With such “spellbinding” films like “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and “Going in Style” hitting the silver screen this weekend I decided to skip the theater and enjoy my weekend with family. It’s been a sad couple of weeks for movies with the aforementioned pair opening a handful of days ago and “The Boss Baby,” “Ghost in the Shell” and “A Zookeepers Wife” releasing two weeks ago. So I decided to look ahead toward the summer — the real meat and potatoes of the movie season — and my faith in hollywood was restored.
Here’s a look at my seven most anticipated summer films, starting next month and ending during the last week of August:
7. “All Eyez on Me” (June 16) — The much-anticipated biopic of rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur has me tentatively excited because his story is so rich with ups and downs and mystery. He was a pop culture icon and I’d love to see someone do Tupac’s legacy some justice. I am nervous, however, because director Benny Boom has little experience helming a film of this size and the trailer starts with the quote “THE UNTOLD STORY,” which is always concerning. Fingers crossed here.
6. “Baywatch” (May 26) — Yes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is in everything these days but this is one that I will pay to see. The trailers have given me a flavor of “21 Jump Street” in bikinis and I can dig it. Plus, Zac Efron is one of the most underrated comedic actors in the business today and I get the feeling that he and Johnson had solid chemistry while filming this movie. It’s going to be dumb, raunchy and predictable but I’ll be there with a big bucket of popcorn.
5. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (July 7) — I grew up with Spider-Man so anytime the character is attached to anything I am excited. The trailers have been passable so far but I’m enjoying Tom Holland as Peter Parker and the fact that Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau an Donald Glover are all in here has optimistic that there will plenty of humor to go along with some heart.
4. “Alien: Covenant:” (May 19) — The return of Alien. That’s all I really needed to hear. But then longtime director Ridley Scott brought back Michael Fassbender and added in James Franco, Guy Pearce and Danny McBride to the cast. I’m so ready to see humans cower in fear while trying to survive against a xenomorph. It’s been too long.
3. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (May 5) — I was blown away by the first and since then I’ve been eagerly awaiting the sequel to my favorite Marvel movie. The trailers have made me a little reserved about director James Gunn’s second go-around — it’s looked bloated and the humor hasn’t always hit — but I want to believe. For those of you that got that X-Files reference, I love you.
2. “Dunkirk” (July 21) — For the second that I saw initial teaser and it read “FROM CHRISTOPHER NOLAN,” I was hooked. Nolan has been as close to a sure thing in the director’s chair over the past decade, helming the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Interstellar” and “Inception.” I love the history that comes with war films and when they’re done correctly and artfully they can carry a stronger message than any futuristic fantasy film. It also doesn’t hurt that Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance are attached to star.
1. “War for the Planet of the Apes” (July 14) — This string of apes movies, which started with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in 2011, could end up being my favorite movie trilogy of all time if director Matt Reeves can knock it out of the park with the finale. Andy Serkis is back as Caesar, our lovable protagonist primate, and Woody Harrelson looks like his perfect and haunting foil. Words cannot express how excited I am for this film.
BOX OFFICE REVIEW
1. “The Boss Baby:” $26,363,488 (Week 2); Fox. Total Gross: $89,436,806.
2. “Beauty and the Beast:” $23,652,605 (Week 4); Disney/Buena Vista. Total Gross: $430,946,639.
3. “Smurfs: The Lost Village:” $13,210,449 (Week 1); Sony.
4. “Going in Style:” $11,932,330 (Week 1); Warner Bros.
5. “Ghost in the Shell:” $7,306,413 (Week 2); Paramount. Total Gross: $31,529,863.
“The Fate of the Furious” — When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
- Director: F. Gary Gray
- Stars: Luke Evans, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood
“Spark: A Space Tail” — Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana - a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong.
- Director: Aaron Woodley
- Stars: Susan Sarandon, Jessica Biel, Patrick Stewart, Hilary Swank
“The Lost City of Z” — A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.
- Director: James Gray
- Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland
“Norman” — Norman Oppenheimer is a small time operator who befriends a young politician at a low point in his life. Three years later, when the politician becomes an influential world leader, Norman's life dramatically changes for better and worse.
- Director: Joseph Cedar
- Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg