Sarah Royce
Sarah Royce
Sarah Royce
Sarah Royce

“Mission: Impossible III” (Paramount)
That theme music never gets old, does it? In the most infectiously over-the-top trailer of the year, Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman threatens hero Tom Cruise in a way only a “Mission: Impossible” villain can – with callous, cold terror infused into invariably banal dialogue. Ving Rhames is still around for some reason, but even with J.J. Abrams at the helm, this could be the summer’s best thrill ride. (May 5)

“Poseidon” (Warner Bros.)
File it squarely under the ever-booming umbrella of no-one-really-wanted-to-see-this-again remakes, but nobody does popcorn tidal waves quite like Wolfgang Peterson (“The Perfect Storm”). Inauspicious leading man Kurt Russell and nondescript trailer aside, the man-overboard epic will enable our perennial blockbuster fix of the lovely Emmy Rossum (“The Phantom of the Opera”) in her typical wide-eyed wonder. Who are we to complain? (May 12)

“The Da Vinci Code” (Columbia) With Oscar winners filling the positions of writer, producer, directer and lead actor, “The Da Vinci Code” seems destined to smash box office records. The lackluster prose of the novel shouldn’t deter moviegoers, who will be treated to a fast-paced story of intrigue, and the illustrious Tom Hanks sporting a Luke Skywalker-style mullet. So dark, the con of man … (May 19)

“X-Men 3: The Last Stand” (Fox) Now here is something worth getting excited about. Even with Mr. Serena Williams (Brett Ratner) behind the camera, the combination of sweet mutant-y action and delightfully over-the-top politics (Hey, even minorities with super powers have a rough time of it!), the X-Men franchise has yet to disappoint even the comic’s rabid fanbase. (May 26)

“Cars” (Disney)
In another Disney attempt to regain the animated-film market, Owen Wilson will voice a hotshot youngster who must make amends for his impulsivity. Seen that film before? Betcha ain’t seen it with a car as the main character. Michael Keaton, Paul Newman and racing legends Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip provide the voices in what should be a no-thinking-required laffer for the tykes. (June 9)

“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (Universal)
We got California, we loved Luda in Miami. But suddenly no one from the original cast is around, and we’re in the cramped, miniature streets of one of the most overhyped cities in the world?

And no Luda nor Tyrese?

We’d make some joke about being stuck in neutral, but this franchise should get jacked for parts. (June 16)

“The Devil Wears Prada” (Fox)
Based on one of chick-lit’s most widely revered volumes, “Prada” details the exploits of Andrea (Anne Hathaway) as she watches her dream job become a nightmare at the hands of one fabulously sadistic boss (Meryl Streep). After “Brokeback Mountain,” we know Hathaway has great … let’s say acting skills. And the ladies love this stuff. They love it. (June 30)

“Superman Returns” (Warner Bros.)
The Man of Steel will soar again. Despite a supposed curse on the role that led every recognizable actor to shun the part, despite a costume palette that might be more useful as a visual aid to teach preschoolers their primary colors – hey, even despite the incomprehensible casting of beachy-blonde Kate Bosworth as a mousey-reporter type – we’ve only got this to say: Supes, welcome back. (June 30)

“The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (Disney)
Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are all back on deck for this sequel to the improbable summer hit of 2003. It’s the story of Captain Jack Sparrow returning to Port Royal along with all those zany mannerisms the kids seem to love so much. Yes, it’s drenched in more-of-the-same, but with a cast this good-looking, does it matter? (July 7)

“Lady in the Water” (Warner Bros.)
Austere suspense stylist M. Night Shyamalan takes an uncharacteristic step back from our collective nightmares with this self-touted “bedtime story” that follows an everyman landlord (Paul Giamatti) who discovers a sea nymph (rising star Bryce Dallas Howard, “The Village”) in his complex’s pool. Sweet fairy tale or dark old-school fable, the calming trailer promises a cool, quiet retreat in the height of a very loud, very celluloid-bloated midsummer release schedule. (July 21)

“Miami Vice” (Universal)
Mark July 28 on your calendars. That day (which shall forever live in infamy) social barriers shall be struck down, boredom and apathy lifted and, of course, hundreds of butts kicked – for that day, “Miami Vice” will open everywhere. When Jamie Foxx’s smooth meets Colin Farrell’s suave, the streets will thump with an electric vibe and there shall be no dawn for criminals. (July 28)

“Snakes on a Plane” (New Line)
It’s a geopolitical thriller with a boldly subversive anti-authoritarian subtext. Sorry, that’s every other quasi-literate suspense action film to hit the screen in the past decade. Samuel L. Jackson’s latest offering cuts through all that pretense and right to the big sell: There’s some snakes. They’re on a plane. (Aug. 18)

