<p>Wolverine, Tony Stark, and Mike and Sully are all part of this week's countdown of the 25 Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2013.</p>

Wolverine, Tony Stark, and Mike and Sully are all part of this week's countdown of the 25 Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2013.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Marvel Studios/Pixar

Summer 2013 Most Anticipated #20-16: 'Iron Man 3,' 'The Wolverine,' 'Grandmasters'

Superhero sequels, an animated comedy, and arthouse kung-fu are featured this week

When people talk about "summer movies," it's hard to pin down exactly what that means these days. Does summer belong completely to big loud noisy blockbusters? Or is there room for movies that are smaller, more emotionally intimate? Do adults check out completely from May to August? And are all blockbusters built equally?

We've decided that we want to rev up to this summer's movie season with a countdown. The entire HitFix movie staff voted, and anything being released this summer was eligible. The results surprised even us, but they also excited us because one thing was immediately clear…

This is going to be a very cool summer.

Last week, we covered "The Lone Ranger," the newly-retitled "Fruitvale Station," "World War Z," The Kings of Summer," and "Fast and Furious 6." And in the HitFix countdown, big and small films carry equal weight. We're of the opinion that no great film is ever really "small," and that part of what you trust us to do is tell you about all of your options. If it's got us interested, then we have to assume that you'll also be interested, and if you haven't heard about it already, then our job is to make sure you do.

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<p>Olga Kurylenko seems to be enjoying the new challenges she's facing as an actress in her recent collaborations, including the new film 'Oblivion'</p>

Olga Kurylenko seems to be enjoying the new challenges she's facing as an actress in her recent collaborations, including the new film 'Oblivion'

Credit: HitFix

Olga Kurylenko talks about her next-level work with Terrence Malick and Tom Cruise

The 'Oblivion' star talks about the great recent performances she's given

It must be an exceptionally easy casting decision to hire Olga Kurylenko to play an object of desire.

Which is not to say she is an object in any way, of course. In fact, Kurylenko seems to be constantly pushing me as a critic to redefine how I view her as an actor. Seeing her in "Quantum Of Solace" or "Hitman," she certainly seems like a lovely woman, but those roles don't challenge her, and they don't demonstrate any range at all. The first time I really paid attention to the choices she was making was in Neil Marshall's "Centurion," where she played the mute assassin Etain. It was a damn-near feral performance, and all of a sudden, it was clear that she's much more than just a stunning face.

The one-two punch of "To The Wonder" and "Oblivion" should start to make that abundantly clear to the observant. I was not in love with "To The Wonder," but a lot of what Kurylenko does in it is impressive and emotionally honest and even more impressive because it is largely non-verbal.

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<p>Wait, which one is Agent J and which one is Agent K? And since when is Rip Torn so hot?</p>

Wait, which one is Agent J and which one is Agent K? And since when is Rip Torn so hot?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'R.I.P.D' trailer plays up the buddy chemistry between Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds

A new riff on the 'Ghostbusters' formula looks promising

It's amazing that we are almost 30 years out from the release of "Ghostbusters," and we're still feeling the ripples from its detonation in the heart of mainstream culture even now.

Frankly, I'm amazed that we haven't seen more films cut from that same basic template. They are expensive, sure, and they're not easy to get right, but it's such a tempting formula. I honestly thought "Men In Black" had crapped out, but the third film wrung some surprising joys out of it. Even so, it seems like that particular franchise is so expensive at this point that Sony can't really afford to do more of them.

Enter "R.I.P.D.", ready and willing to take its place, and based on this first trailer, it seems like a very confident, slick riff on the basic ideas. Ryan Reynolds is the SWAT officer who is killed in the line of duty and immediately recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, the law enforcement of the afterlife, made up of the greatest dead lawmen from throughout history, all working to keep unruly spirits in line.

