2016 has been a fairly successful one at the movies so far. I’ve been to the movies 13 times but most of that was catching up on some late 2015 releases. (Top 25 blog now available for dissection!) Of the 7 new releases I’ve watched, I’ve loved two (10 Cloverfield Lane and Hail, Caesar!), was pleasantly surprised by another (How To Be Single) and liked a few a great deal (The Witch, Zootopia, Midnight Special). And I also saw a giant stinker that I’ll be holding over my brother’s head for the rest of eternity (Deadpool, obviously). My actual anticipated list for this summer is uncharacteristically short but don’t mistake that for apathy or disinterest. While there’s a lot of movies I’m on the fence about this summer, the ones I am excited for, I am absolutely hysterical over.
These Movies Could Really Go Either Way
Special Achievement In Meh
Indies I Hope I Get To See
At The Very Least, These Movies Have Pretty People
I Can’t Make Myself Care About…
If This Movie Actually Comes Out This Summer, I Might Actually Die
All of 2016 Is Really Just A Prelude For This
Crystal’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2016
10. Maggie’s Plan (May 20)
In my opinion, a new movie starring Greta Gerwig is always something to pay attention to but this film also features Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and in a long overdue return to comedy, Julianne Moore.
9. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
Fox’s take on X-Men has always been fun but imperfect and this latest trilogy has been a prime example of that. I still enjoy the duo of Fassbender/McAvoy and 2014’s Days of Future Past essentially retconned every problem I’d ever had with the series so I’m cautiously optimistic about how Apocalypse will turn out. (And Jubilee is going to be there!)
8. Keanu (April 29)
The comedy world suffered a big loss last year when Key & Peele decided to end their Comedy Central sketch series after only 5 seasons. Thankfully, the duo wasted no time making the leap to the big screen and if the movie is even half as funny as the poster gallery, it should be a great time.
7. Jason Bourne (July 29)
I loved the Bourne series back in the day (I didn’t see Bourne Legacy, not for any particular reason, I just never got around to it) and with Paul Greengrass returning and it officially being cool to like Matt Damon again (thank you, The Martian!), I could not be more excited.
6. The Nice Guys (May 20)
Obviously any Ryan Gosling movie is going to be make my anticipated list but this one is especially exciting because it’s the latest feature from Shane Black. Black has long been a celebrated screenwriter but I’d like to point out that if The Nice Guys passes muster (and I have every reason to believe it will), he’ll have achieved the directorial hat trick (previously known as the Edgar Wright, currently known as the Rian Johnson) by knocking his first three films out of the park. Fingers crossed.
5. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (June 3)
The Lonely Island has thus far had very little box office success (MacGruber and Hot Rod grossed roughly $23 million… combined) but their films have always made me laugh (not to mention their albums and digital shorts). With Judd Apatow producing this music mockumentary, it’s quite possible that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping could be their breakout.
4. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (May 20)
2014’s Neighbors was a silly but fun surprise. Like most comedy sequels, Neighbors 2 seems like an unnecessary retread at first glance but I have faith that the comedic ends will justify the means. Plus I have a reputation for advocating generally unloved comedy sequels, so there’s a chance I will eat this up regardless of quality.
3. Sausage Party (August 12)
I have yet to be disappointed by a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg screenplay and the idea of an extremely R-rated animated movie about groceries is so delightfully stupid I am beside myself.
2. The Conjuring 2 (June 10)
2013’s The Conjuring isn’t just one of my favorite horror movies, it’s one of my favorite movies period. While 2014’s Annabelle spin-off was a hilarious misfire, I am still quite eager to subject myself to whatever horrors (psychological and otherwise) James Wan and Co. have cooked up this time around.
1. Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
Obviously I am still very much in the palm of Marvel’s hand (at least until this fall because I agree with the internet at large, I can’t imagine a world where Doctor Strange is OK in any way, shape or form) so it’s probably not surprising this is what I’m most excited for this summer. BUT even without my bias, I am genuinely excited to see what this movie is even actually like because it is technically many things: it’s technically the sequel to The Winter Soldier, which is arguably Marvel’s best film thus far, it’s thematically the sequel to Age of Ultron, which I will once again proclaim as Marvel’s most underrated film, it’s basically an Avengers movie, it’s an adaptation of one of Marvel Comics’ most well-known modern stories and it’s also the culmination of almost a decade‘s worth of plotting and character development. I almost feel like how I felt nearing the release of The Avengers in 2012: it feels so weirdly momentous and unprecedented, there’s no way this movie should be able to work. And yet, it appears that it does. I honestly almost don’t want this movie to come out because looking forward to it and wondering and speculating about it is so much fun.
