A guide to the big screen’s potential bests and worsts
I realize that the Summer Movie Season got its actual start two months ago with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That piece of diseased sloth eye-mush came out on my birthday of all days, and sent me into a cinematic stupor of the bad kind. Thanks a lot, Warner Bros.
The good news is I’ve recovered thanks to a little movie called Captain America: Civil War, which amounts to a superhero movie done right. Marvel has proven that it is possible to pit two superhero icons against each other without causing lethargy and diarrhea. I hadn’t been that grouchy since Batman & Robin came out. Here’s a preview of this summer in film.
The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe co-star in this action comedy from Shane Black. Black is responsible for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the best movies you can see in this lifetime.
The Angry Birds Movie
First, the video games got their own movies, now it’s the apps. Next up: A comedy thriller based on that app you use for doing your taxes.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
This comedy summer will be known as The Summer of Efron with not one, but two high-profile comedies featuring the man. At least Efron isn’t being all serious for the time being. I couldn’t take another Charlie St. Cloud. Also, I’m just yanking your chain. I seriously doubt anybody will refer to this as The Summer of Efron. That sounds so milquetoast.
There will be no shortage of comic book movies this summer. This one stars Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse, and he looks like he’s living up to his name in the trailer. He’s basically a big, fat jerk causing the end of the world.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
I am so terribly not looking forward to this. Can we all just admit that Johnny Depp mostly sucks now?
June is jumping
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3)
Some things need to go away. Megan Fox and the CGI turtles aim to stick around and repeat box office glory. I’d rather see a turtle movie with the one that raced Bugs Bunny and cheated with the big engine in his shell. That was badass!
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (June 3)
While it stars Andy Samberg, this is a Lonely Island movie because his partners, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, co-wrote and -directed. I’m holding out hope this is one of the season’s great guilty plea-sures. The trailer featuring an Adam Levine hologram twerking with himself has me sold.
Warcraft (June 10)
This video game adaptation looks weird, but Duncan Jones (Moon) directed, so I’m holding out hope it all comes together in the end. Still, it kind of looks like, well, a video game.
The Conjuring 2 (June 10)
A ghost of some sort is conjured again, and a bunch of people are generally unhappy about it. The first one managed to put a few scares into me, but second helpings of this sort of thing usually result in yawny face. I also can’t stand the scary, demonic kid gimmick. Just give the damn kid an Oreo, inform her that ghosts are a crock of shit, and tell her to go ride a bike and do something productive. Yeah, I don’t have kids.
Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
The only good thing about the original was Isla Fisher, and she’s gone from the sequel, replaced by Lizzy Caplan. So now I think Caplan will be the only good thing about the sequel. Harry Potter also shows up. A week later, he shows up in something odd and different. Follow me through a couple more movie capsules, and I will tell you about it.
Finding Dory (June 17)
Ellen DeGeneres’ adorable fish cartoon character gets her own movie. This means more cute whale talk!
Central Intelligence (June 17)
I guess the Rock is kind of funny. As for Kevin Hart, he’s only funny 28.753 percent of the time. Google it. It’s true.
Swiss Army Man (June 17)
This looks to be some sort of indie Weekend at Bernie’s, where Paul Dano finds Daniel Radcliffe’s dead body on the beach, and strange things ensue. Words cannot express how strange and wonderful this movie looks to be.
Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
I know what you’re thinking. “Where is Bill Pullman? I need more Bill Pullman in my life, stat!” Relax, you are getting a bearded Bill Pullman, as well as a “really needs a big paycheck” Jeff Goldblum in this long-delayed sequel that kills off Will Smith but, thankfully, finds a way to bring back Brent Spiner’s seemingly dead character.
Weiner-Dog (June 24)
The five or six Todd Solondz fans out there might remember this as being the cruel nickname bestowed upon Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) in his breakthrough 1995 film, Welcome to the Dollhouse. It’s a four-part movie about a dog and its influence on people in its life. Dawn does appear in one of the stories, but Matarazzo refused the role. She has been replaced by queen-of-quirk Greta Gerwig. It all sounds very strange, but strange is what Solondz does.
Free State of Jones (June 24)
Matthew McConaughey stars in this movie about a rebel who leads a revolt against the Confederate Army. So, it looks like Iron Man and Captain America aren’t the only ones in a civil war this summer!
The Shallows (June 29)
Blake Lively gets stranded on a rock in the middle of the ocean after a shark attack. Jaws is still my pick for greatest shark movie ever. Deep Blue Sea is a distant second, followed by Open Water and Jaws 2. (Oh, come on, you know you loved the whole shark electrocution thing.) I’m looking for this to displace some of the films on my shark movie list. No chance it unseats Jaws, but it could bump the sequel.
Sex, July and videotape
The BFG (July 1)
Steven Spielberg returns to fantasy films with this take on the Roald Dahl classic, adapted for the screen by the same person who wrote E.T. (the late, great Melissa Mathison). With this, and his commitment to another Indiana Jones movie, Spielberg looks like he’s getting away from those boring historical dramas for a nice, fantastical change of pace. As far as the “big” movies go, this is the one I’m most excited about. I’m hoping Spielberg can put the pins-and-needles, tears-of-joy vibe into me that he did 34 years ago with E.T.
The Purge: Election Year (July 1)
America is purged once again. In the year of the Trump, perhaps this one will go a little deeper into the political and social ramifications of allowing a complete dickweed into the White House, and its potentially violent impact on our society. Or, perhaps, it will just be total garbage like the other two.
