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Summer shakedown: Voice previews the season’s hot releases

Summer break is almost upon us, though the weather says otherwise, and there’s no better way to prepare for it than by scheduling all the important entertainment events. Here are some we deem calendar-worthy.

“Friends with Benefits”
From where we stand, original films are not to be messed with. The glory of “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” was only tainted by the sequels trying to squeeze more glory out. So when this summer’s flick “Friends with Benefits” was announced, I couldn’t help but think “Haven’t we seen this before?” And indeed we have, with the recent “No Strings Attached,” an Oscar-winner-in-the-making film about two friends who just want to have sex. For those who enjoy this kind of repetitive nonsense, we’re sure it would be worth seeing … again.

USA Network TV
Over the last few years, for every successful drama AMC has churned out, USA has matched it with a breezy comedy. While the schedule is now filled during the regular television season, nothing beats its summer hits. This summer, USA staples like “Psych” and “Royal Pains” return, securing the perfect alternative to the usual seasonal fare.

Jack Johnson–”To the Sea”
With all the hard rock and songs about people’s hands in their pants these days, sometimes you just need an album that will help you relax. Johnson has made his mark using the kind of laid-back acoustic rhythms many of us crave. This album is no different and still focuses on breezy, nature driven melodies that should become a staple summer sound.

“The Hangover 2”
Sequels are always shaky, especially ones that follow up such a massive, hilarious hit like “The Hangover.”  But it’s hard to not be pumped about the follow up.  With the magical cast reunited, there are bound to be some laughs, right? If not, you can always ogle at Bradley Cooper and “aww” at the cute monkey.

“Smokin’ Seventeen”– Janet Evanovich
It seems Evanovich has been everywhere young career women are and there has been tremendous buzz surrounding her novel. The series focuses on a young sexy bounty hunter (not named Dog) who travels around solving mysteries in a wacky and entertaining way. Considering 17 books are in the series, our summer reading lists are already booked.

Summer music
Are there concerts during the other three seasons? Yes, there are. Are any of them as good, thrilling or entertaining? They are not. Something about the warm summer months brings out the talent and energy in even the most lethargic of artists. No matter what fills your iPod, you’ll find a show to hit and it will be awesome – whether it be an intimate indie rock show or an arena filled with Gaga-wannabes.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
Did some people hate on the seventh book in the beloved series? They did (and still do.) We’re not them. After devouring the book and finally seeing some preview pictures, there is nothing, NOTHING, more exciting than the impending release of the second part of the seventh and final film. The only reason it’s not more exciting? It’s the last film in such an epic series (Suck it, “Twilight.”)