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Previews and Features

I realize that the summer movie season got its actual start more than two months ago with Batman v Superman: Dick Holes. That piece of diseased sloth eye-mush came out on my birthday, of all days, and sent me into a cinematic stupor of the bad kind.

Thanks a lot, Warner Bros. Hey, WB, why don’t you just shit in my face on next year’s birthday? That would be far more festive.

The good news is I’ve recovered thanks to a little movie called Captain America: Civil War, which is a superhero movie done right. Marvel has proven that it is possible to pit two superhero icons against each other without causing Tourette-type fits in the parking lot, diarrhea and disassociation at the workplace. I hadn’t been that grouchy since Batman and Robin came out.


Already Out

The Nice Guys (Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe rock); The Angry Birds Movie (next up—a comedy thriller based on that app you use for doing your taxes); Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (the first of two high profile comedies featuring Mr. Efron); X-Men: Apocalypse (featuring a big fat jerk causing the end of the world … what an asshole); Alice Through the Looking Glass (can we all just admit that Johnny Depp mostly sucks now?).


Released Over the Weekend

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Some things need to go away, like Megan Fox and the CGI turtles. I’d rather see a turtle movie with the one that raced Bugs Bunny and cheated with the big engine in his shell. That was badass!

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

This stars Andy Samberg and is pretty much a Lonely Island movie because his partners Jorma Taccone (Chaka!) and Akiva Schaffer co-wrote and directed. This is one of the season’s great guilty pleasures … it’s hilarious.


The Rest of June

The Conjuring 2 (June 10)

A ghost of some sort is conjured again, and a bunch of people are generally unhappy about it. The first one managed to put a few scares into me, but second helpings of this sort of thing usually result in yawny face. I also can’t stand the scary, demonic-kid gimmick. Just give the damn kid an Oreo; inform her that ghosts are a crock of shit; and tell her to go ride a bike and do something productive. Yeah, I don’t have any kids.

Warcraft (June 10)

This video-game adaptation looks weird, but Duncan Jones (Moon) directed, so I’m holding out hope that it all comes together in the end.

Now You See Me 2 (June 10)

The only good thing about the original was Isla Fisher, and she’s gone from the sequel, replaced by Lizzy Caplan. Lizzy will be the only good thing about the sequel. (I like her—a lot.) Harry Potter also shows up. Several weeks later, he’ll show up in something odd and different. Follow me through a handful more movie capsules, and I will tell you about it. Come along.

Finding Dory (June 17)

Ellen DeGeneres’ adorable fish character gets her own movie. This means more cute whale talk!

Central Intelligence (June 17)

I guess the Rock is kind of funny. As for Kevin Hart, he’s only funny 28.753 percent of the time. Google it. Fact.

Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)

I know what you’re thinking: “Where is Bill Pullman? I need more Bill Pullman in my life, stat!” Relax, you are getting a bearded Bill Pullman, as well as a “really needs a big paycheck” Jeff Goldblum in this long-delayed sequel. Will Smith isn’t around, but thank Christ, they find a way to bring back Brent Spiner’s seemingly dead character.

Weiner-Dog (June 24)

The five or six Todd Solondz fans out there might remember this as being the cruel nickname bestowed upon Dawn Weiner (Heather Matarazzo) in his breakthrough 1995 film Welcome to the Dollhouse. This is a four-part movie about a dog and its influence on people in its life. Dawn does appear in one of the stories, but Matarazzo refused the role. She has been replaced by queen of quirk, Greta Gerwig. It all sounds very strange, and strange is what Solondz does.

Free State of Jones (June 24)

Matthew McConaughey stars in this movie about a rebel who leads a revolt against the Confederate army. So, it looks like Iron Man and Captain America aren’t the only ones in a civil war this summer!

Yep, that’s right: I just wrote the lamest thing I’ve ever written in the 20-plus years I’ve been doing this. The paragraph above is an embarrassment, and if my editor gives two craps about me, he’ll eliminate it from this story. Come on, bro! Have my back! Protect me from myself! Sometimes my writing is awful, and I need you to wield your protective editorial pen!

Damn it. The paragraph made it in. Color me humiliated.

