May 29, 2019

Flagpole's Summer Movie Preview

Movie Dope

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Memorial Day has come and gone, meaning the summer movie season is in session. First up is Godzilla: King of the Monsters—my most anticipated film of the summer—but more on that later. Following hot on the heels of the success of another musical biopic comes Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton as Elton John, né Reginald Dwight. Early word promises Rocketman to be superior to the Academy Award-winning Bohemian Rhapsody. Surprisingly, The Help director Tate Taylor reunites with his Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer for the horror movie Ma, from Blumhouse, which also produced Get Out. Here is hoping Ma can make good on the terrifying premise effectively showcased in the trailer.

Over at Ciné this week, you can catch Rocketman and the award-winning documentary The Biggest Little Farm. John and Molly Chester left L.A. to spend nearly a decade building Apricot Lane Farms, one of the most diverse of its kind in the world. Get ready to meet Emma the pig and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. The trailer alone is gorgeous and inspiring; be sure to add The Biggest Little Farm to your watchlist.

So, what are my most anticipated movies this summer?

1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (May 31)

Michael Dougherty made lots of genre fans by adding the new Halloween classic Trick ’r Treat to their annual viewing tradition. (Krampus was not as strong a holiday entry, but it’s still fun.) Now comes his sequel to Gareth Edwards’ excellent but maybe-a-little-too-withholding Godzilla. The trailer not only shows us Godzilla, it also reveals Mothra, Rodan and the big G’s three-headed nemesis, King Ghidorah. I cannot wait for the battle to begin.

2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)

The ninth film from Quentin Tarantino stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as a movie star and his stunt double making movies in 1969. The star power generated in the trailer is high-wattage. I guess we will see how much QT’s star has dimmed after a few years of allegations and questionable relationships.

3. Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2)

Spider-Man: Homecoming was very charming. In his second adventure and first since Avengers: Endgame, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker travels to Europe, where he meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), whose intentions are questionable, considering the illusionist’s typical villainy.

4. The Dead Don’t Die (June 14)

Acclaimed independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch tackles a zombie comedy with the help of a star-studded cast, including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, RZA, Selena Gomez and Tom Waits.

5. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (Aug. 9)

Trollhunter’s André Øvredal, not Guillermo del Toro, may be directing this adaptation of Albert Schwartz’s popular series of “kids’” books, but the fingerprints of the Academy Award-winning auteur, who co-wrote and produced, seem to be all over the trailer.

6. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Aug. 2)

Just how big can the Fast and the Furious universe get? This spinoff, featuring The Rock’s lawman and Jason Statham’s reformed baddie, should let us know. Idris Elba as a villain described as “Black Superman” simply ices what looks to be an entertaining action cake from John Wick co-director David Leitch, who also handled the underrated Atomic Blonde.

7. Midsommar (July 3)

Hereditary’s Ari Aster returns with his sophomore film. That news is intriguing enough; the Wicker Man-ish trailer only makes the film that much more (potentially) appealing. A troubled young couple (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) travel to Sweden for a festival. Things get worse once the celebration begins.

8. Crawl (July 12)

Sure, nothing Alexandre Aja has made since has come close to touching his 2003 near-masterpiece of modern horror, Haute Tension, but a new Aja always piques my interest. A Category 5 hurricane traps a young woman and her father (Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper) in their house with a killer alligator. Sam Raimi owns a producer credit, for what that is worth.

9. The Lion King/Toy Story 4 (July 19/June 21)

I cannot decide which Disney summer blockbuster I am more excited for. The “live action” (actually CGI) Lion King sports a top-notch voice cast, including Donald Glover as Simba, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Beyonce as Nala and more. However, no Toy Story adventure has ever disappointed. Still, Toy Story 3 felt like such a perfect ending. I did not anticipate spending more time with Woody, Buzz and pals again, and certainly not so soon.

Honorable Mentions: Ma (May 31), Dark Phoenix (June 7), Child’s Play (June 21), Yesterday (June 28), Stuber (July 12), The New Mutants (Aug. 2), Blinded by the Light (Aug. 16).