It’s that time of year again. Days are getting longer. Kids and teenagers roam the streets in search of something to do. The sun beats down stronger than ever. This can only mean one thing: the Summer movie season is about to be upon us. As with any season like this, there is likely to be an overwhelming number of movies crowding the local cineplex at any given time. To help matter, we thought we’d put together a comprehensive guide to the biggest and best films to be released, from now till the end of August. Since we also wanted to be totally exhaustive in our coverage, there’s alternate picks each week, for smaller releases that also deserve your time and attention. Be sure to sound off in the comments if there is a movie you feel missed. Though that’s not likely, as we are (un)licensed professionals.
Leave it to Disney to secure the coveted starting position. Traveling back to a galaxy far far away and a money pit that’s been over flowing for decades, Solo: A Star Wars Story arrives to put a smile on audience’s faces everywhere. (Psst!…over here) The film charts the early rise of everyone’s favorite smuggler, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and his adventures with Chewbacca and the devastating suave Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Although, Disney would love for you to believe summer started a few weeks back when they released Avengers: Infinity War, Memorial Day traditionally kicks things off. It’s a chance for theaters to cash in on the first long weekend for the next couple of months. Only miss this film if you’re the kind of person who takes pleasure in avoiding things so many people are excited about.
Alternate Pick: Have you still not seen Infinity War or Deadpool 2? It’d be a good idea catching up now, should Solo be sold out most places, as the internet is sure to ruin each film’s most juicy bits for you. Sooner than later. That’s just the law of averages.
If there’s one word that’s synonymous with “summer”, it’s probably “fun”. It’s hard to think of a film that embraces that notion with greater aplomb than UPGRADE. This deliriously enjoyable techno-thriller follows Grey (Logan Marshall-Green), who is left widowed and a quadriplegic, after a brutal mugging. Opting for an experimental procedure with the implant “stem”, he not only regains use of his limbs, but gains an AI friend in the process. Together they set off on a hyper-violent path of revenge. A late night flick of the highest order, this one demands to be seen with friends in a packed theater. Need more convincing? Check out our review from SXSW.
Alternate Pick: As long as the concept of someone getting hit in the going by something is considered funny, Johnny Knoxville will have a job in entertainment. Action Point is his latest assault on cinemas, further attempting to fuse his Jackass antics with that of a traditional movie. Better yet, he’s signed up a few of his old masochistic buddies to join him.
In the giant wasteland of unnecessary sequels that is 2018, Ocean’s 8 is one of the few we are very excited about. Take the preexisting heist formula from the original trilogy and swap all the male roles for female roles. All signs point to this one being a huge hit. Doesn’t hurt when your cast is stacked with the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Awkwafina. If you aren’t in awe of that talent, maybe the Met Gala centered heist is up your alley. As long as it keeps the fast pace & humor that defined the George Clooney lead outing. Which is to say, this will be a piece of cake.
Alternate Pick: There’s a chance after all the hub-bub and praise surrounding Hereditary, that it doesn’t live up to expectations, but we remain cautiously optimistic here. For one thing, the trailer works like gangbusters, mixing mystery and that insipid tongue clacking. Seriously, getting goosebumps over here, just thinking about it.
It’s Disney and Pixar combining forces to bring everyone the long awaited sequel to one of the best superhero movies. Ever. Why do you need to discuss if you’re seeing Incredibles 2?
Alternate Pick: On the “adults acting like kids” side of the arena is TAG. A simple story of friendship and a game of tag that’s been going on for 30 years. Did we mention it’s based on a true story? Well, we should have, but we were rewatching the trailer for this one, for the billionth time.
As long as people are willing to keep paying for it,
life dinosaurs will find a way, to make a mess of things. The latest in the never-ending Jurassic Park saga, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, seems to be upping the ante, featuring peril both on and off the doomed island of Isla Nubar. It’s harder to guess which is worse of a situation, though. Saving dinosaurs from a massive erupting volcano, or surviving the onslaught of yet another genetically altered super predator dino? Probably the latter, seeing as how it’s wreaking havoc inside a weird hybrid auction house/museum/domestic residence. But, hey, they managed to wrangle Jeff Goldblum back into the mix, so everything is looking up! We remain hesitantly optimistic, until that familiar theme hits and we’re instantly reverted into excited children.
Alternate Pick: Paul Rudd throws his mitt into the dramatic ring, with the biopic The Catcher Was A Spy. Moe Berg (Rudd) was an Ivy League graduate, lawyer and catcher for the Boston Red Sox. What most people weren’t aware of is that he worked as a spy for the OSS, during World War II. If you skipped out on Father’s Day the week before, taking your dad to this may be a good apology.
