Movie critic Bob Grimm’s annual snarky summer-movie preview
A bunch of films are coming out this summer movie season, and it’s my honor and job and legal obligation to let you in on some of the scuttlebutt surrounding them in a preview sort of way.
Here is a sample of what’s in theaters now and what’s coming over the next couple of months. The following thoughts on these movies are based on what I’ve read about them in advance, preview trailers and voodoo.
Avengers: Endgame: Did you cry when Peter Parker begged for his life in the last Avengers movie? Fear not, for Spider-Man has his own movie later this summer (see below) and the superhero team probably has something up its sleeve to bring back the likes of Spidey and Black Panther after they perished in the Thanos finger snap.
I imagine this might be the end for the likes of Chris Evans (Captain America) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), as far as Marvel movies are concerned. They must be phased out before their testosterone levels start dropping mercilessly.
Long Shot: Your requisite romantic comedy for May has Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen making out. I’m guessing there also will be weed smoking.
UglyDolls: What? Are people just going to garage sales, spotting past toy fads and making movies about them? When am I getting my Furby movie? Oh, wait, they made one 14 years ago. How about a Paddle Ball movie? Paddle Ball made a great cameo in Blazing Saddles. It deserves its own feature!
The Intruder: You know your career is in its death rattle when you find yourself starring as the psycho guy who still lives in the house a married couple just moved into. Dennis Quaid, he of the recent car insurance commercials, gets to go nasty and perform unauthorized lawn mowing in what surely will be one of his last starring roles to show up on the big screen.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu: Look, kids! You had to wait only a week for the next toy movie cash-in!
The Hustle: A loose remake of the Steve Martin comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was a remake of Marlon Brando’s Bedtime Story, so this is a double remake. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star, with Hathaway sporting a British accent that will have audiences pouring cement into their ear canals.
POMS: Some women at a retirement home form a cheerleading squad and enter a competition. When I first read about this movie, I thought to myself, I don’t want to see this movie. I don’t want to see this movie so, so much. But then I saw the cast features Diane Keaton, and I’m mellowing on it a bit. Even though the majority of her movies these days suck, you always have to give the great Keaton a shot.
Tolkien: This biopic about the author of The Lord of the Rings seems to propose the idea that J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) and his buddies palled around like a bunch of hobbits at college—a “fellowship,” if you will. He also, apparently, got his inspiration for Shelob the giant spider when a pet tarantula crawled onto his face during a collegiate pizza party and beer blast.
John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum: This is not the Keanu Reeves sequel that has me most jazzed. They have finally announced a 2020 release date for the next Bill & Ted movie, so, actually, any movie that has Reeves in it until then will just piss me off because it represents something that kept the Bill & Ted sequel out of theaters longer. Also, I don’t think a movie title should ever contain the word “Parabellum.”
The Sun Is Also a Star: Gee, I didn’t know this. Thanks. I was really struggling with that one.
A Dog’s Journey: Aw, look. Just two weeks after his prior movie, and my sinister jabs at the career of Dennis Quaid, here he is again in a potentially sweet movie about dogs and their spirits traveling from canine to canine in our lives. OK, maybe he has a post-60 career after all. Sorry, Dennis!
Opening this week
Aladdin (May 24): The Jungle Book was cool, and I was OK with the Beauty and the Beast live-action redo. Dumbo was awful, and judging by the previews, this looks like a complete waste of time. Will Smith looks creepy blue, as would anybody with a blueberry complexion outside of an animated movie. Disney plans something in the neighborhood of 4,002 live-action remakes of their animated classics. This isn’t even the last one being released this summer.
Ad Astra (May 24): Brad Pitt gets to play an astronaut, following in fellow stud muffin Ryan Gosling’s footsteps.
Brightburn (May 24): James Gunn, the newly reinstated man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, produces a superhero horror story that asks the question, What if a Superman-type kid getting bullied as he grows up goes bad instead of good … like, really, really bad? Like, eat-your-face bad. I’m not sure if the little boy with superpowers actually eats somebody’s face, but that would be badass.
Booksmart (May 24): Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut looks like a profane blast.
