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Summer Film Preview 2014: The Season of ‘Fierce’

Fire-spewing lizards, militant apes, and a gangsta Melissa McCarthy: Brace yourself for a long, hot movie summer

peter travers summer movie preview

Warner Bros. Pictures; Sony Pictures

If anyone can shake up summer, it's comic tornado Melissa McCarthy. Just watch the trailer for Tammy, in which she robs a fast-food joint, set to the rap of "Gangsta's Paradise." The lady is one of a kind.

Alt-Summer Movie Preview: 20 Non-Blockbusters to Check Out

Originality is otherwise MIA, no matter how many thrills are sparked by the usual sequels (22 Jump Street, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), remakes (Hercules), retooled monsters (Godzilla), retread action figures (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and return visits from comic-book heroes (Spider-Man, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). Even comedy is going back to the well: Neighbors, with Seth Rogen, revives the spirit of Animal House, and A Million Ways to Die in the West is a Blazing Saddles for millennials. Out of 100-plus summer contenders, here's a selective guide on how to separate the flash from the trash. By Peter Travers

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‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (August 22)

Nothing succeeds like excess. At least that was the case when Robert Rodriguez brought Sin City, from Frank Miller's series of graphic novels, to savage life onscreen in 2005. Like before, Rodriguez and co-director Miller shoot the actors (led this time by Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and, yes, Lady Gaga) against computer-generated backgrounds that make the action leap off the screen. If you're looking for fierce, this this Sin City sequel is "fierce" to kill for.

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