x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Beat the UAE heat with these exciting summer blockbusters

Although some huge blockbusters have hit the big screen already, there are still plenty of cinematic goodies on their way to make summer a time to look forward to.

Arts and Life cover. Designed by Marin Devine
Arts and Life cover. Designed by Marin Devine

Blockbuster season seems to have arrived earlier than ever this year, with John Carter, The Hunger Games and Battleship all touching down months before the arrival of summer. Last week also saw the release of what is likely to become one of the year's biggest crowd-pleasers, Marvel's all-star superhero team-up The Avengers. But fear not, there's still plenty of explosive mega-budget fare ready to invade multiplexes in the months ahead, and a few smaller surprises, too. Here are our top cinematic tips for the summer

The Dictator (June 7)

After an attention-grabbing stunt at this year's Oscars, many will already be familiar with Sacha Baron Coen's latest comedy creation, Admiral General Aladeen, of the fictitious Republic of Wadiya. Unlike Borat and Brüno, The Dictator is not a mockumentary, but a riches-to-rags story with a cast of known actors. After having his beard forcibly sheared off, the film follows the unrecognisable despot as he is forced to lead a mundane existence in New York.

Anticipation: 4/5

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 5)

Only 10 years after becoming a billion-dollar franchise with Tobey Maguire in the red and blue spandex, Spider-Man's second iteration is already about to commence. Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) will play a high-school-aged Peter Parker and his fellow Brit Rhys Ifans will portray Dr Connors (aka The Lizard). Spidey's web-slinging antics are rarely anything other than entertaining, but do we really need him back again so soon?

Anticipation: 3/5

Moonrise Kingdom (May 31)

Returning to live action after the 2009 animation Fantastic Mr Fox, the indie film whizz Wes Anderson's retro romp Moonrise Kingdom is about the hunt for a pair of young sweethearts who disappear from a summer camp together. As well as the Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, the cast for the twee and almost certainly bittersweet tale includes the action star Bruce Willis.

Anticipation: 4/5

Prometheus (June 7)

The sci-fi horror franchise that began with Ridley Scott's Alien in 1979 has offered diminishing returns in the past two decades, but many expect Prometheus to turn things around. With Scott back in the director's chair, the prequel not only looks to have the brilliantly bleak tone of the terrifying original, but also one of the finest casts of the year, including Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba and Noomi Rapace.

Anticipation: 5/5

The Dark Knight Rises (Aug 16)

The concluding chapter of Christopher Nolan's near-universally praised Batman saga is easily the summer's most-anticipated blockbuster. It will see the Caped Crusader facing off against the genius beefcake Bane (Tom Hardy), as well as Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Few movie trilogies can boast a truly worthy third instalment, but if anyone can pull it off here, it's Nolan.

Anticipation: 5/5

Dark Shadows (May 17)

After the massive box-office success of Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton will return this year with, suitably, the Burton-esqe Dark Shadows, an updating of the gothic US soap opera of the same name, which debuted in 1966. The camp comedy stars Johnny Depp (surprise, surprise) as the vampire Barnabas Collins, who wakes in 1972 after centuries of slumber to find his now-dilapidated mansion occupied by a group of dysfunctional ancestors.

Anticipation: 3/5

The Bourne Legacy (Aug 23)

With Matt Damon out of the picture, The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner stars as a fellow agent, forced to deal with the consequences of Jason Bourne's actions, in the fourth movie in the spy franchise. The acclaimed director of Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy) may be at the helm, but Renner will have to work overtime to avoid becoming the next George Lazenby.

Anticipation: 3/5

Brave (Aug 16)

After Toy Story 3 and the disappointing Cars 2, Pixar returns with the original tale Brave this summer. It's the story of a flame-haired Scottish tribal princess, who defies the rules of her patriarchal society and sets off on a quest to discover the true meaning of bravery. Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire) voices the heroine, in what's expected to be a return to form for the beloved animation house.

Anticipation: 4/5

Men in Black 3 (May 24)

A decade after the last MIB outing, this summer will see the return of the planet's most secretive secret service. The twist this time around: Will Smith's Agent J is forced to travel back to 1969, where he and a younger K (Josh Brolin) race to prevent an alien plot from altering Earth's history. After the lacklustre MIB 2, this movie will have to pull out all the stops if the franchise is to be rejuvenated.

Anticipation: 3/5

Snow White and the Huntsman (May 31)

This year's second Snow White movie (after Mirror Mirror) looks like it owes more to Game of Thrones than the classic Disney animation. Starring Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Thor's Chris Hemsworth, the wonderfully gritty updating of the fairy tale contains epic battles, a truly sinister queen (Charlize Theron) and even replaces its heroine's colourful robes with a suit of armour. The Brothers Grimm's story has never looked more, well, grim.

Anticipation: 4/5