Godzilla: King of Monsters (May 31): The previews for this have me drooling. We didn’t get enough Godzilla in the first movie. This time out, it looks like there will be a lot more monster action, along with Millie Bobbie Brown doing her quiet-but-angry shtick. I just want to see monsters punching each other this summer. The IMAX preview that played before Shazam! has me thinking this might possibly be one of the greatest monster movies ever made.
Rocketman (May 31): Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the most overrated movies I’ve ever seen. Let’s see if Elton John gets better treatment than Freddie Mercury. Taron Egerton does his own singing in this biopic, and he sounds pretty damn good, so I’m encouraged.
June: The season hits its stride
Dark Phoenix (June 7): From a marketing standpoint, it shocks me that Fox isn’t using “X-Men” in the title and promotional pieces. It’s also stupid that I find myself focusing on the inefficiencies of an upcoming movie’s marketing plan. I need to get out more.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (June 7): Upon the revelation that comedian Louis C.K. had a thing for masturbating in front of women in questionable circumstances, makers of this animated movie got to thinking, Say, maybe the lead dog in our cute movie about what happens with pets behind the scenes shouldn’t feature the voice of a standup comedian recently revealed to have had a thing for jacking off in front of women in questionable circumstances. Patton Oswalt steps in as his replacement, and I think most of the kids won’t notice, unless those kids are TMZ junkies.
Men in Black: International (June 14): Will Smith will not return because he was busy being blue for Aladdin and shooting the Bad Boys sequel. Hello, Tessa Thompson. Tommy Lee Jones won’t be returning because he is a cranky coot and nobody wants to hang out with him. Hello, Chris Hemsworth. Rip Torn will not be returning because he is passed out drunk in a lake of his own urine smack dab in the middle of a bank lobby somewhere.
Shaft (June 14): In this reboot, Samuel L. Jackson actually returns as Shaft, who he played in one film. This one has multigenerational Shafts, including Richard Roundtree as Shaft’s dad and Jessie T. Usher as his son.
The Dead Don’t Die (June 14): Does anything look more glorious than this? Jim Jarmusch does zombies while assembling a cast that includes Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Iggy Pop, Chloë Sevigny and Steve Buscemi.
Toy Story 4 (June 21): They said it would never happen. But then somebody at Pixar saw one of those new Teslas and said, “I need a down payment! Let’s get Hanks and Allen into a sound booth!”
Child’s Play (June 21): Mark Hamill replaces Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky. (Dourif will possibly voice the psycho doll in a proposed TV series.)
Annabelle Comes Home (June 28): I wasn’t aware that Annabelle had left home. She’s a doll. She just sort of sits around. I mean, she comes alive to kill and freak people out, but she doesn’t cover a lot of ground when she does it. Maybe a hallway or the distance from a closet to a bed. I don’t picture her Uber-ing out of town and catching Southwest to Orlando for some vacation killings. She’s … a … stupid … doll. She’s always home.
Yesterday (June 28): After a bicycle mishap, a wannabe musician wakes up into a world where the Beatles never existed, but in his former parallel life, they did. So, he remembers their songs, starts claiming them as his own, and becomes a star. Where it leads from there, I don’t know, but I have to imagine there’s some sort of moral core about the perils of plagiarism in this thing. Paul McCartney more than likely sues somebody. He’s always suing somebody.
The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith (June 28): Listen, I practice an agnostic leaning toward straight atheistic dogma with a little bit of Satan, Buddha, Pete Townshend and Thom Yorke worship mixed in. That said, I have no problem with a good “Jesus Is Awesome!” movie, like The Last Temptation of Christ, The Passion of the Christ or Monty Python’s Life of Brian. As for these “faith-based” movies that are suddenly getting a lot of green lights, they feel like nothing more than a Jesus cash-in, like those Apocalyptic Food Drums preacher Jim Bakker hawks on TV, or anything associated with that bastard Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club.
