Summer movies at a glance

Summer is Hollywood’s heyday for blockbuster movies. Here’s a sneak peak at a few already out and others still to come.

Summer movies at a glance

Matthew Draper, Writer





Robin Hood


Robin Hood movie poster
Ridley Scott and Russel Crowe team up again for an epic — this time for a a grittier, alternative look at the much-told story of Robin Hood.


Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare and some sexual content.

Ridley Scott’s latest team up with Russell Crowe (their fifth so far) tells the origin of the 12th century outlaw who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Except this Robin isn’t a dashing outlaw yet. He hasn’t found his purpose; instead he is a simple yet exceptional archer who has come home from the Crusades to find England a wreck under the rule of Prince John (Oscar Isaac). Think of it as “Robin Hood Begins.”

All the legendary characters are there such as Maid Marian, Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck and The Sheriff of Nottingham. They all have their parts to play, but not exactly the parts the audience expects. To see each of them on screen but not quite as the world has come to know and love them is both exciting and slightly frustrating. But this is what “Robin Hood” is, attempting to show where these characters come from and why they either hate or love each other.

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Iron Man 2


“Iron Man 2” juggles multiple plot lines and sets up future movies without skipping a beat.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence and some language.

2008’s “Iron Man” was a smash hit that both played into everything a superhero movie should be while giving something new that audiences had not seen from the genre before. Now, “Iron Man 2” follows the continuing adventures of millionaire superhero Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and director Jon Favreau’s quest to top the first film.

With its bombastic imagery and driving soundtrack (AC/DC is the score for practically all of the film), “Iron Man 2” sets out to quickly up the ante and raise the stakes. The film is jam-packed with storylines, from the Stark Expo and Stark’s quest to upgrade his power source to archenemies Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) and Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) plotting Iron Man’s downfall. Throw in repeated setups for the upcoming Avengers movie as well as several other Marvel films and you have a movie that is as much of a juggling act as it is an adventure.

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Release date: July 16

PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout

Director Christopher Nolan’s newest film, “Inception,” looks to be the anti-blockbuster while still becoming one of the summer’s biggest hits. The film has huge names like Leonardo DiCaprio, and Nolan is one of Hollywood’s hottest directors after “The Dark Knight,” but promoters of the film are trying to keep as much secret as possible. In an age of marketing where so many movies are spoiled simply by their previews, “Inception” is trying to be an exception to the rule.

The film centers on a group of people who use cutting edge technology that allows them to enter the mind through dream invasion. It’s their job to steal the ideas in a person’s mind, a new form of corporate espionage that makes them the most dangerous group of criminals on the planet. The concept and execution seem wholly original and exciting, something often missing in a summer full of sequels and adaptations.


Toy Story 3


Release date: June 18

Rated G

It has been 11 years since “Toy Story 2” was released and in the time since, many assumed that Pixar had moved on to other things and was finished with Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang. But after all these years, Pixar is finally giving audiences “Toy Story 3.” All the original characters return for this film, but many more are introduced as Andy goes to college and his toys are given to a daycare center.

The film seems to follow its predecessors’ familiar storyline of trying to get back home and find a place to belong. Will the Pixar magic hold out for a film that could easily seem stale and boring? Will this be the film to break the company’s streak of amazing films? Either way, “Toy Story 3” will give viewers a chance to spend time with some amazing characters and be treated to the world’s yearly Pixar fix


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time


Release date: May 28

PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action

Films based on videogames don’t have the best track record. From the decent “Resident Evil” to the wretched “Super Mario Bros.” and everything in between, there has not been a videogame movie that has really stood out among the crowd and truly delivered. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Mike Newell hope that “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” can change that.

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal in full-on action-star mode, the film, based on the game of the same name, follows adventurous Prince Dastan in his quest to use and protect the magical Dagger of Time. The dagger gives its user the power to reverse time, and in the wrong hands it could prove dangerous. Bruckheimer hopes to create the same spark that made his “Pirates of the Caribbean” so popular. Hopefully “Prince of Persia” is more like the first one and less like its sequels.


The Last Airbender


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Release date: July 2

Not yet rated

“The Last Airbender,” based on the popular cartoon, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” has a lot of expectations to live up to. With a rabid fan base and the movie public in general waiting to see if director M. Night Shyamalan can stop his recent string of flops, the film has the potential to be a breakout success or a stinging disappointment.

The film tells the story of Aang, a young boy with the power to control the elements of air, fire, water and earth who must bring peace to a world rules by four nations that control the different elements. So far, the previews promise amazing action and stunning special effects. With so much story and promise already built from the cartoon, “The Last Airbender” could be a huge series of movies if the first one delivers what fans want.


The Expendables


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Release date: August 13

Not yet rated

For an aging action star, actor and director Sylvester Stallone is still pumping out movies that show off some of the best action on screen today. Stallone hopes to continue this trend with the all-out action flick “The Expendables,” which tells the story of an elite mercenary squad in over their heads on a mission in South America to overthrow a dictator. It seems like a pretty standard plot, but what makes “The Expendables” so exciting is the plethora of action stars jam-packed into this movie.

Big name stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke fill out Stallone’s squad, plus athletes Randy Couture and Steve Austin add the icing on the cake. Add in cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and “The Expendables” seems like a film that’s almost too chock-full of ’80s action goodness.

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