The summer season is nearly here, and for moviegoers, that means blockbusters and more. But will 2017 produce any major hits or just major disappointments? Here is our list of summer movies we are most looking forward to.
Nate: Ridley Scott returns to his most beloved franchise (all due respect to Blade Runner) in Alien: Covenant. From the trailers, it seems this film is the closest in tone to Scott’s 1979 classic Alien that set the franchise off. Following some lackluster sequels in its aftermath including the rather messy Prometheus, this return to its classic sci-fi horror roots should be a welcome sign for fans of the Alien series.For those new to the series I would still highly recommend going back and viewing the original as well as the James Cameron directed follow-up Aliens (which takes a decidedly more action-packed, less cerebral yet still excellent approach) before heading to see Covenant but if this is your entry point just remember: in space, no one can hear you scream
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
Michael: The fifth entry into the now 14-year-old film series, the movie will, of course, feature the return of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, as well as Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. Joining them will be Javier Bardem as the new villain Captain Salazar, an undead pirate (similar perhaps to Rush’s Captain Barbossa?)This series has seen its ups and downs, with each movie varying in its critical success. At the box office, however, they’ve all been quite successful (an explanation for why this series is continuing with a fifth film; for a list of unnecessary sequels click here). Regardless of how it turns out critically, it’s safe to bet this fifth movie will be a financial success and a definite anticipated release in the summer movie season.
Baywatch (May 26)
Michael: Based on the hit 90’s TV series, this film version will feature Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon (played famously by David Hasselhoff) and Zac Efron, as two lifeguards who must put their differences aside to investigate a drug trafficking ring. It’s being described as an action-comedy, and by the looks of trailers, it will surely have some laughs and some decent action sequences, but will it be very good? I would say this movie will be a mixed bag critically, but probably be a success at the box office. Dwayne Johnson has shown his versatility in many roles now and his comic side is not in question. This movie could either turn out be very bad an ok summer flick, or surprisingly fun and entertaining. I wouldn’t personally expect that last one, but who knows?
Captain Underpants (June 2)
Nate: The beloved series of children’s novels by Day Pilkey is finally getting its own film. Starring Ed Helms (The Hangover, The Office) in the titular role with Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) as the pranksters George and Harold, they will face off against the evil Professor Poopypants (played by Nick Kroll who seems to have carved out a nice niche role for himself playing animated movie villains). Perhaps now is the right time to release Captain Underpants given the current superhero craze but he will face a tough task opening against DC’s Wonder Woman. If done properly though, it would not be out of the question to see this among those nominated for Best Animated Feature at next year’s Oscars. While that may be a lofty goal, I for one am just hoping we get some trademarked Flip O Rama action.
Wonder Woman (June 2)
Nate: Everyone is aware that the DC Comics Universe of films (collectively known as the DCEU) has been off to a less than stellar start. Part of this is trying to do too much, too fast and part of it is due to the heightened level of expectation regarding the superhero genre. There is a reason for optimism though starting with the fact that Wonder Woman was one of the few redeeming aspects of Batman v Superman and also the first female to get their own live action film in this current era of superhero films. This will hopefully bring a breath of fresh air to the stale origin story formula especially under director Patti Jenkins who herself is facing a lot of pressure as she has mostly stayed out of the limelight since her breakout Monster (2003). Small sample size aside, there is no doubt that Jenkins has talent for crafting compelling characters and in a world filled with brooding men in spandex, we are long overdue for something different
It Comes at Night (June 9)
Nate: A24 has become one of the premier production houses in film with hits like Room, Moonlight, The Lobster, Green Room and Ex Machina as recent credits (of all which made my year end top 10 lists in the past two years). It comes at Night is another A24 feature that sees them working with director Trey Edward Shults whom they previously collaborated with to make the criminally underseen Krisha. It Comes At Night looks to be a more traditional horror thriller than A24’s surprise hit The Witch (which I personally wasn’t a huge fan of but many would disagree) but don’t be surprised if it follows in its footsteps and becomes a surprise sleeper hit.
The Mummy ( June 9)
Nate: A reboot of the Brendan Fraser franchise, this originally felt like a bad idea but thinking about it more in depth I came to a couple conclusions
What legacy does the original Mummy franchise have outside of an awesome ride at Universal Studios and a terrible spinoff that launched Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s movie career? The answer is not much especially for a franchise that spawned multiple sequels that got progressively worse. This isn’t The Godfather here so why not reboot?
Tom Cruise is a million times the star that Fraser was even at his peak. I’d much rather see a reboot of a mediocre franchise than having them reboot classics that still hold up today (cough Indiana Jones, cough Jurassic Park cough)
This is also one of the most interesting box office battles of the summer. Facing off against Wonder Woman / Captain Underpants in its second week and Despicable Me 3 to follow at the end of the month, The Mummy has strong bomb potential against its 125 million dollar budget.
All Eyez On Me (June 16)
Nate: A biopic that tackles the life of the legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. I’m skeptical about this one in the sense that it could fall the same way as the forgettable Notorious B.I.G biopic Notorious. That being said the subject matter is interesting enough that coming off the heels of Straight Outta Compton (also starring relative unknowns), I think this one is worth looking for especially if you’ve already seen the big movies in this brief lull in the summer blockbuster season.
Nate: We covered this one in our trailer talk but to reiterate, there are not enough good rom coms out there especially ones with heart. It might get lost in the shuffle between all these mega releases but it could also be one of the best films of the summer.
The Beguiled (June 23)
Nate: Sofia Coppola captures emotion as well as any director out there. Between Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides, Somewhere and Marie Antoinette, Coppola has explored the idea of identity, perception and the contrasting ideas of what that is to society versus the individual (particularly as it pertains to women). Her wonderstruck dives into the lives of these characters are often filled with dream-like imagery and an equally ambient soundtrack that serve the narrative in the absence of dialogue. The Beguiled is Coppola’s next feature that looks to further the thematic elements of her previous work. Reuniting with Kristen Dunst for the fourth time, The Beguiled is an adaptation of the Thomas P. Cullinan novel of the same name.
Okja (June 28)
Nate: If you don’t know the name Bong Joon Ho, you should, he is one of the best directors not just in his native south Korea but in the world today. Known for films like Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder and The Host, the talented director has brought his talents over to Netflix for Okja. A mix of Korean and English will be used in the feature that will see Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano star alongside Korean actors Ahn Seo-Hyun and Steve Yuen (Of Walking Dead fame). From the trailer, it certainly seems that Bong’s visual flair is as present as ever and I’m glad that this film will be released on the streaming giant as more of the world deserves to be aware of Bong Jong Ho’s extraordinary talent.
Baby Driver (June 28)
Nate: Baby Driver is an Edgar Wright film. That should be enough to sell this movie. The guy behind Scott Pilgrim vs the World and who famously walked off Ant-Man due to creative differences. Baby Driver is a heist film that should feature the action comedy that Wright is known for in other films such as Hot Fuzz, Shaun of The Dead and The World’s End. Another movie that is likely to get lost beneath the tentpole blockbusters of the summer, this one has indie cult status written all over it.