The summer blockbuster season is nigh, and as always that means Flixist is delighted to bring unto you our summer movie preview. This isn’t a comprehensive list of every film coming out, it’s just a list of movies we wanted to write about for one reason or another. Maybe we’re excited for them or maybe we wanted to mock them or maybe we just fell asleep at the keyboard and tiny elves wrote this for us. Who knows.
I’ve lost this introduction. The point being here are some movies starring Dwayne Johnson.
Super Troopers 2
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
Release Date: 4/20, 2018
The boys from Broken Lizard haven’t had a major release in 9 years, or a successful one since 2006’s Beerfest. Maybe they’re due? But despite having released two of the most classic movie comedies in near history (Beerfest and the original Super Troopers) the comedy troupe has had equally as many duds that should never have seen the light of day (hell, I won’t even name them here).
Now, they’ve crowdsourced Super Troopers 2, and are releasing the sequel 17 years after the original, proving they do know their audience with not only the fundraising technique, but with the release date set for the annual ‘ha’ joke day of April 20. Did they wait a year just so that 4/20 aligned with a Friday? I wouldn’t be surprised. Something tells me that by revisiting a proven formula instead of trying something new, these guys will deliver. —Rick Lash
Avengers: Infinity War
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Who isn’t excited for this? Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.
Yes, I know you hate Marvel or you’ve found the movies stupid and nothing ever entertains you and you don’t enjoy… fun or whatever. Great. You’re still excited. There’s some little kid in you somewhere who is jumping for joy that Marvel pulled this prolific accomplishment off and at some point every damn Marvel superhero you grew up with is going to be throwing down on the big screen (except those pesky X-Men). There is no one so jaded with the world that they aren’t a little thrilled at this prospect even if they proclaim they are.
Even if I wasn’t excited for all the movie itself, it’s just exciting that Marvel even got to this point. I know applauding a giant corporation homogenizing the entertainment industry isn’t something we should all be cheering for, but… I kind of am. — Matthew Razak
Director: Jason Reitman
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Even when Charlize Theron is beating people up, she’s able to find the humane contours of her character. She’s the reason I was initially interested in Tully, which reunites the writer/director team of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman (Juno, Young Adult). I’m curious how the film will explore the joys and frustrations of motherhood. My hope is that they’ll go beyond the greeting-card banalities and get into the glum, exhausted, pee-soaked, and poop-covered confessions we hear from close friends and relatives once they’ve put the tykes down for the night and poured themselves a glass of whiskey to unwind. — Hubert Vigilla
Director: David Leitch
Release Date: May 18, 2018
David Leitch did not direct Deadpool so the highly successful formula has already been altered, but I think it’s been Ryan Reynolds driving this big red suit all along anyhow. The original broke most movie release rules about ratings, scheduling, vulgarity, and comics in general by throwing all the ingredients in one big bowl and tossing the hell out of that salad. Look for the sequel to do the same and to great success. The only real question may be just how much of a dent Deadpool 2 can put in The Avengers: Infinity War‘s run to box office history. Likely, it’ll only be as a small red, leather dog humping the leg of a very large purple man, but they’ll both make bank. — Rick Lash
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Director: Ron Howard
Release Date: May 25, 2018
I’m not that interested in a Han Solo backstory. Backstories are usually inconsequential. As Patton Oswalt put it years ago about the Star Wars prequels, I don’t need to see where the stuff I love comes from, I just love the stuff I love. And yet, I do like a good caper and a good western, which looks like what we have on our hands here. The troubled production of the film makes me wonder if they’ve salvaged something worthwhile in so little time. Given the director swap and the extensive reshoots, will they beat the odds on this one? A movie about the making of Solo might be even more compelling than Soloitself. It might even be more Solo-esque.
So maybe my newfound interest in Solo is similar to my interest in watching Evel Knievel footage: I hope the spectacle will be worthwhile, but I wouldn’t mind a crash landing either. — Hubert Vigilla
Director: Gary Ross
Release Date: June 8th, 2018
When it comes to underrepresented genres in Hollywood, I feel like it’s been ages since we’ve had a good heist film. Oh sure, we may have the Mission Impossible and James Bond franchises, but those have morphed into action movies while wearing a spy coat of paint. Ocean’s 8 feels like a classic heist movie with a star-studded cast. I don’t usually go gaga over a cast, but this is a damned fine one if I’ve ever seen it.
We’ve got Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and that’s not even getting into the bit players and the cameos from previous movies. But I think what really sells me about Ocean’s 8 is its style. This is just a polished looking movie that feels like it’s a classy heist thriller. Every trailer has me sold and the more of them I see, the more I want to watch the actual movie. –– Jesse Lab
Director: Ari Aster
Release Date: June 8, 2018
For the past few years, A24 has been giving wide release and success to some of the most ground-breaking horror movies of the decade. Films like The Witch, Green Room, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer would have had to languish with the hope of becoming the next uncovered Netflix gem not too long ago, but a resurgence of arthouse horror is here, and Hereditary looks to keep up that momentum.
