Grab your refillable tubs of popcorn and find out how to sneak in as many snacks as you can (purses and pants with big pockets are the way to go), because the summer movie season is upon us. The CHUD staff weighs in on some of the more notable (and some less notable) releases headed our way this year. For the purpose of this article, summer will begin on May 1st and end on September 1st.
All release dates are from BoxOfficeMojo, so some of these might be limited or VOD releases.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
Drew: While Furious 7 will now be viewed as the true kickoff to summer 2015 (it’s the fastest film to ever reach a billion dollars globally. WOW), there’s no question that Avengers: Age of Ultron is going blow the summer movie season away. A sequel to the third highest grossing movie of all time (before adjusting for inflation) is going to hit big, and it doesn’t hurt that Avengers: Age of Ultron looks like a significant catalyst in the experiment that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel looks like they’re finally fixing their villain problem by giving us a darkly charismatic robot who likes to quote Pinocchio. I’m sold! If this film can successfully build off of the goodwill The Avengers cultivated (it’s a good movie, but not a great one) and shake up the Marvel universe in as surprising a way as most of Phase Two has been, this could be a blockbuster delight.
Flynn: This big summer movie has James Spader in it. Sold.
Justin: I’m still a little worried Avengers 2 is going to suffer from the same inconsequential foot soldier “feel” as the Chitauri in part 1. As much as I love Avengers, the Chitauri kept feeling like simple fodder to see all our favorite superheroes strike poses and shoot lightning, which, okay, they WERE exactly that, but trick me into thinking it’s a heavier threat or something? The rampant AI aspect of Ultron is cool and I hope the stakes’ll feel raised a bit, but still….that’s a small worry I have. Wave after wave of indistinguishable, villainous robots (Die bad robot die). Otherwise I’m out of my mind for this and I’ll be so hyped I’ll probably leave the theater pretending to be the Hulk and embarrass my wife and child when I fall down and hurt myself.
Miles: It’s a Tuff Turf reunion! Of course I’m excited. What else is there to say? This is out in a few days. The wait is over.
Brandon: While Marvel has released some fan-flippin’-tastic films, the Avengers films are truly the core of the entire cinematic universe. This is where Cap, Iron Man and the rest of the gang join together and show moviegoers just how much bang Marvel can give them for their bucks. It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve seen these superheroes join together to fight a worldwide threat and I couldn’t be happier that the gang is getting back together.
Maggie (May 8)
Drew: I’m a sucker for some Schwarzenegger. I’ll defend the guy any day, but it can be hard if people just aren’t into the kinds of movies Arnie is usually attached to. That’s why Maggie is a such a wonderful curiosity. It’s the farthest Schwarzenegger has ventured from his wheelhouse since End of Days (which has so much potential but is hampered by having to adapt to more Arnold-y elements), and looks like a purposeful statement to those critics who think the big guy isn’t an actor. Since I wrote The Walking Dead off long ago, I’m hopeful for a zombie movie that actually wrangles some emotion out of me. This looks like it has that capability.
Flynn: I hope folks don’t go see this with false expectations. It may have the younger Zombieland actress and the gun-wielding guy from Eraser, but this ain’t fun. It’s a family drama first and foremost, and its probably slow and dry as dust. Only see this if you would watch Schwarzenegger care for a cancer-ridden daughter. It’s that movie. Me? I’m a longtime Arnold fan and cherish his choice for more serious work, but I honestly think that he’s too large to appear in small festival movies like this one. I assume he’s doing a good job in a so-so movie.
Justin: I’m weirdly excited for this. Despite what anybody in the universe says to the contrary, Arnold can act when he’s in the right hands, and, beyond that, he can actually act WELL when he’s in the right hands. It remains to be seen if….Henry Hobson? It’s his FIRST movie? Oh. Eh. That doesn’t bode as well, but whatever, I’m forever an Arnold devotee. I saw Junior in the movie theater. I’ll see this.
Miles: Were it not for a mid-day screening that conflicts with my work schedule, I could give you a more informed opinion. In lieu of that…this looks dull and I actively dislike Abigail Breslin. The thought of her achieving immortality bugs me. Sorry, no.
Brandon: I just want Arnie to be a box office behemoth again! While I doubt Maggie will be the movie that makes him movie star number one again, I’ve got to commend the the man for trying something new.
Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)
Drew: There is no way that Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t my most anticipated movie of the summer, possibly even the year. George Miller is returning to the post-apocalyptic wasteland that he mastered, bringing with him all the recklessness and insanity we’ve come to love about this universe. A seventy year old man is about to show all these young whippersnappers how you make a summer movie. The size, the detail, the vicious gorgeousness of every frame we’ve been gifted with. Star Wars might have everyone else in an ultra tizzy, but it’s vehicle wars I’m much more giddy about.
Flynn: I’ve been looking forward to this since 2004 when Miller was still trying to do it with Mel. Realizing it’s finally arriving in theatres as an actual movie feels strange. And unlike other similar projects such as Duke Nukem Forever or Guns’ N Roses’s Chinese Democracy, it looks sooo f’n good. I gotta agree with Drew on this. For a movie by a seventy-year-old, it’s viciously gorgeous looking. I’ll gladly tie myself to the front of Immortan Joe’s car.
Justin: VICIOUS is the word for this. Every trailer I see is just vicious. George Miller is vicious (except when he’s making me cry in Babe: Pig in the City). It looks like he spent the last couple decades locked up in solitary and then was released and was given Tom Hardy and a few million bucks to make a new movie. It looks giddily unrestrained. It looks irresponsible. If there was ever a movie made for sneaking a flask of whiskey into the theater with you, it’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
Miles: Can you fucking believe this thing really exists? We’ve seen so many long-gestating dream projects come to fruition over the years that it’s easy to get jaded (we got a prequel to Alien, directed by Ridley Scott, you guys). But this looks like the dream finally came true. Someone I know has seen this and they’ve called it “batshit” in every conversation we’ve had about it. He hasn’t necessarily said it’s great, just that he couldn’t believe the thing existed in the first place. I’m praying that’s a good thing, because only Star Wars can break my heart as badly as this can.
Brandon: Considering I’ve watched the trailer for Fury Road about, oh, I don’t know, fifteen thousand times, I think it’s safe to say I am greatly anticipating George Miller’s return to his apocalyptic outback adventure land. The god damn trailer has more action than about every single action film that’ll hit this year. Fury Road promises to be a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. Yes. Yes, please.
Poltergeist (May 22)
Drew: I don’t have any nostalgia-clouded vision when it comes to the original Poltergeist, but I do recognize its simple nature and effective execution. It’s weird to see what differences “family horror” features in comparison to the 1982 version. I guarantee that no one will be tearing their face off in this film (Sam Rockwell’s oozy face reflected on a faucet is probably our weak substitute), and that bums me out. This looks like it’s a kiddie horror picture, and that’s okay, but I prefer the slackened morals of 1980s horror that gave us disturbingly kid-friendly fare like Gremlins and The Gate. The new Poltergeist looks like it’ll create a few creepy gifs (those eyes in the closet are cool), but that’s probably all.
Flynn: Spielberg’s Poltergeist is a favorite of mine. It’s fun, it has lots of action, interesting characters, memorable images, and a variety of well-made thrills. The first sequel is a bit less, but it easily features the creepiest old man ever. If you haven’t seen that one, check it out. As for this reboot? Ugh. I really like nothing about it. It looks like the laziest of remakes, a simple rehash without any fresh ideas. Sam Rockwell deserves better.
Justin: Okay, I JUST watched the Poltergeist reboot/remake/whatever trailer, and I got to say, it doesn’t look that bad? No? Just me? It looks like it’s shot well, I love me some Sam Rockwell, although some moments felt a little generically “2015” horror – jump scares that could have been from The Conjuring or Insidious or Mama – but it looks decent. The lit-up eyes in the closet? That’s fresh. This could be a sleeper. Nobody’s topping Zelda Rubinstein though, RIP to the legend.
Miles: I’d rather watch Tobe Hooper’s Spontaneous Combustion again.
Brandon: I have to admit that this trailer does nothing for me. The loud noises, the overdone horror tropes, that god damn clown. It just doesn’t interest me. While Sam Rockwell has never done me wrong, I fear I might skip this one. However, please tell me if Rockwell has a kick-ass dance scene.
Tomorrowland (May 22)
Drew: Brad Bird is the name most associated with this project, as far as the film community is concerned. The name that should be discussed in regards to Tomorrowland is Damon Lindelof. After falling under his Lost-ian spell, I gave the guy a fair shake with Prometheus and Star Trek Into Darkness, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Lindelof should stick to television (I quite liked the first season of The Leftovers). Tomorrowland has some spiritual promise (super-science saving the world is fun and way more Star Trek-ish than either of Lindelof’s ventures into the final frontier), but it hasn’t done much to make it seem special. I hope that’s where that Brad Bird magic comes into play.
