Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges
Story: Super-jerk weapons contractor Tony Stark is kidnapped and forced to build an armored suit, which he ends up using to fight the forces of evil.
Hot: Downey Jr.'s brand of snark is perfect for the role, and early footage looks terrific. Director Favreau communicated with the fanboys throughout the entire process, and the fanboys seem happy. The Sabbath classic is a ready-made theme song. Great way to kick off the summer movie season.
Not: Ridiculously high expectations. And we don't know anyone who actually read Iron Man in comic-book form. Totally unfamiliar bad guy, the Iron Monger.
Made of Honor
Directed by: Paul Weiland
Starring: Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan
Story: McDreamy is a dog, except when it comes to his long-term platonic friendship with Monaghan. When she gets engaged, he realizes he loves her and agrees to be her maid of honor in hopes of scotching the deal.
Hot: First chick flick of the summer. Ladies love McDreamy, after all. R rating ensures that not everything will be platonic.
Not: Didn't we already see My Best Friend's Wedding?
Directed by: Andy and Larry Wachowski
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Matthew Fox, Susan Sarandon and Christina Ricci
Story: Go, Speed Racer! Hi-tech remake of the classic Japanese cartoon pits our hero against the nasty Racer X.
Hot: Seen the footage? Like they did in The Matrix, the Wachowskis could change what we're used to seeing on screen.
Not: Target audience is too young to know who Speed Racer is. Last two Matrix movies sucked.
What Happens in Vegas
Directed by: Tom Vaughan
Starring: Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher
Story: Strangers Diaz and Kutcher tie a drunken knot in Sin City but have to stay together when one hits a jackpot on the other's quarter.
Hot: We're guessing there's a happy ending.
Not: Both stars gambling on a much-needed career jackpot.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Ben Barnes, Peter Dinklage, Tilda Swinton and Liam Neeson
Story: The kids Pevensie return to Narnia to find that 1,000 years have passed and everything sucks.
Hot: Look and feel of the first one was terrific. And sometimes sequels are better than the original, since the origin story's already told. Religious idolatry aside, Aslan rules.
Not: Everyone loves The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. No one's, like, “No, dude, Prince Caspian is my favorite.”
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen and Cate Blanchett
Story: Indy reunites with his original girlfriend (Karen Allen) and meets his greaser son (Shia LaBeouf). Havoc is wreaked. Jokes are cracked—bullwhip, too. Artifacts presumably saved.
Hot: Come on, it's Indiana Jones! And Cate Blanchett is the villain!
Not: Harrison Ford is 130. George Lucas, who has a history of destroying precious childhood memories, wrote the story.
Sex and the City
Directed by: Michael Patrick King
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrell, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis
Story: New York ladies from the HBO show hit the big screen and talk about getting it on. Mr. Big (Chris Noth) is still in the picture—will he and Carrie tie the knot?
Hot: You have ovaries.
Not: You have testes.
You Don't Mess With the Zohan
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Mariah Carey and Rob Schneider
Story: Sandler's a Mossad agent who fakes his own death to become a Big Apple hair stylist to lots of lonely ladies.
Hot: Sandler's career was built on movies so dumb they're funny.
Not: Mariah Carey and Adam Sandler on screen together is a red flag that the end of the world is nigh.
Kung Fu Panda
Directed by: Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
Starring: Jack Black, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie
Story: A lazy animated panda (Jack Black) becomes the only hope for the threatened animals in the Valley of Peace.
Hot: Great cast that also includes Ian McShane, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross and Michael Clarke Duncan. Animation is sharp, early reports are good and cartoon animals are cute.
Not: How many times have you waited to see the pandas only to find that they're not doing jack shit?
The Incredible Hulk
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Edward Norton, Tim Roth, Liv Tyler and William Hurt
Story: Call it Hulk 2.0. Edward Norton is emotionally repressed Bruce Banner this time, trying to find a cure and get that huge green monkey off his back.
