idris elba (in 'prometheus')

Idris Elba (in 'Prometheus')

*First the bad news: the widely-anticipated movie debut of Rihanna in the Peter Berg-directed action film Battleship looks like an absolute dud. Go on, go ahead and try to get through this trailer without cracking up, and not in the good way.
The good news is that even if Battleship is a disaster, there are plenty of other big-budget summer pictures featuring some fantastic minority actors. So which ones should you check out? Here are our picks.

Piranha 3DD (June 1) – The first Piranha was gratuitous fun, and the second one promises even more angry fish, blood and guts and blatant nudity – hey, just look at the title of the film. Somehow, Ving Rhames reprises his role from the first film, joined by David Hasselhoff in a familiar-looking role.

Prometheus (June 8) – The director of Alien, back into outer space? Sold – and the trailer looks fantastic (just check out that chill-inducing music score). Best of all? The Wire favorite Idris Elba in a plum role.

The Marriage Counselor (July 27) – Tyler Perry moves away from Madea in this adaptation of his play, featuring the excellent Jurnee Smollett as a newlywed marriage counselor. Unfortunately, the film also features Kim Kardashian. Can’t win them all.

Sparkle (August 10) – Sadly, the press coverage around this remake of the 1976 cult classic – following the creation of a fictional girl group – will be dominated by the fact that Sparkle will be the last film role for Whitney Houston. Houston steps into the role Mary Alice played in the original, with Jordin Sparks taking over for Irene Cara as Sparkle. This new version also features Derek Luke, Omari Hardwick and Mike Epps. It’s got a long way to go to live up to the original, but at least the first trailer shows promise.

The Expendables 2 (August 17) – There’s nothing like a big, dumb, 80s-style action movie – and this one is as big, dumb and 80s as it gets. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger … and, in one of the meatier roles, the hilariously underrated Terry Crews. In case you missed it, Crews’ machine-gunning scene was one of the highlights of the first Expendables (not for the weak of stomach).

Won’t Back Down (September 28) Viola Davis is featured in this story of two mothers working to change their children’s’ failing urban school. There’s a solid chance the divine Miss Davis gets yet another Oscar nomination for this showy role.