Flynn: While I dig Brad Bird, I have trouble generating any interest for this. The whole story seems to rely on the specific kind of wonder Spielberg is naturally great at, but nothing in the trailers suggests Bird and Lindelof managed to achieve that.
Justin: My faith in- yes, Brad Bird will carry me through the horrible marketing for this film. Why haven’t they been saying it’s from the director of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, from the get-go? It seems like they actively don’t want people to see this. Hey, guys….viral “mystery” advertising is dead. We’re over it. That being said, loogit that latest trailer! Robots with lazers and such! More shots of Tomorrowland! Now that’s better. And much more informative than the others. Despite their best efforts to convince us otherwise, this movie will be good. That is Bird’s track record talking, not me.
Miles: It’ll probably be good, but the lead actress bugs me. Badly. And I wonder how this movie looks to people who don’t follow directors, especially under-the-radar guys like Brad Bird. Because the trailers for this have been rough and if that’s all I had to go on, this would be an easy miss for me.
Brandon: I’m not so sure about Tomorrowland. Is it a family adventure? An action film? Science fiction? A love letter to Ayn Rand? Marketing for Brad Bird’s latest has been very secretive, maybe too secretive. In the end, my admiration of Bird and my unending love of Disneyland will bring me to the theater, even if I don’t really know what I’m going to see.
When Marnie Was There (May 22)
Drew: I haven’t seen a Studio Ghibli film in theaters since Howl’s Moving Castle, but with Miyazaki retiring and the possibility of When Marnie Was There being the last Ghibli film (it won’t be. …right?), I feel a sense of melancholy obligation to this film. I’m an animation snob, so I’ll probably wait until I can watch the film in its intended Japanese language (I know, I’m one of those), but the English cast assembled here is just as stellar as always from a Ghibli film. This looks small, and if it does prove the last outing for Studio Ghibli, it will certainly become mandatory viewing.
Flynn: Not every movie sporting the (dying) Ghibli logo is as good as the acclaimed works of Hayao Miyazaki. Hiromasa Yonebayashi directed The Secret World of Arrietty which was a solid little tale, but nothing you would ever heartily recommend to friends and family. I have a feeling his When Marnie Was There is pretty much the same. Just a warm summer breeze. Nothing more, nothing less.
Justin: I might go see this just to see the Studio Ghibli logo in the theater one last time.
Aloha (May 29)
Drew: With the exception of Almost Famous, my feelings for Cameron Crowe range from disinterest to dislike. It looks like Crowe found this out and is now tempting me with a Danny McBride/Bill Murray double header. Bastard. I don’t see why I’d go to the movies to check this out, but if word-of-mouth is strong enough, maybe I’ll give it a rental. If someone tells me that Danny McBride makes the whole movie worth it, I’ll be forced to see it. I love Danny McBride more than my nonexistent children.
Flynn: Alexander Payne was one of the writers of Jurassic Park III and I guess I’m speaking for everyone by saying Aloha could really benefit from a sudden Spinosaurus attack. I don’t know. This looks pretty much like The Descendants. A nice little waste of time, but nothing memorable. At least The Descendants introduced us to Shailene Woodley.
Justin: This was the one that former Sony Pictures CEO Amy Pascal was tearing to shreds in her leaked emails. As she so succinctly said:
PEOPLE DONT LIKE PEOPLE IN MOVIES WHO FLIRT WITH MARRIED PEOPLE OR MARRIED PEOPLE FLIRTING
Cameron Crowe gets tropical with Bill Murray and Bradley Cooper, and I hope this is good just so it shows these Hollywood fat cats that you can’t simply pinpoint popularity and profitability by genre or plot.
Brandon: Maybe I’m nostalgic for Cameron Crowe’s heyday but, hell, this looks good. Bradley Cooper works for me (American Sniper wasn’t good but you have to admit Coops gave it his all) and he’s got one hell of a cast to dance with here. Plus, when Crowe is on, he is on. He can make a damn enjoyable, feel-good film.
San Andreas (May 29)
Drew: My rock hard Johnson for Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson is pointing me in the direction of this movie. 2012 was an abysmal experience for me (except when my friend and I began audibly MST3K-ing the movie. Ah, the joys of seeing films in a theater with just your friends because you work at a dinky little movie house), so I hope San Andreas will scratch any city-destroying itch I might have. The effects look unfinished, but what effects in trailers don’t these days? And hey, any chance to support Carla Gugino, I’ll invest in.
