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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to May

“FAST & FURIOUS 6″

Who: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and Luke Evans
What: Agent Hobbs enlists the aid of Dom and Co. to help bring a rival gang, led by Owen Shaw, to justice in exchange for having their criminal records cleared.
When: May 24th
Why: As far as guilty pleasures go, the “Fast & Furious” franchise is at the top of my list. No matter how ridiculously ludicrous the movies may be at times, I’ve unabashedly enjoyed every one, save for “2 Fast 2 Furious.” I’ve even commented on several occasions that I could watch these films for the rest of my life, and I’m not even remotely joking. Though “Fast & Furious 6” marks the fourth (and possibly last) installment helmed by Justin Lin, the director deserves a lot of credit for almost single-handedly bringing the street racing series back to life, with 2011’s “Fast Five” standing head and shoulders above the rest. Now that Lin has perfected the formula, however, there’s no reason to believe that “Fast & Furious 6” won’t be just as entertaining.

“THE HANGOVER PART III”

Who: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong and John Goodman
What: This time, there’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.
When: May 24th
Why: After the somewhat awkward déjà vu of “The Hangover Part II,” there weren’t very many people clamoring for a third chapter in the comedy series. But money talks, and trilogies are still all the rage in Hollywood, so it’s not surprising to see the Wolfpack together again. Thankfully, “Part III” appears to be going down a decidedly different route than the first two films, and though the guys are heading to Vegas once again, it’s actually a logical ending point for the trilogy, especially because it allows director Todd Philips to bring back some familiar faces as well, like Heather Graham and Mike Epps. Though Ken Jeong’s increased role worries me a little, the casting of John Goodman as the villain provides some hope that it will at least be better than the last installment.

“NOW YOU SEE ME”

Who: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Caine
What: FBI agents track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.
When: May 31st
Why: In a month filled with sequels to major franchises, it’s refreshing to see an original idea come along with just as much potential as its competition. Falling somewhere between “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Prestige,” Louis Leterrier’s Robin Hood-esque magician thriller has been on my must-see list ever since Summit released the first teaser. Though the latest trailer seems to give away an awful lot (seriously, don’t watch it), there’s clearly much more to the story than the studio is letting on, and that has me both intrigued and a little worried. But as Leterrier proved with 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” he’s no slouch behind the camera, and with a cast that includes Morgan Freeman, Melanie Laurent and Dave Franco in addition to the aforementioned actors, there’s a good chance that “Now You See Me” could be this year’s “Inception.”

“THE EAST”

Who: Brit Marling, Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Jason Ritter and Julia Ormond
What: An operative for a private intelligence firm finds her priorities changed after she’s tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group that executes cover attacks on corporations.
When: May 31st
Why: Zal Batmanglij’s 2011 thriller “Sound of My Voice” was an interesting but flawed examination of cults that didn’t quite impress me as much as others, but his follow-up effort, “The East” – which earned strong buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – looks like it could be one of the first great indies of 2013. Though the director has once again teamed up with writer/actor/muse Brit Marling, the real draw is the other cast members, including Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard and Toby Kebbell. Page, in particular, hasn’t done much of note since “Inception,” but she’s an extremely talented actress that should be working more often than she has, and I’m really hoping that this puts her back on the map.

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