Hot: Ang Lee's 2003 flop was too cerebral. We want less talkin', more smashin'! We dig Norton as the angry green giant, and we love Tim Roth as the bad guy, Abomination.
Not: Norton, who has screenplay credit, has been fighting with the studio over the final cut. Let's hope he gets his way.
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo
Story: Strange occurrence causes people to start killing themselves. Marky Mark takes his kid on the run and hopes it isn't contagious.
Hot: Wahlberg is a guilty pleasure, and Shyamalan's ideas are always great.
Not: But it's been a while since his last good movie.
The Love Guru
Directed by: Marco Schnabel
Starring: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and Ben Kingsley
Story: Myers is Pitka, a self-help guru trying to help hockey star Timberlake get back with his hot wife.
Hot: Yes, Jessica Alba is very, very hot.
Not: Even the trailer makes it look like the fucking stupidest movie ever.
Directed by: Peter Segal
Starring: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, The Rock and Alan Arkin
Story: Big-screen rehash of Don Adams' classic TV comedy spy show, with Carell as Maxwell Smart, teamed with Agent 99 (Hathaway) to combat the forces of KAOS.
Hot: Carell should be perfect for this. The Rock is a funny dude. We'd like our shoe phone in Jimmy Choo, please.
Not: He's great on The Office, but it's been one middling movie after another for Carell since The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Jeff Garlin and Fred Willard
Story: Six hundred years after humans left earth, Wall*E the robot is still cleaning up our mess. He's lonely, but he's about to have a visitor.
Hot: Just the trailer for Pixar's latest makes us laugh and cry. The animation looks amazing, and we're already coveting the merchandise.
Not: Perhaps you're a robot with no brain or heart. In that case, you might not like it.
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman
Story: Average joe McAvoy is recruited into a high-flying sexy assassin club by Angelina and Morgan Freeman after his mysterious father dies mysteriously.
Hot: Director Bekmambetov's Russian vampire films Night Watch and Day Watch were epic and gorgeous to look at.
Not: Trailer looks smug and dumb. McAvoy's in serious danger of overexposure. The message that your life is worth something only if you're killing bad guys makes us think of Dick Cheney.
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron
Story: Smith is drunken, loutish superhero Hancock, who teams up with publicist Bateman to repair his image and explore his soft side.
Hot: We confess, we're excited. Smith's always a good bet, and teaming him with yupster hero Bateman could be the start of beautiful friendship. It's about time someone flipped the superhero movie.
Not: Could be super-sappy.
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D
Directed by: Eric Brevig
Starring: Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson
Story: Brendan Fraser is the laughingstock of the scientific community until he and his nephew find a way to, well, journey to the center of the earth.
Hot: The first of the new wave of live-action 3-D movies will usher in the latest and greatest in technology. Should be OK for most kids, too.
Not: Early adopters beware—style usually triumphs over substance.
Directed by: Brian Robbins
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Gabrielle Union and Ed Helms
Story: Eddie Murphy walks away from a giant fireball in Central Park. But he isn't a regular guy; he's actually a spaceship operated by a crew of tiny humans, led by their captain, Eddie Murphy.
Hot: Murphy's movies make mad money. We like Gabrielle Union, and Ed Helms makes everything better.
Not: Norbit, Haunted Mansion, I Spy, Daddy Day Care, and Pluto Nash. Many of Murphy's movies suck. Lots.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair and Jeffrey Tambor
Story: Hellboy and Abe Sapien are back, defending our world from Prince Nuada, a mythical creature trying to muscle his way in.
Hot: Del Toro just gets better and better, and with no origin story to bog him down, he's free to do his thing. Early footage looks extraordinary, and Ron Perlman is great. This is a big-budget film made by a true artist.
Not: The original was almost too complex for its own good.
The Dark Knight
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Story: Batman teams up with Gotham City D.A. Harvey Dent to take on the Joker. Bad move, dude.
