With the much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hitting theatres this weekend (which is worth seeing by the way), the official start to the summer movie season seems to be upon us. I know it’s only May, but with summer weather getting an early start around our neck of the woods, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the films I am most excited to see over the next few months:
My Top Three Most Anticipated Summer Blockbusters
War of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians might be ruling the roost for the time being, but the third film in this much acclaimed trilogy is the one I am looking forward to the most. Sure, it might be far more serious (and considerably less funny) than Guardians, but the mix of entertaining action, incredible C.G.I and Motion Capture, and dramatic realization, represent all of the best parts of the summer blockbuster for me. And with a great trailer and the return of the director of “Dawn”, this movie is destined to live up to the hype of its predecessors.
There definitely seems to be a lot riding on this film- the hopeful success of a female driven superhero film, salvaging D.C.’s reputation (although I have been a fan of most of their films), and living up to plenty of months of built in anticipation. But, in my opinion, Wonder Woman is still the best part of Batman V Superman, and there is no reason to believe that it won’t deliver on the promise of it’s impressive trailers. The sheer scale of this film, considering it really is the first true on-screen adaptation of her origins story, bumps it above Spiderman: Homecoming on my list, which, if you know anything about my obsession with our friendly neighborhood web slinger, is no small feat.
Tons of buzz, an incredible cast and a stellar trailer combine to put this one near the top of my list. I am neither here nor there on director Edgar Wright (some of his films I really love, others I can leave), but from everything I have read, Baby Driver brings together all of his best attributes. And as a wholly original summer blockbuster, I think it will be a welcome addition to the summer, 2017 film season, and not to mention the stellar soundtrack it brings in tow (don’t look now Guardians).
Honorable Mention: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Being unfamiliar with the source material (it is based on a comic book series), my early thoughts on this film wager a guess that it will end up being something of a mix of Lucy’s sci-fi renderings and the more kid friendly Arthur and the Invisibles, both previous projects of director Luc Besson. In any case, the film certainly looks visually enchanting.
My Top 3 Most Anticipated Non-blockbusters
The Book of Henry
From up and coming director Colin Trevorrow comes a film that falls right in my wheel house. Safety Not Guaranteed was stellar, but it is actually his knack for classic storytelling in Jurassic World that intrigues me the most here. The Book of Henry seems to ooze that perfect mix of childhood wonder/intrigue and more mature adult sensibilities. I am expecting this to be the most memorable on-screen adventure I take this summer.
In the midst of some much anticipated on-screen summer fun comes a compelling, true-life drama film that promises us a chance to also engage in some important conversation. Telling the story of Detroit in the summer of ’67, this dramatization of the civil unrest that shook this infamous city (and more importantly, the city-zens) has been receiving a ton of positive buzz. As a fan of Detroit and a purveyor of its history, this is one film that I hope will find an audience in the heated months of the summer of 2017. And given that it comes from the academy award winning director of The Hurt Locker and the gritty Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow), there is no reason to believe that it won’t.
A Ghost Story
Not much to say about this one, except that it just might represent one of the strangest and most artsy trailers of the 2017 summer movie list. It’s hard to know exactly what this small, low budget project is about, but two things have me intrigued-
- I was a huge fan of David Lowrey’s take on Pete’s Dragon in 2016 (hugely underrated),
- and Casey Affleck.
Honorable Mention: Wind River
Starring Jeremy Renner, this is a quiet wilderness epic from the director of last year’s stellar Hell or High Water and the even more stellar Sicario of the previous year. Early reviews suggest this will be yet another successful project from this up and coming director (also of Sons of Anarchy fame), who seems to be cementing his place among the best of a new crew of younger-generation filmmakers.
2 Summer Films I Remain Cautiously Optimistic About
Falling somewhere in-between the summer blockbuster and a smaller, art house film, while Dunkirk is definitely near the top of my must-see-list, I fear it might not gain the audience it will deserve. It has the draw of an acclaimed director, but it is not the kind of film the director is typically known for. But, if I am being honest, that is what has me most excited- the fact that it is something different. I just hope that audiences give it the attention that its heavy promotion is currently trying to garner, as I think it might end up being the best war film to grace our screens since Saving Private Ryan.
The Dark Tower
One of my most anticipated films of 2017, my rush to finish all 7 books in preparation of its late summer release is tempered by the fact that, up until this week, we had yet to see even a single trailer, let alone receive much in the way of word on its current status. Well, we finally have a trailer, and of course audiences seem divided. But my excitement for it hasn’t waned, I just hope that after all this time it ends up capturing the spirit of the book with some degree of success.
And a few other categories to consider:
I Predict this summer’s sleeper hit will be…
It Comes At Night
Summer doesn’t normally see much in the way of the horror film, but this year there seems to be quite an onslaught of intriguing instalments (including Annabelle, Amityville, and Wish Upon). It is, however, the upcoming release of It Comes At Night that has me most intrigued. I think this film could help cement the idea that horror can indeed thrive in the middle of the summer blockbuster season. It arrives with tons of promise and plenty of early buzz, and from what I can see is set up well to follow on the heels of the incredible success of “Get Out”.
The summer film most likely to make me laugh…
It might be all-too-familiar Ferrell fare, but it is been a while since Ferrell has graced the big screen. And with Poehler complimenting his schtick with her own brand of comedy, this one seems poised to hit all the right marks.
And my vote for most ridiculous summer movie premise goes to…
Once Upon a Time in Venice
A ridiculous premise that I still feel compelled to watch. One reason for this could be the presence of John Goodman, but I do have to balance this with Bruce Willis, who has apparently given himself over to a perpetual state of self-parody at this point in his career. Although if the upcoming Unbreakable sequel can help prove anything, in the right movie even Bruce Willis can be compelling.
The summer movie people might be surprised to know I am looking forward to…
All Eyez on Me
Straight Outta Compton seemed to come out of nowhere 2 years ago, and even though it failed to garner the attention it deserved during awards season, it’s success with critics and audience alike continues to open a doors for films like All Eyez on Me to gain mainstream attention and bring more and more African-American representation, diversity and colour to Hollywood. This should be a pretty incredible story to see unfold on-screen.
The Summer Movie I am most ashamed to admit I am looking forward to…
Bet you thought I was going to say The Emoji Movie…
I admit, I am a sucker for these kinds of films. Medieval, magic, swords and big budget adventure. Most people I know have already written this one off. I am not sure why. Maybe because it feels easy to lump it in the company of past failures (anybody remember The Huntsman?). But it does have Guy Ritchie and Charlie Hunnam involved, which is more than enough to have me intrigued.
And Finally… Biggest Box Office Predictions
These are not on my top must see lists (although I am still looking forward to seeing all of them in some form or another), but here is what I predict will top the box office this summer:
- Guardians 2– Hard to dispute this one. Recognizable brand, tons of time in the theatres, and more than a few weeks without much in the way of serious competition. It should solidify its place at the top of the box office sooner than later.
- Despicable Me 3– Statistically positioned to haul in a ton of money if you set it against its predecessors, the failure of The Minions should have fans of the franchise eager to see it return to form- and that means a legitimate fight for top box office performer.
- Transformers: The Last Knight
Love or hate it, these films are always guaranteed an audience. Pirates might give it a run for its money this summer, but Transformers has the edge when it comes to catering to the theatre going experience. Early word has it that the made for 3D experience might be worth the price of admission alone, and when you combine that with the fact that the latest film also happens to be (partially set) in medieval times, I think this might prove to be the highest grossing film in the franchise yet.