The major studio releases dominate the summer cinema season, although we've included all of the lower-budget fare squeezed in between action adventures, cartoons, blockbuster comedies and thrillers. And some smaller studio releases are sure to be added as the strengths and weaknesses of the big popcorn pictures become obvious. (All release dates subject to change without notice.)
‘‘Redbelt’’ (Sony Classics): David Mamet’s latest is about an honorable, non-violent martial arts instructor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who gets mixed up in the seedier side of martial arts professional brawling and the movie business. ‘‘Speed Racer’’ (Warners): The Wachowski (Matrix) brothers live-action take on the Japanese TV cartoon, with Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci as Speed and his pal Trixie, and John Goodman and Susan Sarandon as Speed’s parents.
‘‘What Happens In Vegas’’ (Fox): Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher get drunk, get hitched and get rich in Vegas, a marriage just waiting for an annulment. But a winning jackpot gets in the way.
‘‘The Life Before Her Eyes’’ (Magnolia): Uma Thurman plays an adult survivor of a Columbinelike school massacre, a woman who must live with the mistakes of her youth (Evan Rachel Wood plays her in flashbacks) and memories of who died that day in this film from the director of ‘‘The House of Sand and Fog.’’
‘‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’’ (Disney): The Pevensie siblings are transported from England to Narnia again, where they fall in with young Prince Caspian and do battle with the evil King Miraz in this sequel to the C.S. Lewis blockbuster.
‘‘Son of Rambow’’ (Paramount Vantage): Little British boys — one a punk, the other part of a religious group that eschews popular culture and cinema — resolve to make their own ‘‘Rambo’’ film and are pestered by everybody they meet to be in it.
May 22 ‘‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’’ (Paramount): Indie goes after a legendary crystal skull artifact in Peru during the Commie-UFO paranoia of the 1940s-50s. Cate Blanchett plays a Soviet villain.
May 23 ‘‘Postal’’ (Vivendi Visual Entertainment): Only Uwe Boll would have the nerve to serve up his latest shlock on the same weekend as the new Indiana Jones movie.
May 30 ‘‘The Fall’’ (Roadside Attractions): Music video vet Tarsem Singh directed this fanciful fantasy about the wild adventure tale that one patient, an injured man, tells to another (a little girl) in a 1915 Los Angeles hospital. ‘‘Sex and the City’’ (New Line): The HBO series resolves its loose ends (big wedding bells?) in this big-screen romantic comedy, with Sarah Jessica Parker and her co-stars returning.
‘‘The Strangers’’ (Rogue): Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are a couple terrorized by three masked assailants in this horror film with a realistic, sadistic, true-crime twist.
June 6 ‘‘Kung Fu Panda’’ (Dreamworks): Jack Black is the animated panda with ‘‘no Kung-fu’’ in this fanciful comedy about martial arts and the critters who inspire those particular styles of martial arts — ‘‘crouching tiger,’’ and so on.
‘‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’’
(Columbia): This Adam Sandler comedy has a smidgen of Borat about it as he plays an Israeli agent who, to get away from the violence, takes a job in a New York hair salon.
‘‘Stuck’’ (Overture): Mena Suvari is the drunk driver who hits a homeless man (Stephen Rea) and leaves him, bleeding, in her windshield rather than risk arrest for the accident in this darkly comic thriller based on a real case.
‘‘Mongol’’ (Picturehouse): Russian director Sergei Bodrov’s (“Nomad”) Genghis Khan bio-pic tells the story of the unimpressive boy who grew up to conquer much of Asia and Europe.
‘‘The Happening’’ (Fox) M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback? People are killing themselves as a mysterious virus sweeps the planet in this social-environmental meltdown thriller.
‘‘The Promotion’’ (Dimension) Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly vie for, well, you know, in the grocery store where they work.
‘‘The Incredible Hulk’’ (Universal) Edward Norton takes on the green man with Tim Roth as his nemesis, The Abomination, in this latest digitally-improved Hulk incarnation.
