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Director: Danny Boyle
Release Date: April 5

Danny Boyle is quietly becoming an event film director behind a surprisingly experimental and disparate body of work. Boyle is unconstrained by genre and his cinematic triumphs are often as much about style as they are about narrative. Trainspotting, The Beach, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours are all wildly different but each exhibits his high energy visual imprint. His latest is a heist movie revolving around an art auctioneer who sustains a head injury while trying to double-cross his partners-in-crime. Rosario Dawson plays the hypnotist who’s hired to retrieve the location of the painting from his traumatized subconscious.

Pain and Gain
Director: Michael Bay
Release Date: April 26

Michael Bay is practically an institution unto himself at this point best known for big budget, blow ‘em up comedies/tragedies likeBad Boy, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers Trilogy. New Yorker film critic David Denby called Bay “stunningly, almost viciously untalented” but the box office can’t get enough of him. His latest piece is a send up of a real-life kidnapping and murder scheme involving a crew of boneheaded bodybuilders led by Mark Wahlberg and The Rock. Despite angering actual surviving victims of the crime, Bay’s action movie flourishes look like they’ll play well in a full blown comedy.

The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Release Date: May 10

After the release date for Gatsby was pushed back reportedly to work on the 3D, the possibility lingered that it was actually because the film didn’t work. A series of epic trailers set to Jay Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild” and a Jack White cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness” dispelled those suspicions. Baz Luhrmann’s kinetic pacing and Bollywood-inspired staging look set to bring every delicious nuance to life in lush 3D.

Star Trek Into Darkness
Director: J. J. Abrams
Release Date: May 17

J. J. Abrams absolutely murdered 2009’s Star Trek and is back for a sequel prior to setting out for a different galaxy far, far away. Into Darkness Writer/Producer Damon Lindelof compared the film to the Batman reboot sequel The Dark Knight which features the Joker going H.A.M. on Gotham City. In Abrams’ sequel, a homegrown rogue agent rains down destruction on Earth and Starfleet headquarters in retaliation for some unknown slight sending Captain James T. Kirk on a mission of retribution. The Prime Directive will likely be ignored.

Before Midnight
Director: Richard Linklater
Release Date: May 24

Eighteen years after the release of the Richard Linklater’s ode to backpack romance Before Sunrise and nine years after the sequel Before Sunset comes the final installment in the trilogy. Jesse and Celine (co-written and played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) are entering the pre-twilight of their fairy tale love story and struggling through long-term relationship obstacles they once considered deal breakers. Set against the languorous background of rural Greece, we’ll finally find out if Jessie and Celine are able to make true love stay.

Man of Steel
Director: Zack Snyder
Release Date: June 14

The operatic trailer for Man of Steel re-introduces Superman as a child whose alien powers are exposed in the midst of a motor vehicle accident. Fear of a witch hunt sets him apart from his peers while he comes of age as a stranger in a strange land before learning about his origins and facing off against the classic Superman villain General Zod. Produced by the brains behind the Batman reboot, Christopher Nolan, and directed by Zack Snyder of 300 and The Watchmen, the film seeks to create a contemporary universe for future DC films.

This Is the End
Directors: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Release Date: June 14

The collaborative team behind Knocked Up, Superbad and Pinapple Express is back with one of the year’s best ensemble casts playing caricatures of themselves. When a party at James Franco’s house is interrupted by the end of the world, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Kevin Hart, Michael Cera, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Emma Watson and a who’s who of Hollywood comic actors must fight for survival in a young celebrity deathmatch.

The Wolverine
Director: James Mangold
Release Date: July 26

When director Darren Aronofsky signed on to tell the story of Wolverine’s Japanese adventures, all was briefly right in the world. Aronofsky’s departure to spend more time with his family was a crushing blow to fans but it seems the film located a suitable replacement in director James Mangold (Cop Land, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma). The trailer looks like it covers a lot of ground in Wolverine’s back story and introduces a number of classic characters to Marvel’s film universe.

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