The silver screen

MANNY, Ellie, Diego and Sid are hauled out of the deep freeze for another shaggy mammoth tale in Ice Age 4: Continental Drift (PG).

The prehistoric quartet sail on an iceberg when their continent starts to melt.

The kids can expect a none-too-subtle, eco-friendly message with their popcorn. Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, John Leguizamo and Ray Romano provide the celebrity voices. Jun 29.

Andrew Garfield stars as Peter Parker in a much-anticipated reboot of the Spider-Man character in The Amazing Spider-Man (12A). The franchise is back to its roots, following Peter through high school as he woos his sweetheart Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and unpicks a tangled web in search of his parents, who disappeared when he was a boy. Martin Sheen, Denis Leary and Sally Field co-star, with Rhys Ifans as arch-villain Dr Curt Connors, aka The Lizard.

The aptly-named Marc Webb directs. Jul 3.

One aimed more at teenage girls than boys is Katy Perry: Part of Me (PG), which combines live onstage performances from the superstar pop idol with behind-the-scenes footage. It may not be a warts-’n’-all documentary, but snippets suggest the singer is refreshingly candid about her life and the pressures of performing, a consequence of which was her split from her husband, comedian Russell Brand, while the film was shooting. Jul 5.

One of the most anticipated films of the year is The Dark Knight Rises (12A), a superhero tale that has benefited hugely from director Christopher Nolan’s re-imagining of Gotham’s dark knight.

The third in Nolan’s Batman canon, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Christian Bale) returns to face down the terrorist threat posed by Bane (Tom Hardy), despite his reputation being tarnished in the previous outing, The Dark Knight (2008). A superb supporting cast includes Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Aidan Gillen, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Juno Temple. The casting of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, has caused much fur to fly. Jul 20.

The idiosyncratic stories of Dr Seuss have translated well to the big screen — (Horton Hears a Hoo (2008) and The Cat in the Hat (2003) being two of the better examples — and Dr Seuss’ The Lorax (PG) should be equally inventive. A 12-year-old boy called Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) lives in a world where everything is artificial, but vows to find a real tree for his dream girl, Audrey (Taylor Swift).

Can the Lorax (Danny DeVito) help? Themes of environmental abuse and greed underpin a beautifully realised tale, with early reviews suggesting parallels with Wall-E (2009). Jul 27. The third outing for Greg Heffley, aka the Wimpy Kid, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG). Greg contemplates the waste of a summer holiday in which all of his plans go awry. The brainchild of the mega-bestselling author Jeff Kinney, the Wimpy Kid stories blend live action and animation and appeal to a young audience.

Zachary Gordon returns as Greg, Devon Bostick co-stars as his nemesis and boorish older brother, Rodrick, while Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris are Greg’s long-suffering parents. Aug 3.

It’s not the only movie of the summer to be enjoying its fourth in a series, but if any film is likely to suffer the law of ever-diminishing returns it’s Step Up 4: Revolution (12A), in which our heroine, Emily (Kathryn McCormick), travels to Florida to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer.

There, she meets hunky dance crew leader Sean (Ryan Guzman), whose community is being destroyed by a rapacious developer.

Can the pair dance their way to a revolution? If previous outings are any guide, the silliness of Step Up 4’s plot will be more than compensated for by the verve and inventiveness of the dance routines. Aug 10.

If Pixar had made Braveheart, it might well have looked like this. Brave (PG) features Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a flame-haired Scottish princess who defies convention and brings chaos upon her clan. But fate has reckoned without the courage of the feisty Merida, and her ability with a bow is not to be ignored, either. The usual, dazzling animation from Pixar is complemented with a superb supporting cast of voice talent, a good deal of it authentically Scottish, including Billy Connolly and Robbie Coltrane, and English actresses Emma Thompson and Julie Walters. Aug 17.

Stop-motion animation can be hit-or-miss, but the idea behind Paranorman (PG) (aka ParaNorman) is winning. Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is just an average, misunderstood small-town kid, except that he speaks with the dead and battles with ghosts and zombies to save his town from an age-old curse. Directed by Chris Butler (who worked on Coraline (2009) and Corpse Bride (2005), and Sam Fell, who directed Flushed Away (2006), Paranorman promises to be an adventure-packed gothic-flavoured tale.

John Goodman, Casey Affleck and Anna Kendrick provide support. Sept 14.

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