The Legend of Tarzan (July 1)
This is about a man who acts like an ape and has Harley Quinn all hot and bothered. So what? Who cares? The Edgar Rice Burroughs classic about a boy raised into manhood by apes gets a modern take co-starring Margot Robbie, the talented actress you can also see in this summer’s Suicide Squad.
The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
It’s summertime, and that means lots of animated movies. This one features Louis C.K. as a Jack Russell terrier, so I’m most certainly going to watch it. I would watch it even if my job didn’t require it. I would watch Louis C.K. playing mold on a piece of bread.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (July 8)
And the comedic Summer of Efron continues. That’s good, because another The Lucky One or Parkland would be a mid-Summer deathblow. This one also features Aubrey Plaza’s naked butt.
Ghostbusters (July 15)
Oh, boy, the buzz on this one is bad, bad, bad. Trying to defend this reboot where women replace the men has been a little rough due to a lackluster preview trailer, but Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are badasses, and more than suitable stand-ins for Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself before I go to bed at night
Star Trek Beyond (July 22)
This is another one suffering from “bad trailer” buzz. Director Justin Lin looks like he’s going for something a little brighter and funnier than the previous “new” Star Trek films. Star Trek on TV was quite campy, and maybe that’s something he’s trying to get filmgoers to remember. That’s risky, but it could also be a fun switch-up. We shall see.
Lights Out (July 22)
Hey, they made a full-length movie based on that short about the lady turning the lights on and off until a weird-looking monster thing appeared at her night table. Next up, a full-length movie about the sexual exploits of that infamous surprised groundhog in that oft-watched viral video.
Jason Bourne (July 29)
Matt Damon says, “Ah, screw it!” and returns as Jason Bourne. He swore he wouldn’t ever do it without Paul Greengrass as director. Hey, he’s Matt Damon, and he got Paul Greengrass. Word has it that he also got a golf cart, a bunch of baseball cards and lots of his favorite pie. He’s Matt Damon, and he gets what he wants.
Bad Moms (July 29)
Mila Kunis joins Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate as a bad mom just going crazy. I hope she is more convincing as a bad mom than she is as a factory worker for Jim Beam. Have you seen the commercial where she is branding her name on a barrel of Jim Beam, as if she is some sort of barrel cooper? She’s all hot and made up, hitting barrels with mallets, and acting like she’s totally in command of the whole barreling liquor thing. It really annoys me.
Yoga Hosers (July 29)
Kevin Smith follows up his weird Tusk with something that looks completely insane. It has sausage Nazis in it—and Johnny Depp. Even though Depp shows up for the second Smith film in a row, I highly doubt this will get a wide release. It’s just too out there.
August: Last blast before Oscar season
Suicide Squad (Aug. 5)
Honestly, it’s hard to get excited about anything from Warner Bros. in the DC universe right now. Batman v Superman is an abomination. (Say, have I made that point clear yet?) This film is a purported part of that universe. It does have Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, which just has to be good. As for Jared Leto as the Joker? Those tattoos look so stupid.
The Founder (Aug. 5)
Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s Corp. This is one film where the preview trailer is promising, and it gives Keaton the chance to flash his wiseguy persona. This looks to be a summer movie for those of us who like to think and/or really like Big Macs.
Pete’s Dragon (Aug. 12)
The makers of this reboot of the underrated Disney classic should take a cue from John Favreau and sneak a couple of the original film’s musical numbers into this one. Robert Redford replaces Mickey Rooney in the update, and that just sounds strange.
Café Society (Aug. 12)
The latest movie from Woody Allen stars Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively, not Miley Cyrus. Cyrus is the star of his TV series on Netflix. It should be an interesting year for Mr. Allen. At this point, he’s most certainly been introduced to twerking and perpetual pouting.
Sausage Party (Aug. 12)
Seth Rogen and friends try to make a gregariously obscene animated movie about supermarket food trying to survive being purchased and sent toward human colons. It looks cheap, but potentially funny anyway.
Florence Foster Jenkins (Aug. 12)
Meryl Streep plays the title character, a New York socialite who wanted to be an opera singer but couldn’t sing worth a shit. Can you say automatic Oscar nomination?
Ben-Hur (Aug. 19)
Chariot races. Hooray.
War Dogs (Aug. 19)
Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directs the story of two young gunrunners who get a huge contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons overseas. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill look like they have some good comedic chemistry in the trailer. Bradley Cooper shows up as well.
The Space Between Us (Aug. 19)
Asa Butterfield plays a kid who comes home to find his dad and a girl he likes. What makes his situation a little different is that he’s returning from Mars.
Kubo and the Two Strings (Aug. 19)
Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey lend their voices to this piece of stop-motion animation from director Travis Knight, making his directorial debut after chipping in on The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline.
Southside With You (Aug. 26)
A sweet couple go out for a first date in Chicago. What distinguishes this one from other first date movies is that the couple are Barack and Michelle Obama, so I think we know that the first date will lead to others. And the Affordable Care Act.
Don’t Breathe (Aug. 26)
Deep August usually brings us a horror film. This year’s offering comes from Fede Alvarez, the guy who actually made a decent remake of Evil Dead. It involves a heist gone bad, and seemingly tries to prove that breaking into Stephen Lang’s house can be a very bad thing.
Hands of Stone (Aug. 26)
Robert De Niro plays Ray Arcel, boxing coach to the nutty Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez). Anything with De Niro near a boxing ring gets me excited. Hell, I was excited for Grudge Match until I actually saw it.
Mechanic: Resurrection (Aug. 26)
The first one was OK for a Jason Statham movie, but, yeah, by the time this comes out, I think we will all be ready for what autumn and winter have to offer at the movie theater.