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Posted: 05/04/12 05:37 PM ET  |  Updated: 05/05/12 04:31 PM ET

'Marvel's The Avengers' Does Not Live Up To The Hype; Or Does It? (DEBATE)

avengers reviews

"Marvel's The Avengers" has arrived in theaters with a bang.

Joss Whedon's superhero supergroup mash-up has already earned over $300 million around the globe and is poised for near-record grosses in U.S. theaters over the next few days. Everyone you know will probably see "The Avengers," which raises the obvious question: does the film live up to its advance hype?

To get to the bottom of this, HuffPost Entertainment drafted executive entertainment editor Michael Hogan (who says the hype is justified) and editor Christopher Rosen (who says it isn't) to debate the merits of "Marvel's The Avengers." While they arm-wrestle to see which one gets to be Iron Man, check out their arguments below. Then cast your vote and keep the conversation going in the comments section.

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'The Avengers' Does NOT Live Up To The Hype

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Who makes the better argument?

Christopher Rosen Senior entertainment editor, The Huffington Post

"Marvel's The Avengers" is the cinematic equivalent of a Chipotle burrito.

It's made up of a lot of ingredients you love (Robert Downey Jr., Joss Whedon's snarky wit, massive visual effects, explosions), some you don't (a third dimension, roughly 20 minutes of unnecessary and dragged-out exposition, what feels like the entire third act of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"), and winds up being perfectly acceptable as summer entertainment. You can enjoy "The Avengers" without feeling too guilty or gross afterward; it's not like going to McDonald's.

Which is why Marvel's latest blockbuster doesn't come close to living up to the hype.

Make no mistake: "The Avengers" is good. It's not "sick." It's not "awesome." It's not "epic" (except in length). If you're a comic book guy or gal (or even a wannabe comic book guy or gal), you'll love it; if you don't know the Tesseract from Burt Bacharach, you'll sit there twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the next big set piece to happen. (Have I mentioned that this thing is long?)

Because, however, of the overwhelming marketing campaign, the chipper tweets of those lucky enough to have seen "The Avengers" already, and the high critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you might go into the film expecting something like "The Dark Knight." Or, perhaps more appropriately, "Iron Man." The problem is that "The Avengers" isn't like those films, because it's not a fresh take on the comic-book genre. Whedon doesn't reinvent the wheel with "The Avengers" -- despite what the hype might have you expecting -- he just continues the yeomanly work done previously by Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston and Louis Leterrier in the previous Marvel burritos "Thor," "Captain America" and "The Incredible Hulk." As such, headlines like "Five Best Movie Summers Ever--Where Will 'The Avengers' Rank?" might be a little much. After all, how "best" could a movie be when it has such an uninteresting villain? No offense to Tom Hiddleston (swoon and all), but does anyone actually think Loki is diabolical enough to defeat the "Avengers" superhero super-team? This guy got beat up by Thor alone in "Thor"; even with an army of alien robot-things picked up off Michael Bay's "Transformers" cutting room floor, Loki is less than imposing. Because of that, there are no stakes in "The Avengers." Because there are no stakes, Whedon's film becomes a waiting game for all that third-act stuff Marvel has already given away in the trailers. After a while, that waiting wears on you.

(Speaking of stakes, it's difficult to get really invested in something where nearly every character is immortal and/or invincible. Just sayin'.)

Not to sound too preachy (too late), but hype is a dangerous weapon. In the wrong hands, it can spiral out of control, create unreasonable expectations and result in a swift backlash. Unfortunately for the Avengers, defeating "Avengers" hype proves a lot more difficult than defeating Loki.

Michael Hogan Digital Director, Vanity Fair

Boom!

"The Avengers" is two and a half hours of pure, unadulterated fun -- the cinematic equivalent not just of a roller coaster ride but of the whole damn amusement park. Drop tower, log flume, Tilt-A-Whirl, Gravitron -- you name it, it's in there.

No, it's not a dark, moody critique of our fallen social order in the mold of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" series, but it's not mindless either. As Mark Ruffalo recently acknowledged, the endlessly bickering Avengers -- Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk -- serve as a pretty good metaphor for today's ultra-partisan America, where we're all too busy taking cheap shots across the aisle to even think about tackling any global threats.

