Summer movie season has arrived. There is an insane number of films on the (incomplete) list that follows, and plenty of room for optimism. To that end, we've tried to cut back on the snarky comments about pointless sequels and loathsome actors—although it's nearly impossible to let those infernal pirates sail by without a slap or two. But, hey, they can take it, because they're really, really rich, and because everyone knows pirates can't read. Happy summer, Dallas. —Chuck Wilson
Director: William Friedkin
Director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) returns with an adaptation of screenwriter Tracy Lett's intense off-Broadway drama about an Oklahoma cocktail waitress (Ashley Judd) who invites a Gulf War vet (Michael Shannon) into her motel room home. Over time, she gradually becomes caught up in his belief that the room they're occupying is infected with government issued bugs—the kind that crawl. (Lionsgate) Opens nationwide.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Director: Gore Verbinski
Director: Christopher Smith
On a corporate retreat in Budapest an international arms dealer and his six employees are attacked by crazed mercenaries, who—and we're just guessing here—must be pissed over not having received a bulk discount. (Magnolia) Opens nationwide.
Director: Dan Klores
In this irresistible documentary, director Dan Klores tracks the insane lengths Bronx lawyer Burt Pugach went to woo the woman who rejected him, including the part where he hired thugs to throw acid in her face. A film guaranteed to make you feel better about your love life. (Magnolia) Opens New York and Los Angeles June 1, San Francisco June 8, with additional cities to follow. Knocked Up
Director: Judd Apatow
The Hollywood hype-meisters are predicting that this comedy about a slob (Rogen) and a gorgeous TV reporter (Heigl) who get drunk, have sex and inadvertently make a baby, is going to make Grey's Anatomy star Heigl the next Julia Roberts. No pressure there. Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) writes and directs. (Universal) Opens nationwide.
Director: Bruce A. Evans
Costner plays a rich Portland businessman who moonlights as a serial killer, a sideline at which he excels until a smart cop (Moore) and a blackmailing photographer (Cook) start messing with his master plan. (MGM) Opens nationwide.
Hostel Part II
Director: Eli Roth
In a decidedly unkempt Slovakian dungeon, three vacationing Americans are flayed, decapitated, and generally mistreated by insane rich men with knives. Summer movie fun for the whole family. (Lionsgate) Opens nationwide.
La Vie en Rose
Director: Olivier Dahan
Raised in a brothel, blind for a time as a child, and suspected of murder, French chanteuse Edith Piaf is long overdue for a biopic. The year's first bit of Oscar buzz is building for Cotillard's fierce performance. (Picturehouse) Opens New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco June 8, with additional cities to follow.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
A band of very pretty people rob a casino. (Warner Bros) Opens nationwide.
Directors: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Director: Tim Story
In this sequel to a film every comic geek saw and few loved, a silver-skinned cool dude superhero on a surfboard joins forces with the Fab Four to once again defeat the evil Dr. Doom. (Fox) Opens nationwide.
Director: Geoffrey Wright
Australian filmmaker Wright (Romper Stomper) sets Macbeth (Worthington) and his murderous mum (Hill) in a modern-day Melbourne, where Duncan (Sweet) is a crime boss whose end is near. (Union Station Media/Truly Indie) Opens Seattle June 15, San Francisco June 29, New York July 6, additional cities to follow.
Director: Andrew Fleming
The rare summer movie that may appeal to your grandmother, this big screen adaptation of the young-adult mystery series stars Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric, niece to Julia) as a modern-day version of the plucky 1930s teen sleuth. (Warner Bros) Opens nationwide.
A Mighty Heart
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, whose bestseller A Mighty Heart detailed her 2002 journey to Pakistan to search for her husband Daniel, a Wall Street Journalreporter who'd been kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists. Dan Futterman (who wrote Capote) portrays, in flashback, the late Daniel Pearl. (Paramount Vantage) Opens nationwide.