It’s finally summer, and that means movie studios will be releasing their biggest, most anticipated films of the year. There are some really exciting releases, some really terrible schlock and some releases that just kind of float in the middle of it all. Compiled here is a highly-opinionated guide to 10 movies you should definitely check out this summer.
Oh, and we aren’t including Infinity War. It’s been out for over a week, and you all should have seen it by now.
Fahrenheit 451 (May 19, HBO) You thought this list would only have films being released in theaters? Nope. In the first feature-length adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s chilling dystopian sci-fi novel “Fahrenheit 451” since the British film came out over 50 years ago, Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther,” “Creed”) stars as Guy Montag, the firefighter who torches books at his government’s instruction. Jordan is joined by the always-intimidating Michael Shannon (“The Shape of Water,” “Man of Steel”), who plays the villainous Captain Beatty. Directed by the critically-acclaimed indie director Ramin Bahrani, HBO’s iteration looks visually stunning, and has arrived at the perfect time to make some very compelling connections to the modern world. Time will tell if the adaptation holds true to the source material, but if we know one thing for sure, it’s that this 2018 take will include a much more visually engaging, fully-realized look at the horrifying, futuristic world Ray Bradbury created in 1953. Just look at that trailer. The movie will be available on HBO starting May 19, after premiering at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25) We live in a world where a new Star Wars movie will come out every year for at least the next century, but considering “The Last Jedi” raked in $1.3 billion, it’s safe to assume that blaster and lightsaber fatigue haven’t even remotely started setting in. Enter the Han Solo movie. For the sake of transparency, I’ll disclose right off the bat that I’ve got a bad feeling about this movie. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m expecting full levels of the “I don’t like sand” brand of dialogue, tons of shoehorned fanservice — hey look, it’s Han Solo’s classic blaster! — and a performance from star Alden Ehrenreich cringe-inducing enough to rival even Hayden Christensen. They didn’t have to bring in acting coaches for nothing, folks! That being said, I desperately want to be proven wrong here. In fact, I will wholeheartedly admit to it if the film’s third director, Ron Howard, managed to weave together a compelling, exciting Star Wars story. Some of the costumes, set pieces and visual effects do look incredible, but good movies are not just fun to look at. There has to be a story, and to find out what that story is, you’ll have to head out to your local cinema on May 25.
Hereditary (June 8) It wouldn’t be a complete list without a scary movie, so here goes. The newest film on A24’s stellar roster and a standout at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in January, “Hereditary” has already been lauded by critics as one of the “scariest movies of all time.” While that phrase gets tossed around in horror movie marketing quite a bit, the trailer makes a compelling case for the statement’s validity. Starring Toni Collette from “Little Miss Sunshine,” this horror flick unravels a dark family ancestry that comes to bear after Annie Graham’s (Collette) mother dies. It’s disturbing, it’s psychological and it currently sits at a comfortable 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Catch it in theaters on June 8, if you dare.
The Incredibles 2 (June 15) After over a decade of waiting, the “Incredibles” sequel is finally almost here! While I was admittedly a little bummed to not get a sequel set 14 years after the events of the original — imagine Dash going to college, Violet balancing a career and powers and a teenaged Jack Jack going through superhero puberty — I do have a lot of faith in Pixar’s ability to tell a compelling, original story, and I think we’ll probably still get one. This time, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) takes center stage on all the superhero action, while Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) learns how to be a super-stay-at-home dad. Fan favorites like Edna Mode and Frozone are also back in action, though it’s not certain how much runtime they’ll get in this one quite yet. We’ll all just have to find out. After waiting for this long, it seems unnecessary to have to convince anyone to go see “Incredibles 2,” so instead we’ll just close on the release date. June 15. See you there.