‘‘The Love Guru’’ (Paramount) Mike Myers plays a would-be self-help mogul raised by gurus, who uses his Hindu background to help others and cash in for this cross-cultural comedy.
‘‘Get Smart’’ (Warners) Still waiting to see a ‘‘funny’’ trailer to this Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson big-screen version of the 1960s TV comedy.
June 27 ‘‘Wall-E’’ (Disney/Pixar) The robot tasked with cleaning up the Earth after humanity has trashed and abandoned it gets lonely and looks for his people in this largely non-verbal new Pixar comedy. ‘‘Wanted’’ (Universal) Based on the Mark Millar/J.G. Jones graphic novels, this thriller stars James McAvoy as a new recruit to the Fraternity, a secret society of assassins that includes Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.
‘‘Hancock’’ (Columbia) Peter Berg co-wrote and directed this superhero comedy starring Will Smith as a hero who is doing some pretty unheroic things to save his image.
‘‘Kit Kittredge: An American Girl’’ (Picturehouse) Abigail Breslin stars in this period piece about growing up during the Great Depression. Ironically, it’s a film built around a modern-day line of very expensive of dolls found in your pricier toy stores. See the movie, with Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci. It’s cheaper.
‘‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’’ (Universal) Ron Perlman dons the red rubber suit again for this sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s comic book adaptation (not quite a hit) of 2004, with Selma Blair, John Hurt and Thomas Kretschmann.
‘‘Meet Dave’’ (Fox) Eddie Murphy plays an alien space ship that walks the Earth, doing research while under the command of tiny aliens, including Eddie Murphy and Gabrielle Union. Elizabeth Banks is the first Earthling they meet.
‘‘Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D’’ (New Line) Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson star in this updating of the Jules Verne classic.
‘‘Religulous’’ (Lionsgate) Larry Charles directed and Bill Maher hosts this documentary about the state of religion on Planet Earth. July 18
‘‘The Dark Knight’’
(Warners) Christian Bale’s second trip down Caped Crusader Lane will be a sad one, as this film was finished shortly before Heath Ledger (The Joker) died.
‘‘Mamma Mia!’’ (Universal) Meryl Streep is the mama, and Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth or Stellan Skarsgard might be the daddies in this Greek Isles romp about a bride’s search for her real dad, set to the music of ABBA and based on the stage musical.
‘‘Space Chimps’’ (Fox) This talking-monkey comedy is about the Hammy chimp descendants of America’s first real ‘‘astronaut’’ and features the voices of Patrick Warburton, Cheryl Hines, Stanley Tucci and Kristen Chenoweth.
‘‘Boy A’’ (Weinstein) Andrew Garfield (“Lions for Lambs,’’ ‘‘The Other Boleyn Girl”) stars in this British drama about a young man who faces life in the free world after doing years in prison for a murder he committed as a child.
‘‘Henry Poole is Here’’ (Overture Films) Luke Wilson and Radha Mitchell star in this satire of faith, hope and cynicism in suburbia, all spinning around a man who tries to go into seclusion back in the small town neighborhood where he grew up. And fails.
‘‘The Long Shots’’ (Weinstein) Ice Cube and Keke Palmer star in this kids’ film about the first girl to play Pop Warner football.
‘‘Step Brothers’’ (Columbia) Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are spoiled, rich feuding step-siblings in this comedy about how they don’t get along after their parents (Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen) tie the knot.
‘‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’’ (Fox) The usual suspects are back, Scully and Mulder, aka Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. Other stars in this secretive sequel include Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly, all still wondering if ‘‘the truth is out there.’’
‘‘Brideshead Revisited’’ (Miramax) The Evelyn Waugh novel about British decadence between the World Wars, memorably adapted for TV in the ’80s, becomes a theatrical film starring Matthew Goode (“Match Point”) in the Jeremy Irons role as the young man fascinated with the wealthy Marchmain family, especially Sebastian (Ben Whishaw of ‘‘Perfume’’) and his sophisticated sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell, of ‘‘Cassandra’s Dream”). Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson co-stars as Lady Marchmain.
