SO, SNOW WHITE, SPIDER-MAN and a magical talking teddy bear walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "This is either a costume party, or else I'm in for one heck of a punch line." Nah. It's just the summer movie season, when a Milton Bradley guessing game based on a simple numerical grid becomes a $200 million space alien blockbuster.
Are you ready to find out which U.S. president lived a shadowy double life hunting down unholy creatures of the night? Are you ready for a goofy Middle Eastern dictator to visit New York City one week, while Will Smith takes a swan dive off the Empire State Building the next? Are you ready for girl group rock, hair metal rock and mobs of protest dancers?
Ready or not, here it comes. From this weekend through the end of August, movie theaters will be buried beneath an avalanche of entertainment. The 2012 presidential candidates will be wooing voters on the 6 o'clock news, while Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis woo them after the previews of coming attractions.
To help you sort through it all, we've grouped the 30 biggest summer films into six handy categories. Note: Where available, each film's MPAA rating has been included. All release dates given are subject to revision.
GREATEST AMERICAN HEROES: Movies About Men in Tights and Other World-Saving Figures
"Marvel's The Avengers" (May 4 — PG-13) Every superhero in the history of mankind is in this movie. Or at least that's what you might suppose based on the hype surrounding "Marvel's The Avengers" — not to be confused with the British secret agent tandem of John Steed and Emma Peel, who got their own "The Avengers" movie in 1998. It's actually just Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who team up to battle the evil designs of the mythological trickster Loki. Ruffalo is the third actor to play Hulk in the last nine years (taking the place of Ed Norton, who previously took the place of Eric Bana), but Downey Jr., Evans and Hemsworth all established themselves in their roles in prior films.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (June 22) Most people already know that Honest Abe is perhaps America's most beloved chief executive, but biographers and historians rarely allude to the 16th president's long list of accomplishments as a fearless and reckless slayer of the undead. Not anymore. While Mitt Romney and Barack Obama spend the summer talking about the scourge of a bad economy, young Mr. Lincoln will actually be ridding the nation of the scourge of, um, vampirism. The film is a big break for stage actor Benjamin Walker, who's widely noted for playing the lead in another revisionist yarn, the rock musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." Walker beat out none other than Nicolas Cage in getting himself cast as the famed rail-splitter whose axe was apparently also used to carry out, ahem, other tasks.
"The Dark Knight Rises" (July 20 — PG-13) Batman battles hulking Bane (who appeared as a supporting character in the 1997 film "Batman and Robin") in what's alleged to be writer and director Christopher Nolan's final film about Gotham's Caped Crusader. Because all Batman films are required by law to feature at least two villains, Anne Hathaway is also involved as the slinky, seductive Catwoman.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" (July 3) British actor Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin in "The Social Network") is out to brush aside your memories of Tobey Maguire as the all-new man behind the mask of Marvel Comics's best-known superhero. The new film reboots Sony's immensely profitable three-film franchise, telling a back-to-the-drawing-board story that pits young Peter Parker against The Lizard.
"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (June 29) It feels so right for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to play the hero of a G.I. Joe movie that it's somewhat mystifying how he got overlooked for "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" in 2009. Johnson plays Roadblock, who seizes the spotlight from Channing Tatum's Duke, the hero of the first film. Also appearing: Bruce Willis (speaking of spot-on casting) as a retired general named Joseph (hmm) Colton.
SPACE — THE FINAL FRONTIER: Movies that Reveal that We Are Not Alone
"Prometheus" (June 8) More than 30 years ago, in space, no one could hear you scream. Three different filmmakers have made sequels to Ridley Scott's groundbreaking "Alien" since then: James Cameron, David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Now, the 74-year-old Scott himself circles back to the franchise, this time to spin a prequel yarn that explores the events that led to the Nostromo discovering a not-so-dead planet with a live distress signal. The new film has a mostly white human crew that includes a black man, a couple of women and an android traveling in deep space aboard a long-range vessel ... so far, so 1979. There's a cutting-edge cast in the mix, with roles for heralded newcomers Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, as well as Hollywood veteran Charlize Theron and TV star Idris Elba of "The Wire."
