Summer movie preview

Ben Raymond

Everyone looks forward to summer. It’s a season known for beach trips; sunshine; high-stress, low-pay jobs; and no-strings backseat debauchery. But it’s also a great time for cinema. With a high-budget, big-star blockbuster released nearly every week, audiences are promised an exciting summer at the movies.

You’ll all be busy this summer, but between tapping the kegs and making out with your best friend’s sister, make some time for a good film.

Here’s a look at what’s coming to theaters this summer.

Every weekend in May

What’s 31 days long and worth $3 billion? This month is what. With the final installment of three of the most profitable franchises in film history to be released in a stretch of just four weeks, you can’t afford to miss these movies.

“Spider-Man 3” opens tomorrow. “Shrek the Third” opens two weeks later, just a week before “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” Are the production companies serious? This entire month is one big blockbuster. There’s no doubt in my mind it will be the highest-grossing month in film history (and it will never be challenged).

Let’s go to June.

“Ratatouille” – June 29

From Pixar, cinema’s most imaginative studio, comes “Ratatouille,” the endearing story of Remy, a lowly Parisian sewer rat with a refined palate whose culinary dreams come true when he teams up with a young Parisian chef who can’t cook. The two build an unlikely alliance and form a heartwarming friendship one dish at a time.

The trailer has already been released in theaters and the animation looks, in a word, astonishing. It’s hard to fathom how, without fail, Pixar continues to wow audiences time and time again. Just when you think they can’t make it look any better, they do. “Ratatouille” looks to be the best yet.

With rousing successes like “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles,” Pixar has also become the industry’s most successful studio; its films gross nine-figure ticket sales each and every time. Although their most recent release, “Cars,” was the first less-than-spectacular effort in nearly a decade, all signs point to a surefire classic this time around.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” – July 13

Everybody’s favorite post-pubescent boy-wizard is back in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth film in the acclaimed franchise. And this installment promises to be the darkest yet.

I didn’t read the book, so I don’t know the plot. I guess I’ll just wing it.

Tempers and hormones rage at Hogwarts as Harry’s fifth year is laced with greater danger and a host of new villainy. Harry grows closer to his love interest, Cho, but nearly blows it when he whips-out his wand in the middle of study hall. Meanwhile, the sexual tension between Ron and Hermione reaches a fever pitch after Hermione has one too many and rides another boy’s broomstick. Voldemort threatens; everyone is pissed and loses it; Harry saves the day.

Wow. It sounds like every other one.

“The Simpsons Movie” – July 27

Created all the way back in 1989, “The Simpsons” has become television’s longest-running show. A clever satire of the many shortcomings and pitfalls of our modern American culture, the ever-hilarious small-screen series finally makes the jump to the big screen this summer.

If you’ve ever seen “The Simpsons,” then you’ll know what to expect. Homer will eat donuts and run into things, Bart will make trouble, Mr. Burns will be demonic and you will enjoy every minute of it.

“The Simpsons Movie” looks like a ton of fun. Eighteen years of bitingly intelligent (and hilarious) social commentary and uproarious slapstick comedy has led to this. Expect good things.

See you at the movies.