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Summer Movie Preview 2013

Men of iron, steel and adamantium (hey, Wolverine) ride herd on a season that leaves audiences high and critics puking

Summer Movie Preview

Don’t kid yourself. you know you’re jonesing for summer movies that get right up in your fricking face. We all are. But, jeez, do we really need the overkill? Of the 100 or so movies that will be released between now and Labor Day, the vast majority are out to kick ass and pulverize brain matter. That goes for comedy as well as action. What, you think The Hangover Part III is gonna hang back? Aside from a few indie gems, such as Before Midnight, The Bling Ring and Fruitvale Station, guy-centric epics – fresh out of Hollywood’s recycle factory – are the order of the box-office day. But too many craptaculars can take a toll. At what point in the summer do we get tired of watching hack directors blow shit up? Here’s a shortlist to help you separate the class from the crass.

By Peter Travers

Blue Jasmine

Courtesy Sony PIctures Classics

Blue Jasmine

In Theaters: July 26

No Woody Allen movie can pass without a trace,  though last summer's To Rome With Love came close. This risky, resonant update on A Streetcar Named Desire – with Cate Blanchet, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and (surprise!) Louis C.K. – is too good to ignore. Lacing laughs with emotional gravity, Woody is out to shake us this time. He does.

2 Guns

Courtesy Universal Pictures

2 Guns

In Theaters: August 2

They could have called it 2 Stars and still had people salivating. Who doesn’t want to kill two summer hours watching drug-cartel scumbags get busted by Denzel Washington, as a mouthy DEA agent, with Mark Wahlberg as a Navy Intelligence hardass?

The Spectacular Now

Courtesy A24

The Spectacular Now

In Theaters: August 2

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller give ardent, award-caliber performances as teens with divergent views of the future in this raw and remarkably restrained film version of Tim Tharp's novel. Because director James Ponsoldt and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber  dodge the coming-of-age clichés, the movie hits you like a shot in the heart.