"Total Recall" (Aug. 3) More than 20 years after Arnold Schwarzenegger told himself to get his (butt) to Mars in Paul Verhoeven's "Total Recall," the muscular yarn gets a fancy-pants 21st-century makeover with Colin Farrell and flying cars. Farrell takes the place of Ah-nuld as Quaid, a self-professed regular guy with a blue-collar job who is haunted by dreamscapes and memories that don't seem to add up. Sharon Stone has been replaced by Kate Beckinsale (whose husband, "Underworld" and "Live Free or Die Hard" director Len Wiseman, is behind the camera), with Jessica Biel stepping in for Rachel Ticotin. The preview material makes scant mention of the Red Planet, which may be for the better: There's a long history of Mars-connected duds in Hollywood, including this year's "John Carter."
"Battleship" (May 18 — PG-13) Speaking of "John Carter," the star of that movie, Taylor Kitsch, continues his career-breakout year as the star of this one, this time without his distinctive long locks. That's appropriate, since Kitsch's Alex Hopper is a fast-rising naval officer with a penchant for semi-dazzling screw-ups. The movie was inspired by the board game Battleship, which totally explains why it's about, uh, invading aliens who attack in the middle of naval exercises.
"The Watch" (July 27) Space invaders are also a key plot point in this comedy about overzealous suburban dads (including Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and Vince Vaughn) who tangle with a threat to their neighborhood from the unfriendly skies. The film's original title was "Neighborhood Watch," and its initial wave of promotion — with no references to aliens and a hefty dose of white-dudes-being-all-gangsta swagger — showed up just as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman began to appear in the news. So, um, yeah, they changed the title.
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" (June 22 — R) It's the end of the world as we know it after an "Armageddon"-style mission fails to deter a 70-miles-wide asteroid on a collision course with Earth, meaning that everyone on the planet has just weeks to live. Steve Carell is a sad sack who gets a new, if destined-to-be-brief, lease on life from the restless spirit of his cheery neighbor (Keira Knightley). Think of this one as being the bizzaro "Melancholia."
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN: We Are Woman, Hear Us Roar
"Snow White and the Huntsman" (June 1 — PG-13) Lily Collins (daughter of longtime Genesis frontman Phil) was the fairest of them all in "Mirror Mirror" earlier this year. Now Kristen Stewart takes her turn as the poisoned apple of the eye of a ruthless sorceress (Charlize Theron) who gets her self-image counseling from a magic mirror. Chris Hemsworth joins the game as a huntsman sent by Her Jealous Majesty to fetch a certain fair-complected lass from the enchanted forest. So is the hunktastic huntsman a mere beast-stalking stooge, or will he join the fair Ms. Bella-from-"Twilight" White in forming a rebel alliance against power-and-beauty-mad sovereigns with looking glass therapists? Maybe the real question is whether the huntsman has to slay a vampire and a werewolf to win his lady love.
"Brave" (June 22) Woo-hoo! Those stuffed shirts at Disney have finally done it! It's only taken them 70-odd years of making movies to do something about a strong-willed princess who rebels against the conventions of her society. Except for Belle, Mulan, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Tiana and Rapunzel, there has never been a Disney princess like Merida, a fiery Scottish lass who'd rather shoot her bow and make her own choices than be a proper lady. After her general hotheadedness throws the entire kingdom into disarray, Merida takes on a quest to set things right. "Brave" is the first Disney princess movie to come from the Pixar braintrust, so there's reason to expect a tale that's at least somewhat of a departure from the norm. Actress Kelly Macdonald won the role of Merida after Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon turned it down.
"What to Expect When You're Expecting" (May 18 — PG-13) You can adapt just about anything into a movie these days, and just last month "Think Like a Man" proved that the market for instructional, informational and self-help titles is a potential gold mine. A fistful of Hollywood actresses — Elizabeth Banks, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker and Anna Kendrick — represent varying perspectives on pregnancy in this sure-to-be-wacky ensemble comedy.
"Sparkle" (Aug. 17) Sisters are doing it for themselves in this remake of a 1976 film. Sparkle, Sister and Delores Williams have big dreams, and a big sound that could carry them to the top of the charts. Sixth-season "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks plays the title character, and recently deceased singing sensation Whitney Houston appears as the Williams siblings' single mother. Guess there's no questioning which side of the family their musical genes came from.
