For some, the start of summer comes with warm weather or the end of school. For others, it’s big-budget spectacles coming to movie theaters.
Granted, blockbuster season seems to get earlier every year — X-Men, King Kong and Fast and Furious movies came out in March and April alone. But there are still plenty of big-name movies to come, now through August.
Here are some of the most notable wide-release summer movies
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (now playing):
The Guardians of the Galaxy crew (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper as Rocket the raccoon, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot) return, with Kurt Russell joining as leader Peter Quill’s father Ego. Like the original, the Marvel film has scored praise for its humor and visuals.
You can find The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review here.
“Alien: Covenant” (Friday):
After revisiting his classic “Alien” with “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott returns with this film featuring a new crew (Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride), android David (Michael Fassbender) and the titular alien. Hopefully Scott can improve on the script issues of “Prometheus” while retaining its visual splendor.
“Baywatch” (May 25):
The ’90s David Hasselhoff/Pamela Anderson series gets its own attempt at a R-rated “21 Jump Street” cinematic reboot. It does at least have two charismatic comedic leads in The Rock and Zac Efron.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (May 26):
The fifth film in the series follows Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his battles with ghostly pirate hunter Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem). One wonders how many of these films we really need, though “Kon-Tiki” filmmakers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are a fairly inspired choice for director.
“Wonder Woman” (June 2):
After appearing in “Batman v. Superman,” Amazon princess-superhero Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) gets her own film, where she enters World War I after encountering pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). DC films have had a troubled start so far, but with its period setting and “Monster” director Patty Jenkins, this may be the one to turn that around.
“The Mummy” (June 9):
Another classic monster movie gets a gritty (and in this case, sandy) reboot as Tom Cruise squares off against a mummy princess (Sofia Boutella). The trailers have looked rough — not even counting the IMAX one released with missing audio — but Cruise has a generally good record on genre films.
“Rough Night” (June 16):
The R-rated comedy follows a group of friends (Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell) who accidentally kill a male stripper during a Miami bachelorette weekend. Lucia Aniello (“Broad City”) writes and directs — here’s hoping it’s as funny as that show.
“All Eyez on Me” (June 16):
Rapper Tupac Shakur gets the “Straight Outta Compton” and “Notorious” treatment in this biopic. There’s certainly an interesting story there, particularly in his Black Panther upbringing, and lead Demetrius Shipp Jr. is a dead ringer for Shakur.
“Cars 3” (June 16):
The sequel follows racecar Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) as he has to contend with his aging and a hotshot new racer (Armie Hammer). The “Cars” films have been the weakest part of Pixar’s filmography, but perhaps this will be the one to change course.
“Transformers: The Last Knight” (June 21):
Michael Bay directs his fifth and supposedly final entry in the “Transformers” series, though apparently fourteen more are planned. At least this newest one sounds intriguingly bizarre, with King Arthur and World War II factoring into the plot.
“Baby Driver” (June 28):
“Hot Fuzz” director Edgar Wright helms this tale of music-loving getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort), who works for a crime lord (Kevin Spacey) and robbers (Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm). Wright is one of today’s most inspired genre filmmakers, so it’ll be fun to see his first original film without his usual team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7):
Spider-Man gets his third cinematic version in 15 years, with Tom Holland playing the superhero navigating high school and battling The Vulture (Michael Keaton). Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films arguably remain the superhero movie pinnacle, but this has a good cast and teen movie feel that could be fun.
“War for the Planet of the Apes” (July 14)
The new Planet of the Apes films have been a surprisingly effective cinematic reboot, with director Matt Reeves returning for this new one. Caesar (played in motion-capture by Andy Serkis) and the other apes face off against humans and their leader The Colonel (Woody Harrelson).
“Dunkirk” (July 21):
Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan tries his hand at a war film in this tale of Allied soldiers being evacuated from Dunkirk, France during World War II. The cast includes Oscar winner Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and pop star Harry Styles in his acting debut.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (July 21):
“The Fifth Element” director Luc Besson returns to the sci-fi epic world with this comic book adaptation about space agents Valerian and Laureline (Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevigne.) The most expensive French film ever made, the movie looks colorful and visually dazzling in the trailer.
“Atomic Blonde” (July 28):
Charlize Theron stars as a MI6 spy who comes to ’80s Berlin to locate a list of double agents and investigate another agent’s double murder. Director David Leitch was the part of the pair that made the standout “John Wick,” and “Atomic Blonde” has already earned praise for its action sequences.
“The Dark Tower” (August 4):
A longtime holdout in Stephen King adaptations, the fantasy western series “The Dark Tower” finally comes to screen. Idris Elba plays Roland Deschain, or The Gunslinger, who tries to get to the tower that houses all realities while fighting against The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).
“Detroit” (August 4):
“The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow brings another true story to screen, depicting a police raid on a hotel during Detroit’s 1967 riots. “Star Wars” actor John Boyega stars in the film, released on the event’s 50th anniversary.
“Annabelle: Creation” (August 11):
“Annabelle,” a “The Conjuring” spinoff about a haunted doll, gets its own prequel. That may seem like dubious material, but last year’s “Ouija” prequel “Ouija: Origin of Evil” was surprisingly good and Stephanie Sigman of “Miss Bala” gets another well-deserved leading role.
“Logan Lucky” (August 18):
Steven Soderbergh returns from retirement for this tale of two brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) attempting a robbery during a NASCAR race. The film sounds similar to Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” films, with an ensemble including Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank and Seth MacFarlane.
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