But unlike Nolan, director Joss Whedon doesn't want you to walk out of the theater pondering a political message. He wants you flying like Iron Man, propelled by a twin jet pack of smart comedy and face-melting action.

And make no mistake: the action is epic. There's an obvious comparison to the city-smashing mayhem of "Transformers 3," but the difference is that it's actually possible to follow what's happening in "The Avengers." There is a crispness, despite the high-octane velocity. It's not a blur.

My opponent in this debate complains that there are no stakes in this story because the good guys can't lose. And he has a point: we learn early on that Thor and The Hulk are effectively immortal, and Tom Hiddleston's Loki isn't the most threatening villain we've ever seen. But when's the last time you faced death in the course of a week, or a month, or a year? Does that mean you're living a pointless existence with no "stakes"?

If you ask me, their invincibility makes these superheroes more relatable: like you and me, they are preoccupied not with survival but with such all-too-human matters as pride, vanity and comfort (Bruce Banner's main complaint about his Hulk alter ego is that it really hurts). Only after they've made a mess of everything by pursuing their own selfish interests are they finally able to stand together and fight for what's right.

Look, I won't try to convince you to care about the tesseract or Loki's pact with evil aliens or any of the rest of it. I don't think even Whedon thinks that's possible, which is part of why this movie is so much fun. The point is to spend time with the characters, whom we know not just from the previous films in the series but from comic books and assorted childhood memories.

There must have been times when Whedon felt like Nick Fury as he tried to manage all the movie-star egos in this mix, but the results are really extraordinary. Everyone from Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. to Tom Hiddleston and Gwyneth Paltrow is in fine form, and by now you've heard how Mark Ruffalo quietly steals the show. That said, I probably had the most fun watching Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth -- two guys who weren't really movie stars until Marvel cast them in these roles. For that reason, it was possible to suspend disbelief and pretend that I was flying along not with two increasingly well-paid actors but with Captain America and Thor, defenders of the universe. (And no, I wasn't able to sit through "Thor" either.)

All I ask when I plunk down for a superhero movie is to be delighted, transported, not bored. So maybe the best thing I can say about this 150-minute extravaganza is that I laughed, cheered, gasped and clapped, and never once looked at my watch.

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'The Avengers' Does NOT Live Up To The Hype

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RELATED: "Marvel's The Avengers" and 29 Other Summer Must-Sees
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  • 'Marvel's The Avengers'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 4 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Because it's The Avengers! Following five movies of set-up ("Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "The Incredible Hulk," "Thor" and "Captain America: First Avenger"), Marvel combines its superheroes into one blockbuster. Early word on "The Avengers" has been strong, and the film is already an international hit. You should probably get your tickets now, if you haven't already. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Disney]

  • 'Dark Shadows'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 11 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: "Dark Shadows" looks like director Tim Burton's first actual "Tim Burton Movie" (and not, y'know, "Alice In Wonderland") in quite some time. The Gothic horror-comedy (based on the cult television series of the same name) stars Depp as an undead vampire living in the 1970s. Funny! Dark! Weird! Just what audiences want from their summer entertainment? <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Warner Bros.]

  • 'The Dictator'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 16 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, Anna Faris, Megan Fox <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Cohen tries to rebound from the "Bruno" disaster with "The Dictator," a bit of scripted comedy that finds the merry prankster playing a deposed North African tyrant. The comedy is the first big laugher of the summer, but online reactions to the trailer -- and Cohen's pervasive self-promotion -- have been mixed. This feels like Cohen's make-or-break moment, for better or worse. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Paramount]

  • 'Battleship'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 18 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson, Rihanna <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: With Michael Bay sitting on the sidelines this summer, Peter Berg steps into the blockbuster action arena to take his place with "Battleship." This thing looks like wall-to-wall madness, with space aliens arriving on Earth with eyes on destroying humanity by using <strike>a board game</strike> advanced weaponry. Only Tim Riggins and RiRi can save us! (Battleship pun goes here.) <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Universal]