It’s hard to believe that Marvel Studios is putting out their third film of the year. Even harder to believe is this movie comes just months after they released “the most ambitious crossover event in history”. Their words. Fret not as Ant-Man & The Wasp seems as if it will be a lighter and more jovial entry for the MCU. At the same time Scott Lang will be dealing with ramifications of Civil War, as well as fighting alongside Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) against a new threat. There have also been rumors swirling that the pair would traverse the Quantum Realm, in search of Hope’s mother. Which makes sense, because you don’t hire Michelle Pfeiffer just for flashbacks. Expect a post-credit sequence tying this film to Infinity War.
Alternate Pick: Every year there comes a movie that sets the festival circuit ablaze. The kind of film so audacious, so brazenly intelligent, so honestly funny, that any praise it receives seems unwarranted. Sorry To Bother You is that film for 2018. The best thing about it, is that it earns every last ounce of adoration thrown its way. It’s easy to say you aren’t ready for it, but you most likely aren’t. Just carve out the time to see it.
The Rock cannot be stopped. It’s a simple fact of nature. In addition to working out 14 hours a day and ingesting a daily diet of 500000 calories, at any time he is working on 10 different projects. That’s fine with us. His latest endeavor is a mash-up of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. As former FBI hostage negotiator turned security assessor of the world’s tallest buildings, Will Sawyer (The Rock) finds himself on the run, when a giant building is set ablaze while on assignment. Because he’s The Rock and a situation normally like this could be solved by him bludgeoning people with the giant ham shanks he calls hands, Skyscraper plans to slow him, by taking away one of his legs. Of course that means he’ll just save the day by bludgeoning people with a prosthetic. This is why the Summer movie season is the best.
Alternate Pick: Would it surprise you that a spot in this list belongs to Bo Burnham? If so, you wouldn’t be alone in that boat, but everything that’s been said about Eighth Grade is that it deserves your attention. A story about social media, growing up and the awkwardness and pain that inform both avenues, this film seems vitally important. Heck, our review here says as much and then some. Is there anything stand-up comedians can’t do? Please don’t say do an opening act on the moon. We don’t even know what that means.
There are few constants in life outside of death, taxes and perpetual trust in Denzel Washington. The male equivalent of Meryl Streep (that woman is practically infallible these days…see below), all Washington does is turn in great performances. So it makes sense, in a world where any actor worth their salt, over age 55 has to prove themselves as a badass. He landed a surprise hit when the TV show updated to a movie version The Equalizer dropped a few years ago, so now there’s a sequel. Things are bigger, bloodier and more personal now, but Denzel doesn’t seem bothered by the prospect of cracking a few skulls. We don’t think any audience will take issue with that either. Again, it’s Denzel; as long as he smiles and gets in at least one outburst, everything is kosher.
Alternate Pick: Ok, so this isn’t a “small” film, but I didn’t want Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again stealing the spotlight from Denzel. The first film was a hit though, so naturally there had to be a follow up. Since this is a sequel they wanted to go bigger and things don’t get quite bigger than Cher. I mean who hasn’t been clamoring for a Stellan Skarsgard and Cher karaoke duet? Not that it’ll happen, but we’re saying it needs to happen.
Tom Cruise can still operate his hands and feet. Add in the summer & that can mean only one thing: another round of death defying, over-the-top, completely insane stunts from the world’s foremost human ragdoll. Mission: Impossible – Fallout looks to be the biggest and best film in the series. Which feels like something we say every time one of these films comes out. But guess what? It’s been true the last 2 times and there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen again, as Rogue Nation‘s writer & director, Christopher McQuarrie returns, as well. All of Ethan Hunt’s (Cruise) past demons look like they’re coming home to roost, in an entry that not only tackles nuclear attacks, but Henry Cavill’s glorious, non-CGI’d mustache. Did you buy your tickets yet? You should have bought your tickets already. Movies like Fallout are the entire there’s a Summer movie season, to begin with.
Alternate Pick: Should your tastes hew closer to more family friendly fare, one of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows explodes across the big screen in Teen Titans Go To The Movies. In a just world this film will make more than any other DC theatrical release since 2012. Well, with the exception of The Lego Batman Movie.
Studios love high-concept comedies. Love love love. Which makes The Spy Who Dumped Me something of a slam dunk. At least on the page. Audrey (Mila Kunis) and her best friend, end up embroiled in an international conspiracy, after she learns her recent ex is actually a spy. Boom. Cut. Print. See what we mean? The trailer comes off as a bit lackluster, but that’s the same thing people though about SPY, a few years back, and that film ended up being fantastic. Also, anytime you cast the phenomenally underutilized (yet seemingly everywhere) Kate McKinnon, you got our attention.
