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2008 Summer Movie Preview: May

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Will this new summer movie season continue breaking box office records? It’s a tall order, especially after last May’s three-peat festival, but four releases have blockbuster potential. Here are some notable releases coming out this month.

NOTE: All dates subject to change.

MAY 2

Iron Man - Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura) directs another Marvel comic adaptation. Robert Downey Jr. headlines the all star cast as inventor/tycoon Tony Stark who becomes the well-cast hero. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Virginia “Pepper“ Potts; Jeff Bridges stars as Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger and Terrence Howard plays military man Jim Rhodes. That may not mean a lot for fans unfamiliar with the comic books, but it‘s another opportunity to develop memorable Marvel characters on the big screen that either hit (Spider-Man) or miss (Fantastic Four).

Made of Honor – Patrick Dempsey (Enchanted, Sweet Home Alabama) tries to woo his best friend after she appoints him as her best man… wait, oh yeah, the title’s play on words. Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III) tries her hand at romantic comedy with co-stars Kadeem Hardison, Kathleen Quinlan, and Sydney Pollack.

MAY 9

The Fall - Director Tarsem Singh’s fantasy follow-up to The Cell comes to the states thanks to help from fellow filmmakers David Fincher and Spike Jonze. Filmed in several different countries, this film has lots of colorful visuals that humbly begin in a Los Angeles hospital in 1915. (Limited release)

Redbelt – David Mamet reaches beyond his usual genres to direct this mixed martial arts action film set in West Los Angeles. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Four Brothers, Inside Man) stars in the lead role and Alice Braga (I Am Legend) plays his wife. The all star supporting cast includes David Paymer, Tim Allen, Emily Mortimer, Ricky Jay, Rodrigo Santoro (300), and Joe Mantegna. 

Speed Racer – The writing/directing Wachowski brothers offer a PG-rated action adaptation of the 1960s Japanese animated series. Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) stars as the natural born driver Speed, backed by his girlfriend Trixie and Pops, played by John Goodman, and Mom, played by Susan Sarandon. Matthew Fox (Lost television series) plays Speed’s racing rival, Racer X. A potential genre breaker a la Spy Kids if audiences decide to ride. 

What Happens in Vegas - Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher star as Joy and Jack in this romantic comedy where money, weddings, and deceit all factor into the story. Screenwriter Dana Fox (The Wedding Date) seems to like the wedding genre. Tom Vaughan (Starter for 10 starring James McAvoy) directs while newcomer Ariel Vialli provides songs.

MAY 16

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian – This highly anticipated sequel, the second in the film series, adapts the C.S. Lewis fantasy as the three siblings return to Narnia to help the prince, played by Ben Barnes, reclaim his throne from King Miraz, played by Sergio Castelitto. Liam Neeson and recent Oscar winner Tilda Swinton reprise their roles as Aslan and the White Witch, respectively.

MAY 22

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Harrison Ford reprises his archeologist/adventurer role with co-stars Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, and Raiders of the Lost Ark co-star Karen Allen. Steven Spielberg directs and also produces with original high profile filmmaker George Lucas. Lucas also handles story/screenplay duties with David Koepp and Jeff Nathanson. THE movie to beat this summer. 

MAY 30

The Foot Fist Way - This R-rated comedy is about an instructor who encounters challenges in his marriage and martial arts life. The first movie from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions. (Limited release)

Sex in the City: The Movie - All the ladies return to pick up where the HBO television series final episode left off, including Carrie's plans with Big. Jennifer Hudson also co-stars and sings on the star-filled music soundtrack.

The Strangers (2008) – Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (Underworld) star in this thriller written and directed by newcomer Bryan Bertino. This happy couple finds less fun when three troublemakers ruin their good time. Sounds like the recently released Funny Games, except with one more troublemaker. 

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