Summer movie guide 2011

Harry Potter, Cars 2, and more

Lucky. Life is looking up for Ben (Colin Hanks), an office worker who's just won the lottery, which might help him woo his dream girl (Ari Graynor). All good, but should Ben still pursue his goal of becoming a serial killer? Directed by Gil Cates Jr. Ann-Margaret co-stars.

Salvation Boulevard. Pastor Dan (Pierce Brosnan), TV evangelist, is all set to break ground on a pre-fab Christian community when he accidentally shoots a visiting atheist (Ed Harris). Greg Kinnear co-stars as the disciple who helps the good pastor cover up the mess. Directed by George Ratliff.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The friendship between two women in 19th-century Shanghai is contrasted with a similar bond between two of their descendents, living in present-day China. Directed by Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) and based on Lisa See's 2005 novel.

JULY 22

Captain America: The First Avenger. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a runty little guy who volunteers for a World War II Army experiment that turns him into a muscle-ripped superhero ready to take on a Nazi weapons genius named Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). Tommy Lee Jones co-stars for director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman).

Friends with Benefits. "No emotion. Just sex," is the mantra agreed upon by two friends (Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake) who have decided that they're both too damaged for love and just need good, regular, no-strings sex. Good luck with that. Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson co-star. Directed by Will Gluck (Easy A).

Senna. Winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, this documentary by Asif Kapadia tells the life story of Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian racecar driver who died in a 1994 Grand Prix crash.

JULY 29

Cowboys & Aliens. In the Wild West of old, Lonergan (Daniel Craig) and Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) are enemy gunslingers, but their shootout will have to wait until they kill off the space aliens that have just landed in their dusty desert town. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man).

Crazy, Stupid, Love . Night after night, sad-sack Cal (Steve Carell), whose wife (Julianne Moore) has left him, sits in a bar and watches a young guy named Jacob (Ryan Gosling) effortlessly pick up women. Desperate, Cal asks him for a ladykiller makeover. Co-directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris).

The Devil's Double. The true story of the Iraqi army lieutenant who was forced to undergo plastic surgery to become the body double for Uday Hussein, Saddam's psycho-killer son, inspired this Scarface-like thriller. Dominic Cooper plays both versions of Uday. Ludivine Sagnier co-stars. Directed by Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day).

Life in a Day. On July 24, 2010, YouTube viewers from all over the world shot video documentaries of their day. Director Kevin Macdonald and film editor Joe Walker have whittled 4,500 hours of footage into this 90-minute film.

AUGUST 5

The Change-Up. Two buddies—a hunky single guy (Ryan Reynolds) and a bored married guy (Justin Bateman)—experience a magical body switch and discover the pros and cons of living the other's life. Directed by David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers).

Dirty Girl. It's 1987 and Danielle (Juno Temple), the bad girl of her Oklahoma high school, and Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), its beleaguered gay guy, strike up a friendship and eventually hit the road to find Danielle's birth father. Co-starring William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yokam, and Milla Jovovich. Written and directed by Abe Sylvia.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes. After altering the genetics of a chimpanzee, a young scientist (James Franco) is astonished when his test subject escapes and then launches a primate war against humans. Directed by Rupert Wyatt.

The Whistleblower. Rachel Weisz stars as the real-life Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who went to Bosnia in 1999 as a U.N. peacekeeper and eventually uncovered a sex-trafficking operation with ties to the U.N. itself. Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, and David Strathairn co-star for director Larysa Kondracki.

AUGUST 12

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Once upon a time—1973 to be exact—a TV movie about a woman being terrorized by whispering, invisible goblins living below her chimney scared the heck out of many a viewer. Katie Holmes stars in this long-in-the-works remake, with Guy Pearce as her clueless husband. Co-produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by newcomer Troy Nixey.

The Help. In 1962, a budding journalist (Emma Stone) returns to her Jackson, Mississippi, hometown and stirs up trouble when she begins interviewing and writing about the black women who work as maids for the town's rich whites. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Sissy Spacek, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Cicely Tyson co-star. Written and directed by Tate Taylor, adapting Kathryn Stockett's bestseller.

Seven Days in Utopia. After suffering a public humiliation, a promising young golfer (Lucas Black) hits the road but gets stranded in a Texas town where he's befriended by a rancher (Robert Duvall) who happens to know a thing or two about golf, and about life. Melissa Leo co-stars. Directed by Matthew Dean Russell.

30 Minutes or Less. The only method Dwayne (Danny McBride) can devise to raise the cash he needs to hire a hitman (Michael Peña) to kill his father (Fred Ward) is to strap a bomb onto a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) and order him to go rob a bank. Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland).

AUGUST 19

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