AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Twelve straight weeks of blockbusters - that's what the film industry promises every summer. Critic Bob Mondello says this year, Hollywood may have been better-than-average shot at delivering. Here's his selective summer preview of the hundred-or-so pictures opening before Labor Day.
BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: From a look at movie marquees, you'd swear Hollywood was in a bad mood - "Mad Max," "Furious 7," "Avengers." They sound so angry, and the summer hasn't even gone Jurassic yet.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD")
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD: (As Claire Dearing) We have our first genetically modified hybrid.
CHRIS PRATT: (As Owen Grady)You just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea.
MONDELLO: Chris Pratt will battle a brand-new very old species, Indominus Rex, in a freshly renovated Jurassic world. And if dodging prehistoric raptors doesn't appeal, Hollywood has other ways of scaring the yell out of you, say, by having half of California plunge into the Pacific in "San Andreas."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SAN ANDREAS")
PAUL GIAMATTI: (As Lawrence Hayes) The earth will literally crack open. You will feel it on the East Coast.
MONDELLO: The East Coast will also feel the arrival of judgment day in a timeline switch that's designed to revivify both an aging franchise and an aging Schwarzenegger.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TERMINATOR GENISYS")
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Terminator) I've been waiting for you.
MONDELLO: He said he'd be back, and he is, in "Terminator Genisys." Tom Cruise is back, too, with less cataclysmic, but presumably anxiety-provoking results in the latest installment of his franchise.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION")
TOM CRUISE: (As Ethan Hunt) The syndicate is real - a rogue nation trained to do what we do.
MONDELLO: "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" is the latest offshoot of a TV series from the 1960s, and it'll be joined in theaters both by a jokier cousin from that same era, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," and by the outright comedy, "Spy," in which Melissa McCarthy goes undercover.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPY")
ALLISON JANNEY: (As Elaine Crocker) We're giving you a new identity. You will no longer be Susan Cooper. You're Penny Morgan, divorced housewife from Iowa. Don't let me down, Cooper.
MELISSA MCCARTHY: (As Susan Cooper) I will not. I will let you up.
JANNEY: (As Elaine Crocker) Stop talking.
MCCARTHY: (As Susan Cooper) I will let you up.
MONDELLO: McCarthy is one of several women who will be heading up summer comedies without a lot of help from men. Another is Lily Tomlin, as the outspoken title character in "Grandma".
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GRANDMA")
LILY TOMLIN: (As Elle Reid)What, are you both morons? Don't they teach kids sex ed anymore?
NAT WOLFF: (As Cam) Listen, Grandma, you better watch yourself.
TOMLIN: (As Elle Reid) Some people should not grow beards. Your face looks like an armpit.
MONDELLO: And in "Trainwreck," Amy Schumer plays a woman who's forever being sold short, even by her female boss.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TRAINWRECK")
TILDA SWINTON: (As Dianna) I like you, Amy. You're clever, but you're not too brainy. You're pretty-ish, and you're not gorgeous. You're approachable.
AMY SCHUMER: (As Amy) Thank you.
SWINTON: (As Dianna)Yeah.
MONDELLO: Elsewhere at the multiplex, though, the guys will be in their usual all-male echo chamber, entertaining the ladies in "Magic Mike" with - let's call it interpretive dance.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAGIC MIKE XXL")
MATT BOMER: (As Ken) What are we?
DONALD GLOVER: (As Character) We're like healers or something.
BOMER: (As Ken) Yes, man.
CHANNING TATUM: (As Magic Mike) Oh, yeah.
MONDELLO: Or bonding with stuffed teddy bears "Ted 2."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TED 2")
AMANDA SEYFRIEND: (As Samantha Jackson) I'm Samantha Jackson.
SETH MACFARLANE: (As Ted) Samantha Jackson, what's your middle name?
SEYFRIEND: (As Samantha Jackson) Leslie.
MACFARLANE: (As Ted) Oh my God, you're Sam L. Jackson.
MARK WAHLBERG: (As John Bennett) That's great. I mean, just like Sam L. Jackson.
SEYFRIEND: (As Samantha Jackson) Who is that?
MACFARLANE: (As Ted) Have you ever seen any movie ever? He's the black guy.
MONDELLO: Men will also be dealing with midlife crises in Woody Allen's "Irrational Man."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "IRRATIONAL MAN")
EMMA STONE: (As Jill) You suffer from despair.
JOAQUIN PHOENIX: (As Abe) How comforting that would be.
MONDELLO: An with old-age crises as an elderly Sherlock in "Mr. Holmes."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MR. HOLMES")
IAN MCKELLEN: (As Sherlock Holmes) You know, a few years ago, I could have told you everything about the woman in that photograph.
MONDELLO: Elsewhere, men will be becoming immortal by appropriating younger bodies in "Self/less," turning into super heroes "Ant-Man" and the "Fantastic Four" and dealing with weightier issues, too.
(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOT)
MONDELLO: Jake Gyllenhaal plays a hot-tempered boxer who loses his wife and has to fight to keep his daughter in "Southpaw."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SOUTHPAW")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As Judge) This court is aware of the tragedy your family has suffered, Mr. Hope. Nonetheless, you have chosen to demonstrate dangerous behaviors while having custody of your daughter.
