Summer 2014 preview: More at the multiplex

Welcome back: "Godzilla" returns in a reboot this summer.
Warner Bros.

Take a seat: We're about to enjoy a sneak peek at the big summer movies, compiled for our viewing pleasure by Ben Tracy:

There's nothing "itsy bitsy" about this summer's crop of movies. With the latest "Spider-Man" launching the summer season this weekend, it'll be one big-budget extravaganza after another, all summer long.

"These are the movies with built-in audiences and movies that - theoretically -- people want to see," said Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, author of "Not to Be Missed."

He says studios have good reason to jump the gun on summer: "You extend the season. It's more time for people to go to the movies. They say, 'A-ha, it's summer! Where's my wallet? I'm going.'"

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has a steep climb to match the last "Spider-Man" movie, which caught more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in its worldwide web.

The X-Men are back -- and go back in time -- in "Days of Future Past." This is the seventh film for Marvel's mutants.

Some of the least-known superheroes in the Marvel universe show up as "Guardians of the Galaxy." It's one of the films that critic Turan is looking forward to.

"I've suffered in the past from 'Marvel fatigue,'" he said. "I've really felt that there were too many Marvel superheroes out there. So I'm curious if they can do anything different with these people, since we haven't seen them before."

We have seen these apes before: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is the latest in the venerable franchise.

And that old movie favorite, Godzilla, gets a new incarnation.

Welcome back: "Godzilla" returns in a reboot this summer. Warner Bros.

"Age of Extinction" is the fourth Transformers movie, built on the children's toy.

"It's got Mark Wahlberg, and he's a good actor," said Turan. "But I mean, it's more of these giant toys, and my interest level is minimal."

Tom Cruise tries to save the world in "Edge of Tomorrow."

And Scarlett Johansson tries to save herself in the action thriller, "Lucy."

The studios dote on younger audiences in the summer. But this season, boomers may have something to sing about, too.

The real story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons gets the Clint Eastwood treatment in "Jersey Boys," based on the hit Broadway musical.

"Jimi: All Is By My Side" looks at a brief period in the life of Jimi Hendrix, just before he exploded into stardom.

And "Get On Up" tells the James Brown story, with Chadwick Boseman (who played Jackie Robinson last year in "42") as the Godfather of Soul.

Music is at the heart of "Begin Again," about a down-on-his-luck record producer who gets a second chance.

Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in the music-filled romance, "Begin Again," directed by John Carney ("Once"). Weinstein Company

Turan says his interest in "Begin Again" comes from its director, John Carney, "who is the man who directed 'Once,' which is a film that I really love. It's, again, a story set in the music world. It's with Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. There's love involved, there's music involved, there's heartbreak involved. I don't know in what percentages, but I'm willing to find out."

Jon Favreau gets a second chance in "Chef," when he gives up his restaurant job to spice up his life on a food truck.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan hit it off in the romantic comedy, "What If."

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel make a home movie that goes public in "Sex Tape."

And Seth MacFarlane shows us "A Million Ways to Die in the West."

"Well, if you're looking for transgressive comedies, this is probably the one for the summer," said Turan. "Seth MacFarlane had a big hit with 'Ted,' and this is that same kind of sense of humor, transposed to the Old West."

There'll be animated fare this summer, like "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

And fairy tales: Angelina Jolie stars in "Maleficent," a retelling of the "Sleeping Beauty" story from the point of view of the Mistress of All Evil.

And what's summer without baseball? Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") plays a sports agent who goes to India to find a cricket player with "A Million Dollar Arm."

"Boyhood" is a movie that was 12 years in the making. Director Richard Linklater used the same cast and filmed for a few days each year since 2002 to tell this coming-of-age story.

Ellar Coltrane was six years old when he was cast as the young star of Richard Linklater's "Boyhood." The actor aged into a young adult as filming progressed over 12 years. Universal Pictures

In one of his last roles, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German spymaster in "A Most Wanted Man," from the John le Carre novel.

And John Green's immensely popular young adult novel, "The Fault In Our Stars," comes to the big screen.

"If there are any teenagers in your family, you know all about 'The Fault In Our Stars." It stars Shailene Woodley as a young cancer patient, and about her romantic life and her personal life. And I think for that young adult quadrant, this is going to be the film to see this summer."

Hollywood hopes you'll find films to see. The summer season has begun.

  • CBS News Poll: At the movies - How many Americans are planning to buy a movie ticket this summer?
  • Take our online poll below: Which movie are you most interested in seeing?

For more info:

Summer movie poll

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