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Summer Movie Preview 2015: Superheroes, Strippers and Gangsta Rappers

From ‘Age of Ultron’ and ‘Fury Road’ to ‘Jurassic World,’ the season’s epic sizzlers are big, mean and mad as hell

Jurassic World

Chris Pratt takes on some dangerous dinos in 'Jurassic World.'

New Hollywood rule if you want to make bank at the multiplex: Bury the cute and cuddly. To get in the game this summer, fill your movies with pissed-off predators. Tom Hardy is ready to run you down in Mad Max: Fury Road. Raptors will chomp you in Jurassic World. The Thing will crush you in Fantastic Four. All humanity is on notice in Avengers: Age of Ultron, thanks to a rogue, robotized AI program named Ultron and his synthezoid creation, the Vision. Ah-nuld in Terminator Genisys isn't immune. Hell, even the animated emotions in Pixar's Inside Out boast a rager called Anger, and the three yellow dudes in Minions serve an evil mastermind. Don't like it? Expect the shitfaced talking bear in Ted 2 to curse your sorry ass. Go find a place to hide, movie wussies. Summer 2015 ain't for you.

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‘Mr. Holmes’ (July 17th)

Ian McKellen plays Sherlock Holmes like a lion in winter, retired to Sussex to care for bees. Or is he? The great McKellen teams again with his Gods and Monsters director, Bill Condon, to create something brilliant, mysterious and lyrical.

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‘Trainwreck’ (July 17th)

She's the babe, the diva of riotous raunch, the hard-drinking, trash-talking party girl you'd never bring home to Mother. Like the title of her provocative, pinwheeling, howlingly funny movie, she's a trainwreck. And she's irresistible. That's because she – men's-magazine reporter Amy Townsend – is played by Amy Schumer, a comic force of nature who's making her big-screen debut as star and screenwriter. Schumer's been a stand-up since 2004, and her sharply satirical sketches are currently on view in Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer. Even though her character takes a swing at love in the person of a sports-medicine doc, nicely played by Bill Hader, Schumer knows the point is to eyeball Amy riding the storm, not to watch it subside. So batten down the hatches for Hurricane Amy, courtesy of director Judd Apatow. Can she rip comedy a new one and make us laugh till it hurts? Hell, yeah.

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‘Southpaw’ (July 24th)

Jake Gyllenhaal looks like he can take on the world as Billy Hope, a left-handed boxer fighting his worst tendencies to win custody of his daughter. Gyllenhaal says he stuck to a "strict regimen" to muscle up for the role. It's a stark contrast to the pounds he dropped to play the spookily intense news cameraman in Nightcrawler. He wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for that great performance. Maybe Southpaw can rectify that injustice.

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Warner Bros.

‘Vacation’ (July 29th)

Confession: I'm a sucker for National Lampoon comedies that push the limit. So Vacation, with Ed Helms as Rusty Griswold, the son of Clark (Chevy Chase), taking his own family to Walley World had me at "Hello, it's R-rated." Bring on the bad taste. It's summer.

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‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ (July 31st)

"I love it," says Tom Cruise. He's referring to doing his own stunts. And in the fifth chapter in his M:I series, he has a few doozies, including perilous motorcycle action and hanging off the side of a cargo plane in midflight. The plots don't matter much – this one concerns Cruise's Ethan Hunt taking down a shadow syndicate bent on . . . oh, who the hell cares? It's the stunts that count.

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‘Fantastic Four’ (August 7th)

Look, the last two FF Marvel movies sucked ass. Now director Josh Trank (Chronicle) is rebooting with a fresh coat of young hotties. What else? "Upgraded powers," says Miles Teller (Whiplash), who plays Mr. Fantastic. The same applies to Michael B. Jordan's Human Torch and Kate Mara's Invisible Woman. And Jamie Bell truly rocks it as the Thing. Seeing is believing.

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‘Ricki and the Flash’ (August 7th)

Meryl Streep may not be a guitar god, but she had a true deity (Neil Young) to teach her as prep for playing a mom of three who left her family to play in a rock cover band. Director Jonathan Demme trusted that Streep could shred an acoustic and belt Tom Petty and Lady Gaga. Like we ever had a doubt.

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‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ (August 14th)

Hardly anyone recalls the 1960s TV spy series, which is why the movie version is such a retro blast. The big-screen U.N.C.L.E., directed by Guy Ritchie, doesn't update anything. It serves up its pre-digital Cold War espionage as if James Bond were around the corner. Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) plays CIA agent Napoleon Solo as a tailored smoothie whose quips irritate the piss out of KGB spook Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). The two enemies team to save the world and the girl (Ex Machina's Alicia Vikander). That's all. And it's plenty. In a summer of CGI marvels, the sight of two nonsuperheroes bumping heads and leaving bruises is downright revolutionary.

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‘Straight Outta Compton’ (August 14)

They were a bunch of teenagers living in South Central Los Angeles who decided to record some raps about their neighborhood — and ended up changing the course of hip-hop. Gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A get the biopic treatment, courtesy of director F. Gary Gray (Friday) and producers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Cube's own son, O'Shea Jackson Jr., plays his rhyme-slinging dad; Paul Giamatti plays the all-star group's manage Jerry Heller. We're betting there will be more Raiders caps per quota than any other film this summer.


‘Grandma’ (August 21st)

The title of this Paul Weitz gem doesn't prep you for the emotional pow Lily Tomlin delivers as a lesbian poet who helps her grandkid (Julia Garner) get an abortion. Start the Oscar buzz. Dynamo Tomlin has never been better.

Sleeping With Other People

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‘Sleeping With Other People’ (August 21st)

Sex comedy can be a bitch to get right. But writer-director Leslye Headland, in tandem with stars Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, gets it right and then some. They make fucking up in bed and out seem hilarious and brand-new.

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