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Peter Travers’ Summer Movie Preview: ‘Iron Man 2’ to ‘Inception’

Peter Travers' Summer Movie Preview: 'Iron Man 2' to 'Inception'

Courtesy of Paramount

In Theaters: May 7
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson

Face it. Even if this sequel can't beat the 2008 original for style, sass and surprise, watching Robert Downey Jr. take on Mickey Rourke in the name of world peace, chasing ass and blowing shit up make this the popcorn movie of the summer.

Peter Travers reviews Iron Man 2.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Inception

Stephen Vaughan/Warner Brothers

Inception

In Theaters: July 16
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Here's the one summer movie with the potential to pull in audiences and even a bunch of Oscars. Director Christopher Nolan proved himself to be an artist with Memento and The Dark Knight. Now he's cooked up a futuristic thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio leading a team of dream snatchers. No one who pretends to care about movies misses this one.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

Universal Pictures

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

In Theaters: August 13
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

It's not so much the world Michael Cera is taking on as Scott Pilgrim, nerd hero of Bryan Lee O?Malley's graphic novel, it's the seven evil ex-boyfriends of his dream girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Brit director Edgar Wright — he of the immortal Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz — surpasses himself.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Salt

Columbia Entertainment Pictures

Salt

In Theaters: July 23
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber

Concept: Angelina Jolie as a rogue CIA agent on the run is something very close to a female James Bond. I?m sold, especially with a class director, Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger). Funny thing is, the role was written for Tom Cruise before Jolie and the gender change kicked in. Big improvement.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Knight and Day

David James/Twentieth Century Fox

Knight and Day

In Theaters: June 25
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz

Tom Cruise tries to prove he was right to turn down to Salt to play — guess what? — a secret agent on the run (with Cameron Diaz). It sounds like Mission: Impossible by another name, i.e. an excuse to get Cruise a hit after Lions for Lambs and Valkyrie. Having James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) at the helm makes me optimistic.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Kimberley French/Summit Entertainment

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

In Theaters: June 30
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart

I know. The first two Twilight movies totally lacked the bite of the Stephenie Meyer books. I?m hopeful about chapter three because the book filled in the back stories for the Cullen family of vampires, especially Nikki Reed's mournful Rosalie. What a relief from deciding whether Bella (Kristen Stewart) should choose vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) or werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner).

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Toy Story 3

Disney/Pixar

Toy Story 3

In Theaters: June 18
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

The first two films in the Toy Story animated series are Pixar gems. With Tom Hanks back voicing cowboy Woody and Tim Allen again doing the honors as Buzz Lightyear, it should make no difference that it's been 11 years since the last feature.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Cyrus

Chuck Zlotnick

Cyrus

In Theaters: June 18
Starring: John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill

It will take a lot for another comedy to top Cyrus as the summer's best. It's a darkly funny tale of a divorced man (terrific John C. Reilly) trying to find love with a woman (the delicious Marisa Tomei) who takes doting on her grown son (Jonah Hill, amazing) to creepy levels. Cheers to directors Jay and Mark Duplass for this game-changer.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Dinner for Schmucks

Dinner for Schmucks

In Theaters: July 23
Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd

Steve Carell, as a schmuck among schmucks, and Paul Rudd as the exec who invites him to dinner on a dare, have to be the summer's Number One comedy team. Or is that Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as bumbling cops in The Other Guys (August 6)? You decide.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Middle Men

Rico Torres/Paramount Pictures

Middle Men

In Theaters: August 6
Starring: Luke Wilson, Kelsey Grammer

This fact-based tale of a businessman (Luke Wilson) who figures out a way to get rich by finding new ways for men to jerk off may be the summer's sleeper hit. Set in the 1990s, when true genius involved selling porn online by using your credit card, Middle Men is a film for this time and our time.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

MacGruber

Greg Peters/Rogue

MacGruber

In Theaters: May 21
Starring: Will Forte, Kristin Wiig, Val Kilmer

Maybe the silliest skit in SNL history, a riff on the 1980s MacGyver TV action series with Richard Dean Anderson, gets the big-screen treatment with Will Forte back in the business of clumsily disposing of bombs and Val Kilmer as a villain named Dieter von Cunth. ?To rid the world of Cunth,? is MacGruber's goal. Let the far more expensive A-Team try to beat this baby for cheap thrills and cheaper laughs.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Piranha 3-D

Gene Page/Dimension Films

Piranha 3-D

In Theaters: August 27
Starring: Jerry O'Connell, Elisabeth Shue

There are fancier 3-D movies this summer (for example, Shrek Forever After). But how do you resist a low-budget Jaws rip-off that proudly flaunts its tackiness as piranhas devour nubile young bodies and leap out at you in all their blurry splendor. Sign me up.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

The Last Airbender

Paramount Pictures

The Last Airbender

In Theaters: July 2
Starring: Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone

ONE TO AVOID — It's very possible that director M. Night Shyamalan has created an epic live-action fantasy out of Nickelodeon's animated series about kids, martial arts and genocidal war lords. But I have this sixth sense that Shyamalan is fighting an uphill battle against the stench attached to his last three films, The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Jonah Hex

Legendary Pictures

Jonah Hex

In Theaters: June 18
Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox

ONE TO AVOID — Bad buzz is rising about this film version of this DC Comics horror western. The title character, played by Josh Brolin, is a facially scarred bounty hunter with a gun-toting hooker girlfriend (Megan Fox) and a villain to die for (that?d be John Malkovich). Reshoots, fired directors and maybe too much campiness are said to be the culprits.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

Grown Ups

Columbia Pictures

Grown Ups

In Theaters: June 25
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock

ONE TO AVOID — Adam Sandler plays another guy who won't grow up in this farce about a reunion of old friends, played by Sandler, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Chris Rock and Kevin James. This sounds like the kind of idiot boy crap that Sandler satirized himself for making in Judd Apatow's Funny People.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

The Karate Kid

Boland/Columbia Pictures

The Karate Kid

In Theaters: June 11
Starring: Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith

ONE TO AVOID — A remake of the beloved 1984 hit in which with Jackie Chan replaces Pat Morita as a martial-arts master who trains a kid (Jaden Smith in the role created by Ralph Macchio) to take on bullies. I have one question about this movie: Why?

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

The Expendables

Millennium Films

The Expendables

In Theaters: August 19
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Mickey Rourke

ONE TO AVOID — Sylvester Stallone directs himself as a mercenary hired to overthrow a Latin American dictator. Along for the ride are Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sounds like Dirty Dozen: AARP. This could be the summer's worst or its guiltiest pleasure.

More Travers: News and reviews on his blog, The Travers Take

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