Won't You Be My Neighbor
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (Out now) Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo is never going to replace Harrison Ford’s, but so long as the movie, now directed by Ron Howard—who reportedly replaced the Guardians of the Galaxy vibe created by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of The Lego Movie with something more akin to George Lucas’ original trilogy—tells an entertaining heist story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, everything will be fine. Plus, Donald Glover’s Lando looks amazing!
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (June 8) Could this documentary about Fred Rogers be the summer’s biggest non-make-believe hit? It will be hard to beat RBG, but judging from the trailer, a new dose of Mr. Rogers’ kindness is just what we need.
INCREDIBLES 2 (June 15) Why did it take 14 years to produce a sequel to what is arguably one of Disney’s most popular properties? The continuing adventures of the Parr family will center around Craig T. Nelson’s Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible watching his now-powered baby, Jack-Jack, while Helen, aka Elastigirl (v. Holly Hunter), saves the world. This movie is a no-brainer for Pixar, and has a legitimate shot of being one of the studio’s best (sequels) ever.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (June 22) I have no hate but little love for Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic Park franchise restart. Nevertheless, who doesn’t want more hot dino action? J.A. Bayona of The Orphanage and A Monster Calls takes over directing duties as an extinction-level event threatens to wipe out the dinosaurs again. Good luck Chris Pratt is not too busy fighting Thanos to drop by the island and help out his velociraptor pal, Blue. I am disappointed by the boring subtitle. They should just keep getting more expansive. Jurassic Park, Jurassic World—Jurassic Universe?
Also in June: an all-female Ocean’s 8, Tag, a SuperFly remake and the head-scratching sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (July 6) Let’s face it: The only post-Infinity War movie anyone wants is Infinity War 2, or The One Where Everyone Comes Back to Life (Probably Even Loki, Maybe). So Ant-Man 2 has an uphill battle, but Paul Rudd and company proved they were ready for action in the first film. It survived a major behind-the-scenes creative change to be one of Marvel’s most entertaining movies, before Guardians showed us just how fun the MCU could be.
THE FIRST PURGE (July 4) A new Fourth of July tradition continues with the release of the latest Purge. The new flick is actually a prequel, looking back at the inaugural event. Unsurprisingly, the New Founding Fathers of America did not have the best interests of every American citizen in mind when they instituted an annual night of legal crime, including murder. For the first time, franchise creator James DeMonaco will not direct, though he wrote the script.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—FALLOUT (July 29) Even now that I have accepted Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt as the new Jim Phelps, I cannot forgive the 1996 reboot for betraying TV’s beloved character. This franchise has become better known for the death-defying stunts Cruise often performs on his own than for its narratives. Hunt has been burned, allegedly turned and disavowed; what is his actual legal spy status, currently? Henry “Superman” Cavill co-stars with the mustache that forced them to CGI his mouth for the Justice League reshoots.
Also in July: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Skyscraper, starring Dwayne Johnson, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The Equalizer 2 and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
THE MEG (Aug. 10) First off, it’s just Meg. Now that I have that off my chest, we can focus on what could be a pretty cool killer shark movie? Jason Statham battles an awakened prehistoric megalodon that he claims is 70 feet long. Jaws was a mere 25-foot weenie in comparison. Shouldn’t director Jon Turteltaub be working on a third National Treasure?
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (Aug. 17) The Happytime Murders smashes up buddy-cop movies and the beloved Muppets created by director Brian Henson’s late father, Jim. A disgraced puppet cop and his human partner (Melissa McCarthy) are on the case when the puppet cast of an ’80s television show are murdered. The potential of this concept is enormous, but the red-band trailer is more forgettable than funny. Here’s hoping the filmmakers are simply saving their funniest gags for the August release. Peter Jackson did the naughty Muppets routine nearly 30 years ago in Meet the Feebles, a truly disgusting ode to what goes on behind the scenes of a children’s puppet show.
Also in August: the live-action Christopher Robin and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.