With the overbearing matriarch of her family dead, a middle-aged woman has to struggle against the ghost that remains, which intends on taking her teenage daughter. This is not a movie walking some tightrope for an hour, trying to make us wonder whether or not the ghost is real. No, this is full-on look at that ghost trying to kill these people, and it looks to adhere to the two most authentic horror themes of all time: Children are always creepy, and parents will always fuck you up. There’s a palpable sense of sweaty hopelessness here that you don’t see in too many films. It looks fun. — Kyle Yadlosky
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Director: Morgan Neville
Release Date: June 8th
I’ve already written extensively about how excited I am for Won’t You Be My Neighbor in my preview a few months ago. But with how much the world has continued to deteriorate in fine fashion my point that the world needs Mr. Rogers now more than ever has only gotten more resolute. My only fear is that this movie will not get the wide release it deserves and is destined to the stream box, but as many people get to see it the better. — Anthony Marzano
Director: Brad Bird
Release Date: June 15, 2018
“Too late! Fifteen years too late.”
Syndrome may have been one year off in predicting the fourteen year long wait for Pixar’s highly-anticipated superhero sequel, but no one will complain about getting Incredibles 2too early. Brad Bird has been a busy bee since 2004’s Oscar-winning The Incredibles, with the also Oscar-winning Ratatouille and a successful jump to live-action with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Bird followed up with the less successful Tomorrowland.
Incredibles 2 will pick up immediately where the first film ended, beginning with a rousing battle against supervillain The Underminer. Despite the triumphant return of the supers in the first film, much work is still needed until superpowered individuals are allowed to operate as vigilantes in society. Details are relatively sparse, but Helen Parr/Elastigirl will take the reins in a campaign to bring supers back into the fold, leaving her husband Bob/Mr. Incredible to watch over children Violet, Dash and the now-superpowered Jack Jack. What made the first film so charming was its true-to-reality depiction of family dynamics and suburban life, with extraordinary superheroics in the background; the second film will certainly continue this theme. —Chris Compendio
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director: J.A. Bayona
Release Date: June 22, 2018
Conflicting feelings are wrecking havoc with my anticipation levels for this flick. It’s trailers have offered up terrible premises and awful riffs on the original John Williams theme, and yet, they’ve also hinted that things should go where they’ve long been overdue: off the fucking islands (except not like JP2 did)!
For this series to remain relevant (even if the box office continues to disagree with me), we need clear and present progression, not reimaginings. JW1 was a lot of fun, but it was mostly just JP1 all over again. Let’s do something new people. Please, please, please, super smart genetically enhanced dinos on the mainland! Tagline: This time, they don’t just open doors, they use guns. And I die in movie heaven. — Rick Lash
Under the Silver Lake
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Release Date: June 22
David Robert Mitchell exploded onto the indie film scene with his sexual allegory horror film It Follows in 2014, ever since then he’s been quietly working on his next movie, Under the Silver Lake. Starring Andrew Garfield as a young man who begins to investigate the disappearance of his new neighbor played by Riley Keough, the movie is giving me strong Brick and Brett Easton Ellis vibes which is always a good thing if done right. It also helps that it is being distributed by A24, who is the new ruler of the indie film world so that definitely bodes well in their favor. Oh, also Disasterpeace is doing the score again, which makes me super happy. I expect this to be the breakout hit of the summer. — Anthony Marzano
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Director: Stefon Sollima
Release Date: June 29, 2018
The worst part of 2015’s Sicario was Josh Brolin’s Crocs. So when the trailer for the sequel was released and those Crocs made their way onto the screen, I knew exactly what trailer I was about to sit through. Minor footwear flaws aside, the upcoming movie doesn’t look like it skips a beat from its prior’s intensity.
Brolin and Benicio del Toro team up again to fight the Mexican cartel, this time for smuggling terrorists into the states. Focusing more on the former undercover operative and his free ranging CIA operative, Soldado appears to be going the route of gunfights and shying away from the interpersonal ethics quiz Emily Blunt’s character found herself taking the first time around. Wherever the movie heads, I’m all in on Mercenario del Toro. –– Nick Hershey
The First Purge
Director: Gerard McMurray
Release Date: July 4, 2018
The Purge is a franchise that feels like it shouldn’t have happened. From the ashes of a poor home invasion horror, somehow its producers found the scratch to make a more ambitious sequel and then a pretty great third film. With increasingly aggressive marketing campaigns and on-the-nose political references, we find ourselves at the fourth installment, which is, of course, The First Purge.
