Just as jaunts to the beach and family vacations are synonymous with summer, so is Hollywood’s seasonal roster of blockbusters, sequels and reboots.
As usual, this summer is packed with movies that will draw the lion’s share of the money that studios will earn this year. But the Queens Tribune’s guide to summer movies includes not only all of Hollywood’s tent-pole movies for the season, but also some potential awards contenders, independent films and offbeat genre selections.
Here are some of the films that can be found at a theater near you between Memorial Day weekend and the end of August.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer looks to revive his swashbuckling action series with “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (May 26), in which Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) searches for the spear of Poseidon, while former Bruckheimer protégé Michael Bay unveils “Transformers: The Last Knight” (June 21), which involves—not surprisingly—another battle for the fate of mankind.
In “War for the Planet of the Apes” (July 14), the ape Caesar wrestles with his need for vengeance, while the summer’s other sequels are all aimed at children—Pixar’s “Cars 3” (June 16), “Despicable Me 3” (June 30) and “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature” (Aug. 11). The season’s other animated film is “The Emoji Movie” (July 28), in which a multi-expressional emoji sets out on a quest to become normal.
Although summer’s first major comic book blockbuster (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. II”) has already dropped, two others are in store—“Wonder Woman” (June 2), in which the Amazonian princess gets her origin story, and “Spider-man: The Homecoming” (July 7), which gives Tom Holland the opportunity to become the third actor to don the suit.
The summer also features two reboots, including “Baywatch” (May 25), which takes a tongue-in-cheek approach in transitioning the once-popular TV show to the big screen in a very R-rated fashion. That picture stars Zac Efron and The Rock. And Tom Cruise attempts to breathe new life into “The Mummy” (June 9) franchise, in which an ancient Egyptian princess is awakened from her crypt and wreaks havoc.
Luc Besson—who is responsible for “The Fifth Element” and “Lucy”—focuses his latest futuristic action film, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (July 21), on the story of a metropolis that is threatened by a marauding menace, while one of Stephen King’s most beloved creations—“The Dark Tower” (Aug. 4)—finally makes it to the big screen and stars Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.
For those in need of a few laughs amid all the explosions, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler star in “The House” (June 30), in which a father convinces his friends to start an illegal casino in his basement, while “Rough Night” (June 16) follows the exploits of a group of friends (Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon among them) who find themselves in trouble on the night of a wild bachelorette party. And aiming to be the summer’s sleeper hit is “Atomic Blonde” (July 28), a stylish, 1980s-set espionage thriller starring Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate a murder.
Awards Contenders and Indie Darlings
Christopher Nolan’s historical epic “Dunkirk” (July 21) tells the story of allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada and France who are surrounded by the Germany army during a fierce battle in World War II. Another true story that could yield Oscar nominations is Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” (Aug. 4), which chronicles the massive riot that took place in the titular city in 1967.
Other awards contenders include Sundance favorite “The Big Sick” (June 23), which tells the story of a couple dealing with their cultural differences, and “Good Time” (Aug. 11), which plays the Cannes Film Festival this week and stars Robert Pattinson as a bank robber attempting to evade law enforcement.
Two other Sundance favorites will be released this summer—“Patti Cake$” (Aug. 18), the story of an unlikely, aspiring rapper in New Jersey, and “A Ghost Story” (July 7), which is an ethereal drama starring Casey Affleck as a ghost who returns to his suburban home in an attempt to reconnect with his grieving wife. And three pictures screening at Cannes this week will also make it to theaters in the coming months—“Wind River” (Aug. 4), which tells the story of an FBI agent investigating a murder on a Native American reservation; “Okja” (June 28), Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s oddball account of a young girl who attempts to prevent a multi-national company from kidnapping her friend, who happens to be a large, hippo-like creature; and Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” (June 30), which stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in a remake of the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name.
Demetrius Shipp Jr. steps into the shoes of hip hop icon Tupac Shakur in “All Eyez on Me” (June 16), while John Travolta portrays the “Teflon Don” in “The Life and Death of John Gotti” (Aug. 25). Former Vice President Al Gore updates viewers on the environmental crisis in the age of Trump with “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (July 28) and Brad Pitt stars as a U.S. general in the topical war satire “War Machine” (May 26), which is set in Afghanistan.
Director Steven Soderbergh marks his return to film with the crime caper “Logan Lucky” (Aug. 18), which stars Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as two brothers attempting to pull off a heist, while Edgar Wright will release his comedic action thriller “Baby Driver” (June 28), the story of a getaway driver who finds himself taking part in a criminal operation that is doomed to fail.
For those seeking a good scare this summer, there’s “The Bad Batch” (June 23), Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow-up to “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” that is a dystopian love story set in a Texas wasteland amid a community of cannibals, and “It Comes at Night” (June 9), Trey Edward Shults’ follow-up to his unsettling family drama “Krisha.” Shults’ latest, which is set in a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, tells the story of a family made tense by the arrival of some visitors.
And for those seeking something completely off the deep end, there’s “The Ornithologist” (June 23), Portuguese director Joao Pedro Rodrigues’ bizarre story of an ornithologist who is plunged into an eerie and dark forest.