Alternate Pick: Feel like there’s not enough sweetness in the summer slate? This next one may be the cure for that. Christopher Robin sees a middle-aged family man reconnecting with a childhood friend. A friend by the name of Winnie The Pooh. Think of a classier Hook and you’d get where this will go. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have a Kenny Loggins song to cry over.
If you have been an avid reader of movie news on the internet since, say, oh it’s inception, then you’ve probably heard tell of the giant shark film The Meg. Based upon a novel about a megalodon than threatens, well, most of the world (because so much of it is water), has been in one stage of development or another, forever. It started with Disney, moved to New Line, before ending up at Warner Bros. Everyone from Guillermo Del Toro to Jan De Bont to Eli Roth. Now though, it rest in the hands of the man behind 3 Ninjas and National Treasure. A fact that will quickly be forgotten if the film features a moment where Jason Satham punches a giant prehistoric shark in the face. When Statham is involved, all bets are off.
Alternate Pick: What happens when Spike Lee directors a film based on a crazy true story, produced by Jordan Peele? Why BlackKklansman, of course. In 1970’s Colorado, African-American Detective Ron Stallworth infiltrated a local branch of the Klu Klux Klan, eventually rising to head of the chapter. We have no jokes for this one, it just looks really good. Recently, it premiered at Cannes, picking up the coveted Grand Prix.
After languishing for almost a decade, Brian Henson (Jim’s son) jumps ship from family oriented felt stories, into the waiting arms of expletives and dirtier felt. Happytime Murders sees the old Muppet hand entering the world of noir pulpiness. Several members of an 80’s tv show end up gruesomely murdered. The only people who can solve it are a human detective (Melissa McCarthy) and her disgraced puppet of a former partner. Strangely, the first trailer that came out seemed to be a bit of a mixed bag. The cast is impressive, tossing in a few old Muppet performers and comedians. Humor-wise things felt a tad off. That could be in trying to push the “R” rating. Regardless, there’s enough meat on that frame to warrant a watch. Plus, Meet the Feebles needs something to pair with in an eventual double feature, right?
Alternate Pick: Every 365 days there has to be one giant, extravagant wedding movie. You know, the kind that make you feel sad yours wasn’t that opulent. This year’s offering, Crazy Rich Asians (based on a best selling book) looks to put all others to shame. What sets this one apart, is the focus of the families involved being Asian. That’s no small feat, as even in 2018, diversity in American films falls on the side of disappointing. If this is a success, there’s 2 other books in the series, ripe for adaptation.
Pairing Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder together in a rather talky film, right in the dog days of the summer, seems almost too perfect. If you’re a certain sort of film-goer that is. As the kids, teenagers and college students gear back up for classes, it makes sense that one of the final weekends has an eye towards adults. Destination Wedding hopes to scratch that itch. At least a little. The trailer is highly stylized, almost as if a painting and a play were colliding. Somewhere along the way, the stilted jokes and face-plants find a rhythm, spilling over into charming. Ok, so it’s a “your mileage may vary” situation, but seeing these two together, playing off each other has a level of comfort to it. Perfect for this time of year.
Alternate Pick: The movie gods have a sense of humor. Donm’t believe us? This weekend sees not one, but TWO Keanu Reeves lead films hitting theaters. And. One. Is. Called Replicas. (insert mic drop here). Now the synopsis is a bit wonky, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t at least worth checking out. Reeves plays a scientist who uses state of the art technology to bring his family back to life, after they die in a car accident.
August is the perfect month for smaller films to make their mark and that’s exactly what the street-level sci-fi film KIN wants to do. A recently released ex-con (Jack Reynor) is forced to break his probation and go on the lam with his little brother, Eli. Turns out, the well meaning teenager stumbled upon an alien gun and the original owners, along with a local Kingpin (James Franco), want to get their hands on the device. This one seems to have Amblin imprinted on its DNA. From the sweeping cinematography, the sense of adventure, along with a world weary Dennis Quaid giving speeches about the importance of family, we can’t think of a better note to end the season on….
Alternate Pick: …Or maybe not. What’s better than the end of one thing? The start of another. As fall arrives, there’s no better welcome than a period piece horror mystery. The Little Stranger is the latest from Lenny Abrahamson (The Room). A young country doctor (Domhnall Gleeson) attends to a patient at Hundreds Hall, a two century old estate. While there, he becomes intwined with the tragedies that befall the family, which may or may not be of supernatural origin.