Big-screen blast

Big-screen blast

It's going to be a sizzling summer with the return of superheroes, spies - and yes, the smell of hairspray

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The Avengers got the summer off to a sizzling start last month, with the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. The season promises to continue in an equally hot vein, with some of the biggest franchises offering animations, reboots and reinterpretations; sequels, prequels and originals; and the morbid, retro and straight up bizarre. (Phew. Think I got everything in there.)

Here's a look at some of the summer blockbusters that everyone's buzzing about.

Snow White and the Huntsman (May 31)

This isn't the fairy tale you think you know. Nor is it the disappointing Julia Roberts vehicle of earlier in the year. "The fairest one of all" will be played by Kristen Stewart, while Charlize Theron dons the crown and sneer as evil Queen Ravenna. Thor beefcake Chris Hemsworth plays the huntsman, usually a throwaway character in this story - prepare for muscle-bound action.


Prometheus (June 7)

Ridley Scott returns to the helm of the Alien franchise, the horror film par excellence which made Sigourney Weaver a household name way back in 1979 spawned five films, including this one. Expect sci-fi horror like never before.


The Raven (June 14)

A madman roams the streets of Baltimore committing grisly murders inspired by the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack). Poe teams up with Detective Fields (Luke Evans) to try and get into the killer's mind and prevent any more deaths. I'm not entirely convinced an alcoholic writer makes the best crime fighter, but we'll find out soon enough.


The Amazing Spider-Man (June 29)

The franchise was in dire need of a reboot, so they asked one of today's hottest young stars, Andrew Garfield, to suit up in the new Spidey costume, with Emma Stone as his high school sweetheart. This origins story finds Parker looking for clues about his parents' mysterious disappearance, setting him on a collision course with his father's former partner, Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), aka The Lizard.


Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (July 12)

Scrat is the most deprived creature on the planet. All he wants is his acorn, but there just seems to be obstacles thrown at him every minute. The highly anticipated fourth instalment comes with a lot of hype, bringing back the entire gang as they are set adrift on a colossal iceberg. Next stop: The New World?


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (July 15)

I never knew the 16th US president was a vampire hunter. Few probably did. But it's claimed that he was, and Abe takes on the undead in perhaps one of the more bizarre releases this summer. Perhaps predictably, none other than spook master Tim Burton is co-producer while Timur Bekmambetov directs. This one falls under the "too strange to be untrue" category.


The Dark Knight Rises (July 19)

I get giddy just writing the title. The conclusion to Christopher Nolan's trilogy is going to be nothing short of epic. The caped crusader (Christian Bale) rises to save Gotham from the finest criminal masterminds in the city, Bane (Tom Hardy) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway).


Brave (August 9)

It's no surprise that there's a Disney animation on the list. Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), Pixar's first female protagonist, is a skilled archer who is always out to prove her worth in the male-dominated battle arena. When an evil witch (Julie Walters) casts a spell over her kingdom, Merida needs to learn the true meaning of bravery.


Bourne Legacy (August 9)

Jeremy Renner seems to be in everything these days. Well, anything with action. The actor stars in a new story in the Bourne series - although renegade spy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is oddly absent. Here, Renner powers through the film as a superhuman CIA operative.


Rock of Ages (August 16)

The film version of the hit musical has the '80s-metal-crazed music, big hair and skintight leather trousers. And, oh, it stars Tom Cruise as "the icon of rock, the legendary Stacee Jaxx". (Trust me, it sounds even more epic when Russell Brand says it in the trailer.) It'll be a star-studded, hairspray-fuelled spectacle.

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