Flynn: Oh, that Roland Emmerich movie not directed by Roland Emmerich. Dwayne Johnson is certainly always a blast to watch and I could spend days watching Alexandra Daddario’s eyes, but the flick itself looks like VFX leftovers from 2012. Emmerich may have ruined catastrophe movies for everyone by already having made the biggest possible one yet. Also, how can you not be grumpy about the fact this San Andreas doesn’t feature CJ, Tenpenny and Hot Coffee?
Justin: Man, I just finished a book about volcanoes and tectonic plates, this movie looks downright horrifying. I live directly on the Cascadia Subduction Zone in Seattle, and I just KNOW the entire west coast is going to break off and sink into the inky black depths any day now. Anyway, this movie does look fun, The Rock is charismatic, and it makes me giggle that there is like a FLEET of rich old white guys in their yachts racing toward the tsunami to ramp it.
Brandon: Generally, I only get excited for big disaster movies when Roland Emmerich is involved but my love/hate relationship with my homestate of California will probably draw me to this one. Dwayne Johnson hasn’t had a lot of success launching films on his own, but maybe America was just waiting for him to fly through collapsing skyscrapers and saving people from being swallowed by cracks in the earth.
Entourage (June 5)
Drew: Never seen the show this is based on, so this really isn’t for me. Even if it wasn’t a cinematic continuation of a television show, this trailer does not do much to appeal to me. That’s right, a trailer that has GARY BUSEY is not appealing to me. Hope it works for its fans, but this isn’t my bag. By the way, can someone tell me when Kevin Dillon’s face turned into a Putty Patroller from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers?
Flynn: I know Entourage is wildly hated around CHUD for being the douchiest of all bro shows, but A) Jeremy Piven’s Ari, B) Kevin Dillon’s Johnny Drama, and C) Rhys Coiro’s asshole director Billy Walsh were fun characters. Let’s just hope it doesn’t center on E’s relationship with Sloan, or on Turtle, or on Vince. Also: Why does this have to be in theatres again?
Justin: I wildly hate Entourage, and now I’m going to have to endure endless photos and clips of Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson’s cameo in the Entourage movie, and I LIKE Russell Wilson and I don’t want to hate him.
Miles: I watched every episode of Entourage and you know what? It’s fun. Is that shameful? Hell no, you’ve liked way worse stuff. You, specifically. A kiosk will deliver this movie unto me sometime outside of the Summer.
Brandon: Like Miles, I’ve seen every episode of Entourage. Did I like them? No, not particularly but these were the days when HBO didn’t have a wide variety of programming. Now, do I want to catch up with Vinnie, E and the boys? Again, not particularly but curiosity will likely get the better of me. I can’t say no to you, Johnny Drama.
Insidious Chapter 3 (June 5)
Drew: I’m with Miles on this one. James Wan’s eye gave the Insidious films their unique flavor, and Leigh Whannell’s entry so far looks pretty lacking in the visual department. Plus, we’re getting all origin-y. That’s usually a bad turn. I’ll see this out of obligation (the curse of being a horror franchise fan. Someone stop me if I try to watch all the Halloween films again), but with appropriately lowered expectations.
Justin: Insidious 3: The Insidiously Diminishing Returns! The sequel felt like they had completely tapped the well, but who knows, maybe if they slam the closet door loud enough it’ll be scary again? Guh.
Miles: This is a fun series, but Wan’s absence as director makes it look like an off entry.
Spy (June 5)
Drew: I have nothing for or against Paul Feig, so this is one of those “Oh yeah, that exists,” movies for me. As far as this trailer goes, I do love Jason Statham’s brutal straight man. The line about him being on fire gave me a good laugh. Probably won’t see this until my mom rents it and invites me over for movie night.
Flynn: This is the kind of movie you watch with people who are not into movies at all. I know it’s the manly thing to bash stuff like this, but I’d gladly high five Melissa McCarthy. She’s cool. Doesn’t mean that I’ll EVER watch this, but I understand the appeal.
Justin: I like Paul Feig, but I’ll never understand the appeal of Melissa McCarthy. She sucks each joke dry of any possible humor like she’s sucking marrow from of a bone. No thanks. I’d rather watch Spy Hard.