The Shallows (June 29)

Blake Lively gets stranded on a rock in the middle of the ocean after a shark attack. Jaws is still my pick for greatest shark movie ever. Deep Blue Sea is a distant second, followed by Open Water and Jaws 2. (Oh, come on … you know you loved the whole shark electrocution thing.) I’m looking for this to displace some of the films on my shark movie list. No chance it unseats Jaws, but it could bump Jaws 2.


Sex, July and Videotape

Swiss Army Man (July 1)

This looks to be some sort of indie Weekend at Bernie’s, where Paul Dano finds Daniel Radcliffe’s farting dead body on the beach, and strange things ensue. Words cannot express how strange and wonderful this movie looks to be. Actually, words can express that. The phrase “words cannot express” actually counts as words expressing the sentiment about it possibly being amazing. It very clearly expresses that—in words. That expression makes no sense.

The BFG (July 1)

Brash indie filmmaker Steven Spielberg returns to fantasy films with this take on the Roald Dahl classic, adapted for the screen by the same person who wrote< em>E.T. (the late, great Melissa Mathison). With this, and his commitment to another Indiana Jones movie, Spielberg looks like he’s getting away from those boring historical dramas for a nice, fantastical change of pace.

As far as the “big” summer movies go, this is the one about which I’m most excited. I’m hoping Spielberg can put the pins-and-needles, tears-of-joy vibe into me that he did 34 years ago with E.T.

The Purge: Election Year (July 1)

America is purged once again. In the year of the Trump, perhaps this one will go a little deeper into the political and social ramifications of allowing a complete fuckwad into the White House, and its potentially violent impact on our society. Or, perhaps it will just be total garbage like the other two.

The Legend of Tarzan (July 1)

This is about a man who acts like an ape and has Margot Robbie all hot and bothered. So what? Who cares?

OK, I have to confess: The new Radiohead album recently came out, and I’m listening to it. I’m going to take a break, come back and hopefully write something a little more constructive about this movie.

I’ve listened, and I’m back. The Edgar Rice Burroughs classic about a boy raised into manhood by apes gets a modern take co-starring Margot Robbie, the talented actress you can also see in this summer’s Suicide Squad.

Also, the Radiohead album is really good. It’s less bleepy and blurpy than the more-recent Radiohead and Thom Yorke efforts and should really satisfy those fans of past albums like Kid A and OK Computer. There’s plenty of Jonny Greenwood playing guitar, which I’ve missed over the years. It’s highly recommended.

OK, back to the movies.

The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)

It’s summertime, and that means lots of animated movies. This one features Louis C.K. as a Jack Russell terrier, so I’m most certainly going to watch it. I would watch it even if the job didn’t require it. I would watch Louis C.K. playing mold on a piece of bread.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (July 8)

The comedic Summer of Efron continues. That’s good, because another The Lucky One or Parkland would be a mid-summer deathblow. This one also features Aubrey Plaza’s naked butt.

Ghostbusters (July 15)

Oh lordy, the buzz on this one is bad, bad, bad. Trying to defend this reboot in which women replace the men has been a little rough due to a lackluster preview trailer, but Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are badass, and more-than-suitable stand-ins for Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself before I go to bed at night.

Café Society (July 15)

The latest movie from Woody Allen stars Blake Lively, not Miley Cyrus. Cyrus is the star of his upcoming TV series on Amazon. It should be an interesting year for Mr. Allen. At this point, he’s most certainly been introduced to twerking and perpetual pouting.

Star Trek Beyond (July 22)

This is another film suffering from “bad trailer” buzz. Director Justin Lin looks like he’s going for something a little brighter and funnier than the previous “new” Star Trek films. Star Trek on TV was quite campy, and maybe that’s something he’s trying to get filmgoers to remember. That’s risky, but it could also be a fun switch-up. We shall see.

Lights Out (July 22)

Hey, they made a full-length movie based on that short about the lady turning the lights on and off until a weird-looking monster thing appeared at her table. Next up: a full-length movie about the sexual exploits of that infamous surprised groundhog in that oft-watched viral video.