Hot: Everything looks right with this one, which is darker than the original. Nolan and Bale are back, and the six-minute prologue was worth sitting through I Am Legend back in December. The supporting cast is flawless, with Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes. The villains are much scarier, and even the viral marketing campaign has been awesome. And don't forget Heath Ledger, who will be deeply disturbing in his final role.
Not: Expectations might be too high.
Directed by: Kirk De Micco
Starring: Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton and Jeff Daniels
Story: Samberg is the voice of Ham III—grandson of the first chimp in space—who is blasted into orbit to take down the nasty leader of another planet.
Hot: Monkeys, even animated ones, are usually funny. So is Patrick Warburton. Has the edge of being the first outer-space cartoon of the summer.
Not: Trailer looks dumb. Samberg's unproven away from his SNL posse.
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried
Story: Sophie's wedding is fast approaching and she'd like her father to be there. Only she doesn't know who he is. So she invites all three of the guys she knows her mom (Streep) got with. Oh, and everybody's singing and dancing, since it's a musical, powered by ABBA.
Hot: Superior cast. People loved the Broadway version. The summer's light on romance. Meryl Streep, who can really sing, will own this.
Not: ABBA? Come on.
Directed by: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
Story: Ferrell and Reilly are archenemies. Until their parents marry each other, making them family.
Hot: Ferrell and Reilly and both funny guys when they have good material. Sure, it looks dumb, but it's directed by Adam McKay, who made Anchorman and Talladega Nights, the last two good Ferrell comedies.
Not: Instead of being stupid funny, it could be just stupid.
I Want to Believe
Directed by: Chris Carter
Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi and Billy Connelly
Story: The truth, apparently, is still out there. No word on the plot, but the new sequel is said to focus on the relationship between our favorite FBI agents. It stands alone—the show's long-running conspiracy isn't part of the deal.
Hot: It's good to have Mulder and Scully back—we wasted many a Friday night in front of The X-Files in the days before Tivo.
Not: It's been a decade since the first movie, which wasn't so good to begin with. The show lost its way the last few seasons. Is anyone still interested?
Midnight Meat Train
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring: Bradley Cooper and Vinnie Jones
Story: An aspiring photographer tracks a serial killer who's been hacking up victims on the NYC subway.
Hot: It's taken from a Clive Barker story, so it's sure to be good 'n' nasty, if that's your thing. Trailer is way creepy, and Vinnie Jones is a serious bad-ass.
Not: Definite argument against public transportation.
Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern
Starring: Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper
Story: Apathetic single parent Costner's vote will decide the presidential election. Politicians invade a small town to court him.
Hot: Elections are ripe for serious mocking. Politics and comedy go hand-in-hand.
Not: Costner choosing the ruler of the free world will probably lead to Postman-like future—or worse, Waterworld 2.
The Mummy: Tomb of
the Dragon Emperor
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello and Michelle Yeoh
Story: Mummy III moves from Egypt to Asia, with Fraser, along with his son, attempting to stop a long-dead emperor from taking over the world.
Hot: Jet Li as the bad guy is a decent move. We love nasty sorceress Michelle Yeoh, too. This might be OK to watch on an airplane.
Not: Mummy II sucked but made a ton of money, especially (we're guessing) in Asia. But Rachel Weisz got her Oscar and left the franchise, and Rob Cohen has yet to make a movie we like.
Directed by: Peter Cattaneo
Starring: Rainn Wilson and Christina Applegate
Story: Wilson is “Fish” Fishman, who was booted out of his '80s hair band just as it hit the big time. Twenty years later, he gets behind the kit of his high-school-age nephew's band, poised for a rockin' comeback.
Hot: Dude is way funny on The Office. It's about time someone gave him a lead.
Not: Didn't we see Jack Black do this in School of Rock? And “Guitar Hero” popularity doesn't make hair metal good.
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan and Billy Bob Thornton
Story: Slacker Shia and single mom Michelle are forced into a terrorist cell that plans to commit a political assassination.
Hot: Last time Caruso and LaBeouf teamed up was for Disturbia, which was surprisingly fun.
Not: Plot feels tired. The terrorist thing has been done to death.
