From 'Ultron' to 'Aloha': HitFix's ultimate guide to 2015's summer movies
Credit: Universal/Marvel/Warner Bros

From 'Ultron' to 'Aloha': HitFix's ultimate guide to 2015's summer movies

Not just what you should be excited about, but why

When I was in high school, "Premiere" magazine made its US debut, and I still remember finding that first issue on the stands with "Dragnet" on the cover. For many years after that, "Premiere" was my favorite film magazine, bar none.

One of the best things about the magazine, particularly in its prime, was the way they put together their Summer Movie Preview issue each year. It wasn't just because they put together a comprehensive list of everything that would be in theaters during the season, but that they wrote about things from a position of authority. They knew things. They offered real insights. By the time I finished reading their Summer Movie Preview, I felt like I had a real handle on not only what I wanted to see, but just how it all came together.

As a result of that, when we put our own Summer Movie Preview together, I feel strongly that it should be both thorough and original, offering you perspective or information that you won't find anywhere else. HitFix's editor emeritus, Greg Ellwood, joined me in ranking the films and writing them up, and now we're ready to share our take on what you can expect from the summer of 2015, which gets underway Friday when "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" opens in the US, following its massive triumphant roll-out in several overseas markets.

The main thing I hope you take away from reading this is that no matter what your movie tastes, there's something out there for you this summer. I know people love to complain about remakes and sequels, but there are so many different types of things on this year's list that it seems to me you'd have to be actively looking to feel excluded to actually take any offense. Here's hoping everyone makes it out of the summer as excited as they are going in.

CHECK OUT THE 2015 SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW RIGHT HERE!

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Simon Kinberg clarifies on 'Fantastic Four' and Reed Richards: 'He stretches'
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Simon Kinberg clarifies on 'Fantastic Four' and Reed Richards: 'He stretches'

Plus find out what a strong influence on the look of 'X-Men: Apocalypse' is

Earlier today, Donna Dickens posted a piece about something she read on the official "Fantastic Four" website that Fox created for the new movie. In particular, there was a phrase that she posted about that confused her and that led to a fairly heated and instant conversation online.

A few minutes ago, I hung up the phone with Simon Kinberg, who is a co-writer/producer on the film, because he wanted to make something very clear: Reed Richards will stretch.

So now that our long national nightmare is over, I thought we'd chat with Kinberg to figure out what happened and to check in on the film, which has played its cards fairly close to its chest so far. I told Kinberg that I found the initial website copy confusing more than anything else.

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Joss Whedon was left speechless by Paul Bettany's Vision in 'Age Of Ultron'
Credit: HitFix

Joss Whedon was left speechless by Paul Bettany's Vision in 'Age Of Ultron'

We talk to the geek icon about his last trip into the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Joss Whedon's tired.

There is a certain kind of fatigue that is particular to the directors of these giant mega-budget high stakes sequels, and if you end up talking to one of those directors, you can see it in their eyes. They're zombies. I remember talking to Gore Verbinski near the end of the third "Pirates" film, and it was like he was having an out of body experience.

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Yep, that's pretty much exactly what we thought Jared Leto as Joker would be
Credit: Warner Bros.

Yep, that's pretty much exactly what we thought Jared Leto as Joker would be

Lots of tattoos and self-modification make this version of Mr. J stand out

In what is sure to generate a ton of conversation, David Ayer has released a photo of the full Joker look for "Suicide Squad" via Twitter, and it's certainly striking.

Jared Leto is playing the character this time, and they've been teasing fans now for almost a full month with hints and glimpses. There was a paparazzi photo earlier this week of Leto on-set, showing someone a photo on his phone, and it looked like a finished Joker image.

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Two exclusive tracks from Mondo's Death Waltz vinyl release of 'The Guest'
Credit: Mondo's Death Waltz Recording Company

Two exclusive tracks from Mondo's Death Waltz vinyl release of 'The Guest'

Plus details on this very cool release of the '80s throwback score

The collector market for film fans has evolved quite a bit from when I was a young fan. Sure, there were opportunities for me to spend my money, but these days, there are so many better opportunities and better items. There's the entire poster phenomenon, best embodied by the success of Mondo, which has spurred what feels like an entire industry. I recently got talked into joining some commission groups, so now I've got some ultra-limited art coming my way that I look at as even more special because I had a hand in designing it.

It was inevitable that soundtracks would also end up being major collector pieces, and one of the great frustrations for me when I was a younger film fan was realizing just how random the process is by which scores get released. There are some great companies now doing important archival work, like La-La-Land Records, and recently two titans in the collecting world merged, resulting in Mondo's Death Waltz Recording Company, which is poised to own your wallet for the near future.