This one is a similar beast to the second and third where groups of lower-class citizens prepare to protect themselves against whatever may come in a small test community where all its citizens will be allowed twelve hours of sadism without fear of punishment. Marisa Tomei plays a psychologist who helped implement this Purge and comes to regret her decisions when she realizes the political motivations behind the killing. Will this continue the series’ upward swing or be the misstep that signals a steady decline which will last nine more sequels and a reboot? We’ll see! — Kyle Yadlosky
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Director: Peyton Reed
Release Date: July 6, 2018
I am – tentatively – scared of Ant Man and The Wasp. Edgar Wright’s humor and originality shone forth brilliantly in the first film, even though Wright was ousted from the project midway through development. So, with the sequel coming to theater’s so soon, I’m not sure what to expect. How much of my enjoyment was due to Wright with the first film? How much was it to Peyton Reed, who directed the project after Wright left in May 2014?
It’s a question that’s been bothering me for a while, but if Reed uses the first movie as a blueprint, we could get another devilishly funny romp out of the Ant Man name. I just hope that after Infinity War, fans won’t sleep on what could be the next great installment in the MCU. — Drew Stuart
Sorry to Bother You
Director: Boots Riley
Release Date: July 6, 2018
As far as high-concept, high-octane, tales of futuristic dystopias starring black leads in quasi-existential crises go, I’m totally here for this. Sorry to Bother You looks to be a cult classic in the making, with a rising star cast of fan favorites, quirky humor, and visually-enticing absurdity littered throughout its official trailer. Director Boots Riley is known more widely for his music, as a rapper, lead vocalist, and music producer, and though Sorry to Bother You is his first foray into theatrical filmmaking, this passion project at least seven years in the making is sure to redefine absurdist dark comedy for a new generation.
Everyone involved is clearly having a great time with their respective roles, with Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out, Atlanta), co-stars Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld), Steven Yeun (Okja, The Walking Dead), and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) putting their best feet forward in this film’s elements of what Riley calls “magical realism and science fiction” inspired by “the world of telemarketing”.
Riley’s got a unique voice that combines real-life experiences and fantasy comedy in a way that makes me long for future films down the road. I anticipate the release of Sorry to Bother You and how audiences of this genre (I get Being John Malkovich vibes) will receive the film. — Felicia Cooke
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Release Date: July 13, 2018
Skyscraper looks to be an interesting film. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays the titular skyscraper, who must survive an onslaught of terrorists and an ex FBI agent who will stop at nothing to protect his family.
Skyscraper is a disaster movie, but it’s in the hands of a comedy director. Rawson Marshall Thurber is a capable director, producing hits like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and We’re the Millers, but has never tried his hand at a straight up action film. Maybe Thurber got a taste for it when directing his latest film Central Intelligence, a Dwayne Johnson led comedy with some light action elements.
Despite this lack of experience, the trailer looks interesting. An entire skyscraper functioning as a city makes the terrorist threat appear to have a multitude of possible outcomes. I’m going to stay optimistic about this one. – Drew Stuart
The Equalizer 2
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Release Date: August 3, 2018
If you’re an aging actor these days that you’re going to make an old-guy action movie. It’s basically a contractual obligation now. For most, that aren’t named Liam Neeson it turns out to be a mistake, but Denzel pulled it off with The Equalizer, bringing his badassery to the old-guy genre with just enough panache to elevate the film above the rest. This is also the type of film that Antoine Fuqua excels at. While he and Washington are hit and miss on their collaborations, whenever the two get together to deliver something mid-range and full of action they pull off magic. I’m not expecting anything truly amazing from The Equalizer 2, but I’m excited for as a good way to kick off the end of summer. — Matthew Razak
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
Director: Ol Parker
Release Date: July 20
Do you ever think about death? There are worse things than death. There’s such a thing as evil. Evil in the form of a sequel that no one ever asked for a decade after all of the associated actors have run out of available options for any other movies and the sequel cannot be seen as anything other than a cash grab. With slithering tentacles it slowly works its way towards us, grasping and clawing along the marbled halls of our collective human experience all to the happy tunes of ABBA. Well Mama Mia, here we go again. My, my, how can I resist you, sweet embrace of evil? –– Anthony Marzano
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Release Date: July 27, 2018
Ah, Mission: Impossible. The action series that somehow gets better with each installment, all the while Tom Cruise somehow looks even younger. Changing hands in the director’s seat has helped to keep the franchise fresh, but for the first time, Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher, The Way of the Gun) is returning for a second bout. Brace yourselves for Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
You may have heard of this premise before—Cruise’s Ethan Hunt finds himself on the ropes after a mission gone awry, and finds himself in absurdly death-defying action set pieces as a result. Returning cast members include Rebecca Ferguson as femme fatale Ilsa Faust, Simon Pegg as Benji, Ving Rhames as Hunt’s reliable wingman Luther Stickwell, Michelle Monaghan as Hunt’s wife, Alex Baldwin and Sean Harris. Newcomer Henry Cavill sports Justice League-ruining facial hair. Be ready for some kinetic non-stop action, as Tom Cruise physically suffers for your entertainment and his own ego. — Chris Compendio
Teen Titans GO! To The Movies
Director: Aaron Horvath
Release Date: July 27, 2018
I am afriad to watch this movie. I am dreading the day where I have to sit down and watch what is surely going to be one of the most annoying movies of the year. Oh sure, you can say that “it’s just for kids” and you shouldn’t criticize a movie that’s aimed directly at the 12 and under demographic, but then that’s insulting movies like Kubo & the Two Strings, Zootopia, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and any Ghibli movie ever for being kid’s movies, but movies that anyone can enjoy at any age. Teen Titans GO! To the Movies is going to be the animated hit of the summer that kids are going to flock to see, and I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about that.