July: Surprisingly light on releases
Midsommar (July 3): Did you like Hereditary? I liked Hereditary. Therefore, I like the prospects of this here movie, written and directed by Ari Aster, the man who brought you Hereditary. Bring it.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5): This one looks to be a lighthearted antidote to the heaviness currently going on in the Marvel universe. One can assume that Peter Parker has survived Endgame, or we are seeing something in a parallel universe, or Spider-Man cloned himself in the science lab before the finger snap.
The Lion King (July 19): So, after releasing this, yet another live-action remake of a Disney animated movie, Disney has some interesting plans. It’s going to make an animated version of its 1967 beloved classic The Gnome Mobile, and then promptly release a live-action remake of the animated remake five weeks later. You heard it here first, folks.
David Crosby: Remember My Name (July 19): I hate Crosby, Stills & Nash almost as much as I hate Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, which means I have to hate David Crosby by default.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (July 26): Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt headline the ninth film by Quentin Tarantino, this one dealing with 1960s Hollywood and somehow involving the Manson clan and Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie). Tarantino has said he’s quitting after his 10th film. He’s too young and too cool to stop at one more movie. Keep going.
August: Running out of steam
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2): I’m not a huge fan of the Furious movies, mainly because the sight and sounds of Vin Diesel make me want to run my head over with a Dodge Charger. This one, focusing on the characters portrayed by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, doesn’t involve Diesel, so it could be a fun, wacky piece of escapist fare. Or, it could really be stupid.
The New Mutants (Aug. 2): I think this movie was supposed to be released in the 1990s. It’s been shelved and postponed many times.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (Aug. 2): Isabel Moner was awesome in Instant Family. (If you haven’t seen that movie, rent it. It’s really good.) She stars here as the title character.
Artemis Fowl (August 9): This science fiction film from director Kenneth Branagh has a trailer set to a Radiohead tune, so I want to see it. Hey, I’m easily hooked.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Aug. 9): This is perhaps the summer’s finest guarantee if your goal is to shit your pants in a movie theater. The trailer for this scares me so much. Bring it on!
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (Aug. 16): If you are like me, you probably just can’t figure how your life could logically proceed without a sequel to the Angry Birds animated movie. Well, the gods have smiled upon us, and here it is, a sequel to a movie you probably didn’t see, a movie that gave you something to dump the kids off for a matinee while you went and drank lattes or beers. As for the apps these crap movies are based on, I admit, I used to play them a lot. Now, the apps just languish on my iPhone, only to be opened in the event my nephew hijacks it.
Good Boys (Aug. 16): Jacob Trembley plays a kid who curses a lot. This looks cool!
Playmobil: The Movie (Aug. 16): It’s another toy movie. I’ve lost count. Toy movies can go straight to hell!
Blinded by the Light (Aug. 16): This is a movie about a teenager in Britain who is a super fan of Bruce Springsteen. Movies about British teens who are Bruce Springsteen super fans can go to hell!
47 Meters Down: Uncaged (Aug. 16): This is a sequel to that shark movie that starred Mandy Moore. This one doesn’t have Moore, but it does contain sharks. And I apologize for the comments about those last two movies above. I have a sore throat, and I’m cranky. I thank you for your patience and understanding. Namaste.
September: Summer’s last gasp
It: Chapter Two (Sept. 6): Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy play adult versions of the Losers Club in the conclusion of Stephen King’s horror story.
Downton Abbey (Sept. 20): Making a movie off of this TV show is like making a movie off of a potato chip sandwich. Hey … it’s getting close to the end of this article, and I’m running out of wiseass asides.
Rambo V: Last Blood (Sept. 20): I wasn’t a huge fan of Rambo 4 after enjoying the first three chapters. (First Blood remains one of my all-time favorite movies.) I thought the call to keep Rambo long-haired with his headband looked a little goofy, and it distracted me from the story, which wasn’t a very original one at that. I have hope for this different-looking take, which starts with Rambo back in America and eventually leads to an alleged battle with a Mexican cartel. Rambo looks like a cowboy now, and I like the change. I just read a note from Stallone to the press about his elation during the editing process. So, yeah, I’m excited for this one. I am, and will always be, a sequel junkie.
And with one last bellowing, awesomely crooked-mouthed scream from John Rambo, the summer shall end.