Blockbusters or bust: Your 2014 summer movie preview 

If all goes as planned this summer, Earth will be taken over by Godzilla, Transformers and apes; X-Men and Hercules will be our heroes; Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel will show us a sex tape; and Seth MacFarlane will demonstrate a million ways to die in the Old West.

Whew, I'm out of breath already. Here's a look at the next four months of your movie life (release dates in parentheses).

Least pressure to succeed: Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1) is an offshoot from the Avengers-based Marvel Studios, so if it doesn't do well who cares? Marvel still has Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor to fall back on.

Sequels I'm most looking forward to: 22 Jump Street (June 13) takes Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to college. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13) follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon as they meet his dragon-loving mother (Cate Blanchett). Think Like a Man Too (June 20) takes the guys and girls to bachelor(ette) parties in Vegas. And Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Aug. 22) follows four vignettes with most of the cast from the 2005 original returning.

Sequels I'm least looking forward to: Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27) goes in a new direction from the Shia LaBeouf-led first trilogy, but the trailers don't look all that different. The Purge: Anarchy (July 18) shows what happens on a broader scale during a lawless night. And The Expendables 3 (Aug. 15) follows one of the worst sequels ever made.

Unnecessary remakes: I must have missed it the day the world got up and demanded another shot at Godzilla (May 16, see p. 57), while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Aug. 8) looks like a blurry CGI mess that'll depend on a fully clothed Megan Fox to keep it grounded. Good luck with that.

Comedies with the most potential: Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30) stars Charlize Theron and looks hilarious, and Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel make a Sex Tape (July 25) that goes viral.

Comedies with the biggest concerns: Blended (May 23) stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore as single parents who have a horrible first date, then inexplicably find themselves vacationing together in Africa. Quick: What was Sandler's last hit? Tammy (July 2) is questionable because Melissa McCarthy can be brilliant, and she can also churn out chum like last summer's Identity Thief. This time she has Susan Sarandon playing her randy grandmother on a road trip.

Action movie with the best premise: Edge of Tomorrow (June 6) seems to combine Groundhog Day with Source Code as it follows Tom Cruise as a futuristic soldier who dies in battle but keeps being reborn to repeat the same day. Emily Blunt co-stars as a fellow warrior who relates to what he's going through.

Most pathetic attempt at catering to women: Moms' Night Out (now showing), in which no-name actresses play moms who depend on their husbands to watch the kids for a night, only to then learn how incompetent their husbands are.

Will watch with heavy heart: A Most Wanted Man (July 25) features Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances as a German operative investigating Islamic terrorist threats in Hamburg. Word is Hoffman is phenomenal.

Biopic that may go south really fast: First Chadwick Boseman successfully portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42, and now he takes on James Brown in Get On Up (Aug. 1), directed by Tate Taylor (The Help). It's not that Boseman and Taylor aren't capable, it's that Brown was such a unique and iconic figure that a faithful performance could quickly turn to caricature.

How could this franchise still be alive?: Step Up All In (July 25) is the fifth film in the series, and it again features a white-boy dancer named Moose.

Documentaries worth noting: Comedian Mike Myers directs Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (June 6), about the legendary music manager, and Joe Manganiello (True Blood) follows up Magic Mike with La Bare (June 27), about professional male strippers.

Trailer that has teenage girls (and no one else) excited: The Fault in Our Stars (June 6). One look at the trailer and I was rooting for everyone to die.

Token female-driven cash cow: Maleficent (May 30). At least Angelina Jolie better hope it's a cash cow, or her star power pricks a finger on a spinning wheel. (It's a 1959 Sleeping Beauty reference, people!)

Fascinating premise that deserves a chance: For Boyhood (July 11) director Richard Linklater convened with Ethan Hawke and child actor Ellar Coltrane for a total of 39 days over 12 years(!) to chronicle a young man's coming of age.

Movie that'll deserve an audience but probably get lost in the mix: From John Carney, the director of the Oscar-winning Once, comes Begin Again (July 4), in which Mark Ruffalo's defeated music exec sees promise in a British starlet named Gretta (Keira Knightley). Apparently New York City is featured prominently, and with a whole lotta love. Also, Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight (July 25) stars Emma Stone as a psychic and Colin Firth as the man who tries to expose her fraud, only to fall in love with her.

Loved it on stage, not sure about the big screen: The Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys (June 20) has the monumental task of telling the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as their careers hit ups and downs over decades. It's a jukebox musical, which means the songs don't help advance the story. Expect this to be loooonnnnng.

Most desperately needing a hit: Jupiter Ascending (July 18) will either restart the Wachowski siblings' (Matrix trilogy) career or send them packing for a long, long time. And speaking of restarts: Both Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton could use some big-screen success in And So It Goes (July 11), directed by a man who needs a hit as much as anyone, Rob Reiner.

Least anticipated movie of the summer: In Hercules (July 25) Dwayne Johnson wears a loincloth and slays poorly animated CGI creatures as he vows vengeance on behalf of his family. When even the trailer can't make an action movie look exciting, trouble abounds.

Most anticipated movie of the summer: Director Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men world with X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23), which combines the new mutants from First Class (2011) with those of the original trilogy. And a lot of Hugh Jackman, probably shirtless. The time travel, trippy story, quality effects and overall talent involved make this an absolute must-see.



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