As Memorial Day passed us by, the big summer blockbusters are coming out in rapid succession. The Avengers and Mad Max franchises kicked off what should be a big summer, but what summer movies are you looking forward to?

Marvel has more releases with "Ant Man" and "The Fantastic Four" reboot. A number of sequels are coming out like the nightmare-fuel Insidious 3. If not wanting all the pulse-pounding there are any number of quieter more cerebral films "The End Of The Tour" a bio-pic about the press tour for David Foster Wallace's book "Infinite Jest."

In 1956, the film Giant (based on the 1952 novel by Edna Ferber) took a piercing look at the Texas myth. It traced the rise of power from cattle ranchers to oil barons and examined the tensions between whites and Latinos. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won a best director Oscar for George Stevens.

Movies have the power to transport, to teach, to envelope, to do so many things to us and for us. But why? Why do people cry at movies they don't think are that good? Why do bigger screens mean bigger emotional responses, as data suggests? Why do people react to pain on screen with pained looks in theaters?

"It was a miraculous year," film critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. At a time when Hollywood is churning out Blockbusters and superhero movies that are guaranteed to make money at home and overseas, "it's really great when so many interesting movies, somehow or other, manage to bleed through," he says. " ... You really feel as if directors are taking chances in their storytelling. They are creating a new syntax for every story."

Here are his favorite movies this year:

I paid $10.50 to go see Instructions Not Included on a weekday afternoon. I was robbed.