Top Five Movies To See Before Your Eardrums Explode This Summer

One high-profile pick and some smaller films to keep an eye out for over the next two months

We know it’s coming. It’s like a storm forming in the distance, slowly getting stronger as it inches ever closer to our hallowed grounds, ready to wreak havoc on all we hold dear. I speak, of course, about the summer movie season, four months of big explosions, crass comedies, and all the other things out-of-school teenagers enjoy.

But we’re not there yet, and that’s a good thing, because there’s plenty to see between now and early May when “Avengers: Age of Ultron” finds new box office records to break. Here are five promising films that look to be worth the price of admission.

Cinderella – March 13

Disney and director Kenneth Branagh have reimagined the classic fairy tale as a non-musical live action fantasy, and the trailers look intriguing. But can it possibly capture the magic of the 1950 animated original? And the story’s been told so many times, can this version possibly feel unique and worthwhile? Regardless, one thing to look forward to is Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother.

Tickets on sale now! Cinderella opens March 13th.

Girlhood – March 20

Aside from being a coming-of-age story, this doesn’t appear to have much to do with the Oscar-nominated “Boyhood.” Rather, it’s a French film about a teenage girl who completely changes herself after making new friends. Early reviews for this are glowing, so keep an eye out for it at your local art house.

Serena – March 27

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in this Depression-era tale about a timber mogul (Cooper) whose life becomes unhinged when he marries the strong-minded Serena (Lawrence). The star power alone is worthy of interest; add in director Susanne Bier’s penchant for complex family drama (“Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Brothers”) and this could be a must-see. Available On Demand now, in limited theaters March 27.

While We’re Young – March 27

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star as a middle-aged couple that re-evaluates their marriage after meeting a younger couple played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. Of note here is that it was written and directed by Noah Baumbach, a one-time Wes Anderson collaborator who’s made his own quirky headway with “Frances Ha,” “Margot at the Wedding” and “The Squid and the Whale.” If he’s done it right, “While We’re Young” should be a fascinating character study.

Clouds of Sils Maria – April 24

Kristen Stewart – yes, the incredibly annoying girl from “Twilight” – recently won a Cesar Award (the French Oscar) for her supporting performance in this film, making her the first American to ever win a Cesar. Stewart plays the assistant to Maria (Juliette Binoche), an actress who agrees to appear in a revival of a play that launched her career 20 years earlier. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the young ingénue now embodying the role that made Maria a star. Given her solid work opposite Julianne Moore in “Still Alice,” Stewart showing legit acting chops is not a surprise, and good for her for continuing to find success.

Bonus Pick: Season 3 of House of Cards – now available on Netflix. 

Kevin Spacey chews scenery with every southern drawl-inflected word he utters as an unscrupulous politician, Robin Wright is just as effective as his conniving philanthropic wife, and the entire series is a testament to the corruption and ambition that comes with great power. You will want to watch the first two seasons (each season is 13 episodes) if you’re not caught up, but it’s well worth it to give the series an hour a night. But be warned: That one hour could easily turn into three or four.

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