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<p>It's easy to win an argument when your hat is staring at your opponent.</p>

It's easy to win an argument when your hat is staring at your opponent.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The final 'Lone Ranger' trailer goes heavy on the myth and Johnny Depp

It's an Old West Batman that loves to smash up trains

Yep. That's a Gore Verbinski movie.

In the first weekly installation of our countdown to summer (you can see that here), I picked "The Lone Ranger" to write about because I just plain like the way Verbinski does what he does. I think sometimes it's that easy when it comes to this type of huge-canvass filmmaking. I've certainly had directors whose work did nothing for me who I've realized early on don't share any particular aesthetic common ground with me. And I've also seen plenty of filmmakers who prove early on that whatever secret version of film language they're speaking, it affects me, and I'm onboard, whatever the story or subject.

Verbinski shoots action I enjoy watching. I still think his most inspired moments came in "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," but there are things he does in the third "Pirates" and in "Rango" that are just preposterous, fun and frantic and impeccably staged. He is able to put all these things in motion and then catch them in the perfect way, and it's a gift that should not be discounted. Not everyone's capable of it, no matter what budget or support you give them.

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<p>Of course this means I get my Raymond Chandler inspired series of 'Dexter Jettster' mystery movies where he solves murders while preparing short-order dishes.</p>

Of course this means I get my Raymond Chandler inspired series of 'Dexter Jettster' mystery movies where he solves murders while preparing short-order dishes.

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Disney promises one new 'Star Wars' film every summer starting in 2015

Just how many filmmakers are they planning to throw at this?

Alan Horn, the new Chairman of Walt Disney Pictures, took the stage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas today to announce an incredibly aggressive timetable for the "Star Wars" franchise. If they manage to pull it off, it will be almost unparalleled for this sort of big-ticket filmmaking.

According to Horn, we will indeed see the JJ Abrams "Star Wars Episode VII" in the summer of 2015, just in time for Disney to completely dominate that summer since they're also releasing "The Avengers 2" that year. In the following years, we will see one new "Star Wars" film every year, every summer, alternating between the stand-alone films that Disney has mentioned previously and the official episodes in the main franchise.

We'll have more analysis on this later this afternoon, but for now, this has got to be one of the most unrelenting schedules I've ever seen, and it all but guarantees that there will always be a "Star Wars" film shooting somewhere.

What a crazy, crazy world.

<p>Oh, sure, everything's fun and games when the drones want to play, but when the guns come out, these things are a lot less cute.</p>

Oh, sure, everything's fun and games when the drones want to play, but when the guns come out, these things are a lot less cute.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'Oblivion' covers familiar ground but with a real emotional charge

HitFix
B
Readers
B
Tom Cruise heads a small but remarkably effective cast in the science-fiction thriller

Joseph Kosinski's first film, "TRON Legacy," is a triumph of design that left me completely cold as a movie. It is also one of those films that I found more irritating with each revisit. I saw it once for review and so I could do the interviews about the movie. I saw it once as part of Butt-Numb-A-Thon. I saw it once with my kids when it came out on Blu-ray since they were out of the country when it was released in theaters. So three times, and each time, I found it more hollow as a movie even as I was amazed at the world it created.

On a movie like that, though, you've got a lot of corporate interests being serviced and protected, and you've got a lot of people voicing opinions, and no matter if the screenwriters you throw at it are good or bad, there are choices that will be part of the mix that are maddening. It's not really fair to blame the director for everything that's wrong with a movie when it's a big franchise monstrosity. In Kosinski's case, I liked enough of what he did on "TRON Legacy" to walk into "Oblivion" hoping for some big improvements. After all, this is based on an original idea by him, it's not a franchise film, and he had guys like Michael Arndt and William Monahan working on the script, so maybe this would be something more personal.

