It’s easy to converter that we haven’t even yet gotten to the summer movie season, that time of year when kids, teenagers, and many college students are on summer vacation, when the hot temperatures give people all the more reason to seek out an air-conditioned theater and catch a fun flick there… and, when many of the year’s most anticipated movies arrive on the scene.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE (JUNE 17TH)
Plot Summary: The story follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent, coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus”, now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it’s too late to get out.
The Breakdown: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has started to become synonymous with light-hearted summer movie escapism over these past few years (see Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, Hercules, San Andreas, and so on), while Kevin Hart has starred in multiple box office hit comedies released over the same period of time (Ride Along 1 & 2, Get Hard, etc.). Central Intelligence bring the two stars together for an action/comedy romp from Dodgeball and We’re the Millers director Rawson Marshall Thurber, who likewise boasts a number of commercially-successful – and, on the whole, solid – mainstream American comedies under his belt. Johnson and Hart are currently making plans to work together again on the Jumanji reboot (after having also co-hosted the 2016 MTV Movie Awards earlier this year), so hopefully their real-world chemistry will translate into them having comedic screen chemistry, starting with Central Intelligence this year.
Plot Summary: We always knew they were coming back. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force.
The Breakdown: Filmmaker Roland Emmerich has made “disaster movie porn” his speciality over the two decades that’ve passed since he directed the original Independence Day (see also The Day After Tomorrow, 2012), so it was perhaps inevitable that Emmerich would eventually make a sequel to ID4 too. Independence Day: Resurgence, as the followup is titled, brings back pretty much every major cast member still alive from its predecessor (save, most notably, for Will Smith) while also incorporating young up and comers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, and Maika Monroe into the mix. Emmerich’s destruction spectacle-driven films have traditionally done big business at the worldwide box office, even though their critical receptions tend to be lukewarm at best. How Resurgence fares by comparison remains to be seen, but the world-building behind the sequel does appear to be pretty solid – maybe even enough so as to sustain a new ID4 film trilogy, as is rumored to be the plan.
Plot Summary: A young girl named Sophie is whisked away one night by the Big Friendly Giant or BFG, a giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. However, when Sophie’s presence in Giant Country attracts the unwanted attention of other blood-thirsty giants, she and the BFG come up with a plan to make Giant Country (and the world) safe once and for all.
The Breakdown: Steven Spielberg’s last three directorial efforts (War Horse, Lincoln, Bridge of Spies) were all historical dramas, which make his upcoming family-friendly adventure The BFG–based on the widely-loved novel of the same name by Roald Dahl - a change of pace from his recent work. The BFG not only brings to mind E.T. with its story about a lonely child who befriends a fantastical creature, but also because E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison worked on both films before sadly passing away shortly after The BFG wrapped production. Spielberg’s Roald Dahl adaptation is thus shaping up to be not only a very heartfelt piece of whimsical storytelling, but also one that impresses on a technical level – thanks to the experience Spielberg previously gained while making the 2011 motion-capture film, The Adventures of Tintin. Spielberg’s latest film ought to be able to attract a sizable crowd when it reaches theaters too, for those reasons.
Plot Summary: Thirty years after the beloved original Ghostbusters franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today. This summer, they’re here to save the world!
The Breakdown: Ghostbusters is coming back to the big screen for the first time since 1989 and many of the franchise’s dedicated fans are excited to see what acclaimed director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) and his talented comedic cast (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon) deliver with their reboot. Others, however, have been quite vocal about their displeasure with this film, be it because it’s a “hard” reboot of the Ghostbusters series, because the movie features four women as its leads, and/or some other reason altogether (ex. they simply haven’t found the movie’s trailers to be funny). Nevertheless, between elements like the film’s splashy and colorful aesthetic, as well as the attention to detail being paid to the Ghostbusters’ fictional scientific gadgetry, a good deal of effort is being poured into making the Ghostbusters reboot something special. Here’s to hoping that effort shows in the final movie result.
STAR TREK BEYOND
Plot Summary: The U.S.S. Enterprise is only part-way through its five year mission into uncharted territory when it’s nearly destroyed in a battle–leaving its crew stranded on a hostile alien planet. Captain James Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew struggle to reunite and make their way back home safely.
The Breakdown: The third installment in the rebooted/alternate timeline Star Trek movie franchise, Star Trek Beyond has gone through quite the journey on its way to the big screen. The original version of the film (which was to be co-written and directed by Roberto Orci) wound up being abandoned, leading to the movie starting over completely from scratch–with Fast & Furious alum Justin Lin directing from a script co-written by cast member Simon Pegg. Beyond‘s action-heavy teaser trailer and comments about Paramount not wanting the film to be “too Star Trek-y” have given some Trekkies reason for concern about Beyond, even as new cast additions like Idris Elba and having a script that was developed with input from die-hard Trek fans have given them reason to be excited. Either way, 2016 is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, so here’s to hoping that Beyond commemorates the event in a fitting fashion.
Plot Summary: In the next chapter of the Bourne franchise, the CIA’s most lethal former operative is drawn out of the shadows after having lived off the grid since the events of The Bourne Ultimatum. Jason Bourne soon learns the truth about his past, even as the U.S. government attempts to hunt him down.
The Breakdown:The Matt Damon-headlined Bourne film trilogy (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum) was arguably the most critically-acclaimed action/thriller movie series released during the 2000s. Hence, most Bourne fans seem both excited and a little nervous about Damon returning to the role of Jason Bourne in 2016’s… Jason Bourne. Supremacy/Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass is back at the helm for this Bourne installment too – and much like the first three Bourne movies tapped into the post-9/11 zeitgeist of the ’00s, Jason Bourne aims to reflect the state of things in the “post-Edward Snowden” world of today. 2012’s Damon-less spinoff/”side-quel” Bourne Legacy failed to reach the same level of critical/commercial success as the original Bourne trilogy, but the series may rebound with Jason Bourne – and if it does, then it will keep hopes alive for a future crossover featuring Damon and Legacy‘s Jeremy Renner.
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