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Originally published April 27, 2014 at 6:22 AM | Page modified April 28, 2014 at 2:25 PM

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Summer movie preview: 39 of the season's top releases

A massive list of summer movies, grouped for your cinema-going ease.

Seattle Times movie critic


A quick rundown of some of the summer season’s other offerings, conveniently arranged by category; note that release dates are tentative and as changeable as, well, a Transformer ...


What’s that rumble I hear? Why, it’s “Godzilla,” lumbering into theaters May 16. The Autobots and Decepticons return in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (June 27), as do those CGI-created apes in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (July 11). Another Marvel Comic comes to life with “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Aug. 1), starring former local Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt fight aliens in “Edge of Tomorrow” (June 6), Mila Kunis faces potential assassination in Andy and Lana Wachowskis’ futuristic “Jupiter Ascending” (July 18), and Megan Fox stars with a quartet of presumably pizza-loving turtles in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (Aug. 8).


Seth McFarlane, last seen amusing/offending audiences (depends who you ask) on last year’s Oscar telecast, directed/wrote/stars in the goofy-sounding Western “A Million Ways to Die in the West” (May 30). Melissa McCarthy co-wrote (with husband Ben Falcone) and stars in the road comedy “Tammy” (July 2) with Susan Sarandon as her grandmother. (That age math doesn’t quite work, no?) John Turturro turns male prostitute in “Fading Gigolo” (May 9); Jennifer Aniston gets kidnapped for ransom in the Elmore Leonard-based “Life of Crime” (Aug. 29); Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler re-team for the family comedy “Blended” (May 23); and Jenny Slate has what may be a very, very bad Valentine’s Day in “Obvious Child” (June 6).


Kids of all ages can look forward to Angelina Jolie getting her wickedness on in Disney’s “Maleficent” (May 30), an inside-out take on “Sleeping Beauty.” Animated offerings for the out-of-school crowd this summer include “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” (May 9), “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (June 13), and “Planes: Fire & Rescue” (June 18). And the young-adult crowd, once they finish repeat viewings of “The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6), can line up for “The Giver” (Aug. 15), based on Lois Lowry’s novel and starring Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, and Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder, as of course Meryl Streep should be.


Not much horror on tap this summer; even the vampire movies sound ridiculously cool (i.e. Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as the undead, opening May 2). Among the vaguely thriller-ish this season: a group of college students (including the busy Brenton Thwaites) are lured into the desert in “The Signal” (June 13); a clerk learns he has an eerie look-alike in Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” (May 23); and Tom Hardy stars, all by himself, in “Locke” (May 9) as a man whose life is changed during one nighttime drive.


Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffiths’ “Lucky Them,” featuring Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, and the nighttime lights of Capitol Hill, begins a local theatrical run June 13. Also from our own backyard: “Burkholder,” Taylor Guterson’s follow-up to “Old Goats,” shot on Bainbridge Island (Aug. 8). In literary adaptations, Kristen Wiig stars in “Hateship Loveship” (May 2), based on a story by Alice Munro; James McAvoy plays a junkie cop in the screen version of Irvine Welsh’s novel “Filth” (May 23); and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman makes one of his final screen appearances in “A Most Wanted Man” (July 25), based on a John le Carré novel. Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded “Wish I Was Here,” about a father seeking meaning in life by home schooling his children, opens July 25; James Franco plays a high school teacher in “Palo Alto” (June 13), a dark drama based on one of Franco’s short stories. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, who seem like they’d be adorable together, star in the romantic comedy “What If” (Aug. 14), and French filmmaker Francois Ozon (“Swimming Pool,” “In the House”) returns with the call-girl tale “Young and Beautiful” (May 9).


Among this season’s based-on-fact tales: “Decoding Annie Parker,” a drama about breast cancer featuring Helen Hunt as University of Washington geneticist Dr. Mary-Claire King (May 2), and “Belle,” the story of a mixed-race young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) raised among the aristocracy in 18th-century England. And summer brings a sprinkling of documentaries as well, on topics such as high-fashion designers (“Yves Saint Laurent,” July 4), man’s relationship with water (“Watermark,” May 9), deceptive practices in the food industry (“Fed Up,” May 9), marijuana legalization (“Evergreen: The Road to Legalization in Washington,” June 27), and Web pioneer Aaron Schwartz (“The Internet’s Own Boy,” July 11).

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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