Jurassic World (June 12)
Drew: Jurassic World looks like the best sequel to Jurassic Park III ever. While this new film seems to be mining nostalgia for the original movie, it’s really that last entry’s unashamed B-movie nature that comes across to me in all the marketing. Jurassic Park, much like Spielberg’s other B-movie goes A-movie Jaws, is a singular experience that will never be replicated. If they have to keep making sequels, at least make them like Jurassic World is looking to be: pure, unfiltered dumbness tailor-made for a Saturday morning cartoon spinoff show. I’m still disappointed this film won’t feature human/dino hybrids and cyborg velociraptors like the original screenplay featured. People would probably find that sacrilegious and stupid, but that’s okay by me. I’ve sat through three Jaws sequels more times than I care to admit.
Flynn: I’ll just lazily refer to my article here: Why Jurassic World Deserves Your Interest. Let me add that the most recent trailer has the Indominus rex actually giving orders to pteranodons. How can you not feel any goosebumps for this? It may be stupid, but I’m hoping for a fun Anaconda / Deep Blue Sea experience.
Justin: Yea, I pretty much squealed my thoughts about this in the post for the latest trailer, and nothing’s changed in the last day. I am still over the moon and doing cartwheels in the middle of the street for this movie. For people that don’t like dinosaur action movies, you’ll always have Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor for The Theory of Everything, so everybody wins.
Miles: There’s only one good Jurassic Park movie and this doesn’t look like it’s about to disturb the current status quo. I’m all for making an enormous horror/action/family film where dinosaurs eat tourists, but this doesn’t look scary or like the action will be any good. I can’t like a movie conceptually and with every over-lit, cartoony shot I see, I’m almost convinced that that’s what I’m being asked to do. “Trust us, this will all work once you’ve paid money to see it in context.” Yeah…
Dope (June 19)
Drew: Your big festival darling of the year. Looks like it has plenty of heart and innovation. Workaholics fans will probably like it because that guy is in it. Hipsters will probably like it because 90s. I’ll probably like it because it looks pretty fun.
Inside Out (June 19)
Drew: A Pixar film that isn’t a sequel is usually cause for excitement. Inside Out doesn’t look like it will break that pattern. A stimulating premise that allows for oodles of imagination and a fantastic comedy ensemble seal the deal on this one. I have a feeling Sadness is going to be the breakout character of the film. This new generation needs its Eeyore, because Eeyore is AWESOME.
Flynn: Unless it involves any sort of anthropomorphic vehicles, Pixar always delivers. I wish more live action movies could make me feel the way many of the Pixar movies achieve to.
Justin: Oh man, I can’t wait for this. I had a little girl just last year, so a Pixar movie aimed squarely at her…granted I’ve got probably another three or four years until she understands any of it, but at least I’LL have a good time until then. And maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about how the female mind works.
Miles: Like Tomorrowland, I’m going in mostly on faith. Original Pixar films have a stellar track record, even if I’m not super crazy about Cars or Brave. But the brand has been scuffed up over the years and diminished expectations may be exactly what this movie needs to blow some minds. Yah mo be there.
Brandon: Pixar (generally) makes great movies but Pixar does not make good trailers. However, Inside Out sounds clever, original and has a voice cast that speaks to this comedy nerd. Pixar has been hit-or-miss lately so this comes at a crucial time for the studio. Fingers crossed that this is more like any Toy Story movie and less like Cars or (shudder) Cars 2.
Ted 2 (June 26)
Drew: I don’t remember laughing once during Ted. I didn’t laugh once during the Ted 2 trailer. This is not my bag, baby.
Flynn: I am one of the elusive gentlemen not hating Seth MacFarlane. Even though I expected to look down on Ted, I ended up laughing a lot. I’m not exactly clamoring to see this (f you, thunder!), but in case it works better than the abysmal A Million Ways to Die in the West, I’ll happily check this out on VOD. Wouldn’t be the first CGI bear movie of the year for me, after Paddington. And that already had lots of bathroom jokes.
Justin: I hate Seth Macfarlane and I hate Boston accents (wait, is that redundant?). I’ve seen about five minutes of Ted and I begged for death. I can’t believe this is so popular. Who am I kidding, of course I can.
Miles: The first movie was funnier than I expected, though I haven’t seen it since the first watch and have no idea how well it holds up (you tell me). And then I caught a bit of A Million Ways To Die In The West on HBO and was reminded of how hateful and ugly Seth MacFarlane’s worldview is. The guy hates women too much for me to want to kick any money his way ever again. So no.
