We’re less than a month away from the summer movie season, although you would likely think otherwise if you’ve been to a theater near you lately. With hot titles like “Logan,” “Ghost In The Shell,” “Beauty And The Beast,” “Power Rangers,” “Life,” “Kong: Skull Island,” “The Lego Batman Movie” and, err, “CHIPS” all playing in cinemas near you, it can be hard to differentiate between the sizzling summer selections and the ones that now play at seemingly any point in time of the year, no matter the season. So that’s why we’re here to help you out.
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While the summer-movie-season extravaganza doesn’t quite have the same flavor that it did even a few years ago, the blockbuster season is still an event awaited eagerly in the eyes of devoted filmgoers everywhere. Sure, you can always lounge on your couch in the comfort of your house and clear out your Netflix queue, but sometimes it’s fun to round up your friends, go to your nearest multiplex, buy the ticket for the newest, latest CG fest, gorge on the snacks (assuming you can afford them these days…) and soak up the latest spectacle. The thrill is still one of a kind and can’t be topped, no matter how nice your home TV is or how awesome your surround-sound system might be. The summer is about a lot of things, but it’s (usually) a blast when you get to spend even a part of it at the theater. Save that trip to the beach for another day. Let’s go see “Dunkirk“! But it’s not merely an excuse to feast your eyes on explosions and VFX wizardry. The summer movie season is also home to awesome indies, promising comedies, and even noteworthy potential awards contenders. And if you must spend your days inside the house close to Netflix, you won’t be disappointed there either.
With warmer weather on the horizon, we wanted to roll up our sleeves and see what’s waiting in the summer movie season ahead of us. To prepare you for the exciting new movies coming your way, we here at The Playlist rounded up a few of our most anticipated titles, as well as the movies we think will earn some chatter in the months to come, in order to get you ready for all the cinematic bliss coming in your direction.
Without further ado, here are some of the hottest/most anticipated movies coming up this summer season. Mark your calendars.
“The Fate Of The Furious
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Natalie Emmanuel, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kristofer Hivju, Elsa Pataky, Helen Mirren
Synopsis: When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. Expect a lot of cars and super-crazy stunts.
What You Need To Know: Director F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton“) takes the reins this time, and with each consecutive installment more delirious, winkingly absurd and manically goofy than the last, one is left to wonder just how exactly they’re going to get more ludicrous with this newest joyride. If early reports are to be believed, this seventh sequel continues the tradition of the recent installments in finding bigger and bolder ways to make everything as nonsensically delightful as possible, and we just can’t wait.
Release Date: April 14th
“Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Debicki, Pom Klementieff, Chris Sullivan, Tommy Flanagan, Sylvester Stallone
Synopsis: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Expect goofy space mayhem.
What You Need To Know: Who would’ve thought quirky indie director and Troma protégée James Gunn would someday make not only one of the most anticipated sequels of the year, but quite possibly the most anticipated sequel of the year, let alone the summer season? Sure enough, Gunn is back to write and direct the newest Marvel blockbuster, which finds Peter Quill and the oddball galaxy bunch saving the universe yet again, and it looks like this newest movie is wackier and weirder than even the first ‘Guardians’ film. Early reports are also very strong, and we hope Gunn continues his good fortunes. He deserves it.
Release Date: May 5th
“King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Katie McGrath, Eric Bana, Djimon Hounsou, Georgina Campbell, Poppy Delevingne, Aiden Gillen, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Millie Brady, Annabelle Wallis, Daniel Stisen
Synopsis: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy — whether he likes it or not. Expect medieval sword fights with magic swords.
What You Need to Know: Guy Ritchie‘s latest directorial efforts are fairly hit-and-miss. His last film, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” has its fair share of defenders, but it wasn’t anywhere near a critical smash. And both of his “Sherlock Holmes” movies have gotten mixed greetings from different audiences. For better or worse, Ritchie is dipping his toes into another potentially dangerous well, and he’s going to add his own unique spin and style to the often-recounted King Arthur fable. Is it enough to bring butts to the theater? We’ll see soon enough. We might be looking at another disaster for Ritchie, but it could also surprise us.
