Shane Black, who also directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, seems like a perfect match for his strong pair of lead actors. Keep an eye out for The Nice Guys later in May.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising - May 20th
While I admittedly have some reservations regarding the comedy sequel, Neighbors 2, the other laughing-inducing prospects this summer really haven't caught my attention either. Therefore, when it comes to the mighty summer comedy, I must default to the always enjoyable Seth Rogen. This time around Rogen's character and his wife (Rose Byrne) are hoping to sell their house when a destructive new sorority moves in right next door. These dueling neighbors reach a tipping point that forces the couple to bring in reinforcements (Zac Efron) to put an end to this madness. My fingers are crossed that Neighbors 2 is at least decent, but I guess we'll find out later next month.
Other May Releases: The financial drama Money Monster (5/13) starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney. A popular children's game transitions to the big screen with The Angry Birds Movie (5/20), and the imaginative sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass (5/27), debuts as well. Finally, the X-Men will return again with X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27).
Finding Dory - June 17th
I'm typical impartial when it comes to kids' movies. However, Finding Nemo was such a superior entry that it actually makes me excited for the long-awaited sequel, Finding Dory. This time around the scatter-brained Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) remembers images of her family and sets out on a mission to find them in the vast ocean waters. The return of Marlin, Nemo and Crush the sea turtle all combine to make Finding Dory my most anticipated release of June.
Independence Day: Resurgence - June 24th
Another delayed sequel 20 years in the making will debut later in June. Independence Day: Resurgence features Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as a satellite expert who must, once again, help prepare Earth for the battle of human existence. Unfortuantely, Will Smith is nowhere to be found but Liam Hemsworth steps into a leading role and Roland Emmerich has returned to the director's chair. It's always dangerous trying to recapture the essence of a 20 year-old success, but perhaps this one will.
Free State of Jones - June 24th
Following Matthew McConaughey's well-deserved Oscar Win for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, he's certainly become a must-watch actor. In an unconventional summer blockbuster, McConaughey teams with Academy Award Nominated screenwriter and director, Gary Ross, in the Civil War drama, Free State of Jones. Set in 1860s Mississippi during the height of the war, a rebellious southern farmer (McConaughey) leads an uprising against the Confederate army as Jones County fights to secede from the Confederacy. Boasting epic potential, Free State of Jones arrives in theaters on June 24th.
Other June Releases: The pair of sequels Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (6/3) and Now You See Me 2 (6/10) will kick off the month of June. Horror fans will have plenty of titles to look forward to as the middle of summer approaches with The Conjuring 2 (6/10), Bye Bye Man (6/3) and the long-awaited Eli Roth produced Clown (6/17). Finally the video-game adapted Warcraft (6/10) and action-comedy Central Intelligence (6/17) starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart close out the month.
* Stay tuned this week for July & August *