These Could Really Go Either Way
For various reasons, I’m inclined to give these movies a chance but I’m not entirely sold yet.
5. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates/Bad Moms (July 8/July 29)
The trailer for Mike and Dave isn’t great but it’s hard for me to ignore the cast and the fact that it’s brought to us by the writers of Neighbors and the director of the gloriously idiotic HBO mockumentary 7 Days In Hell. Bad Moms comes from two gentlemen whose filmography is largely regrettable save for (maybe?) the original Hangover. But it’s a movie starring Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn. So. You see my dilemma.
4. Money Monster (May 13)
George Clooney is real hit or miss these days and I’ve never been a big Julia Roberts person but the premise is promising and the trailer is interesting. We’ll see. (As I’m writing this, a commercial for the film just came on and the line “You have no idea how high up this goes!” was featured. So. We’ll see.)
3. Central Intelligence (June 17)
I love The Rock but I especially love The Rock doing comedy (his SNL from March 2015 is still on my DVR. STILL. This sketch gets quoted everyday, it was life-changing). I still find Kevin Hart’s schtick amusing and the idea of them teaming up sends me into a fit of giggles. I fully expect this movie to be ridiculous and stupid but I’m hoping it turns out to be a fun type of ridiculous and stupid much like director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s other notable releases, Dodgeball and We’re The Millers.
2. Ghostbusters (July 15)
I really want to root for this movie but so far I haven’t seen any footage that’s blown me away. It’s admittedly hard to cut an effective comedy trailer and Paul Feig’s movies have traditionally had terrible trailers (it’s a wonder anyone saw Bridesmaids based on the promo) so I’m willingly to give them the benefit of the doubt. Kate McKinnon, you guys. It’s happening.
1. Star Trek Beyond (July 22)
2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness was fairly disappointing and the trailer for Beyond doesn’t really inspire confidence (not to mention the creative shakeup and the fact that it comes out in less than 3 months and we’ve seen barely any footage) but there’s no way I’m not seeing this movie.
Special Achievement In “Meh”
The Purge: Election Year (July 1)
In 2013, minutes before our Before Midnight showtime we were pulled from the auditorium because the film file was corrupted and we were given refunds and tickets to another movie on the house. We chose The Purge as it was the only one we hadn’t seen that was starting within the hour but I think theatre management just thought we were weird Ethan Hawke stans. Purge: Anarchy happened because we had a few hours to kill before lining up for an advanced screening of Guardians of the Galaxy and it was too hot to ramble around a Century City outdoor shopping center.
The point of this history lesson is that I’ve never actively wanted to see a Purge movie but I’ve accidentally seen both of them theatrically. I’d be shocked if some circumstance didn’t arise this summer that will cause me to see Election Year. I don’t mind the Purge series, the concept is always better than the actual execution but they’re entertaining enough. Apparently not entertaining enough for me to see one of these movies on purpose, but still.
I Don’t Know If/When These Will Be Playing Near Me But I’d Like To See Them
– Everybody Wants Some (now playing select cities)
Richard Linklater continues to make movies about people just hanging out and they continue to be endlessly fascinating. I don’t know how or why but I’m into it.
– Green Room (now playing select cities)
I know very little about this movie but as I understand, the less you know going in, the better. Nearly universal praise and an intense trailer (which I’m not linking to because apparently even that may give away too much) have more than piqued my interest.
– The Meddler (April 22)
I might be the only one but I’ve been anxiously awaiting writer/director Lorene Scafaria’s follow-up to 2012’s Seeking a Friend For The End of The World basically since that film ended. Seeking a Friend was hugely underseen and underrated, with just the right blend of humor and sentimentality; the first half of the film was so funny, I was completely blindsided and devastated (in the best way) when the emotional climax kicked in. Her follow-up is here and it’s a mother/daughter story starring Rose Byrne and Susan Sarandon. Sold.
– Sing Street (now playing select cities)
John Carney’s Once and Begin Again are wonderful, thoughtful, emotional films filled with wonderful, thoughtful, emotional original music. I have every reason to believe that Sing Street will be more of the same.
– Swiss Army Man (June 17)
Not unlike everyone else, I was more than prepared to ignore the infamous “Paul Dano rides Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse” movie we’ve all heard so much about since Sundance but the trailer makes it look like it might be a whole lot more. I’m interested enough to keep an eye out for it.