Release Date: May 12th
Cast: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Billy Crudup, Callie Hernandez, Jussie Smollett, James Franco
Synopsis: The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape. Expect blood, violence, suspense and dismemberment, all in space!
What You Need to Know: If you throw a rock down the street, you’ll likely hit someone who was disappointed by “Prometheus.” The promising, if moderately underwhelming, sci-fi prequel wasn’t without some gorgeous cinematography and stunning production designs/special effects, but the plot was littered with holes and baffling character actions, and that’s not delving into some of its other problems (looking at you, weird, unconvincing old man Guy Pearce make-up). But “Alien: Convenient,” admittedly, looks like a step in the right direction, although we were already burnt by excellent promotional materials before… Here’s hoping for the best, because how awesome would it be to see another great “Alien” movie? Particularly under Ridley Scott‘s direction. We’re pulling for you, Scott. Especially after “The Martian.”
Release Date: May 19th
“Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales“
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites, Golshifeth Farahani, Stephen Graham, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, Paul McCartney
Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon. Expect more swashbuckling high-seas action.
What You Need To Know: It’s easy to be pessimistic about yet another “Pirates Of The Caribbean” sequel. After all, it’s not as if the last few, minus the occasional spectacular action sequence, truly lived up to the surprising, consistently exciting first film. But if recent reports are to be believed, the ‘Pirates’ franchise gets the action-packed sequel it deserves under the direction of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (“Kon-Tiki“). If this fourth sequel can bring back the excitement of the original, we’ll be drunk on the fun.
Release Date: May 26th
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Chopra, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass, Rob Heubel, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hannibal Buress, Oscar Nuñez, Charlotte McKinney
Synopsis: Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay. Expect sexy people, dangerous stunts, and dick jokes.
What You Need To Know: If Dax Shepard‘s mangled R-rated “CHIPS” reboot taught us anything at all, it’s that copy-and-pasting the “21 Jump Street” formula isn’t going to guarantee critical or financial success. But that’s not stopping “Baywatch” from sexily running onto the scene to try to make a quick buck. The cast is promising, and the stunts do look impressive, especially for a broad, foul-mouthed studio comedy, but is that enough? The trailers look pretty dire, but we’ll test the waters anyway and hope we don’t get bit.
Release Date: May 26th
Cast: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Anthony Michael Hall, Topher Grace, Emory Cohen, RJ Cyler, Daniel Betts, Aymen Hamdouchi, Alan Ruck, Will Poulter, Lakeith Stanfield, Ben Kingsley, Meg Tilly
Synopsis: In a film for our times, writer-director David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom“) recreates a U.S. General’s roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody – raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today.
What You Need to Know: Brad Pitt is the latest to join the Netflix game with a true-to-life account of Gen. Glen McMahon, based on the book by Michael Hastings. Michôd’s outstanding previous film, “The Rover,” unfortunately didn’t get the audience it deserved, despite a sizable theatrical rollout. Here’s hoping the popular streaming service gives the acclaimed filmmaker a bigger viewership.
Release Date: May 26th
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Lucie Aron, Matthias Habich
Synopsis: A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave. Expect a lot of suspense.
What You Need to Know: Teresa Palmer was at the center of last summer’s sleeper hit “Lights Out.” Maybe she’ll find some success with her return to the thriller genre, “Berlin Syndrome.” Directed by Cate Shortland (“Lore,” “Somersault“), it comes from trustworthy hands, and the trailers do look richly nail-biting. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for this one. We hope you’ll do the same.
Release Date: May 26th
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Samantha Jo, Ewen Bremner, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Danny Huston, Eleanor Matsuura, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Florence Kasumba
Synopsis: An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes. Expect a lot of butt-whooping, franchise-establishing, and world-building.
What You Need to Know: Depending on whom you ask, Warner Bros.’ DC extended cinematic universe could use some fine tuning. And there are many who are holding out hope that “Wonder Woman” will be the one that finally sets the superhero ship straight. While I’m the one who’ll defend a few of DC’s recent films —minus “Suicide Squad,” because I’m not completely delusional — even I’ll admit that DC could use some good graces these days. Here’s hoping Patty Jenkins‘ (“Monster“) latest is the one that does just that.
Release Date: June 2nd