Summer is the busiest time for cineplexes around the country. Action, adventure, and comedy are what fuel the big budget blockbusters, but there is still room for thought-provoking mystery and drama. Whatever audiences have a taste for this season, there are plenty of popcorn movie offerings to go around from May to August.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” – May 5
Promising another stellar soundtrack and a whole new adventure for the interplanetary heroes, this should be a massive start to the summer. What will surely debut between $100 million and $200 million, this Marvel sequel sees Groot in baby form and Peter Quill A.K.A. Star Lord reunite with his father.
“Snatched” – May 12
The second wave of Amy Schumer is upon us with her new memoir, Netflix comedy special, and now this Mother’s Day comedy co-starring comedy legend Goldie Hawn. After the success of her Judd Apatow-directed “Trainwreck,” this tropical vacation caper story seems like a natural and hilarious follow-up.
“Wonder Woman” – June 2
Can Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot revive the DC Extended Universe after “Suicide Squad” and “Batman Vs. Superman” with a film that serves its iconic heroine instead of failing her? The answer for Warner Bros. is probably not, but it should have no trouble entertaining audiences with a new hero that might generate more interest in November’s “Justice League” installment.
“Cars 3” – June 16
Pixar, despite the varying results from its venture into sequel productions, is still the beautiful and imaginative Pixar. “Cars 3,” is not exactly the most anticipated project on the studio empire’s lineup as it tells the story of Lightning McQueen’s comeback at the Florida 500, but it will be a family-friendly commercial success.
“Rough Night” – June 16
Scarlett Johansson continues to surprise as the lead in a comedy not unlike “Bridesmaids” and “Bad Moms.” From Comedy Central’s “Broad City” writers, the story follows a group of bachelorettes (Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, and Ilana Glazer) who accidentally kill their stripper. It seems like a hysterical plot, but the talent in front of and behind the camera have what it takes to make it better than its general storyline.
“Baby Driver” – June 28
“Baby Driver” sees Ansel Elgort in Edgar Wright’s action comedy flick as a brilliant getaway driver who relies on the tunes of his playlist to him through tricky stunts and situations. It premiered to rave reviews at South by Southwest and could be one of the best summer movies on the list.
“The House” – June 30
Rounding out this season’s offerings in comedy is a story of a desperate set of parents (Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell) who turn their basement into an underground casino in order to earn money for their daughter’s college fund. The directing debut of writer Andrew J. Cohen (the “Neighbors” series and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”) has to be worthwhile if A-list comedians Poehler and Ferrell signed on.
“The Beguiled” – June 30
Sofia Coppola (“The Virgin Suicides” and “Lost in Translation”) is reteaming with Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst for this remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood. A wounded soldier (Colin Farrell) causes sexual tension and violent jealousy when he is taken in at a girl’s home in Civil War era Virginia headed by none other than Nicole Kidman. This Cannes premiere is a mystery-thriller with all the same same sex and aggression we’ve come to expect, but with a dark feminist edge.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” – July 7
It can’t help that this is another one of several spider-man adaptations to come in recent years, but ‘Homecoming’ is unlikely to disappoint. Tom Holland’s character has already been introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Captain America: Civil War” and this sequel sees him ushered in by the crowd-pleasing Iron Man. Featuring Michael Keaton, Donald Glover, and Zendaya, the second Marvel entry of the season is said to have a vibe reminiscent of John Hughes.
“Dunkirk” – July 21
When Christopher Nolan has a project lined up, it is not to be missed. After the success of the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Inception”, and “Interstellar,” Nolan has decided to make his WWII movie. It will be structured as a triptych from air, land, and sea perspectives and will be more of a suspense ride than a combat heavy picture. Featuring Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, and Harry Styles, ‘Dunkirk’ was shot on 65mm large format film and has a score from the director’s frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – July 21
Debuting against the film above, this is a French blockbuster from Luc Besson (“Lucy”) that looks like a sci-fi adventure in the vein of “Star Wars.” It’s doubtful that this is near that level, but hopefully Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne can carry this time-travel race to save the universe. Its got to a feat in storytelling and world building if it wants to justify the many flashy visuals seen in the trailer, a supporting turn from Rihanna, and historic $220 million budget.
“Detroit” – August 4
Not to end the summer on a heavy note, but this timely drama is going to get plenty of attention as it coincides directly with the 50 anniversary of the event it depicts. Following the Detroit riots, Kathryn Bigelow (the only female to win Best Director at the Academy Awards) returns with her next project since “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” With a cast featuring names like John Krasinski, John Boyega, Will Poulter, and Anthony Mackie, “Detroit” will capture what happened on the night of the largest citizen uprising in the history of the United States.
“The Book of Henry” – June 16
Colin Trevorrow is, at heart, an independent filmmaker. Before his “Jurassic World” undertaking, he made a low-key, unforgettably touching film, “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Before he directs the last installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he will release this summer sleeper starring Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay (“Room”). Co-starring Sarah Silverman and Dean Norris of “Breaking Bad”, this mystery-drama genre film centers around a boy and his mother as they devise a plan to rescue a neighboring girl from her family’s dark secret.
“The Big Sick” – June 23
The latest producing effort from comedy mastermind, Judd Apatow, is a refreshing romantic comedy about lead Kumail Nanjiani’s real experiences coming from a Muslim family and marrying his American wife (Co-writer Emily V. Gordon). This film, as well as the ones listed below, were featured in the LC Bridge’s Sundance Film Festival Standouts article.
“The Little Hours” – June 30
“A Ghost Story” – July 7
“Landline” – July 21
“Ingrid Goes West” – August 4