  • 'Men In Black 3'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 25 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jermaine Clement, Bill Hader <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Will Smith makes this look good, even if the last film in the "Men In Black" series came out ten years ago. "Men In Black 3" had a tumultuous production -- the $200-plus million film didn't have a finished script when it started filming -- but considering Smith's star power, here's guessing that won't matter to the bottom line. Or your enjoyment? After all, the trailer is kinda great. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • Indie Alternative: 'Moonrise Kingdom'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: May 25 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Jared Gillman, Kara Hayward <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: While it's not "The Avengers," director Wes Anderson has assembled a pretty impressive cast of stars for "Moonrise Kingdom," his first live-action film since 2007's "The Darjeeling Limited." It's a new Wes Anderson movie, so, duh: <em>of course</em> you're excited. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Focus]

  • 'Snow White & The Huntsman'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 1 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: This isn't your spring's Snow White movie. Unlike "Mirror Mirror," "Snow White and the Huntsman" is an action blockbuster that envisions Snow White as a warrior. Having Bella Swan and Thor in the same movie is great, but the draw here could be Theron, doing over-the-top villainy as the evil queen. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Universal]

  • 'Prometheus'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 8 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall Green, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Ridley Scott's first science-fiction film in three decades is one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the sumer -- something the ubiquitous marketing campaign won't let you soon forget. "Prometheus" -- which appears to mix scares and sci-fi action in equal measure -- is not a prequel to "Alien," but is of the same universe. All of which means, it's pretty much a prequel to "Alien." <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Fox]

  • 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 8 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: The first two "Madagascar" films have pleased family audiences to the tune of over $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales. Considering the third entry is opening against "Prometheus" and its potential R-rating, expect a similar windfall to follow <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Paramount]

  • 'Rock of Ages'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 15 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: The best jukebox musical ever comes to the big-screen with the help of an all-star cast, an awesome soundtrack and "Hairspray" director Adam Shankman. This year's "Mammia Mia"? For the accountants at Warner Bros., here's hoping. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Warner Bros.]

  • 'That's My Boy'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 15 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Everyone rightly piles on Adam Sandler for his lack of trying (see: "Jack and Jill," "Just Go With It"), so let's look to "That's My Boy" as progress. It's an R-rated comedy that stars Sandler as a ne'er-do-well dad trying to get back into his son's life. The trailer is riotous (not kidding), so maybe this will be the first Adam Sandler movie you've liked since "Funny People"? "50 First Dates"? When <em>was</em> the last time you liked an Adam Sandler movie? <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • 'Brave'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 22 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: The newest Pixar feature is the first to focus on a female protagonist. And she shoots arrows! So, if you liked "The Hunger Games," this one is for you. Just remember: it's Pixar, so bring the Kleenex. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Disney]

  • 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 29 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Because judging from the trailer, this sequel-cum-reboot of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" actually has a sense of humor about itself. That's good! Also good: The Rock and Bruce Willis cracking wise and blasting massive machine guns. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Paramount]

  • 'Magic Mike'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 29 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Olivia Munn, Cody Horn <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Channing Tatum plays a male stripper who's secret desire is to make furniture. Steven Soderbergh directs. The trailer featured extensive use of "We Found Love." Yes, this is your favorite movie of the summer. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Warner Bros.]

  • Indie Alternative: 'To Rome With Love'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: June 22 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, Penelope Cruz, Roberto Benigni, Woody Allen <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Last summer, Woody Allen released his most successful film yet with "Midnight In Paris." Can "To Rome With Love" be even bigger? Well, the cast is certainly bigger, thanks -- in part -- to the fact that Allen himself makes an appearance, the first time he's done so since "Scoop" in 2006. Couple him with Baldwin, Cruz and a youngster like Eisenberg, and "Rome" could be like "Marvel's The Avengers" for the parental set. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony Classics]

  • 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 3 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Though "Spider-Man 3" came out in 2007, Sony decided to reboot your friendly neighborhood webslinger with a fresh feel: Indie director Marc Webb ("500 Days Of Summer") and Andrew Garfield replace Sami Raimi and Tobey Maguire, and the trailers have a bit more snark than the earnest earlier Spidey films. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, Peter Parker's lady love, is a genius bit of casting, if only because Emma Stone makes everything better. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • 'Katy Perry: Part Of Me'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 4 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Katy Perry <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? If so, see Katy Perry's concert documentary (in 3D) over the Fourth of July. Baby, you're a firework, etc. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Paramount]