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A visit to the set of 'Entourage' becomes an exercise in inertia
Credit: Warner Bros.

A visit to the set of 'Entourage' becomes an exercise in inertia

In its own way, this sort of sums up the truth about the way flms are made

One of the most remarkable accomplishments I've ever seen, in all of my time visiting film sets, was the completely-to-scale Warner Bros. backlot that was built for "Entourage: The Movie."

Wait… I'm looking at my notes… I'm wrong. That was the actual Warner Bros. backlot, and it was an afternoon last year when a group of journalists were invited to do a set visit in perhaps the least exciting location possible. I know that for many people, it is a thrill to step onto a studio backlot, and that thrill is part of what "Entourage" has always traded on when peddling its fantasy version of the Hollywood life to audiences. But in this case, we ended up standing for a few hours in what may be the least interesting spot on a lot, between two soundstages.

When I was invited to attend the "set" of the film, I immediately pictured one of the show's famous odes to movie star decadence, a house party overflowing with girls and booze and drugs and girls, and I marked the day on my calendar. Cut to: eight or nine of us standing around between those two aforementioned soundstages, waiting.

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Oren Peli's long-missing 'Area 51' finally gets a release date and trailer
Credit: Paramount Insurge/Blumhouse Tilt

Oren Peli's long-missing 'Area 51' finally gets a release date and trailer

And it's right around the corner

This might be a textbook case of "waiting too long."

Then again, I may underestimate the public's appetite for films in which characters run around while dramatic things you can almost see happen. I may be wrong. It may well be that people are actually still excited about "The new film from the director of 'Paranormal Activity.'" I suspect they're not, and that the moment for Oren Peli to release a second film should have been about five years ago, but Paramount Insurge is going to put it to the test when they finally, after long last, release "Area 51" in May.

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New 'Mad Max' game trailer makes the Wasteland positively beautiful
Credit: Warner Bros Games

New 'Mad Max' game trailer makes the Wasteland positively beautiful

This looks like a rare licensed title that may stand successfully on its own

Okay, so the "Mad Max" video game is its own thing, not directly tied to "Fury Road," and shouldn't be approached as an adaptation or a companion piece at all. It's just "Max Max," an original take on the world and the character that was developed at the same time as "Fury Road." It's supposed to be a very separate thing, and when I spoke to George Miller in Austin, he said he'd had some input in big broad ways, but that the game design team at Avalanche Studios definitely did their own thing.

I can't wait to get my hands on this one. It looks like that rare licensed game where they've taken the things we know about the character and turned those things into smart fun gaming choices. This new gameplay trailer is almost ridiculously cool. I love that you build your own car, and that you can continually tweak and refine it. That's one of the things about Miller's world that I have always loved, that sense that even in the midst of the Apocalypse, people are still going to take the time to assert their personalities through their cars, their weapons, their clothes. They are still people, and they are still going to find ways to be individuals.

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Miller and Lord will supervise an animated 'Spider-Man' film for Sony
Credit: Marvel Animation

Miller and Lord will supervise an animated 'Spider-Man' film for Sony

Sony will release the movie in 2018

Because Phil Lord and Chris Miller seem to be determined to build an entire career out of choices that no one would ever see coming, they have just announced that they are set to produce and write an "Animated Spider-Man" movie that will be in theaters July 20, 2018.

This will be produced with the cooperation of Marvel, but word is that it will exist independent of and in no way connect to the Spider-Man films that Sony and Disney are set to co-produce.

Sony Pictures is set to bring the web-slinger back to the bigscreen in animated form with Miller and Lord supervising, and word is that they would love for the pair to direct although that is in no way confirmed at the moment. We're excited to see what that's going to look like.

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Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson on making fans crazy in 'Ultron'
Credit: HitFix

Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson on making fans crazy in 'Ultron'

Marvel's oddest new couple talks about the human moments in the summer's biggest sequel

One of the things that fans are going to be most excited by when they see "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" is the developing relationship between Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff. We see our first indications of it when she finds Hulk on the battlefield at the end of the opening action sequence, and she initiates "the lullaby," a technique they've developed for calming the Hulk and allowing Banner to regain control.

Overall, Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson do some of my favorite work in the new film, and not just in that great scene between the two of them in the middle of the movie. Ruffalo is playing both Hulk and Banner now, and there is some great stuff he does in both roles. I really like the whole Science Buddies thing that Banner and Stark have going on, but what Ruffalo does so well is play the jokes that Whedon loves to write without ever playing against the truth of Banner's ongoing nightmare.

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