After Earth

Jane’s Best Bets: Summer Movies 2013

After Earth

The summer movie season is in full swing, and we’ve already had some doozies in “Iron Man 3,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Click through those links to read my reviews.

But there’s plenty more coming up, including this weekend’s “Epic” and “Fast & Furious 6,” which scored $122 million at the box office. Not chump change.

Let’s take a look at the summer movie schedule. I love that there’s something for everyone here:


Iron Man 3 (May 5)
Target Age: Older Tweens, Teens and Adults
The third film in the franchise finds Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark facing his toughest foe to date — one who has the power to destroy the one thing Tony loves more than himself: his beloved Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Mind-blowing special effects and nonstop action make this a winner. My review here.

The Great Gatsby (May 13)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Baz Luhrmann serves up a feast of beautiful colors and action in this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire star as Gatsby, Daisy and Nick, respectively, and the casting is perfect. I love that the movie respects the book, and that the words literally fly off the screen. My review here.

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 15)
Target Age: Older Tweens, Teens and Adults
The second installment in director J.J. Abrams’ wildly successful “Star Trek” reboot finds Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk as roguish as ever, battling a villain like no other, played by Benedict Cumberbach. The characters stay true to the originals, and the movie is a blast of sci-fi action and fun banter. My review here.

Epic (May 24)
Target Age: Young Kids
The team behind “Ice Age” and “Rio” bring us this animated adventure that’s a sly environmental movie. Teen protagonist Mary Katherine (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) is the daughter of a kooky professor (Jason Sudeikis) who’s convinced there are miniature guardians of the forest. Turns out, he’s right! The girl is magically shrunk and helps to save the Leafmen’s enchanted world. Girl power galore!

Fast & Furious 6Fast & Furious 6 (May 24)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
The high-octane racing franchise turns twelve this year and shows no signs of slowing down. While the first five movies focused on the underground car racing scene, “Fast 6” features a broader global adventure with Bond-like explosions and action. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson co-stars as the agent assigned to reassemble the team, led by Vin Diesel.

Penguins 3D (May 24)
Target Age: All Ages
Another movie about those adorable black-and-white birds of Antarctica, and that’s just fine with me. They continue to be fascinating. This documentary from David Attenborough follows a male King penguin as he attempts to keep his baby fledgling alive. Cuteness overload.

Now You See Me (May 31)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
This magical heist thriller follows four young magicians who manage to rob a Parisian bank while performing in a Vegas auditorium. Jesse Eisenberg, a member of the magician’s quartet, reprises his fast-talking performance from “The Social Network.”

After Earth (May 31)
Target Age: Older Tweens, Teens and Adults
Will Smith and son Jaden reunite on screen for the first time since “The Pursuit of Happyness.” They play a stern general and his mischievous son in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have taken up residence on a planet light years away from a ruined Earth. I’m guessing director M. Night Shyamalan will redeem his scarred reputation with this interstellar adventure.


Man of Steel (June 14)
Target Age: Older Tweens, Teens and Adults
Hopes are super-high for this reboot of the superhero franchise with Zack Snyder (“300”) directing and Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight” trilogy) producing. The origin story relaunches with British import Henry Cavill playing the Man of Steel, Russell Crowe playing his Krypton father Jor-El, and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as his earthly parents. What a cast!

Monsters UniversityMonsters University (June 21)
Target Age: All Ages
“Monsters, Inc.” was one of Pixar’s early fan favorites, so I anticipate everyone from kids to adults flocking to see this movie. One-eyed Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and larger-than-life Sulley (John Goodman) were college “frenemies” before they became best buds. Look for the writers to offer up their best campus pranks and dorm-room jokes.

World War Z (June 21)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Who will survive the zombie apocalypse? Based on the trailer, no one. Well, possibly Brad Pitt and his family. Pitt stars as a United Nations employee who’s tasked with searching the world for a way to stop the pandemonium that’s turning people into zombies.

White House Down (June 28)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Sure, “Olympus Has Fallen” got there first, but this “White House under siege” thriller with Channing Tatum in the main role promises to be less graphically violent. Jamie Foxx plays the besieged president, with director Roland Emmerich at the helm. He’s proven his disaster film mettle with “Independence Day” and “2012.”


Despicable Me 2 (July 3)
Target Age: All Ages
In this sequel to the 2010 hit animated comedy, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his three adopted daughters — Margo, Edith, and Agnes — return with their army of hilarious yellow Minions. Gru is recruited into the Anti-Villain League to help defeat a new global threat, the nefarious Eduardo (Al Pacino). With a hip soundtrack, those adorable girls, and the super-hilarious Minions, “Despicable Me 2” looks like a win for all ages.