‘‘The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’’ (Universal) Brendan Fraser’s back, not in 3-D this time, to provide fodder for another Universal Studios thrill-ride in this popcorn popper, with Jet Li as the emperor and Maria Bello along for the trip.
‘‘The Rocker’’ (Fox) Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) stars as a wanna-been drummer who never had his shot at fame, but who wins a second chance with a nephew’s band, 20 years after being kicked out of his first band.
‘‘Swing Vote’’ (Touchstone) Kevin Costner is the lovable loser whose 12-year-old daughter sets off a chain of events that puts the entire responsibility for an election in the hands of one voter, her dad. Kelsey Grammer plays the president, and assorted D.C. TV-talking-heads appear as themselves. They expect people to pay to see Chris Matthews?
‘‘American Teen’’ (Paramount Vantage) A cinema verite documentary from the producer-director of ‘‘The Kid Stays in the Picture,’’ ‘‘Teen’’ is set among high schoolers in a rural Indiana town.
‘‘Fly Me to the Moon’’ (Summit) Animated 3-D adventure starring the voices of Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa, Ed Begley Jr., Tim Curry and Buzz Aldrin as himself. It’s about flies who tag along on pollo 11 and end up on the moon.
‘‘Pineapple Express’’ (Columbia) David Gordon Green directed this Judd Apatow-produced farce starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as stoners who get mixed up in murderous goings on with mobsters.
‘‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2’’ (Warners) Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel and America Ferrera reprise their roles as pals whose lives are impacted by this magical pair of jeans that fits each of them perfectly.
‘‘Wild Child’’ (Universal) Emma Roberts (“Nancy Drew”) stars in this comedy about a Lindsay Lohan type sent to an English boarding school where she’ll clean up her act.
‘‘Mirrors’’ (Fox) Kiefer Sutherland and Amy Smart Patton star in this horror thriller about a department store whose mirrors ‘‘seem to bring out the worst in people.’’
‘‘Tropic Thunder’’ (Paramount) Ben Stiller wrote, produced, directed and stars in this comedy about movie stars acting in a jungle combat film who find themselves caught up in a real guerilla war. Robert Downey Jr. plays an actor who dons blackface for the film.
‘‘Choke’’ (Fox Searchlight) Sam Rockwell plays a con-man who makes ends meet by preying on the deep pockets of people who ‘‘rescue’’ him from choking. With Anjelica Huston, Bijou Phillips and Joel Grey.
Aug. 22 ‘‘Crossing Over’’ (Weinstein) Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta star in Wayne Kramer’s feature film of his earlier short film about immigrants trying to achieve legal status in Los Angeles.
‘‘Hamlet 2’’ (Focus Features) Your high school drama department may get the ax? Write a sequel to ‘‘Hamlet’’ and save the day! Steve Coogan is the drama teacher with a heart, Catherine Keener’s his unhappy wife and Elisabeth Shue is ‘‘herself’’ in this farce.
‘‘The House Bunny’’ (Columbia) Anna Faris stars as a Playboy bunny kicked out of ‘‘the mansion’’ who moves in with a sorority and tries to help them save their house.
‘‘The Accidental Husband’’ (Yari Film Group) Uma Thurman is the talk-show hostess about to marry Mr. Perfect (Colin Firth), only to discover that she’s married to a fireman (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who has it in for her. Griffin Dunne directed this one.
‘‘Bangkok Dangerous’’ (Lionsgate) Nic Cage as a hit-man in Sin City, Thailand, who bonds with his assistant in this remake of a 1999 Thai thriller.
Aug. 29 ‘‘Traitor’’ (Overture Films) Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels and Don Cheadle star in this thriller about a special operative working within a terrorist group who then becomes a target of ‘‘The Company.’’
‘‘Babylon A.D.’’ (Fox) A Euro-filmed Sci-fi epic starring Vin Diesel stars as a mercenary escorting a prisoner from China to Russia, but who doesn’t realize she’s carrying a virus that for a cult that wants clone its own Messiah.
‘‘College’’ (MGM) Drake Bell stars in this comedy about high schoolers on a weekend let’s-pick-our-college visit that turns into a big party.