So why am I writing a preview for a movie based on a TV show that I’m clearly not a fan of? Because of who they’re bringing in for the big screen. Slade, a fan favorite character from the original Teen Titans, will make his big screen debut with the voice of Will Arnett, who is a comedian I actually love. But most importantly, Nic Cage will finally play Superman. We did it everyone! Nic Cage is the Man of Steel! Even if the movie is awful, at least we can treasure it for that reason alone and it will hopefully be the most glorious role in animation history. –– Jesse Lab
The Darkest Minds
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Release Date: August 3, 2018
“From the producers of Stranger Things and Arrival,” distributor 20th Century FOX proudly boasts of The Darkest Minds, the teen-centric sci-fi thriller of this year. About a dystopic-like America, where a mysterious plague has killed off most children, those who have survived are left with special abilities that make them a threat to their adult world. Amandla Stenberg plays 16-year old Ruby, one of the most powerful of the survivalists, who runs away from a government internment camp with other teenagers. If this sounds like the synopsis of a young adult novel, you’ll be surprised to find that this isn’t some novel adaptation because I know I sure was. Someone called it a bootleg X-Men (cackles delightedly) and I happily co-sign this interpretation as based on a lackluster and generic official trailer.
Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson is best known for the Kung-Fu Panda series (one of my favorite animated trilogies) and has garnered both award nominations and wins for her work in animation. Here’s hoping there’s a spark of life in this live-action outing that looks nothing like all the Hunger Games and Divergences that came before it. — Felicia Cooke
Director: John Turtletaub
Release Date: August 10, 2018
I don’t know why, but I’m irrationally excited for this film. Maybe it’s because I’ll watch anything with Jason Statham in hopes he kicks and punches his way to victory. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since we’ve had a “good” shark movie. Although if I’m truly being honest with myself, it’s probably because the shark in this film is just so mind-bogglingly massive that I can’t wait to see what happens.
In the dog days of summer, movies like this are supposed to be ridiculous and fun for pure entertainment value. I like to think the pitch went like this:
Writer: I have an idea for a shark movie.
Studio: It’s been done.
Writer: Ok, but think about a BIG shark. One that people thought was extinct.
Studio: It’s been done.
Writer: Ok, but what if this BIG shark fights…wait for it… Jason Statham.
Studio: How much should we make the check out for?
And that’ show we got The Meg. — Nick Hershey
The Happytime Murders
Director: Brian Henson
Release Date: August 17, 2018
Long in the works, Happytime Murders sounds like a Muppet riff on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That’s right, it’s a puppet noir movie, a niche genre that should have happened ages ago but is only being realized now. Truly, ours is a fallen world.
I wonder (and sort of worry) how Brian Henson will fare behind the camera; he hasn’t directed a feature film since 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island. If anything, the capable cast of Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks will likely carry the film. As of this writing, we have yet to see production photos or a trailer, but I remain hopeful that this can work. If it does, maybe it can screen at a future installment of the Kit Film Noir Festival. — Hubert Vigilla
Director: Sylvain White
Release Date: August 24, 2018
Slender Man puzzles me. A movie, based on an internet myth, coming to theaters six years past the height of said myths popularity? It’s happening, thanks to Screen Gems.
Let’s be fair at least. The trailer looks pretty interesting! There’s a clear emphasis on the spooky tension of Slender man, rather than chase scenes or gross out horror (even though there’s sure to be some disgusting imagery, if the trailer is any indication.) With a late summer release date, I could see this being a solid summer horror flick for the high school and college crowd who remember what the Slender Man is.
It’ll be up to Director Sylvain White to make this movie shine. White has no horror experience to mention, but he’s proved himself a competent director in the past with Stomp the Yard. Let’s hope he’s able to deliver a compelling horror experience. –– Drew Stuart