Summer movie season is nigh, and the studios are rolling out their best and brightest (or at least loudest and shiniest) to get you into the theater and out of your money.

Luckily, I’m on the scene with my patented Suck-O-Meter, a revolutionary device that can accurately predict the true level of awfulness of any upcoming film on a scale — from 0 percent chance of sucking to the infamous “Battlefield Earth” maximum of 100 percent.

Let’s heat ‘er up. (Opening dates subject to change at the whims of the movie studios.) 


IRON MAN 2 (PG-13)

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) revels in his dual roles (playboy corporate superstar and armored superhero Iron Man) — at least, until electric whip-wielding baddie Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) decides to remind Stark of his weapons-dealing past by beating the bejeezus out of him.

Suck-O-Meter reading (SR): Didn’t even budge the needle. If Hollywood’s learned anything from the success of the original (and “The Dark Knight”), then it’s to hire a talented director/comic geek and just not mess with him. Jon Favreau is that geek. 

MAY 14


Legendary Brit bandit/hero Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) battles the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Mark Strong) and woos Maid Marian (Cate Blanchette). You know the drill

(SR): 35 percent chance of sucking or director Ridley Scott’s going all gritty and dark. It’ll be better than Kevin Costner’s 1991 version, but a much-rejiggered script has me worried. 


“Mama Mia!”‘s Amanda Seyfried finds one of the love letters left in the courtyard of the fictional Romeo and Juliet, and decides to meddle.

SR: 50 percent. I thought the Suck-O-Meter was broken, but it was just asleep. 

MAY 21


“Saturday Night Live” skit-turned-movie about world-famous agent and gadgeteer MacGruber (Will Forte), out to foil the suitably-Mousetrappian schemes of evil mastermind (Val Kilmer).

SR: 33 percent. Rating should probably be higher, considering the truly-terrifying genre, but I’ve gotta say that the trailer made me laugh, Forte’s funny, and Kilmer actually used to have a sense of humor. 

MAY 28


Video-game adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhall as a sword-wielding, controversially-Caucasian hero trying to stop slumming villain Ben Kingsley from doing what bad guys do. Directed by noted action whiz Mike Newell (“Four Weddings and a Funeral” ?!).

SR: 52 percent. Name a video-game adaptation that didn’t make you sad inside. 

SEX AND THE CITY 2 (Rating pending)

Women, sex, shoes. You know.

SR: 60 percent — although, nothing I say could matter less, because fans of the series are going to see it, while those who find Sarah Jessica Parker and pals infuriatingly shallow will not. 


Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Amelie,” “City of Lost Children”) brings us another darkly whimsical, visually thrilling fable about a brain-damaged man assembling an eccentric team to destroy the weapons dealers that blew up his dad.

SR: 10 percent. Like Terry Gilliam’s, Jeunet’s films might collapse under their own ingeniousness, but they won’t suck. 


George Romero’s back in zombietown, with the undead outbreak menacing feuding families on an island.

SR: 45 percent. My innate biases toward venerable zombie master Romero might be blinding the Suck-O-Meter to the fact that his latter-day horror movies have been uneven at best. 


KILLERS (Rating pending)

Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl think their neighbors are, well, killers in a high-concept comedy from the director of Heigl’s loathsome “The Ugly Truth.”

SR: 74 percent. It’s got Ashton Kutcher in it. 


Two of the wackier supporting characters (Jonah Hill’s sycophantic bellhop and Russell Brand’s egotistical British rock star) from the charming “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” get their own, almost-completely-unrelated, and perhaps unnecessary spinoff about Hill trying to get hard-partying Brand to the big gig on time.

SR: 52 percent. I want to like it … 


Cool Canadian Vincenzo Natali (“Cube”) directs Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody in intriguing sci-fi thriller about genetic experiments gone wrong.

SR: 20 percent.



Big-budget action adaptation of the campy TV show about a wacky group of commandoes-for-hire (including Bradley Cooper, “District 9″‘s Sharlto Copley and MMA fighter Rampage Jackson, scowling under Mr. T’s trademark mohawk).

SR: 56 percent. Sure, they lured Liam Neeson, but this is still just completely unnecessary. 


Will Smith’s kid steps into Daniel-san’s gi and Jackie Chan takes over for Pat Morita in a remake of the still-holding-up-well ’80s sports drama.

SR: 56.5 percent. Speaking of unnecessary, please stop crane-kicking my childhood, Hollywood. 


TOY STORY 3 (Rating pending)

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen return to voice Woody and Buzz Lightyear in this second sequel to the beloved Pixar animated classics of yester-decade, joined by new additions to the playroom Michael Keaton and Timothy Dalton.

SR: 0 percent. Trust in Pixar. 


GROWN UPS (Rating pending)

Adam Sandler and his surviving “SNL” best buds (Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade) reunite when their childhood basketball coach dies. Hilarity, they promise, ensues.