  • 'The Savages'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 6 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Director Oliver Stone brings Don Winslow's violent bit of pulp fiction to the big screen with an all-star cast of people you mostly like. About a pair of SoCal drug dealers (Kitsch and Johnson) who try to save the woman they both love (Lively) from the hands of a powerful cartel, "Savages" could be the action choice of the summer. We hope Stone changed the book's mediocre ending, though. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Universal]

  • 'Ted'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 13 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: For his first feature film, "Family Guy" impresario Seth MacFarlane <em>didn't</em> bring "Family Guy" to the screen. Instead he wrote and directed "Ted," an R-rated comedy about a man (Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). Ever want to see a teddy bear rip a bong hit? Here's your movie. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Universal]

  • 'The Dark Knight Rises'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 20 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: If you aren't excited to see Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, you're probably dead. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Warner Bros.]

  • 'The Watch'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 27 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Despite being surrounded by controversy in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, "The Watch" feels like a hit lying in wait. After all, it features an all-star cast and is about space aliens. With a friendly release date, don't be surprised if this is a sleeper summer hit. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Fox]

  • Indie Alternative: 'Ruby Sparks'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: July 25 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: The last time Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris released a movie over the summer, it was "Little Miss Sunshine," an indie hit that earned a Best Picture nomination. No pressure on their follow-up, though! Starring "Sunshine's" Paul Dano, "Ruby Sparks" is a quirky dramedy about an author who writes a female character that comes to life (Zoe Kazan, Dano's real life girlfriend). Quirky! <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Fox Searchlight]

  • 'The Bourne Legacy'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 3 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, Albert Finney <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Since you probably won't have gotten your fill watching Jeremy Renner play a mindless assassin in "Marvel's The Avengers," he's picking up the "Bourne" franchise from Matt Damon. The twist? He's not playing Jason Bourne, but Aaron Cross, a new brain-washed killer. If Renner isn't a big A-list star by the time Labor Day rolls around, something really went wrong. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Universal]

  • 'Total Recall'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 3 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, John Cho <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: No Arnold, no Mars, no problem? That's the hope for director Len Wiseman, who has remade the 1990 Schwarzenegger classic ("classic") with Colin Farrell in the lead role. Because putting Farrell in a remake of a cult movie ("Fright Night") worked so well last summer... <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • 'Hope Springs'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 10 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Meryl Streep, Steve Carell, Tommy Lee Jones <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: If it's August, it's time for a sleeper Meryl Streep comedy. Like "Julie & Julia," "Mamma Mia!" and "The Devil Wears Prada" before it, "Hope Springs" hopes (ding!) to capitalize on summer's perpetually ignored adult audience. Steve Carell tapped into that group last year with "Crazy, Stupid, Love," so obviously he's the perfect co-star. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • 'The Campaign'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 10 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis were so funny together at the dour 2012 Academy Awards that the chance to see them pair up onscreen feels too good to pass up. "The Campaign" comes out in a crowded early August corridor, but it's timely subject matter -- political elections -- could allow it to have some substantial box-office legs. Jay Roach ("Game Change") directs. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Warner Bros.]

  • 'Sparkle'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 17 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Derek Luke <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: "Sparkle" features the last ever film appearance by Whitney Houston. The curiosity factor alone will get you into the theater for this one, a remake of the 1976 film about a girl group fraying under the pressures of fame. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • 'The Expendables 2'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 17 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Randy Couture, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Liam Hemsworth <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: See "the cast." <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Lionsgate]

  • 'Premium Rush'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 24 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a bike messenger who gets wrapped up in a dirty cop's shady dealings. Considering the dirty cop is played by Michael Shannon, expect much scenery-chewing. <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: Sony]

  • Indie Alternative: 'Lawless'

    <strong>Release Date</strong>: Aug. 31 <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Cast</strong>: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> <strong>Why You're Excited</strong>: Previously titled "The Wettest County," "Lawless" is a red-blooded Prohibition-era drama from director John Hillcoat ("The Proposition"). With a beefy cast of budding A-listers (Hardy, off "The Dark Knight Rises," in particular), expect this to be the thinking person's choice for Labor Day viewing. It's either "Lawless" or some two-bit horror movie, y'all! <br clear="all"><br clear="all"> [Photo: TWC]

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Filed by Christopher Rosen  |