It’s that time of year when we start to think of vacations, surfing and movies, sometimes all in the same movie. Oh, did you think I was talking about time off? No. Time in, as in sharing the theater with a lot of screen stars, not all of them human. Here’s a brief preview of what’s coming:
Rating R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Do we really need another Alien movie? Creator and director Ridley Scott thinks so. This one is a tie-in between Prometheus and the original Alien. If it’s got Danny McBride (HBO comedies Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals), can we hope for a little bawdy humor? Well, it appears the aliens are grinning. Then again, if an alien grins at you, you know you’re in trouble.
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality
Here’s a movie that’s a little kinder, gentler, maybe a summer-sleeper hit for those who love romance. Amandla Stenberg plays a young woman who can’t go outside because of allergies. Wouldn’t you know it. A new neighbor boy moves in. Cute, too. Sounds sweet. Maybe also charming. Come on you softies. Take a chance.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Rated PG for some rude humor
Ah, one of my favorites, the Wimpy Kid series. Good goofy summer fun for kids. Everyone knows that nerds know how to party. And who would ever have thunk it? Clueless fashionista Alicia Silverstone as . . . Mom? No, say it ain’t so.
Rated R for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity
There’s only one reason to watch this remake of the 1990s TV series. Zac Ephron. Are those really his muscles? They look airbrushed to me. Not The Rock though. And of course, the girls in the red suits. My gosh, everywhere you look in this movie, there’s . . . sand. Round, round mounds of sand.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content
Five of these. Five. They just keep sailing into the harbor. Johnny Depp as Keith, er, Captain Sparrow on another voyage. Oh, why not? Take the kids and have fun. It’s always an adventure with Captain Jack. And Javier Bardem as a pirate? Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content
Two reasons to watch this superhero movie. 1) Gal Gadot as WW can tango with the best, and 2) that costume should be displayed at the Oscars. Otherwise, get ready for another reason to watch good guys and bad guys and the women who fight them. And don’t forget that the woman in this film is your daughter’s role model. Like Wonder Woman, tell her to go out and take no prisoners.
It Comes at Night
Rated R for violence, disturbing images, and language
What’s summer without a little horror? Especially at night? This one is as much weird as scary. But don’t be fooled. It’s also R-rated. Creepy and bloody. Take a friend, go during the day. Don’t take any chances, and watch the door. It’s . . . open?
Rated R for language and drug use throughout, violence, some nudity and sexuality
Here’s a rap biopic about Tupac Shakur who was mysteriously gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996. From the cast and production notes, it looks like a serious exploration of his life. Remarkable resemblance of Tupac by lead actor Demetrius Shipp Jr. Hopefully includes a lot of his music.
Instead of a new offering, Pixar chose to go sequel this year, the third in the Cars series. This one’s for kids, pure and simple. Just grin and bear it.
Hangover anyone? This time it’s ladies’ night at a bachelorette party. It’s got Scarlett Johansson. That’s a good start. But is it funny? Well, add Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) and a lot of bachelorette night humor. It’s promising if you don’t mind lots of inappropriate behavior. Well, if the guys can do it. This one’s for you ladies.
Not yet rated
This could actually be fun. Getaways and fast cars. No, it’s not the Fast and Furious, but it’s got a great-looking cast and whenever you have Jamie Foxx, you can always count on something good. Oh, yeah. Did I mention the cars? By the way, who names their son Baby?
Can you get enough of those minions? I know I can’t. And this time Gru has a brother named Dru, both voiced by Steve Carell. Dru would like to take Gru back to the dark side, except he’s not very good at it. Needs a little brotherly instruction and some encouragement from those devilish minions. I wish I were this good at being bad.
Not yet rated
What? Another Spider-Man series? Yes. Paired up with Iron Man. Why? Don’t ask. Just imbibe. And here’s another strange twist. The villain is former Batman Michael Keaton as Vulture. What? Yeah, lots of questions about this one. But seems there is always room for one more Spider-Man. Get ready to get webbed.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Not yet rated
This one I’m looking forward to. It’s an “Apes” prequel, or a sequel prequel, if you want. But Andy Serkis’ Caesar is always worth watching. This time tangling with ugly American Woody Harrelson. I know who’s going to win this one. Doesn’t matter. I love it when Caesar frowns.
Noted Batman director Christopher Nolan takes on some WW II history here. The evacuation of British troops from the French shores of Dunkirk across the English Channel to Dover is the stuff of legends and myths. Who knows what we’ll get here? But if it’s British drama you crave, here’s your chance. Go for it. You may not get another one this summer.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, suggestive material and brief language
Had enough sci-fi yet? No? Welcome back French action director Luc Besson. Based on the French graphic comic book Valérian and Laureline. Still doesn’t ring a bell? Don’t worry. It’s in English and they spent millions on special effects so your eyes will glaze over. Whatever story is there won’t really matter. And then there’s R&B bombshell Rihanna. Yup. They threw everything into this movie.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, sexuality and brief nudity
Is there anything Charlize Theron can’t do? Won’t do? This is the adult equivalent to Wonder Woman, an MI6 secret agent set loose to kick some Cold War butt. Directed by stuntman David Leitch, so you can bet the feet and the fists will fly. And with Charlize, anything can happen. Anything. Yeah. I confess. I love this woman.
Not yet rated
Now we’re getting some action. Stephen King’s great sci-fi series with Idris Elba as “Gunslinger” and Matthew McConaughey as, well, the king of darkness, the devil, who knows? Two worlds threatened. Lots of special effects. And with two of the coolest guys in acting staring each other down. Well, you’ve got my attention.
It takes all summer to get to something adult and serious, but Kathryn Bigelow rewards us with this historical drama, a portrayal of the real-life Algiers Motel Incident in 1967 Detroit that left three black men dead. Don’t remember this incident? Well, read The Algiers Motel Incident by John Hershey, or just Google it. Then take in the movie. A little protein after a summer’s worth of snack food.