My two favorite movie seasons: summer and then the rest of the year. There’s something about seeing those big, explosive, (sometimes, but hopefully not too) dumb popcorn movies in the theater each May, June, July, and August. I’ve bemoaned movie options of recent summers, and this particular one seems to be a down year; all said, though, I’ve been guilty of wasting a few days taking in some regrettable choices.
Here, I’ll see what’s worth the my time and what’s got me scratching my head. It’s the 2019 Summer Movie Preview, a breakdown of what has caught my eye this summer movie season, for better or for worse.
Echo in the Canyon (May 24)
If I told you that I would show you Brian Wilson, Jakob Dylan, and the now deceased Tom Petty talking about the California Sound of the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the rest of the ’60s greats, you wouldn’t even ask how much. You’d just ask where and when.
The Dead Don’t Die (June 14)
What could breathe life back into the overplayed zombie genre? How about Jim Jarmusch directing a zombie comedy that looks at least ten times more lively than Zombieland and starring Billy Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits, Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover, and Steve Buscemi. The trailer alone got me laughing.
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (June 12)
Bob Dylan. Martin Scorsese. 1975. Netflix. That’s really all you need to know, right? But just in case, the Rolling Thunder Revue was Dylan’s traveling circus: it featured all kinds of friends and freaks, including but not limited to poet Allen Ginsberg and a reunion with Joan Baez. As great as No Direction Home, Scorsese’s first documentary on Dylan’s formative years, it would be silly not to watch, though sadly no trailer exists at the time of this writing.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)
Though suffering from a bit of superhero fatigue to say that I’m not curious about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s direction after Avengers: Endgame would be a complete lie. It looks as though after Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU will turn to ever more lesser-known (and less interesting?) characters. That’s getting ahead of myself. For now, they still have the webslinger and if Spider-Man: Homecoming was any indication, Jon Watts, Tom Holland, and crew still have some good movies under their utility belts. What is Mysterio up to, anyway? I’ll be in a theater seat for one more, at least.
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (July 26)
Quentin Tarantino is shying away from this movie being a Manson-murders movie though his producer, David Heyman, admits that the cult play an important role in it. Instead, per Hayman, the movie is more about the “loss of innocence” happening in and around 1969. Throw in Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in their first feature-length film together, and what more could you want? I don’t even need the plot, but I’m sure it’ll have one.
Aladdin (May 24)
Disney is really hedging their bets this summer with not one but two live-action remakes (see The Lion King below), and I don’t know about this one. It looks vibrant and entertaining. And for me in these instances, a little Will Smith goes a long way. But if it’s hot outside and the yard doesn’t need mowing again, maybe I’ll venture into a theater to watch this. A big, big maybe.
Dark Phoenix (June 7)
These Fox-produced X-Men movies have been hit (X2: X-Men United) and miss (X-Men: Apocalypse). The Dark Phoenix storyline has been attempted before to disastrous results and with this being the penultimate Fox version of any Marvel mutant characters, what about it screams to me that I need to see it at all? I suppose Sophie Turner’s performance is what could be the deciding factor. She’s been great as her television persona Sansa Stark and equally as good as X-Man Jean Grey, who’s the heart of this story. We’ll see.
Yesterday (June 28)
This trailer and its premise are the combined epitome of “Eh, maybe?” The story is that singer Jack Malik wakes up from an accident where no one has ever heard of the Beatles, which of course includes their vast and wonderful set of songs. Well, it’s obvious he’s going to fix that. Danny Boyle, the hit-or-miss director of both Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later, has access to all of the catalog of the arguably best band ever. That’s a plus. But it does have Ed Sheeren in a role. That’s a minus. I’ll give it a wait and see on if the pros outweigh the cons of this one.
Midsommar (July 3)
Okay, this looks sufficiently creepy, even for a horror movie set in broad daylight. Add that it’s directed by Ari Aster, who helmed Hereditary, and this could be this summer’s scary movie to see. I’m very intrigued. Those screams (?) at the end make me want to see what’s happening.
The Lion King (July 19)
I get that people will think this is amazing — and maybe I will, too, if I happen to see it — but for me, it definitely falls into the category of something I wasn’t asking for. However, the news on it as well as the trailer does make it look good. The Hamlet-inspired tale doesn’t really age poorly. So, maybe this one will be worth a shot? The voice actors are impressive. Maybe Disney was right on this one. I do trust director Jon Favreau.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 9)
If Midsommar doesn’t cut it as a horror film, maybe Scary Stories will. We all had this book when we were young. It may be a bit too hard to translate the thrill of those tales onto the big screen, but perhaps acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro can do it. After all, he made the Oscars care about some fish fucking. But this one is only written and produced by him. It’s directed by Andre Ovredal. So, it’s a possibility at this point.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (August 16)
Based on the New York Times bestseller, this one could be another “meh” as far as the excitement scale goes, but it is directed by Richard Linklater, who has done Dazed & Confused as well as Boyhood and one of my personal favorites Bernie (surpringsly, not about the senator). But the good was supposedly good and the director is really good, so why not?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)
This looks like a C.G.I. mess. I haven’t seen a one of these new-fangled Godzilla films, and I don’t plan to start now. The plot is obvious: monsters appear, the world can’t handle them, and Godzilla is needed. I wonder what will happen? Ah, don’t tell me.
Child’s Play (June 21)
Christ, with the remakes! You know the story: creepy doll comes to life and kills. This one has an element of jealousy as the doll actually loves the child? I don’t know. I don’t care.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (August 2)
There are popcorn movies and there are dumb-as-shit movies. It’s safe to predict that this one is the latter.
Angel Has Fallen (August 23)
Notice how this is at the tail-end of summer. There’s a reason why this sequel to Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen lands there on the calendar. By the way, name one person who went to see those original two films. No thanks.