Under the Silver Lake (June 22) In his first film since 2014’s sensationally creepy, indie-horror gem, “It Follows,” writer/director David Robert Mitchell has shifted gears a good bit. Starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough and Topher Grace, “Under the Silver Lake” revolves around protagonist Sam (Garfield) and his wild search across Los Angeles to find his missing neighbor and newfound love interest Sarah (Keough). Things get weird, mysteries unravel and jokes abound in this neo-noir, thriller/comedy that Garfield recently described as a “Goonies-meets-David Lynch” crossover. Yes, please. Distributed by A24 and selected for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Under the Silver Lake” should be on everyone’s radar come June 22.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22) When I heard Chris Pratt explain the premise of this movie in the opening lines of the first trailer — a mission to save the dinosaurs from an island set to explode — I thought it was a joke. I even laughed out loud a little. But then I remembered something important I was forgetting. “Jurassic World” was not a good movie. It not only faded from my memory faster than half the Avengers, but also gave us Owen, Chris Pratt’s cartoonish Indiana Jones slash Crocodile Hunter caricature who trains velociraptors. Right. In “Fallen Kingdom” it looks like Universal decided to double down on the good ol’-fashioned, schlocky nonsense, but who knows? Maybe it will pay off. Or maybe the dinosaurs will win. Also, while he’s probably only in the movie for five minutes and probably won’t do much besides rehash old lines from the original — cameos, uh, find a way — Jeff Goldblum may just be the secret ingredient this cash-grab of a sequel needs to score a passing grade. Go in with a big bucket of popcorn and a non-cynical brain ready for some dino-splosions and you’re sure to have a great time.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6) One of the biggest complaints following 2015’s “Ant-Man” was the exclusion of Evangeline Lilly’s crime-fighting savvy character Hope Pym from much of the fun, shrinky Paul Rudd superhero action. But in this one, Pym gets to don a nifty new suit, coins her own insect-themed moniker and earns half the title while still evidently doing Ant-Man’s job better than he can. Sound familiar? Also, while the Ant-Man origin movie may have floated into the more forgettable territory of Marvel Cinematic Universe since its release three years ago, the good folks at Marvel have proven they know how to shake things up for good in a sequel — looking at you, “Thor: Ragnarok.” Oh, and how can you not want to know how Ant-Man and Wasp tie into “Infinity War” after seeing all that go down? Marvel knows you can’t.
Mission Impossible: Fallout (July 27) It isn’t truly summer blockbuster season without a gigantic, explosion-filled action flick, and this year we’re all fortunate enough to have one of those be the next installment in the “Mission Impossible” series. While “Fallout” will be the sixth installment in the ongoing adventures of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), don’t let that stop you from buying a ticket. The last two films in the series — 2011’s “Ghost Protocol” and 2015’s “Rogue Nation” — were wickedly fun, solid popcorn flicks with thrilling practical stunts and set pieces rivaling those of the first three. If the trailers for “Fallout” — or the fact that “Rogue Nation” writer/director Christopher McQuarrie is at the helm once again — are any indication, this one will be just as fun a ride. Was that Tom Cruise dangling off the side of a helicopter? Yes, yes it was. Now go buy a ticket.
Christopher Robin (August 3) While Disney’s live action remakes have garnered mixed reviews from critics in the last few years, there are still a lot of reasons to get excited for the upcoming “Winnie the Pooh” sequel. First, the cast is spectacular. Ewan McGregor plays an older Christopher Robin, with Jim Cummings returning to voice the lovable Pooh Bear, Peter Capaldi of “Doctor Who” voicing Rabbit and the always-funny Chris O’Dowd voicing Tigger. Second, the movie was written in part by Tom McCarthy — known for penning the Oscar-winning screenplay for the Best Picture-winning “Spotlight” — and was directed by Marc Forster, whose previous work includes “Finding Neverland” and “Stranger Than Fiction.” The trailer, while somewhat vague, also tonally reminds me of Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” which turned out to be an incredibly underrated, satisfying film. So while the buzz for this one hasn’t been quite at the same level as say, the “Beauty and the Beast” remake, it’s safe to assume there were a lot of very capable hands crafting a heartfelt, feelgood film with this one.
Crazy Rich Asians (Aug. 17) If you haven’t seen the trailer for “Crazy Rich Asians,” you’ve probably already heard the buzz surrounding it. Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name, the movie stars an all-Asian cast — something not done in Hollywood since “Joy Luck Club” came out some 25 years ago. The film follows protagonist Rachel Chu — played by Constance Wu of “Fresh Off the Boat” — on a trip to her longtime boyfriend’s home in Singapore. There, Rachel makes a bombshell discovery: her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) is actually unimaginably wealthy and his mother (Michelle Yeoh, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) cannot stand her at all. Directed by Jon M. Chu of the “Step Up” franchise and “Now You See Me 2,” this romantic comedy is the next big step in Hollywood’s push for equal representation and non-stereotypical portrayals in film, and is absolutely worth a trip to the theater.
Also worth watching:
May 11 Beast Breaking In Terminal
May 18 Book Club Deadpool 2 That Summer
May 25 How to Talk to Girls at Parties
June 1 Action Point Adrift American Animals
June 8 Hotel Artemis Ocean’s 8 Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
June 15 Superfly
June 29 Sicario: Day of the Soldado
July 6 Bleeding Steel Sorry to Bother You Whitney
July 13 Eighth Grade Skyscraper
July 20 Blindspotting Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Aug. 1 Nico, 1988
Aug. 3 The Darkest Minds The Spy Who Dumped Me
Aug. 10 BlacKkKlansman The Meg
Aug. 17 Down A Dark Hall The Happytime Murders
Aug. 24 The Bookshop