"Hope Springs" (Aug. 10) An unhappy housewife (Meryl Streep) celebrates 30 years of diminishing returns by demanding renewed romantic attention from her husband (Tommy Lee Jones). Will a visit to a special couples retreat run by a marriage therapy guru (Steve Carell) turn things around? The trailer points to yes with safe, reassuring "bits" like wryly inappropriate candor from a straight-shooting bartender and Streep's close encounter with a banana.
BOYS WILL BE INSENSITIVE TOOLS: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
"The Dictator" (May 18 — R) After preying on unsuspecting rubes in "Borat," and slightly more suspecting low- and high-level celebrities in "Bruno," comedian and enfant terrible Sacha Baron Cohen plays a Middle Eastern strongman who rules his fictional Republic of Wadiya with an iron fist before experiencing a humbling fall from power. Baron Cohen allegedly came by his inspiration for the film from a truly unique source: a propagandist tract in the form of a romance novel purportedly written by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, given that the actor and provocateur has spent the last several months appearing in public as his character — he "inadvertently" dumped funerary ashes on Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars — to raise the film's profile, well, take the Saddam thing with a grain.
"The Bourne Legacy" (Aug. 3) Instead of being Bourne again for the third time, Matt Damon bowed out of the popular "Bourne" franchise, allowing the series to give birth to a new superspy, Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. Renner has been popping up everywhere since breaking out in "The Hurt Locker" three years ago. He beefed up his screen espionage credentials last year with a prominent supporting role in "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," and slipped into the Marvel Comics movie milieu as Hawkeye in two movies ("Thor" and "Marvel's The Avengers") to date. He also gave an Oscar-nominated performance as an unstable criminal hothead in Ben Affleck's "The Town" in 2010. So, yeah, expect more of the usual espionage angst, with a different guy ticked off about his warped, stolen life.
"That's My Boy" (June 15 — R) Adam Sandler plays a bloated, drunken lout who became a single father at age 13-ish, thanks to some middle school teacher-student shenanigans. In need of money to pay his back taxes, cloddish Donny looks up Todd (Andy Samberg), the long-estranged son he raised to age 18, and attempts to rekindle the relationship ... just in time to be a fly in the ointment of Todd's wedding plans!
"The Campaign" (Aug. 10) As the nation prepares for Decision 2012, Hollywood makes top sirloin out of sacred cows with the latest big-ticket Will Ferrell comedy. The former "SNL" superstar plays a suave North Carolinian who crosses political swords with a rival (Zack Galifianakis) for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Director Jay Roach is no stranger to political theater: He also directed the recent Sarah Palin film "Game Change" for HBO.
"Savages" (July 6 — R) Filmmaker Oliver Stone channels his inner Quentin Tarantino for this rip-snorting tale of buddies Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), who grow and sell top-quality pot together. They also share the same girlfriend (Blake Lively), and the same wrath at her kidnapping by a hard-charging Mexican cartel. John Travolta is the dirty DEA flack who reluctantly helps the fellas fight back.
STRANGE THINGS ARE AFOOT AT THE CIRCLE K: Something Weird This Way Comes
"Dark Shadows" (May 11 — PG-13) When he was a kid, Johnny Depp apparently always wanted to be a vampire. (It explains a lot, really.) And not just any vampire — Depp wanted to be Barnabas Collins, the nightstalker who skulks through offbeat daytime soap "Dark Shadows," which thrived by doling out spooky details about the monstrous past of Collinwood Manor in Collinsport, Maine. The show ran from 1966 to 1971 and, much like Barnabas himself, will rise from the grave after a long absence thanks to the ever-fruitful partnership of Depp and filmmaker Tim Burton (this is their eighth film together). TV's original Barnabas, oddly, almost lived to witness Depp inherit his fangs — actor Jonathan Frid shot a cameo for the new film, but died in April at age 87.
