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Not intended to be an all-inclusive list — just a look ahead to the ten movies I’m most looking forward to this summer, divided into originals and sequels. Release dates in parenthesis. Enjoy!

Originals:

Tomorrowland (May 22)
With “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” director Brad Bird has earned our trust. At first glance the trailer looks like another glossy sci-fi futuristic action adventure, but in Bird’s capable hands and with George Clooney leading the way this could be something truly special. And who knows? Something (or someone) from the movie could end up inside the Tomorrowland at Disney!

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The trailer has promise, but with M. Night Shyamalan we know better than to get excited

M.Night Shymalan has burned us so many times with twisted endings that we've become the sucker for continuing to have faith in him. After "The Sixth Sense" the gimmick has done nothing but wear thin, and by "The Village" you knew out of the gate what was going to happen. At first glance, "The Visit" looks creepy and has exciting mystery thriller written all over it. Also, I can't get that damn Buddy Holly song out of my head now (Thanks a lot, M.). I can't help but wonder, though, what will be the twist this time? Possessed grandparents, alien kids, bizarre death cult that worships Barney the dinosaur? With M. Night all are possible. And why can't kids just listen to their elders? Stay in your room after 9:30 pm. So what if Grandma is howling like an animal, naked, and scratching on the walls? If your grandparents tell you to get your ass in the oven and clean it, you move your butt, right? I swear... kids these days.

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Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart are superb in this thoughtful meta-drama

Is it worth $10? Yes

Whether she was starring in terrible vampire movies, sleeping with her “Snow White” director, pouting on the red carpet or just generally looking uncomfortable, the media and public have never had trouble finding reasons to pick on Kristen Stewart. To be frank, it was hard to find a reason to like her.

But if you kept a close eye on her performances alone and blocked out all the nonsense, she was effectively proving herself as an actress. She perfectly embodied indecisive teen angst opposite Jesse Eisenberg in “Adventureland,” was solid as Joan Jett in “The Runaways,” and offered sturdy support to Julianne Moore in “Still Alice.” Most triumphantly, she recently became the first American actress to win a Cesar Award (the French Oscars), honored for her supporting work in “Clouds of Sils Maria.”

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Smart Sci-Fi drama engages the brain with its story and clever twists

Is it worth $10? Yes

Modern cinema associates science fiction with outer space adventure ("Interstellar"), alien invasion ("Edge of Tomorrow"), and bleak visions of the future ("Chappie"). And on a bad day, we’re reminded of Eddie Murphy’s career-killing “Adventures of Pluto Nash” (2002). Only rarely do we get cerebral sci-fi, which engages us intellectually as it ponders the future in ways we rarely consider. Importantly, it also does so without explosions or aliens popping out of someone's stomach.

In 2013, "Her" examined the possibility of falling in love with artificial intelligence, but that intelligence was relegated to Scarlett Johansson's sultry voice as an operating system. "Ex Machina," which is set in the near future, extends that premise by providing a voice, face, and partial body to the android, and the results are fascinating. Here is a quiet film with grand ideas, superbly acted and executed by a first-time director with clear aplomb and conviction. This is a movie for smart people to see together then discuss over dinner afterward.

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Horror anthology could be a new cult classic

Is it worth $10? Yes

Bloody deaths, campy acting, and fun ’80s nostalgia make "Volumes of Blood" a truly fun romp. It’s an independent film with a very limited budget, but with unlimited potential.

The anthology style movie follows a group of four community college students who share urban legend stories. The scene is set around Halloween and each student tries to outdo the others’ stories. These tales all take place in a creepy library. Each story is creatively told and involves everything from a deadly energy drink, a creepy ghost, and a classic monster tale to satanic rituals reviving the dead. While the tales are told, an even more sinister force lurks outside, stalking its prey.

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"Little Boy" drops a big bomb and tries to make you feel good about it

Is it worth $10? No

Yes, "Little Boy" is a movie in which the power of a small child's selfish prayer leads directly to the atomic incineration of Hiroshima. This is how the film will ultimately be remembered. However, there is something to be said for the earnest effort with which Alejandro Montaverde ("Bella"), the film's co-writer and director, attempts to manifest a feel-good film. How far can noble intentions carry a production? That's the question that "Little Boy" will inevitably force its audience to answer for themselves.

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Aussies will enjoy Russell Crowe's film much more than Americans

Is it worth $10? No

At the start of the horribly titled “The Water Diviner,” Russell Crowe’s Joshua Connor is in the Australian desert looking for a place to dig for water. He “divines” a spot and starts digging. Hours later there’s a 15-foot hole that’s at least five feet wide. He strikes a metal bar into the ground and water bubbles to the surface. It’s a win for him, but all I kept thinking was how dumb he’d feel if he was wrong.

That “what if he’s wrong?” feeling pervades the film, as soon Joshua is on a quest to find his three missing sons, who were presumably killed in action during World War I four years earlier. He wants to exhume their bodies and bring the bones back home to Australia. The problem is his sons were allegedly killed in Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915 during a battle that killed 70,000 men. And Joshua’s skills (per the title) are with divining the location of water, not his sons’ skulls from dirt and mud. But no matter: The plot needs Joshua to have this ability, so he has it. It comes in handy later when he’s able to envision exactly how his sons died so we (the audience) can also see it. Oddly, the fact that he’s not a religious man makes it a bit more believable.

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Summer Movie Preview!

Not intended to be an all-inclusive list — just a look ahead to the ten movies I’m most looking forward to this summer, divided into originals and sequels. Release dates in parenthesis. Enjoy!

Originals:

Tomorrowland (May 22)
With “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” director Brad Bird has earned our trust. At first glance the trailer looks like another glossy sci-fi futuristic action adventure, but in Bird’s capable hands and with George Clooney leading the way this could be something truly special. And who knows? Something (or someone) from the movie could end up inside the Tomorrowland at Disney!

Read more