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<p>Yep, that's pretty much exactly how I felt when I saw this great new sneak peek at this summer's 'Man Of Steel'</p>

Yep, that's pretty much exactly how I felt when I saw this great new sneak peek at this summer's 'Man Of Steel'

Credit: Warner Bros

New 'Man Of Steel' trailer finally gives up the good stuff with a knockout punch

And there's oh so much good stuff to see

There he is.

Okay, Warner Bros, well-played. Right now, they're doing a full slate reveal at CinemaCon, complete with presentations on films like "Pacific Rim," "The Hangover Part III," and, of course, "Man Of Steel."

I wrote recently about how much reserve they were showing in the trailers thus far, and I wondered when they were going to finally start showing off the massive action in the film. It appears that the answer to that question is "Right now," and based on this trailer, I think it's safe to say Zack Snyder is going to turn out to be a positively inspired choice for director.

This doesn't look like every other superhero film. It doesn't really look like any other Superman film. Instead, it appears they've taken the recognizable story and design elements and they've used them to make something that is both new and yet instantly recognizable.

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<p>That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast &amp; Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?</p>

That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast & Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Fast & Furious 7' stakes out a 2014 release date

A new director and no Dwayne Johnson doesn't slow the studio down at all

Universal is not fooling around.

I understand. They've been looking for their ATM, their cash machine that reliably spits out money every time they release a new film in the series, and it's been a struggle at times. They sort of backed into this one. I guarantee there was no one at the studio at the time that "The Fast and The Furious" was made who had a vision of the franchise that exists now.

Justin Lin deserves a lot of credit for turning this into what can legitimately be called a mega-franchise now. At this point, it's such a big series, and the scale of the mayhem in each film seems to be swelling. Now that Lin is leaving, it would be easy to imagine that the studio would be worried. If you drop the ball even once with a series like this, you risk burning it down, and that's the last thing Universal wants.

Now that James Wan is onboard to direct the seventh film in the series, Universal wants to make it clear that they are moving full speed ahead with a new movie, and today, as part of their CinemaCon presentation, they announced that July 11, 2014 is going belong to them.

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<p>Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'</p>

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Final 'Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer test Captain Kirk and the Enterprise

And even now, they're still keeping their secrets close

The moment I was hooked by the trailers for the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot was when Pike (Bruce Greenwood) challenged Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) to try to live up to the legacy of his father. The score, Greenwood's delivery, and the weight of what he was saying… all of that combined hit me dead center, and from that point on, they sort of had me on the hook.

I feel like it's a very smart choice, then, to bring this final trailer in the ad campaign for this summer's "Star Trek Into Darkness" back around to the two of them, Pike and Kirk, once again sitting together, once again discussing Kirk's potential as a leader. Pike is such a particular figure in "Trek" history, and perhaps the most significant refiguring in this new rebooted version of the "Trek" universe is the way he and Kirk deal with one another. You can't do much better in terms of mentor figures than Greenwood's Pike, and Kirk needs that voice in his ear, someone willing to push him and dare him to be a better person.

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<p>Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.</p>

Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Set Visit: Danny McBride says 'This Is The End' is full of terrible things happening to famous people

We head to New Orleans for the end of the world in the first part of our set visit

NEW ORLEANS - If you're looking for a place to stage the end of the world, it seems to me that New Orleans is a pretty good choice.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are a formidable creative partnership. Standing on a soundstage for the first film they're co-directing, I was struck by just how laser focused their vision for their career has been and how well they've managed to build a space for them to make the films that genuinely make them laugh. When I first met Seth, it was at the premiere for "Anchorman." If you don't remember his role in the film, I wouldn't blame you. He plays a news cameraman, and in a film that seemed to be a showcase for one incredible character bit after another, Seth was one of the few people who didn't really have a giant moment.

The party after the premiere was at the Roosevelt, and it was a particularly rowdy celebration. That was a film that almost didn't happen several times along the way during development, and it seemed like everyone assembled understood just how much of a miracle it was that it even existed. At one point during the evening, I saw Seth Rogen sitting by himself at a table, and I walked over to say hello.

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