Jason Bourne (July 29)

Matt Damon says, “Ah, screw it!” and returns as Jason Bourne. He swore he wouldn’t ever do Bourne again without Paul Greengrass as director. Hey, he’s Matt Damon, so he got Paul Greengrass. Word has it that he also got a golf cart, a bunch of baseball cards, and lots of his favorite pie. He’s Matt Damon, and he gets what he wants.

Yoga Hosers (July 29)

Kevin Smith follows up his weird Tusk with something that looks completely insane. It has sausage Nazis in it—and Johnny Depp. Even though Depp shows up for the second Smith film in a row, I highly doubt this will get a wide release. It’s just too out there.

Bad Moms (July 29):

Mila Kunis joins Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate in this film about moms going crazy. I hope she is more convincing as a bad mom than she is as a factory worker for Jim Beam. Have you seen the commercial in which she is branding her name on a barrel of Jim Beam? She’s all hot and made up, hitting barrels with mallets, and acting like she’s just totally in command of the whole barreling-liquor thing. It plays a lot on MLB.com, and it really annoys me. It totally wrecks ballgames.

Maybe I need to lighten up a bit.


August: Last Blast Before Oscar Season Gets All Deep

Suicide Squad (Aug. 5)

Honestly, it’s hard to get excited about anything from Warner Bros. in the DC universe right now. Batman v Superman is an abomination. (Say, have I made that point clear yet?) This film is a purported part of that universe. It does have Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, which has to be good. As for Jared Leto as the Joker? Those tattoos look so stupid.

The Founder (Aug. 5)

Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s corporation. This is one film in which the preview trailer is actually promising, as it gives Keaton the chance to flash his wiseguy persona. This looks to be a summer movie for those of us who like to think. And those of us who really like Big Macs.

Pete’s Dragon (Aug. 12)

The makers of this reboot of the underrated Disney classic should take a cue from John Favreau’s The Jungle Book and sneak a couple of the original film’s music numbers into this one. Robert Redford replaces Mickey Rooney in the update. That just sounds strange.

Sausage Party (Aug. 12)

Seth Rogen and friends try to make a gregariously obscene animated movie about supermarket food trying to survive being purchased and sent toward human colons. It looks cheap, but potentially funny.

Florence Foster Jenkins (Aug. 12)

Meryl Streep plays the title character, a New York socialite who wanted to be an opera singer, even though she couldn’t sing worth a shit. Can you say automatic Oscar nomination? Can you say hippopotamus five times really fast—backwards? Go ahead. Try. I dare you.

Ben-Hur (Aug 19)

Chariot races. Hooray.

War Dogs (Aug. 19)

Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directs the story of two young gunrunners who get a huge contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons overseas. Miles Teller and a clearly-drinking-milkshakes-and-chasing-them-with-entire-sides-of-beef-beause-he’s-huge-in-this Jonah Hill look like they have some good comedic chemistry in the trailer. Bradley Cooper shows up as well.

The Space Between Us (Aug. 19)

Asa Butterfield plays a kid who comes home to track down his dad and a girl he likes. What makes his situation a little different is that he’s returning from Mars.

Kubo and the Two Strings (Aug. 19)

Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey lend their voices to this piece of stop-motion animation from director Travis Knight, making his directorial debut after chipping in on The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Coraline.

Southside With You (Aug. 26)

A sweet couple goes out for a first date in Chicago. What distinguishes this one from other first-date movies is that the two potential lovebirds are Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson. I think we know that the first date will lead to others. And health-care exchanges.

Don’t Breathe (Aug. 26)

Deep August usually brings a horror film. This year’s offering comes from Fede Alvarez, the guy who actually made a decent remake of Evil Dead. It involves a heist gone bad, and apparently proves that breaking into Stephen Lang’s house is a very bad idea.

Hands of Stone (Aug. 26)

Robert De Niro plays Ray Arcel, boxing coach to nutty boxer Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez). Anything with De Niro near a boxing ring gets me excited. Hell, I was excited for Grudge Match until I actually saw it.

Mechanic: Resurrection (Aug. 26)

The Mechanic was OK for a Jason Statham movie, but by the time this comes out, I think we will all be ready for what autumn and winter have to offer at the movie theater.

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