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Summer Movie Preview: The Big Deals

Finally, May is upon us, and to me this means one thing: summer movie season begins! The season kicks off right this Friday with the release of Spider-Man 3. In honor of this, I present Part I of my Summer Movie Preview series, featuring this summer's big budget dazzlers. This year many filmmakers are playing it safe with super expensive sequels, and I can't deny that these Big Deal movies provide some great mega-tainment. Check out how the studios spent the big bucks for the summer, and stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 coming later this week.

Spider-Man 3
If the endless onslaught of marketing schemes has been successful, Spider-Man 3 will draw in the masses — and hopefully the revenue since it may be the most expensive movie ever made. This third installment of the web-slinger's series promises even more computer-generated superhero stunts, romantic tangles and grapplings between good and evil. Things are looking pretty good for Peter Parker as he goes to college and plans a wedding proposal to his lady love, Mary Jane. But trouble soon finds him in the form of the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Harry Osborn/Goblin (James Franco), and Venom (Topher Grace). To make matters worse, Spidey is forced to deal with his own inner demons — ones that threaten to change his life for the worse.

Lots more if you

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
If you haven't seen the trailer for this movie, do so now. This fifth installment of Harry Potter's story brings new evildoers, including the villainous Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who turns Hogwarts into a kind of oppressed political state. Harry experiences some highs (a certain lady friend) and some lows (a great loss), all amidst the entertaining magic — and movie magic — we've come to expect of these Potter films. The sorcery continues July 13.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Having discovered that Johnny Depp dressed as a pirate and acting like a rock star is box office gold, Disney has taken the Pirates of the Caribbean idea and run with it... or should I say swabbed the deck with it? If you enjoy poor pirate puns like that then you are in for a treat come May 25 when the latest Pirates movie swaggers into a theater near you. The deliciously campy team is back in action: Captain Sparrow has been taken hostage and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will (Orlando Bloom) must rescue him. Keith Richards shows up as Captain Teague — who may be Jack Sparrow's father — which should prove fun since Depp reportedly calls Richards the inspiration for his characterization of Jack Sparrow. Watch the awesome trailer if you darrrre, matey.

Ocean's Thirteen
Danny Ocean and his pals are back in the latest chapter of the casino heist series. Andy Garcia joins the cast as Ocean's thirteenth man, helping the crew take down the latest corrupt Vegas hot shot, played by Al Pacino. Apparently the cast and filmmakers took great care with this film, hoping to present it in apology for the second one, so I have sky-high hopes for this — especially since it will probably be the last of the series, at least with these actors. As George Clooney has quipped, "I think they're going to have to go to the next generation — because [pretty soon] we're going to have colostomy bags and wheelchairs." Check out the trailer and some enticing photos before catching Ocean's Thirteen in theaters June 8.

The Bourne Ultimatum
Matt Damon is back to playing Jason Bourne on August 3 in this third part of the Bourne series. As a relief from all the computer effects and super powers flying around this summer, The Bourne Ultimatum will provide some good old-fashioned action-thriller sweetness. The plot description goes like this: "Bourne races to discover the final mysteries of his past while a government agent tries to track him down after a shootout in Moscow." From the looks of the trailer we can expect more of the same: races against time, heart-pounding chases, and cute Matt Damon kicking butt.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Just in case you haven't quite gotten your fill of computer-generated treats this summer, gorge yourself on the latest Fantastic Four adventure. The Silver Surfer is entirely computer animated and his power is to transform matter so conquering him is going to take some ingenuity on the part of the Four — and some time. Like, maybe around 90 minutes or so. Surf's up June 15.

The Transformers
Opening July 4, this is the live-action version of the beloved '80s cartoon series (which was based on a line of Hasbro toys), and stars your dreamy Shia LaBeouf. I wasn't that into Transformers as a kid, but even I'm super stoked to see them in "real life." Check out the cool-looking trailer:

Spider-Man photo courtesy of Sony Pictures
Harry Potter photo courtesy of Warner Bros.
Pirates photo courtesy of Buena Vista Entertainment
Ocean's Thirteen: source
All others: source

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