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole and Danny McBride
Story: Pothead Rogen witnesses a murder, sending him and his dealer (Franco) on the run from a couple of hit men.
Hot: Rogen and Franco were great together in Freaks and Geeks, and the script is from Rogen and his Superbad co-writer, Evan Goldberg. Director Green has a solid track record. Comedy king Jud Apatow's fingerprints are all over this one.
Not: Have we seen too much of Rogen lately? And will we be stonered out after Harold and Kumar 2 and The Wackness?
Fly Me to the Moon
Directed by: Ben Stassan
Starring: Robert Patrick, Kelly Ripa and a bunch of kids
Story: Three young animated flies stow away on Apollo 11 and take a trip to the moon.
Hot: It's in 3-D, so that should lend some outer-space coolness. And Buzz Aldrin plays himself.
Not: Flies are gross. It'll have to battle Space Chimps for little-kid-animated-space-movie box office.
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Clive Owens and Naomi Watts
Story: Owens is an Interpol agent trying to take down fancy-pants corporate bad guys who are neck deep in arms dealing and murder. Naomi Watts is the assistant D.A. on his side.
Hot: Clive's still pretty cool.
Not: Too bad he didn't take that 007 role.
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland and Amy Smart
Story: The Kief is a mall cop who faces off against a mysterious mirror that makes people do bad things.
Hot: Sutherland has grown up nicely. People love 24.
Not: A mall cop? Haunted mirrors? Can't he do better?
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black
Story: A spoiled group of actors gets dropped into a Southeast Asian jungle guerilla war. Thing is, they think they're making a movie.
Hot: Very funny cast. Stiller's the action hero, Black's the comedian, but it's Downey Jr. who will own this. He's a white actor who dyes his skin to play the squad's black guy. We applaud the R rating, 'cause hopefully it means the movie will have teeth. Includes trailers for fake movies that could be great.
Not: Stiller's directorial debut, Zoolander, wasn't so great. The whole “they think it's fake” thing gets old.
The Clone Wars
Directed by: Dave Filoni
Story: Animated theatrical film will kick off the new Star Wars TV series, which debuts in the fall and will include appearances from your favorites (Obi-Wan Kenobi, for instance) and your not-so faves (Padme, say, or Anakin).
Hot: Anything Star Wars has great FX.
Not: We wish Lucas had stopped making these movies in 1980.
Directed by: Fred Wolf
Starring: Anna Faris and Colin Hanks
Story: A Playboy bunny gets kicked out of the mansion, landing in a socially inept sorority. She teaches them to par-tay, and they teach her that boys like more than a hot, hot, naked chicks.
Hot: Anna Faris? Has guilty-pleasure potential.
Not: So does porn. Might be all guilt, no pleasure.
Directed by: Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang
Starring: Nicolas Cage
Story: Nic's a hit man sent to Bangkok to carry out some contracts. Instead, he falls for a hot single mom.
Hot: Legendary action directors remake their own film. Cool. And Nic Cage had us at The Rock.
Not: But he lost us at Snake Eyes. And The Wicker Man. And Ghost Rider.
Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Gerard Depardieu and Charlotte Rampling
Story: Mercenary Vin Diesel is tasked with taking a woman from Russia to China, not knowing that she is hosting an organism that a freaky cult wants to get its mitts on.
Hot: Director Kassovitz is talented and made the searing film La Haine. Diesel does sci-fi well, and the rest of the cast, particularly Yeoh, is great. Could be the thinking-person's sci-fi film the summer's been waiting for.
Not: Word is the studio is cutting a shorter, more U.S.-friendly version, since we, apparently, can't handle the truth.
Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Starring: Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle and Jeff Daniels
Story: Pearce is an FBI agent sent to track down Cheadle, a one-time government op gone bad. Or has he?
Hot: Cheadle and Pearce are both totally talented. Could be the thinking-person's action film.
Not: Director Nachmanoff wrote The Day After Tomorrow, so his storytelling chops are questionable.