CLARE FOLEY: (As Alice) Dad?
MONDELLO: Another father with parenting issues is the one in "Infinitely Polar Bear," the bi-polar dad played by Mark Ruffalo.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INFINITELY POLAR BEAR")
MARK RUFFALO: (As Cameron) Maggie, I'm not manic. I'm fine.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS #2: (As character) I think if you could stop drinking and take your lithium, then Mama would let you come home.
MONDELLO: Meryl Streep will also be trying to be a good parent a little late after having abandoned her family to become a rock star in "Ricki And The Flash."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RICKI AND THE FLASH")
KEVIN KLINE: (As Pete Brummel) Why did you walk out on my daughter?
MERYL STREEP: (As Ricki) Our daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Julie hates you.
STREEP: (As Ricki) That may be, and I have to live with that every day of my life, but now you have to live with the pain you caused.
MONDELLO: The daughter Meryl Streep is trying to get close to again in "Ricki And The Flash" is her actual daughter off screen, Mamie Gummer. While we're on the subject of responsible parents, if you are one, you'll be pleased to know that Hollywood's come up with several options for your kids. Pixar is plunging deep inside the mind of an 11-year-old in "Inside Out" to bring her emotions the life.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INSIDE OUT")
AMY POEHLER: (As Joy) Train of thought, right on schedule.
MONDELLO: Joy, happily, is the one in charge.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INSIDE OUT")
POEHLER: (As Joy) Anger, unload the daydreams. I ordered extra in case things get slow in class.
LEWIS BLACK: (As Anger) Might come in handy if this new school if full of boring, useless classes, which it probably will be.
POEHLER: (As Joy) Oh, Sadness. I have a super important job just for you.
MONDELLO: In another animated film, "Underdogs," the mini players from a foosball table spring to life magically and compete with a full-size soccer team.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "UNDERDOGS")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Lines up his shot, and boom, it's in - goal.
MONDELLO: And what would summer be without minions?
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MINIONS")
CHRIS RENAUD: (As Minions) Banana (laughter) - yum yum.
MONDELLO: Older kids, meanwhile, as in teenagers, will have a trio of Sundance hits to choose from - "Diary Of A Teenage Girl," based on a graphic novel, "Me And Earl And The Dying Girl" about high school kids confronting mortality.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL")
OLIVIA COOKE: (As Rachel) I don't need your stupid pity.
THOMAS MANN: (As Greg Gaines) Well, I'm not here 'cause I pity you. I'm actually here just 'cause my mom is making me.
COOKE: (As Rachel) That's actually worse.
MONDELLO: And the comedy "Dope" about African-American nerds.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DOPE")
SHAMEIK MOORE: (As Malcolm) I'm a straight-A student with nearly perfect SAT scores.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) He's probably got, like, one of those photogenic brains.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) You mean photographic memory?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) But I just say?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) I mean, yeah, you said it. Yeah - reiterating.
MONDELLO: Slightly older teens, college students are featured in "The Stanford Prison Experiment," the true story of a controversial psychology project from the 1970s. A coin toss determined whether students were assigned to be prisoners or guards, and from there, human nature took its course.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) Help me get him on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character) Give me that rope.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #7: (As character) Hey, what are you doing to him?
MONDELLO: "The Stanford Prison Experiment" is a Hollywood reenactment, but the are summer documentaries that serve up offbeat stories straight - well, not always entirely straight.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "DO I SOUND GAY?")
DAVID THORPE: In my life, I'm surrounded by gay voices, including my own.
What do you mean I didn't like the sun? I love the sun.
MONDELLO: The film "Do I Sound Gay?" puts the question posed in its title to everyone from speech therapists to casting directors. Other summer documentaries include "A LEGO Brickumentary, " the story of a toy that became a subculture. And there's a whole raft of showbiz documentaries including "Live From New York!," the story of "Saturday Night Live," "Amy," about singer Amy Winehouse and "What Happened, Miss Simone?" about musician and social activist Nina Simone.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?")
NINA SIMONE: I want to shake people up so bad that when they leave a nightclub where I performed - I just want them to be to pieces.
(Singing) I said when he died...
MONDELLO: And when there isn't footage of the real thing, but the story is sufficiently sensational, Hollywood can re-create as it does in "Straight Outta Compton," the tale of hip-hop legends Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON")
GIAMATTI: (As Jerry Heller) People are scared of you guys. You have a unique voice. The world needs to hear it.
JASON MITCHELL: (As Eazy-E) They want NWA? Let's give them NWA.
MONDELLO: And what better time than the summer for the story of beach boy Brian Wilson and the new summer sound he heard in his head in the 1960s.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LOVE & MERCY")
PAUL DANO: (As Brian Wilson) I'm going to make the greatest album ever made. I've got all kinds of new ideas, new sounds, new instruments
MONDELLO: But first, Wilson had to get past his own demons and his psychiatrist.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LOVE & MERCY")
GIAMATTI: (As Dr. Eugene Landy) Brian, time for your pills. Come on.
MONDELLO: "Love & Mercy," the story behind the good vibrations, because Hollywood knows that in summer you've got to keep those good vibrations happening. I'm Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.