Last week, I got to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (spoiler alert: I really liked it). As it’s on its way to grossing $140M in its first weekend, we can officially declare Summer Movie Season 2017 open for business. If this gangbusters sequel is any indication, we’re in for a good few months. As always, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list of releases; instead, it’s just those several I’m looking forward to. Maybe you are, too?
Snatched – I ended up enjoying Trainwreck more than I thought I would, and though I was underwhelmed by her most recent stand-up special (everyone has to raise their game now that Dave Chappelle is back in the mix), I’ll still go see her and Goldie Hawn in this raunchy action comedy. trailer
Alien Covenant – One of my many cinematic blind spots is the original Alien series; maybe, like I did with Star Wars recently, I’ll remedy that one day. I did catch Prometheus in theaters back in 2012, though, and even I could recognize the spawn at the end of the movie. trailer
The Dinner – When I was in New York, I worked on the U.S. release of The Dinner, an Italian adaptation of Herman Koch’s internationally best-selling novel. (It’s now on Netflix.) This version is an American adaptation starring Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall as two brothers and their wives who meet for a nice dinner. It’s much more nuanced than that, of course. I can recommend the book and the Italian version; will have to let you know on the U.S. one. trailer
The Lovers – This one had me at its tagline: A love so strong it can survive marriage. How clever is that? A comedy for grown-ups, it’s Tracy Letts and Debra Winger as a long-married couple who fall into affairs but then…don’t? Probably won’t gross hundreds of millions of dollars, but I bet it’d make for a great date night. trailer
The Commune – One of the many films featured at last year’s Chicago Int’l Film Festival that I never got around to seeing, this one is about the clash between personal desires and what’s best for the whole at a Danish commune in the 1970s. How could you not be intrigued? trailer
Wonder Woman – Though some have (probably rightly) criticized the lack-luster marketing for Marvel’s first big attempt at launching a female superhero franchise, I’m cautiously optimistic that – if it’s good – this one will do just fine. Of course, there’s some speculation that it’s not good, thus the limited marketing. But we’ll see come June. trailer
The Big Sick – Summer is always a great time for Sundance releases; before Netflix, the earliest the rest of us saw these official selections was summer. The Big Sick, about an interracial couple dealing with matters of life, love and death, was a huge hit in Park City, and the buzz is that it’ll live up to that in theaters, too. trailer
The Beguiled – We haven’t heard from Sofia Coppola since 2013’s Bling Ring, but it would seem as though The Beguiled will be worth the wait. A decked out, female-centric casts leads the Civil War-era story of a school for girls that is clearly not what it seems. Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Firth…and period costumes? Coppola at her best. trailer
Band Aid – Another summer Sundance release, I’m actually going to catch this one in May when it plays the Chicago Critics Film Festival. It’s Zoe Lister-Jones’ directorial debut, about a married couple on the rocks who decide to turn their fights into songs for their new band. Original screenwriting at its best.
The Hero – Brett Haley has only made one film before The Hero, but he seems to have a thing for stories about aging artists and their trials. In I’ll See You in My Dreams, it was Blythe Danner. Here, it’s Sam Elliott. Co-stars Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) and Laura Prepon (OITNB). trailer
Baby Driver – A massive hit at SXSW in March, Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of the Dead) hasn’t made a film about babies driving. The baby here is Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars), who finds himself recruited to be the getaway driver for a band of criminals. Fun ensues. trailer
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – Al Gore’s groundbreaking environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006, and it was the first time, far as I can tell, that a general population started paying attention climate change. Nothing like a movie to get people to pay attention! He returns with this sequel over a decade later, with a focus on global energy and the imminent issues we’re facing. trailer
A Ghost Story – All the early word of mouth on this one is that it is bizarre…and amazing. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star in the story of a dead husband, now a white-sheeted ghost, who returns to his suburban home and his grieving wife. trailer
Menashe – What’s most intriguing to me here is that renegade distributor A24 has chosen Menashe as its first foreign-language film release. Foreign language films continue to be a white whale in distribution, notoriously difficult to find an audience for. A24 is going the Jewish route in this story of a widower in an Orthodox community trying to raise his son after the death of his wife. trailer
The Incredible Jessica James / Landline – Two unassuming indie dramedies make my list of summer must-sees, because they can’t all be big budget tent-poles. One follows Jessica Williams (The Daily Show) as a struggling playwright who strikes up a new friendship; the other is set in pre-internet 1995 as a teen discovers – presumably with the help of landlines – that her father is having an affair. Landline trailer
Detroit – Based on a riot in 1967 Detroit, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) chronicles one of the largest citizen uprisings in the history of the country. John Boyega steps out of his Star Wars world to star alongside John Krasinski (The Office), Samira Wiley (OITNB) and more. trailer
The Glass Castle – Based on Jeannette Walls’s highly personal memoir, Brie Larson stars as the author and Naomi Watts as her mother. Walls’s childhood was marked by poverty and dysfunction, and though she ultimately came through it, her recounting of her origin family and the issues that stem from it is one anyone can likely relate to.