"Ted" (July 13 — R) John, a 35-year-old schmuck from Boston, has a good life with the two most important people he's ever met: his live-in girlfriend of four years, and the stuffed bear he's had since he was 8. Ted isn't just a childhood keepsake, though. Thanks to an innocent wish long ago, Ted is John's living, breathing best buddy, with all of the same potty-mouthed, dope-smoking blue-collar foibles as his lifelong roommate. This is the first feature-length film to be written and directed by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, who also provides the voice of Ted. Mark Wahlberg plays John, who wants to please long-suffering Lori (Mila Kunis), but has mixed feelings about ditching his good-naturedly slobbish amigo, who can't keep a job and prefers, um, foolin' around to seeking the love of a good woman.
"Chernobyl Diaries" (May 25 — R) Attractive young people touring Eastern Europe are in for a surprise when their ringleader detours the group to the long abandoned Ukrainian city of Prypiat, adjacent to the defunct Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Relax, he tells them, it's an "extreme" tourist adventure, complete with Geiger counter and local guide. Only, who knows what evil lurks in the shadows of history's worst nuclear meltdown? Someone is about to find out ...
"Men in Black 3" (May 25 — PG-13) The dark-suited defenders of humanity face their greatest challenge yet when some sort of crisis or other means that J (Will Smith) must — MUST, I say — travel backwards in time to 1969 to save the life of his no-nonsense partner, K (Tommy Lee Jones). The younger K (Josh Brolin) is dubious, perhaps because he read about how three writers worked over the new movie's script, while Smith almost passed on making it entirely.
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green" (Aug. 17 — PG) Odd is right. Young Timothy, age 10, shows up one fine morning on the doorstep of the unhappily childless Greens, would-be parents who have only just abandoned long-held dreams of child-rearing and symbolically buried their hopes in a box in the back yard. So ... is Timothy a boy, or a plant that magically sprang from his "parents' " active imagination? And should they feed him cold cereal or, you know, fertilizer?
I LIKE TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT: They Got Music, They Got Rhythm
"Step Up Revolution" (July 27 — PG-13) The essential ingredients of a "Step Up" movie are hard bodies, tight clothing and sweat. I mean, it probably helps to have wicked awesome dance moves involved, but is the key demographic (teenage girls) really paying all that much attention to whether Good Girl A and Hot, Rebellious Guy B would actually get a gig on "So You Think You Can Dance"? It just so happens that star Kathryn McCormick placed third in Season 6 of "SYTYCD," thank you very much. "Revolution" isn't just a word in the title of the movie: McCormick plays a child of privilege and aspiring dancer caught up in the passion of protest dance mobs that use their sweet choreography to agitate for social justice. Historical suffragist and philanthropist Katharine McCormick would surely approve.
"Rock of Ages" (June 15) Two-time "Dancing with the Stars" champ Julianne Hough of Sandy, Utah, who cut a mean rug as the female star of "Footloose" last year, jumps to the bright lights and big sound of '80s hard rock. A musical sensation on Broadway, this headbanging tale of true love between a waitress (Hough) and a busboy (Diego Boneta) has a Reagan Era musical backdrop that includes the guitar-driven sound of Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, the Scorpions, Journey, Poison, Whitesnake and more. Tom Cruise has the main supporting role of rock god Stacee Jaxx and does all of his own singing in the film, including solos on GNR's "Paradise City" and the Def Leppard anthem "Pour Some Sugar on Me." The cast also includes Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Mary J. Blige.
"Battlefield America" (June 1) As far as we know, this film is not about an outer space invasion that is dramatically repulsed by surly teens who use their soo-pah tight dance skillz to dodge the alien death rays. There are surly teens in the movie, however, and they do become a wicked mad underground competition crew with soop-ah tight dance skillz. So if marauding extraterrestrials DID show up, then America would, you know, probably be OK and stuff.
"Magic Mike" (June 29 — R) Channing Tatum, who legendarily did a bit of work on the side, ahem, shakin' it for the ladies, before breaking into the movie biz, reconnects with his roots. As the rhythmically disrobing toe-tapper of the title, Tatum puts on a show by night, but dreams of designing and building handcrafted furniture by day. Those woodworking lessons aren't going to pay for themselves, you know.