Brandon: I feel like Seth MacFarlane’s time has passed but I reckon Ted 2 will make a bajillion bucks and soon we will be graced with Ted 3.
Magic Mike XXL (July 1)
Drew: Miles and I are mooks who didn’t see the first. Channing Tatum’s Plastic Man impression does have my peni… interest aroused.
Flynn: With this and Parks and Recreation, Ginuwine seems to have a good time lately. I’ll certainly miss Matthew McConaughey in this, but if Magic Mike XXL turns out to be as surprisingly entertaining as the first even though Alex Pettyfer is not in it (gasp), it may be a better choice than that earthquake movie with Dwayne Johnson.
Justin: I loved the original Magic Mike, but with no Soderbergh and no Matthew McConaughey, this will probably only be a one-time thing, no kissing on the lips.
Miles: I’m a mook who didn’t see the first? I have NO opinion.
Terminator Genisys (July 1)
Drew: Everything about this marketing has repelled me. Nothing has me interested in the slightest. Still, I’ll see it because it can’t be worse than the last two. It can’t be.
Flynn: I fully embrace this one. It’s marvelously stupid looking and I know critics will be harsh on it for a reason, but I almost bet we’ll have a great time with this. For ages. Even five years from now, we’ll still quote and reference Pops. Mark my words.
Justin: I thought Alan Taylor did a kick-ass Thor 2, and I was reasonably excited for this….I mean, as much as you can be for a new Terminator movie. I was excited for the possibility of it not sucking as bad as the last two. But then the trailer happened. Too many winks and nudges and fucking full lines of dialogue from the original movie, which only MAKES ME WANT TO WATCH THE ORIGINAL MOVIE, GAWL. Stop doing that. And why do the T-1000 effects still look better in Terminator 2? That really shouldn’t be. Anyway, I’ll see this, of course I’ll see this. That title, though. That fucking title.
Miles: Like Jurassic World, I feel like I’m waiting to see a trailer where the effects are completely finished.
Brandon: It’s been a very, very, very long time since we’ve had a good Terminator movie. Let’s be honest, people just aren’t impressed by robots anymore. So what’s it going to take to get people interested in these films again? Maybe burning the entire franchise down and rebooting it? Maybe toying with the basic foundations of the series and starting from scratch, using the characters we know but radically changing their trajectories? I’m not sure that Genisys is going to reignite the Terminator flame but it’s definitely going to try. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.
Minions (July 10)
Drew: Having never seen either of the Despicable Me films, this trailer won me over completely. The mostly visual storytelling coupled with cutesy babblespeech has me wondering if I should check out the other two movies these guys come from. Plus, another A-list voice cast. Who is Michael Keaton playing?
Flynn: I remember seeing the Minions plastered all over Universal Studios way before the first movie was released. People were scratching their heads over the seemingly ugly design of the creatures, but already back then I knew this would hit big. Let’s just keep all attempts at a ‘story’ at bay and just cut them loose.
Justin: I’m actually surprised that it took them this long to finally come out and admit that the Minions from Despicable Me were always meant to be franchised as their own separate animated movie, show, toyline, etc. I mean, we all KNEW it, but they kinda danced around it for a while. Kudos, you money-grubbing slimeballs.
Self/Less (July 10)
Drew: A minor distraction, but I’ll see it because Matthew Goode has won a lifetime acceptance award from me after Stoker. Apparently, I’m the only Chewer who felt this movie deserved any mention. That’s probably a good sign as to where this flick is going to end up.
Ant-Man (July 17)
Drew: If there’s any film this summer I’m cautiously optimistic about, it’s Ant-Man. Everything is in place to deliver something fun and fresh, but the marketing has made the story’s drive feel like a rehash of Iron Man. I like all the players involved, but there’s still that samey Marvel feeling I’m getting. The miniature stuff looks like a blast (that train bit is looking to be the highlight of the film), but it’s all the normal size shenanigans I’m still anxious about. Crossing my fingers on this one, but not going to get too amped up.
Flynn: Ant-Man looks to join the rank of Iron Man 2 as Marvel’s weakest output. At least the action scenes involving Ant-Man’s special powers seem to produce some interesting visuals. And if it’s actually as ‘bad’ as Iron Man 2, that’s still enough to warrant a ticket. Yeah, right. As if we’d skip a MCU entry. At this point we’d show up for a new Howard the Duck movie.
