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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Summer Arts Preview: Films

It’s easy to re-watch Netflix series you’ve already seen nine times during the summer. But movie theaters are dying, and there are lots of great features coming out this year. Here are 11 movies you should check out this summer.

Alien: Covenant (May 19)

We’re approaching the point where the “Alien” franchise feels completely worn out, but there’s still reason to be excited for this new iteration. Ridley Scott is directing and, at age 79, we might not have many chances to see more of his visionary work. The cast is eclectic, ranging from dramatic talents like Michael Fassbender to comedians like Danny McBride. And, as one of the seemingly few people who really enjoyed “Prometheus,” I’m excited to see where Scott takes this saga.

All Eyez on Me (June 16)

After the massive success of “Straight Outta Compton,” it was inevitable that we’d see more rap biopics, and this Tupac film has a lot in common with that 2015 breakout film. Both are R-rated, longer than two hours, feature relatively unknown talents and are an attempt to capitalize on nostalgia for rap’s golden age. It will be interesting to see if this film can replicate the success of “Compton” or bring anything new to the genre.

Rough Night (June 16)

Last summer’s premiere female ensemble comedy, “Ghostbusters,” fell flat to critics and audiences. “Rough Night,” centered on a bachelorette party gone wrong, is an opportunity for a more original endeavor. The cast is stacked (Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer and many others), and unlike “Ghostbusters,” this one is also female-directed, helmed by Lucia Aniello.

The Bad Batch (June 23)

Described as a “dystopian love story ... set in a community of cannibals,” it’s hard to describe the vibe of the film in words. Please check out the trailer to see just how unique of a voice director Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”) brings to the screen. I’m not sure if this movie will be great, but it will at least be compelling.

Baby Driver (June 28)

Ansel Elgort stars as a getaway driver who gets roped into a risky heist, but the real star here is director Edgar Wright. The cinematic luminary behind “Shaun of the Dead” has yet to release a disappointing feature film, and it’s been four years since his last project (“The World’s End”). “Baby Driver” is also already earning positive reviews from early screenings, and it looks like an absolute delight.

Okja (June 28)

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The narrative in “Okja” is a familiar one: A young child befriends an unusual creature and tries to protect it from those who misunderstand the beast. Don’t expect this film to be similar to “E.T.” or “The Iron Giant,” though. Director Joon Ho Bong was behind one of the wildest, most inventive action films of late (“Snowpiercer”), and his bold style should make this retreaded plot feel fresh. “Okja” will be streaming on Netflix.

The Beguiled (June 30)

This Civil War-era drama isn’t the stereotypical summer blockbuster, but it looks to be enthralling. Set at a girls’ school in the Confederacy, the film follows the drama that ensues when the women shelter a wounded Union soldier. Director Sofia Coppola’s filmography has been inconsistent, but when she’s at her best, few filmmakers are superior.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)

Yes, it feels a bit exhausting to see a third Spider-Man reboot in the past decade. But star Tom Holland is perhaps the first Peter Parker to truly look the part—he’s just 20 years old—and from what we see in the trailer, he looks like he’s having a lot of fun with the role. Hopefully this new feature can give due care to this narrative and not simply use it as a vehicle to advance the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)

This franchise has quietly become one of the most enjoyable summer staples, and the third film looks like it’ll bring the same combination of gloom and action delight. Andy Serkis, the king of motion-capture acting, returns as Caesar who is the leader of the apes. The villain this time around is a maniacal Woody Harrelson, which is truly the best kind of Woody Harrelson.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)

Based on a hit comic book, this sci-fi flick looks like it could be the most visually stunning blockbuster in a while. It also stars Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan, the king and queen of beautiful eyebrows in Hollywood.

Detroit (August 4)

“Detroit” follows the city’s infamous riots in 1967, but the focus on civil rebellion and police brutality will likely evoke current headlines. That’s especially true considering this film comes from director Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”). John Boyega, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie star.

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