"Take This Waltz" (June 29 — R) The tripping of the light fantastic is mostly symbolic in this tale of forbidden romantic yearning between a doe-eyed housewife (Michelle Williams) and the muscular, um, rickshaw driver (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street. Really? Rickshaw driving is a thing you can do for money in suburban Toronto? In 2012? Balderdash. Give the man an ounce of dignity and have him be a night clerk at the corner 7-Eleven.
ALSO COMING SOON
Aside from the obvious big, medium and little blockbusters, there is a pile, a mound, a veritable heap of other movies hoping to score some ticket sales this summer. Here's a brief look at some of the ones to watch for. Where available, each film's MPAA rating has been included.
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (May 4 — PG-13) Old farts from Blighty abscond to India to retire with dignity and, um, work in a call center while staying at a first-class luxury hotel. Is it a scam, or the adventure of a late-in-lifetime?
"First Position" (May 4) Along with their sugar, spice and everything nice, little girls are made of the ballet dreams captured by this documentary.
"A Little Bit of Heaven" (May 4 — PG-13) Kate Hudson is a terminal cancer patient who sadly remembers when her romantic comedies used to co-star Matthew McConaughey and make millions.
"The Cup" (May 11) A legendary horse race is conquered by an unlikely champion. It's like no other horse movie we've seen before!
"Girl in Progress" (May 11 — PG-13) A single mom works as a waitress and sleeps with a married guy, while attempting to provide for her precocious, responsible teenage daughter. So which one of them is the titular girl? Hmm.
"God Bless America" (May 11 — R) A terminally ill schlub realizes that everything that's wrong with America could be fixed if he just started shooting the people who annoy him. Naturally enough, a wisecracking teenage girl shares his vision.
"Hysteria" (May 18 — R) Repressed, progressive women in Great Britain realize that they need a man like a fish needs a bicycle after a certain mid-19th-century invention helps them to experience good vibrations. So to speak.
"Never Stand Still" (May 18) Instead of heeding Aerosmith's and Paula Abdul's injunction to shut up and dance, many people talk about the history of the legendary dance festival at Jacob's Pillow in the Berkshires.
"The Samaritan" (May 18) The con is on when a veteran grifter (Samuel L. Jackson) is unable to break free of pulling one last job. It's like no other con movie we've seen before!
"Virginia" (May 18 — R) A strung-out adulteress wants to become a good Mormon and also tries to force her married lover to acknowledge their affair. Are all Mormons like that? Can somebody ask Mitt Romney about this?
"Moonrise Kingdom" (May 25 — PG-13) A quirky moonstruck Boy Scout convinces his preteen girlfriend to run away with him, as quirky moonstruck Boy Scouts are wont to do.
"Pink Ribbons, Inc." (June 1) Corporations that produce carcinogenic products attempt to "pinkwash" their images by hypocritically supporting breast cancer research. At least until this documentary EXPOSES THEM FOR THE FRAUDS THAT THEY ARE.
"Piranha 3DD" (June 1 — R) Swarms of hungry, man-eating piranhas attack a location where many young people, including hot girls in teensy swimwear, have gathered to romp and make merry. As hungry, man-eating piranhas are wont to do.
"Bel Ami" (June 8 — R) The guy who plays Edward in the "Twilight" movies attempts to use his comically overblown powers of slightly wooden seductiveness on the creme de la femme of 19th-century French society.
"Lola Versus" (June 8 — R) After her wedding falls apart, a 30-something single woman realizes that men are tools and life is a journey. Fortune cookie not included.
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" (June 8 — PG) The adventure continues for that one lion with the voice of Ben Stiller and his pals from the Central Park Zoo.
"Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding" (June 8) The power of hippie Zen helps a stressed out New York lawyer to reconnect with what's important. It's like no other hippie Zen karma vs. Type A big city livin' movie we've seen before!
"Safety Not Guaranteed" (June 8 — R) A dude seeking a partner for an experiment in time travel turns out to, like, be a real person with feelings and stuff, after a magazine intern looks him up for a bitingly sarcastic feature. LET THAT BE A LESSON, snarky journalists.
"Your Sister's Sister" (June 15 — R) A dude who's grieving goes to stay with his friend and her sister at a remote cabin. Where zombies attack?! Nah, relationship crap happens. A zombie attack would have been cooler.
"To Rome With Love" (June 22) Quirky people do quirky things while visiting Italy because, to heck with the Romans. When in Rome, do as (director and screenwriter) Woody Allen does.
"People Like Us" (June 29 — PG-13) A dude and the long-lost stepsister he's never met are brought together by his father's last will and testament. Like, romantically brought together? Ewww. For gross.
"Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection" (June 29) Tyler Perry dresses up like a crazy Southern Grandmama to once again harass people into adopting down-home values. Don't pay any attention, or he'll keep doing it.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (June 29 — PG-13) "Hushpuppy" and her dad, "Wink," like, live inside the world of Hushpuppy's imagination. I mean, they actually live inside the world of filmmaker Benh Zeitlin's imagination, but whatevs, loser. Take your cinematic literalism and shove it!
"Katy Perry: Part of Me" (July 6) Come on, Katy Perry. This Justin Bieber-level pandering to your fans is beneath the dignity of your art.
"Ice Age: Continental Drift" (July 13) The adventure continues for that one irritating mammoth with the voice of Ray Romano and his pals from prehistoric times.
"Trishna" (July 13 — R) What if "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" had happened in present day India? Would Tess end up working in a Microsoft call center? And would high school students still find her story boring? Discuss.
"Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry" (July 27 — R) Because you don't apologize when you're a famous Chinese dissident artist.
"Ruby Sparks" (July 25) Holy bleep! A novelist with writer's block writes the girl of his dreams in his latest manuscript, and then she shows up at his apartment to hang out and stuff. Like, he created her with his brain! NO. WAY.
"The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" (Aug. 3 — PG) Are we on the third "Wimpy Kid" movie already? Isn't it the next one after this where the wimpy kid had a mid-life crisis and buys a Ferrari?
"360" (Aug. 3) People from different socio-economic strata are bummed after they get physical and realize that their differing backgrounds make them incompatible romantic partners. Love is harsh, man.
"Celeste and Jesse Forever" (Aug. 3) Something tells me Celeste and Jesse aren't going to make it.
"The Expendables 2" (Aug. 17) Sylvester Stallone and other old dudes break out the bicep grease and ammunition for another hopeless mission that only they are stone cold bad enough to take on. Fight on, stone cold bad old dudes!
"ParaNorman" (Aug. 17) There's something about Norman Babcock in this animated comedy. Bet he sees dead people.
"The Apparition" (Aug. 24 — PG-13) Draco Malfoy from the "Harry Potter" movies plays an expert occultist who must help terrified young homeowners repel a dark presence. Now, now, Draco. Would Lord Voldemort approve?
"Hit & Run" (Aug. 24) You can "Hit & Run," but you can't hide, from your old partners in crime ... is the lesson a former getaway driver learns when he flees a witness protection safe house to save an old girlfriend.
"Premium Rush" (Aug. 24) The job of New York City bike messenger Wilee gets even more dangerous than a priority delivery in rush hour traffic after he picks up an envelope that a dirty cop is desperate to destroy.
"7500" (Aug. 31) The captain has turned off the "fasten seat belt" sign, but all is not well aboard a haunted jet liner. Hey, does this mean we're not getting our free drinks and peanuts?
"Lawless" (Aug. 31) Brothers (Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) in Prohibition-era Virginia learn that even charismatic hillbilly moonshiners are not above the law. So they probably clean up their act and become dry goods store clerks. I mean, why would they engage in a bloody battle with federal agents that twists the fate of the women they love? That don't add up.
"The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure" (Aug. 31 — G) Um, this is probably something for kids. Let's all just nod and pretend we never spoke of it.
"The Possession" (Aug. 31 — PG-13) A young girl buys an antique music box at a yard sale. Then, because life is not like an episode of "The Brady Bunch," her parents find out that a malicious demon trapped inside the music box is tormenting their child. Oh no! LET THAT BE A LESSON, inattentive moms and dads. When your kid asks whether she can buy the junky old thing from the yard sale that's levitating and dripping blood while emitting an ominous green glow, you say, "NO."