Nonstop Movies: Fab Five summer movies

It’s just mid-May, but the summer movie season is already upon us with the recent, record-breaking opening of “The Avenger.” I was in Japan, so I missed out on contributing to its $200-million opening, but I have since seen the film, and although it was solid, I wasn’t entirely blown away by it. So what summer releases am I hoping will really wow me? Here’s my list of the Fab Five films I’m most anxious to see.

#1 – “The Dark Knight Rises” (July 20)

Director Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with what appears to be the darkest film of the three. With a cast heavily recruited from his previous film, “Inception” (Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard), and the introduction of new characters Bane and Catwoman, I’m hoping “The Dark Knight Rises” can match, if not exceed, the intensity and quality of “The Dark Knight.”

#2 – “Prometheus”(June 8)

“Alien.” “Blade Runner.” “Thelma & Louise.” “Black Rain.” The early films of versatile director Ridley Scott are cinematic masterpieces that are still relevant today. While his latest offerings have been hit and miss, the early footage of “Prometheus” promises a return to classic Scott suspense. The film’s marketing campaign teases with just enough juicy clips to keep fan boys hungry, and with a stellar cast — Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce and the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Noomi Rapace — I can’t wait to see how the film plays out.

#3 – “GI Joe: Retaliation”(June 21)

The first “GI Joe” was campy, cartoonish fun, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the source material. But the second installment looks to be a balls-out relaunch of the franchise. Most of the characters, except for Duke (Channing Tatum), Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (Byung Hun Lee,) have been discarded. Brought in to replace them are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis. Yeah, I‘d say that’s an upgrade.

#4 – “The Expendables 2” (Aug. 17)

“GI Joe: Retaliation” isn’t the only film Bruce Willis is adding heavy testosterone to this summer. He also appears in “The Expendables 2,” the sequel to the 2010 action blockbuster. In addition to the “only-one-name-needed” original cast (Stallone, Statham, Jet, Dolph), the sequel includes Chuck Norris, and expanded roles not only for Willis, but Arnold Schwarzenegger. But it’s Jean-Claude Van Damme who I can’t wait to see back on the big screen. Playing the villain, I want to see the Muscles from Brussels inflict as much Van Dammage as possible.

#5 – “Ted”(July 13)

A story about a boy and his teddy bear, only they’re both grown-up adults. That’s the intriguing premise for “Ted,” a comedy written and directed by Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” fame and starring Mark Wahlberg. Every summer needs a filthy comedy, and it looks like “Ted” will fit the bill this year. The early trailer was so bizarre I immediately noted it as a must-see. This can be really good or very very bad.

Other summer films of note:

“Battleship” (May 18) – Looks like “Transformers” at sea. Filmed in Hawaii.

“Men in Black 3” (May 25) – Sequel to the hit sci-fi comedy franchise.

“Snow White & the Huntsmen” (June 1) – A gritty telling of the classic fairy tale.

“Rock of Ages” (June 15) – ’80s rock music and a shirtless Tom Cruise. Can’t go wrong.

“Brave” (June 22) – Pixar’s first film with a female lead.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” (July 3) – Relaunched already?

“The Bourne Legacy” (Aug.t 3) – Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon in the action franchise.

“Total Recall” (Aug. 3) – Colin Farrell stars in this remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger hit.