“The Science of Sleep” (Warner Independent)
Gael Garcia Bernal (sultry star of “Y tu mama tambien”) headlines mind-trip aficionado Michel Gondry’s (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) expectedly complex Sundance starter, chronicling a man held captive by the people in his dreams. Expect a smorgasbord of visual camera tricks and a wildly convoluted plot with just enough an idea of where it’s going to sustain itself through a feature film – not to mention an art-house following that will no doubt embrace the film as the ultra-chic hipster of summer independent cinema. (August 4)

“Apocalypto” (Touchstone)
The biggest question mark on the summer release schedule, Mel Gibson’s bizarre-looking followup to “The Passion of the Christ” – once again filmed in any variety of long-dead languages – seems destined either to be the season’s big surprise or to dive with merciless fury into box-office infamy. Either way, we’re there, if only to discern the inevitable monotheistic undertones the suddenly divisive writer/director/superstar manages to slip into his hyper-detailed rendering of the fall of the Mayan empire. (August 4)

“World Trade Center” (Paramount)
It will have been exactly five years and 11 months since Sept. 11 when Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” is released. Some are wondering whether America’s had sufficient distance to commercialize the tragic day. Still others are wondering if Stone is the man to frame America’s memories of Sept. 11. We’re wondering of Nicolas Cage will play the same tired not-so-badass he always does. (August 11)

“Clerks II” (Weinstein)
Just when you thought your inner potty-mouthed, counter-cultural, comic-book cynic had finally withered up and died, Kevin Smith has arrived to perform a bit of CPR. Fresh off the crushing defeat of “Jersey Girl,” Smith is returning to his roots by releasing “Clerks II,” a sequel to his low-budget ode to convenience-store malaise. Go forth, ye snarky message-board geeks, and let the hyping commence. (August 18)


The Fiery Furnaces – Bitter Tea (Rough Trade / Sanctuary)
Admittedly, it’s hard to follow up a concept album where the special guest is none other than grandma, but the Fiery Furnaces are planning new release sans Friedberger family aside from the core sibling duo. Interestingly: the band has said the new album will be more synth-pop, more Devo. Plus, the Friedbergers are probably the least fucked-up, real brother-sister pair in rock right now. Their music is experimental, but they’re not that kind of experimental. (April 18)

The Streets – The Hardest Way To Make an Easy Living (Vice / Atlantic)
He’s still white. He still gets nostalgic like Chris Martin. But sometimes, just sometimes, he sounds like Wordsworth over tinny, reheated digital murmurs and backpacker daydreams. The new album drops April 25. If you want the full United Kingdom mood over break, pray for rain. (April 25)

Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere (Downtown / Atlantic)
May 9 will see the arrival of Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse’s hotly anticipated collaboration, Gnarls Barkley, and their debut album St. Elsewhere. Over in the United Kingdom, Gnarls’ round mound of sound has already made chart history – lead single “Crazy” is the first single to go to No. 1 based solely on download sales. (May 9)

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium (Warner Brothers)
Instead of letting Anthony Kiedis leisurely surf and screw supermodels until he turns into Iggy Pop (a comparison of the two is basically one of those lost-child, age-progression photographs), RHCP are putting out a new album. A new double album, to be precise – 25 tracks spanning everything they do best, according to the band. Expect everything from dinosaur-heavy, funk-sex stomps to California-inspired pretty little ditties. (May 9)

Nomo – New Tones (Ubiquity)
Spring / Summer Tour with His Name Is Alive

Ann Arborites Nomo recently signed with the esteemed Ubiquity Records, on which they will release their recently finished sophomore album New Tones May 9. After a tour opener at the Blind Pig on May 13, Nomo will take their African polyrhythms and free-jazz funk on the road as they tour from Cambridge, Mass. to Portland, Ore. So if you’re heading home for the summer, let the best of Ann Arbor come to you. (Summer 2006 with a May 13 stop at the Blind Pig)

The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers (Third Man / V2) (May 16)
Due May 16th, The Raconteurs combine some of Detroit’s finest – garage-rocker Jack White and power-popper Brendan Benson – with the Greenhornes’s rhythm section to finally release an album that’s been in the works for years. Hopefully The Raconteurs debut will live up to the lofty expectations and “Steady as She Goes” becomes a summer anthem, making this the best Detroit one-off since that Kid Rock / Sheryl Crow collabo.

Fuse-In: Detroit Electronic Movement (Detroit, MI)
Fuse-In: terrible name, great idea. The Detroit Electronic Music Festival returns for another year under the new moniker and new organizers. The f

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