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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to May

“X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST”

Who: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Nicholas Hoult and Peter Dinklage
What: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
When: May 23rd
Why: If you didn’t already realize how much of an effect “The Avengers” had on the rest of the comic book movie community, then “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – with its massive cast and connective narrative tissue – gives you a pretty good idea. Though it’ll be interesting to see if Bryan Singer can get the X-Men franchise back on track after a series of misfires, he’s taking a big gamble with this all-in approach, especially when fans of “First Class” would have been just as happy with a more straightforward sequel. Obviously, this is still very much a “First Class” movie, but while it’s great to see the original cast back in extended cameos, there’s definitely a risk in trying to cram too much into one film. With that said, the rewards could be huge if Singer pulls it off, and if not, then at least the time travel gimmick gives him the opportunity to retcon the problems created by “The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

“BLENDED”

Who: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Kevin Nealon
What: After a terrible blind date, a single father and mother find themselves stuck together at a resort for families with their respective kids.
When: May 23rd
Why: Adam Sandler hasn’t made that many good movies in his almost 20-year career, but the ones co-starring Drew Barrymore are some of his best, so it’s no surprise to see the duo teaming up again for a third romantic comedy. For as great as the two actors’ chemistry is, however, “Blended” looks like more of the same from Sandler – which is to say that he might want to start making room for a third consecutive Razzie award on his mantle. Okay, so maybe it doesn’t look that bad, but it’s hard to believe that a guy pushing 50 still gets his kicks playing an immature man-child when he’s proven that he’s capable of much better. Barrymore, on the other hand, has been pretty selective about her film roles since becoming a mother, so surely she recognized some potential in “Blended” apart from the chance to reunite with Sandler.

“A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST”

Who: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson
What: When a farmer falls for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his newfound courage to the test when her gunslinger husband announces his arrival.
When: May 30th
Why: A sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s directorial debut (and highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time) may already be in the works, but I’m much more excited about his new comedy than the prospect of “Ted 2.” Though the film marks the “Family Guy” creator’s first starring role, MacFarlane is a natural performer who is perfectly suited to play the everyman type. He’s also surrounded himself with some serious talent (it’s still hard to believe that he managed to land both Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson), and that doesn’t include the numerous surprise cameos that he’s undoubtedly lined up. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” could even be his most ambitious project to date, and although that may sound strange after making a movie about a talking teddy bear, the fact of the matter is that Western comedies rarely work. Here’s hoping that, just like “Blazing Saddles,” MacFarlane’s film is the exception to the rule.

“MALEFICENT”

Who: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fannning, Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley
What: untold story of what drove evil villainess Maleficent to curse Princess Aurora, only to later realize that the child may hold the key to peace in the land.
When: May 30th
Why: The latest entry in Hollywood’s fairy tale obsession is this bizarre twist on “Sleeping Beauty,” which transforms the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil into a misunderstood antihero whose fall from grace wasn’t entirely her own making. But the real question is: does anyone care? Sure, Angelina Jolie looks exactly like a live-action version of the iconic Disney sorceress, but why not just go the more direct route and cast her in a “Sleeping Beauty” adaptation instead? If “Snow White and the Huntsman” proved anything, it’s that you shouldn’t mess with a classic, and that film took the same approach to cracking its villain’s backstory by making her a victim of men. In the case of “Maleficent,” you’d think the filmmakers would have devised some better motivation for her breaking bad, because no matter how intriguing Jolie may look in the full getup, it’s going to take more than that to make a good movie.

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