The Lone Ranger (July 3)
Target Age: Tweens, Teens and Adults
Johnny Depp as Tonto! Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger! Disney introduces another generation to the legendary Western do-gooder and his enigmatic Native American sidekick. With director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer at the helm, expect plenty of gorgeously dusty Western vistas and fast-action fun.

Pacific Rim (July 12)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Guillermo Del Toro unleashes an apocalyptic onslaught of massive aliens who emerge from the oceans, battled by equally colossal robots piloted by a pair of humans. This big budget blockbuster starring “Sons of Anarchy” rivals Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman is rife with extraterrestrial baddies, bots, and battles.

TurboTurbo (July 17)
Target Age: Young Kids
Ryan Reynolds voices Turbo, a garden snail who dreams of being super-fast. When an accident involving nitrous oxide supercharges Turbo, he starts racing other snails and sets his sights even bigger: racing in the legendary Indy 500! Fun, fun, fun.

R.I.P.D. (July 19)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Ryan Reynolds is busy lately. Here he stars opposite Jeff Bridges, both playing undead cops in the Rest in Peace Department. They travel the Earth disguised as an elderly Chinese grandpa and attractive blonde as they attempt to kill evil supernatural creatures. Expect gross-out humor, creepy creatures, and suggestive jokes.

RED 2 (July 19)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
This sequel to the 2010 thriller finds Bruce Willis and his team of aging spies and assassins, including kick-ass Helen Mirren, tracking a stolen nuclear bomb. Mary-Louise Parker — who morphed from terrified victim to excited participant in the first film — again joins the adventure. John Malkovich returns with his psychotic deadpan, and Anthony Hopkins appears as the new villain.

The Wolverine (July 26)
Target Age: Older Tweens, Teens and Adults
Hey, it’s tough to be a mutant. This latest film in the “X-Men” universe centers on the most emotionally complicated member of the team as he deals with the burden of his mutation. Hugh Jackman reprises the lead role, this time battling Japanese assassins and Yakuza underworld thugs. Expect plenty of intense action scenes, fighting, and more.

The Smurfs 2 (July 31)
Target Age: Young Kids
The happy-go-lucky CGI creatures can’t shake the wrath of obsessed wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who comes up with yet a new plan to trap the Smurfs in this sequel. Namely, the Naughties, a group of mischievous anti-Smurfs that kidnap Smurfette. The others band together with their human pals Patrick and Grace (Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays) to once again defeat Gargamel. Expect lots of potty humor, slapstick, and silliness.


Disney’s Planes (Aug. 9)
Target Age: Young Kids
Dusty, an impressively fast crop duster (voiced by Dane Cook), wants nothing more than to compete in high-flying air shows, but he’s actually afraid of heights. No matter. He’s committed to overcoming his phobia and thus enlists the help of a seasoned naval plane. Kids who love planes, trains, and automobiles will love this “Cars”-like adventure.

Elysium (Aug. 9)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Matt Damon stars in this futuristic sci-fi thriller from director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”). The story is set in the year 2154, when Earth is riddled with crime, hunger, and poverty while the wealthy live in Elysium, a secure space habitat in Earth’s orbit, where everything is seemingly perfect. Or … is it?

The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesPercy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Aug. 16)
Target Age: Tweens and Teens
Rick Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson series returns to the big screen in this sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” Logan Lerman stars as Percy, and the action moves to the Sea of Monsters (a.k.a. the Bermuda Triangle), where Percy and his Camp Half-Blood pals travel in search of the all important Golden Fleece.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Aug. 23)
Target Age: Teens and Adults
Looking for the next “Hunger Games” or “Twilight”? This paranormal adventure might be it. Based on Cassandra Clare’s popular young adult series, it stars Lily Collins as a fierce young heroine and Jamie Campbell Bower as cocky but vulnerable demon hunter. Look for plenty of pulse-pounding action and swoony romance.

One Direction: This Is Us (Aug. 30)
Target Age: Tweens and Teens
Harry, Niall, Zayn, Liam, and Louis are in the house, as Oscar-winning director Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me”) follows the British boy band in this concert documentary. That’s right, Morgan Spurlock. I normally wouldn’t be all giddy over this movie, but with him at the helm, I’m looking forward to it.

What movies are you most looking forward to this summer? Tell us in the comments below. 


One response to “Jane’s Best Bets: Summer Movies 2013”

  1. Jim Avatar

    There’s definitely a different feel in Iron Man 3, but it makes sense because of all the character has been through since the first movie (including Avengers).

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