Justin: I have a feeling Adam McKay’s influence is going to be a lot stronger than the trailers indicate, which is a GREAT thing. Ant-Man is the first Marvel movie in a while that I’m interested in beyond the team-ups and all the extra stuff, I just want to see something NEW. For some reason, when things get shrunk down in movies and then normal everyday objects become menacing obstacles, I really go apeshit. I love that stuff. Maybe it stems from playing with action figures when I was little and having to squint one eye to give a soft focus to the characters and make everything seem so much bigger… Anyway, yeah. Ant-Man. Fucking pumped.
Miles: This looks like a remnant from Phase One, which is…look, I’m going to see this regardless, though I’d give a million Ant-Mans (Men) to see Peyton Reed’s Fantastic Four movie instead. The real question is: if it’s good, how much credit do we give to Edgar Wright and his years of writing/storyboarding? And how distracted are you going to be if you have a basic knowledge of that last minute shake-up? This one may be impossible to judge from this far out and just as hard to judge without a few years distance and a few Sunday afternoon screenings on FX.
Pixels (July 24)
Drew: I’m sorry, but no. This looks like the worst kind of nostalgia bait ever. And it’s an Adam Sandler movie. If this is even minutely watchable, I’ll be impressed.
Flynn: I would rather eat a bowl of glass shards than watch this.
Justin: One of the few parts of the Sony email leaks I agreed with: “No more Adam Sandler movies.”
Miles: I like how little of Sandler there is in this trailer for an Adam Sandler movie. The studio seems rightly embarrassed.
Southpaw (July 24)
Drew: I’m firmly in the Fuqua and Gyllenhall camps, and I am an enormous sucker when it comes to boxing movies. This doesn’t look particularly special, but a Gyllenhaal performance is always a reason to show up.
Flynn: Gyllenhaal has become one of the hardest working men in the business. I mean, look at his recent output. Nightcrawler. Enemy. Prisoners. End of Watch. This boxing movie written by Sons of Anarchy‘s Kurt Sutter already looks better than that series ending, but the trailer doesn’t do a great job selling it. And with Creed coming up as well, it’ll have a hard time becoming the defining boxing movie of the year.
Miles: Melodramatic in the extreme and with a plot lifted from Rocky V. Gyllenhaal’s physical transformation seems like another case of overachieving for a film and an audience that don’t deserve the effort. I also don’t trust movies that kill characters in the trailer. Not a lot of surprises in store.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (July 31)
Drew: If this is even half as good as Ghost Protocol, it will be a blast. Expectations are measured… until that plane shot. WOW.
Flynn: Admittedly, it doesn’t seem as spectacular as Ghost Protocol, but then what is? Of course I’m on board for this, and so are all of you.
Justin: Yea, I’m not expecting GP levels of greatness, but that shot with Cruise hanging on the side of the plane, you know he really did that shit! That was awesome. I’m a simple man, with simple pleasures, and one of them is Tom Cruise dangling from an airplane.
Miles: The opposite of my problems with the trailers for Jurassic World and Terminator: Genysis. That shot of Cruise on the side of the plane is a stunner and the man is coming off one of the best films of his career (Edge of Tomorrow). My body is ready.
Vacation (July 31)
Drew: With no trailer to go on, I’ll just admit that this is another property I have no nostalgia for. It’s fun that it’s an actual sequel, but I’m not really a fan of Ed Helms. Who knows? The film will definitely suffer from a lack of Randy Quaid though. May his shitter never be full.
Flynn: Christmas Vacation is one of the funniest family movies of all time and I take a late sequel over a simple remake any day of the week. Okay, who is gonna reference crazy Randy? This new movie might actually be better than Quaid’s Star Whackers.
Justin: Ew, no.
Brandon: Look how happy Chevy Chase looks in that picture! If Chevy’s that excited, you know I’m going to be!
The Gift (July 31)
Drew: Jason Bateman is serious! Joel Edgerton’s face is serious(ly weird)! The presents continually popping up on the doorstep are unintentional comedy… gifts! Looks like it’s trying to riff on something as high concept as David Fincher’s The Game, but there’s no way it ends up as bonkers as that. Still, a nice slice of counter-programming in the middle of the summer season.
Flynn: Looking at the official one-sheet, I was expecting Dick in a Box: The Motion Picture. This may be the least threatening looking psycho ever, and he’s played by the writer and director of this questionable masterpiece, Joel Edgerton.
