Coming Soon: Summer 2016

Later this year, I’ll spell out by month every movie I plan to see before we ring in 2017, as I’ve been doing on this space for the last couple of years. It’s the best time of the year for great film, and I’m always heading out to see one or two or three movies in a week. Sharing all that screen time here is what this space is all about.

I haven’t been as consistent about posting my summer watch plans, mainly because the season of studio blockbusters and shallow date movies is not so much my thing. But as I perused a few summer release calendars and my own movie-going ramped up more than expected, I realized there’s enough coming soon that I could create a quick hit-list of what I think is worth seeing over the long, sun-drenched days of summer.

coming soon summer

(And though it’s the end of May as I post this, I’m including that month here because there’s plenty still in theaters worth catching.)


Money Monster – though it’s received middling reviews, the Jodie Foster/Julia Roberts/George Clooney trio is enough to make a ticket to this one worth the $12, and thought I haven’t bought one yet, I plan to. trailer

Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman doesn’t have a long filmography, but his ensemble comedies have always hit the mark; Love & Friendship is no exception. Kate Beckinsale for Best Actress! trailer

The Lobster – Like Stillman, Yorgos Lanthimos hasn’t made many films, but you always know when you’re watching one of his by its dryness and absurdity (which sounds like a horrible combination, but this guy makes it work). Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz make his style work for them in this poignant dystopian romantic fable. trailer

High-Rise – Tom Hiddleston is one of those actors that rarely, if ever, goes wrong, and he was all the buzz around the festival circuit as this one made the rounds. Relegated to a day-and-date release in theaters and on demand, I’ll probably find this one on iTunes before too long. trailer

The Nice Guys – I have tried twice now to make it to this one, and have missed it both times. First, I go the times wrong. Then I went to the wrong theater. So while it’s winning over anyone who encounters the Gosling/Crowe bromance, I haven’t yet had the chance. trailer

Maggie’s Plan – Love her or not, Greta Gerwig has carved out a niche for herself in the quirky, lovable, conventional-beauty, girl-next-door-space and she is working it. Maggie’s Plan isn’t bad at all. It’s just not good, either. trailer

Weiner – I was once picking up a slice of pizza for dinner when Anthony Weiner walked in to the same shop. Scandal-ridden politicians – they’re just like us! This doc is just as revealing and compelling as everyone says it is – watch this space for a full post, as it warrants one. trailer


Dheepan – As far as delays go in releasing films, this is one I’ve been waiting for a while now. The winner of last year’s Cannes Palme d’Or (this year’s was just announced last week), it’s the latest from the filmmaker who made A Prophet, both dark and nuanced looks at immigrants in unlikely circumstances. trailer

Finding Dory – Disney isn’t the only studio bringing back a franchise this year long after the original; the other (I’m looking at you, Independence Day) didn’t even make my list, because who really cares? But a Pixar classic with its focus shifted to Ellen Degeneres’s adorable, forgetful fish? Sign me up. trailer

Free State of Jones – Before Birth of a Nation finds theaters (and awards glory) later this year, Matthew McConaughey takes on his own civil war story about a southerner who rebels against the Confederacy itself. trailer

Tickled – When my former boss was headed to Sundance this year, I called out this doc as one to check out. The premise – a guy discovers videos online of men getting tickled and uncovers a world weirder than he ever expected – is just too good to pass up. Though distribution rights went to Magnolia, I still plan on checking it out. trailer

Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Chicago’s own Critics Film Festival wrapped up last week and featured this and several other great indie films, and since my schedule didn’t allow me to get to it then, I’ve got this Sundance festival selection on my summer list. trailer

The Shallows – A beautiful surfer gets stranded and must fight the shark who’s keeping her from finding safety. Doesn’t sound at all like my typical fare, but when that beautiful surfer is Blake Lively, I will check it out to just see if she’s got the chops to make it work. trailer


The BFG – My love of reading is deep and long, and Roald Dahl’s books won me over early on. If you’ve ever read THE BFG, you know it’s not exactly an easy film adaptation. Thankfully, the master Steven Spielberg took on the challenge and, if early buzz is an indicator, has lived up to it. trailer

Star Trek Beyond – I have thoroughly enjoyed latest installations in the Star Trek franchise, thanks to a childhood filled with TNG episodes. If I had to choose a big blockbuster, intergalactic saga to check out this summer, this one would be it. trailer

Ghostbusters – All the flack this one is getting just makes me want to see it more. Four women? Make a movie? That you remember from when you were a kid? Your life is ruined! Or not at all so please shut your trap and let us enjoy the movie. trailer

Jason Bourne – Ok, so there are a few more action flicks on this list than I realized. It is summer, after all. The studio is counting on Matt Damon’s return to the Bourne world to make this one a smash hit; they’ve certainly managed to catch my interest. trailer

The Infiltrator – Bryan Cranston can basically write his own ticket in Hollywood these days, what with all that Breaking Bad amazingness and, you know, his innate talent. Combine that and our fascination with all things Pablo Escobar (seriously, if you haven’t seen Narcos, go now), and it’s on my list. trailer

Genius – Jude Law and Colin Firth play Thomas Wolfe and his long-suffering editor Maxwell Perkins in this adaptation of a biography. I don’t expect such an obscure subject to capture a wide audience, but an early look has me interested enough to include it here. trailer


Café Society – Am I conflicted about a man as controversial as Woody Allen? Yes, I am. Am I still going to see Café Society? Yes, I am. trailer

Pete’s Dragon – File under Kids Stories We Didn’t Know We Needed New Movies For, Disney saturates the summer with another big flick aimed at family dollars. It looks better than Tarzan, at least. trailer

Kubo and the Two Strings – An animated adventure from Laika (Coraline, Corpse Bride), Kubo is a kid with a guitar (looking thing) and magic on his side. trailer

War Dogs – I want to say I’ll see this one because it looks like a great story, or because it’s made my some auteur I admire. But no, it’s really just because I’ll see whatever Miles Teller does right now, however goofy it may be. #sorrynotsorry trailer

The Founder – Michael Keaton continues his late-career upswing by taking on the role of Ray Kroc in this biopic on the man who pushed McDonald’s into the franchise that took over the world, a guy who – depending on who you ask in my family – could’ve been my great-great grandfather. But that’s another blog post. trailer

Southside With You – Another Sundance darling finding its way to theaters this summer, the film chronicles the first date of a young lawyer and the pretty colleague who would become the President and First Lady of the U.S. trailer

Florence Foster Jenkins – Earlier this year, Cohen released a foreign, arthouse version of the story of a wealthy woman with no talent who insists on becoming a star and the people who enable her. This version is sure to get more attention thanks to one Meryl Streep in the lead and, you know, no subtitles. trailer

The Space Between Us – Much like Miles Teller, Asa Butterfield is another young actor I’m enamored with (in a totally appropriate way, I swear). In what looks like The Martian for tweens, he’s a kid born on the red planet who returns to Earth at sixteen. trailer

What will you be seeing at the cinema this Summer?