In the movie business, May is the start of summer, the time to shed those dowdy period pieces and quirky romantic comedies for big explosions, sleek spaceships and ultra-attractive stars making out. It's also the beginning of the season for what I like to think of as "air-conditioning movies" -- you know, the films you see just to get two hours of AC in the middle of a heat wave. Here's a glimpse of what we have to look forward to (and dread) in next month's movies.
Iron Man 3 (May 3)
The third installment of the blockbuster Marvel franchise will feature Ben Kingsley as the terrorist leader Mandarin, squaring off against our hero (Robert Downey Jr,, of course!) and Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts.
See, or use for AC? See! Iron Man films always deliver on adventure, humor and character.
The Iceman (May 3)
Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, the upcoming Man of Steel) plays contract killer Richard Kuklinski, opposite Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, James Franco and Ray Liotta. Based on a true story, Kuklinski killed more than 100 people before his capture in 1986.
See, or use for AC? See. It’s worth it to watch Evans as a sleazy, amoral killer after two movies playing the squeaky-clean Captain America.
The Great Gatsby (May 10)
Baz Luhrmann is back, this time with an expensive, sprawling, star-studded adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous novel. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby, with Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. In case you didn't read the book in ninth grade, the story follows Carraway as he uncovers the secrets behind Gatsby's wealth, success and forbidden love.
See, or use for AC? Use for AC. Luhrmann knows his way around a set design, and there's no doubt this film will be gorgeous. Whether it bears any resemblance to Fitzgerald's moody, brilliant novel is another story.
Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (May 10)
Tyler Perry's latest film follows Craig Robinson (The Office) as he tries to win over his girlfriend's father (David Allen Grier) before proposing. Kerry Washington is the girl in question. The Hamptons play the part of the fancy-pants town where Robinson's character gets himself into assorted scrapes trying to prove his worth.
See, or use for AC? Use for AC. Robinson is an appealing comedic actor, but the plot looks like it is formulaic enough that you could squeeze a nap in during the middle bit.
Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto star in J.J. Abrams' newest adventure in the rebooted Star Trek universe. Benedict Cumberbatch will show up to terrorize Earth, and totally, not at all, not even a little bit, portray Khan. Set phasers to lens flare, everyone!
See, or use for AC? See. As much as Abrams' 2009 film was divisive among Trek fans, it was also a lot of fun. Plus, if you don't watch the whole thing, how will you know which totally essential character trait Abrams switched around for the sake of the plot?
Fast & Furious 6 (May 24)
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson star in their "most high-stakes adventure yet." The team is sets off on one last job to earn full pardons and get back to their loved ones. Going out on a limb: They're going to need to drive really fast, and really furiously.
See, or use for AC? See. The Fast and the Furious franchise is built on the idea that what people want in a film is attractive people, even more attractive cars, and speedy action sequences -- but there's nothing wrong with that! Some movies are meant to meditate on the deeper meanings of human existence, others are just fun heist movies.
The Hangover Part III (May 24)
The Wolfpack is back for the final installment of this series, in which everything goes haywire while they try to get Alan (Zach Galifianakis) a little bit of mental help.
See, or use for AC? See. If you've come this far in the series, you might as well finish it.
The Purge (May 31)
In a dystopian alternative America, there is one night a year when all crime is legal, and the police protect no one. The film follows one family through the night as they're threatened by masked assailants looking to kill anyone who gets in their way.
See, or use for AC? I'm going to skip this one entirely. Despite Lena Headey and Ethan Hawke heading up the cast, this movie looks truly distasteful. I'm all for dystopian futures, but this one seems like a weak excuse to show a family being tortured.
Now You See Me (May 31)
The world's greatest magicians pull off heists against major corporations, and the FBI is sent to bring them down. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and Isla Fisher star.
See, or use for AC? This is an AC movie. Big effects, big stars, big budget -- and what looks like not a shred of logic about how actual magicians, banks or Vegas work. Sounds like a happy way to spend a couple of hours!