Something I’ve long wondered: why are “summer movies” a thing and “winter movies” not? Aren’t we more likely to congregate indoors during the winter months? Why does nobody ever say they’re looking forward to the “winter movie season”? Does popcorn really taste better during the summer? (Answer to last question: probably yes, but I can’t explain it.)

Regardless of my own befuddlement, the summer movie season is nearly upon us, and here’s a quick look at a few of the most-anticipated upcoming films: the superhero sagas, the kid movies that might make you cry (oh, Tom Hanks-as-Woody, I can hear you already), the sunny comedies, the few dramas brave enough to show their faces in a season of light, breezy entertainment. Here we go, and do note that these release dates are tentative and as changeable as the Incredible Hulk’s mood.

Avengers: Endgame”: So, are we allowed to talk about the ending of “Avengers: Infinity War” now without being accused of spoilerness? No? OK, FINE. I will just say that this enormous superhero movie both kicks off the summer movie season, and ends (theoretically) a 22-movie Marvel Comics cycle. And that That Ending was fairly traumatizing, and that I am very curious how things will proceed. (Is that vague enough for you?) And that reportedly “Avengers: Endgame” is three hours long, which is going to make Diet Coke consumption challenging — and isn’t having an enormous iced beverage part of the joy of summer movies? Bring it on. (April 25)

“Long Shot”: Can Summer 2019 please have one really good rom-com? Please? This Charlize Theron/Seth Rogen movie, sight unseen, just might be that one: She plays a presidential hopeful, he’s her speechwriter, and it all looks potentially light and funny. We shall see. (May 3)

Tolkien”: Because it’s been a while since a Middle-earth movie graced the multiplexes, and because summer is contractually obligated to offer up at least one high-toned period drama, here we have a biopic of J.R.R. Tolkien (played by Nicholas Hoult, who was the kid in “About a Boy” and now I feel very old) set during his World War I-era university years. (May 10)

The White Crow”: For those who love ballet, or those who enjoy seeing Ralph Fiennes’ blue eyes intelligently smoldering: another period drama, this one about ballet star Rudolf Nureyev (played by Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko) and his dramatic escape from Iron Curtain-era Russia. Fiennes directs, from a script by David Hare (“The Hours”), and also plays Nureyev’s teacher/mentor. (May 10)

The Sun Is Also a Star”: Based on the popular young-adult novel by Nicola Yoon, this drama focuses on the romance between two teens from immigrant families: Korean-American Daniel (Charles Melton) and Jamaican-American Natasha (Yara Shahidi, of “Grown-ish”), whose family is about to be deported. (May 17)


Booksmart”: If you fell a little bit in love with Beanie Feldstein in “Lady Bird” (she was the title character’s endearing best pal), here she is in a starring role. Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play a pair of best friends who realize, on the eve of their high-school graduation, that they spent too much time studying and not enough time playing; Olivia Wilde directs, in her feature debut. (May 24)

Rocketman“: Shades of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but here’s hoping it’s better: Taron Egerton plays Elton John in this “musical fantasy” version of the pop superstar’s early performing years. Egerton does his own singing (quite decently, based on the trailer); John himself is an executive producer. Fun fact: “Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher, whose previous work includes “Eddie the Eagle,” was the filmmaker called in to finish “Bohemian Rhapsody” after original director Bryan Singer was fired. (May 31)

Dark Phoenix”: Not sure why this one isn’t called “X-Women”? The latest installment in the “X-Men” franchise, this one focuses on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner, of “Game of Thrones”), who begins to spiral out of control after a rescue mission goes awry. Also on hand: James McAvoy as Professor Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, and Jessica Chastain in a mysterious unnamed role (something all movies should have). (June 7)

Men in Black: International”: I’m feeling hopeful about this once-tired franchise, because of the presence of two splendid Thompsons: Tessa, so delightfully funny as a hard-drinking warrior in “Thor: Ragnarok,” and Emma, whose presence should be contractually required in every movie. They’re playing, respectively, newcomer Agent M, and MiB head Agent O; also suiting up are Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson. (June 14)

Toy Story 4”: All of you easy weepers, gather round: This one’s going to be tough. Nine years after “Toy Story 3,” which seemed to wrap things up nicely, Woody (Tom Hanks, his voice a beacon of calm and kindness) and the gang are back, this time helping a new friend named Forky (Tony Hale) figure out the world of being a toy. Based on the trailer, things look pretty damn poignant. Bring tissues. (June 21)


All Is True”: For everyone who believes that there are not enough movies in the world in which Kenneth Branagh plays Shakespeare alongside Judi Dench as his wife Anne Hathaway — here you go. Branagh himself directs and Ian McKellen co-stars; the movie’s set in the autumn of Shakespeare’s life, as he returns to his home in Stratford after years of success in London. (June 21)

Yesterday”: Director Danny Boyle, whose variety of films shows his remarkable versatility (“127 Hours,” “28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Steve Jobs”), here takes on what looks like a charmingly straight-up comedy: A young musician (newcomer Himesh Patel), after hitting his head in a bike accident, wakes up to find that he’s the only person on Earth who remembers The Beatles. Appropriation and creative revision (remember that Beatles song “Hey Dude”?) ensues. (June 28)

“Spider-Man: Far From Home”: The endearing “Spider-Man: Homecoming” series continues, with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) heading to Europe for a vacation with his pals — interrupted, apparently, by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who’s sure to liven up any trip abroad. How do you say “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” in Italian? (July 5)

Aladdin” / “The Lion King”: Sticking these two together, as they’re both of a piece: remakes of classic Disney animated family movies from the 90s. “Aladdin” is a live-action version of the hit 1992 animated musical (Will Smith is the genie, Mena Massoud the title character); “The Lion King” is a “photorealistic” reanimation of the 1994 film. Both look very expensive; whether either makes the case for itself to exist (considering that it’s still pretty easy to watch the older ones, which are classic for a reason) remains to be seen. (May 24/July 19)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”: Quentin Tarantino’s latest is set in 1969 Los Angeles, with Leonardo DiCaprio as a struggling actor, Brad Pitt as his stunt double, Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate and Damon Herriman as Charles Manson, whose murderous “Family” held a city in fear that summer. (July 26)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”: Any movie that features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson AND Idris Elba is a movie at which you will find me, thank you very much. (And I kind of love how the “Fast & Furious” franchise is now “presenting” things.) Johnson plays “hulking lawman” Luke Hobbs (studio’s description, not mine, but it’s perfect); Jason Statham plays “lawless outcast” Deckard Shaw (ditto); Elba plays a “cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist,” which should do nicely. (Aug. 2)


Where’d You Go Bernadette”: We’ve been waiting a while for the unveiling of this Richard Linklater-directed adaptation of Maria Semple’s very funny novel about a runaway Seattle woman: Filmed in 2017 (partly here, but mostly in Pittsburgh), the release date’s been delayed several times already, so who knows if we’ll actually see it in August? In any case, Cate Blanchett plays the missing Bernadette; Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Billy Crudup and Laurence Fishburne co-star. Hoping it’s worth the wait. (Aug. 9)