2011 Summer Movie Preview: June
X-Men: First Class (June 3)
Fox has hit a rough patch with the "X-Men" franchise since striking critical and box office gold with 2003's "X2: X-Men United" -- the third "X-Men" movie didn't live up to expectations, and the less said about "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the better. So the studio is hitting the reboot button with this outing, taking filmgoers all the way back to the beginning of the team, and the roots of the longstanding feud between Charles Xavier (played here by James McAvoy) and Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender).
Super 8 (June 10)
When you see the words "from writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg" on a poster, that should be everything you need to know before you sprint to the box office with an open wallet, but in case you're really eager for a few more details, here's what we know about "Super 8": It follows the adventures of a group of Ohio kids in 1979, when a train carrying possibly extraterrestial cargo from Area 51 derails in their small town. Sounds like "E.T." crossed with "Cloverfield," right? With these two names joining forces, we expect nothing less than a full-scale nerdgasm, and "Super 8" looks primed to deliver.
Green Lantern (June 17)
After what seems like an eternity in development hell, Warner Bros. finally sends another of DC's heroes to the big screen in "Green Lantern," which wraps Ryan Reynolds in a CG suit and pits him against the evil Parallax -- and the giant-headed Hector Hammond -- with the fate of the universe at stake. And if you're rolling your eyes and thinking this sounds like hokey B-level comic book nonsense, just remember: that's what a lot of people said about "Iron Man" a few years ago.
Mr. Popper's Penguins (June 17)
Fox has been trying to get an adaptation of this classic children's book off the ground for years; at one point, Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale") was attached to direct, with Ben Stiller on board to star. But all's well that ends well, and here we have Jim Carrey starring as the man who inherits a half-dozen penguins that turn his life upside down, with Mark Waters ("Mean Girls") behind the camera. The trailer includes a clip of a penguin spinning in the toilet and some synchronized dancing between Carrey and his fowl, so you know this isn't going to be the sharpest comedy of the summer, but it could make for some disarmingly harmless family fare. And honestly, who really expects more from Carrey at this point?
Bad Teacher (June 24)
It's been a long time since anyone bothered to take advantage of Cameron Diaz's comedic gifts, but "Bad Teacher" -- which casts her as a promiscuous, foul-mouthed seventh-grade teacher who schemes to bed the substitute (Justin Timberlake) who's dating her hated rival (Lucy Punch) -- looks like it might actually be funny enough to make us forgive her for "What Happens in Vegas." Fingers crossed!
Cars 2 (June 24)
Far be it from us to applaud a movie that gives Larry the Cable Guy more work, but hey -- it's Pixar. Who can say no, even when what they're offering is yet another sequel in a summer already stuffed with them? This time around, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is competing for the title of world's fastest car in the World Grand Prix, while Mater (Larry) somehow ends up bungling himself into some sort of espionage adventure, courtesy of the dashing Finn McMissile (Michael Caine).