SR: 49 percent. I’m not a Sandler-hater, liking about every other movie he does. I did like his last one (“Funny Games”), so … 

KNIGHT AND DAY (Rating pending)

Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are an action-friendly couple on a globe-hopping adventure, dodging baddies, meanies and possibly each other.

SR: 40 percent. For all his nonsense, Cruise can occasionally still act, but this sort of glamorous thriller seems to bring out the blandest in him. Bumped down on the Suck-O-Meter scale because supporting shifty fellow Peter Sarsgaard is making a career out of making mediocre movies 10 percent better. 



Second sequel to the unrelentingly popular teen-y horror soap opera finds Kristin Stewart’s human choosing between wan vampire Robert Pattinson and shirtless werewolf Taylor Lautner. Also maybe a mummy; I’m out of the loop on this one.

SR: 80 percent. The Suck-O-Meter started smoking as I approached this one, but series fans, of course, will ignore its sage advice. 

THE LAST AIRBENDER (Rating pending)

Based on the popular “Avatar” cartoon series about mystical child warriors, but forced to change its name because that other, destined-to-be-far-more-lucrative James Cameron “Avatar” got there first. Confused yet?

SR: 60 percent. M. Night Shyamalan tries to branch out with this kid-friendly fantasy adventure, but the previews look shaky. 


DESPICABLE ME (Rating pending)

Steve Carell is the world’s No. 2 supervillain trying to up his ranking by stealing the moon in this animated comedy.

SR: 24 percent. It ain’t Pixar, but Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett and Mindy Kaling routinely deliver the funny. 


Laurence Fishburne, Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Walton Goggins and others are a motley band of violent criminals who find themselves transported to a training planet for Most Dangerous Game-style hunting by the vicious Predators. Directed by the awesomely-named action-meister Nimrod Antal (Kontroll).

SR: 40 percent. Recent “Predator” rehashes have been abominable, but a good cast and a decent trailer have me, perhaps foolishly, hoping again. 


Great cast (John C. Reilly, Catherine Keener, Jonah Hill) make this first foray outside the mumblecore genre by the Duplass brothers, about Reilly dealing with his new girlfriend’s obnoxious adult son, seem promising.

SR: 20 percent 



Elaborately-bewigged wizard (Nicholas Cage) enlists the timorous help of a modern-day everydork (Jay Baruchel) in his quest to defeat eternal nemesis with an equally silly name (Alfred Molina).

SR: 75 percent. Nicholas Cage’s track record is awful with this sort of fantasy business. 

INCEPTION (Rating pending)

Director Christopher Nolan’s enigmatic thriller (perhaps about the ability to enter people’s dreams they’re being pretty cagey) starring Leonardo DiCaprio is the riskiest would-be blockbuster of the summer. I respect that.

SR: 12 percent 


SALT (Rating pending)

Angelina Jolie back in Amazon super-agent mode.

SR: 47 percent. Seen it. 

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (Rating pending)

I’m torn. This dark comedy about a rich guy’s cruel prank gone wrong stars certified comedy gods Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, but it’s a remake (of the French “The Dinner Game”) and directed by the guy responsible for “Meet the Parents.” Cross your fingers and bet on Rudd and Carell.

SR: 39 percent 



My anti-blockbuster of the summer, this fable about a 1930s hermit throwing his own funeral party stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek.

SR: 1 percent. My sleeper pick. 


Romance with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt as would-be lovers whose happiness is continually thwarted by mysterious forces. Based on a story by sci-fi guru Philip K. Dick. (Delayed til September)

SR: 15 percent. I’m intrigued. 

AUG. 6

THE OTHER GUYS (Rating pending)

Surprisingly high SR for this cop buddy comedy, considering my love for Will Ferrell’s work with director Adam McKay (“Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights”), but cowriter Chris Henchy (“Land of the Lost”) has me worried.

SR: 30 percent 

AUG. 13

EAT PRAY LOVE (Rating pending)

Julia Roberts stars in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of divorce, world traveling and, presumably, eating, praying and loving (with the appropriately-hunky Javier Bardem). Contrary to boy stereotype, I can like Julia Roberts, but not when she’s in full-blown “America’s Sweetheart” mode, starring in New Agey feel-goodery.

SR: 60 percent (0 percent for Oprah’s Book Club members).  


In the sure hands of director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”), this comedy about a meek suitor (Michael Cera) having to defeat his beloved’s seven evil exes in superheroic combat is as close to a sure thing as you’re gonna get.

SR: 5 percent 

THE EXPENDABLES (Rating pending)

Of course this will be bad, but there’s undeniable appeal in seeing Sylvester Stallone assembling fellow action icons (has-beens) like Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and even the Governator.

SR: 60 percent 

AUG. 20


Wacky(?) sperm mix-up comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. Yeah, I just wrote that …

SR: 45 percent 

AUG. 27

PIRANHA 3-D (Rating pending)

This remake of the cult “Jaws” rip-off is exactly the kind of thing that’ll kill off the 3-D fad.

SR: 99.9 percent 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer living in Portland.


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