Miles: The funniest poster of the year. Joel Edgerton presenting (present-ing) a box with a gigantic bow on it. And it’s called The Gift. It’s a perfect thing.
Fantastic Four (August 7)
Drew: I’m the only person on the entire Internet hoping for the best out of this. I’m not sold, but I am definitely curious in a positive way. A straight sci-fi superhero movie has a lot of potential. Will Fantastic Four be that film? You’ll assuredly know the Internet’s opinion when it lands on August 7.
Flynn: I’m anxiously awaiting the scene in which Victor sits down to choose his blogging name, only to see DOOM has already been taken. DRDOOM happens to be available though, and so he smiles deviously. If this ends up bad, it’ll be pure bad, not the charmingly bad of Jurassic World or Terminator: Genisys.
Justin: Yeah, I’m not understanding the appeal of this. Some of the shots of Thing look like a cutscene from a video game — OH GOD I know that’s a played out analogy, but seriously, the special effects don’t look well-blended with the live-action. At least, in some shots. That one, specifically, of Thing rearing back to punch. That looks overly glossy. The whole trailer, really. Very glossy, not very substantial. I wanted MEAT. I got glossy candy. And I guess Josh Trank never actually went on a drunken, drug-fueled rampage on the set. Just another reason to be disappointed.
Miles: Don’t you have enough opinions about this one already?
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (August 14)
Drew: I’ve missed Kingsman, so I feel obligated to see this. Since James Bond got all super serious, it’s nice to see other franchises picking up what 007 left behind. And holy shit, Henry Cavill is charming! I love the great use of era this trailer shows off, and fun spy stuff is definitely my kind of thing. I’m no Guy Ritchie devotee, but this looks like a nice pairing for his off-kilter sensibilities.
Miles: After Kingsman: The Secret Service, I’m ready for some more glossy, silly spy stuff. I’m not much of a Guy Ritchie fan, but this looks a’ight.
Straight Outta Compton (August 14)
Drew: Man, I want this to be good. It’s a great story about an important band that still has incredible relevance to today. I can’t believe that it won’t fall victim to some classic biopic failings, but as long as the anger and the message ring true, I’m hyped.
Flynn: Can’t wait to see how Dr. Dre rose from the streets to sell headphones.
Justin: I actually think this has a chance to be good. The trailer got me all atwitter, but it might have just been the NWA music.
Miles: Justin is right about the trailer. The music is undeniable, even if Paul Giamatti’s white savior character makes me want to donate my skin pigment.
Sinister 2 (August 21)
Drew: Here’s the ultimate film snob statement: Sinister is a film I appreciated more than I enjoyed. I liked the concept of making a movie about found footage instead of a found footage movie, and the concept of a monster that causes family murders is groovy. But, something just didn’t click with me. Maybe the performances, the lack of real scares, the Skype acting of Vincent D’onofrio, and a silly name like Baghuul all contributed to a weak experience. This doesn’t look like much more, but it is directed by Ciarán Foy who made the really good Citadel. I almost want to see it on that alone. But, that last shot in the trailer with the kid filming and screaming? That was Laughtown, USA for me.
Flynn: Man, this looks like another great entry in Shannyn Sossamon’s filmography.
Miles: The return of Baghuul! Why wasn’t this called “The Return of Baghuul“?
Hitman: Agent 47 (August 28)
Drew: I kind of dig that our Summer Movie Smackdown ends with what might be the dumbest looking movie out this summer. The entire opening premise in this trailer is gonzo stupid, and I kind of applaud it for that. Also, is that a blood splatter on the camera when the helicopter comes crashing through the building? Trailers are getting more and more lax, and I like that. I have no real drive to see this movie, but I might just plan on getting substantially drunk on the day it comes out and waltzing over to the movies for a solid chucklefest. Not a bad way to end the summer.
Flynn: We will probably never get a true adaptation of the games, and this looks as ‘good’ as the previous one. For better or worse. Rupert Friend resembles 47 way more than Timothy Olyphant or Paul Walker ever did, but that may be the only thing going for it. Expect this to be another noisy action movie with paper thin characters and lots of CGI explosions.
Now it’s your turn, Chewers! Tell us what your summer at the movies is looking like. What are you excited for/dreading? What films that we missed do you need to sound the trumpet for? Is there anyone out there not stoked for Mad Max: Fury Road? Litter the comments section below!