Movies I Don’t Even Care About The Quality, I’ll Be Seeing Them For Shallow Reasons
These movies could actually be hot garbage and I wouldn’t care because they’d be Hot Garbage.
– High Rise (May 13)
The trailer is puzzling at best but boy does Tom Hiddleston know how to wear a suit.
– The Huntsman: Winter’s War (April 22)
2012’s Snow White and The Huntsmen was one of the most laughably bad movies I’ve seen in the past few years. I don’t think I even knew this sequel was happening until I was confronted by the poster in my theatre’s lobby and was stunned by the caliber (and dreaminess) of the cast. As I made of habit of saying last year about Jurassic World, this movie looks terrible and I can’t wait to see it.
– Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
Definitely a close battle between this and The Huntsman for the titles of “Most Unnecessary Sequel of The Year” and “Sequel To A Film I Remember Literally Nothing About.” My Summer 2013 Most Anticipated blurb about the first Now You See Me was “I have no idea if this movie is going to be good or not but I have a big fat crush on basically everybody in it so therefore I am excited to at least look at this movie” and I am going to hold to that sentiment. (Although I should be boycotting this movie solely because it is UNFATHOMABLE that they would call this sequel anything other than Now You Don’t.)
I Can’t Make Myself Care About
I promise I’ve tried to care but I just can’t get excited about these movies.
5. War Dogs (August 19)
I’ve given Todd Phillips the benefit of the doubt a few too many times now (my reward for defending The Hangover Part Two was The Hangover Part Three. Never again.) and while I admit there’s still a fairly good chance I will end up seeing this movie, its trailer completely baffled me and the film’s existence in general never fails to do the same.
4. Warcraft (June 10)
Duncan Jones is dope but this movie still just looks generic and unexciting to me.
3. Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
WHY? Even the weird part of me that enjoys Roland Emmerich films is asking WHY?
2. Finding Dory (June 17)
Finding Nemo is one of Pixar’s most revered and acclaimed features but I honestly never cared much for it. It’s so emotionally exhausting from the very beginning and it almost never lets up; I guess I was so busy trying not to scare children with my sobbing that I forgot to laugh? Don’t get me wrong, I love Pixar, I am not afraid of Pixar’s emotional rollercoasters (I even saw Up and Toy Story 3 twice! In theatres!) but Nemo was just too much for me. Early buzz on Dory is that it’s more of the same and in the 13 years that have passed since Nemo, I think I’ve grown up enough to know when enough is enough.
1. Suicide Squad (August 5)
Internet, I promise you this isn’t a DC/Marvel thing. I grew up loving Batman, I would love to love Batman again. But the best Batman movie I’ve ever seen is still 1993’s Mask of The Phantasm. I didn’t care for Nolan’s Batman series and I haven’t seen either of Zack Snyder’s DC films but based on what I’ve heard and the films of his I have seen, I’m 99.99% sure his take isn’t for me either. Like all of the aforementioned films, the initial teaser for Suicide Squad was decidedly bleak and self-serious (not to mention, it contained the immediately infamous line “We’re some kind of… SUICIDE SQUAD”) and I wrote this film off as more of the same, just not my thing, the DCU must not be for me.
Then several months later (and just as comic movie culture is shifting from dark and disturbing to zippy and quippy thanks to Deadpool) a new trailer is released and suddenly Suicide Squad is a zany, wisecracking, darker version of Guardians of the Galaxy, complete with classic rock soundtrack! Sure, a darkly funny, sexy, cool team of morally vacant heroes could make for a rad, grown-up movie (but obviously still rated PG-13. Let’s not get crazy, guys). If Suicide Squad was as promised in that “Bohemian Rhapsody” trailer, I might at least be curious. But I have very little faith that movie actually exists. Each new tease of this film seems at odds with the last and I have a hard time believing that this is because of a richly complex and layered film and think it has more to do with WB/DC just going for broke and straight up pandering to what it thinks its target audience wants.
Yes, Harley’s already become a Hot Topic/Tumblr icon and I’m sure it’ll do crazy opening weekend business (it is releasing in August, after all) but it’s so hard to gauge exactly what this movie is trying to do that I just can’t imagine the end result being particularly satisfactory to anyone, least of all me. I would love to be wrong, though.
If This Movie Actually Comes Out This Summer I Might Actually Die
It is almost the end of April and this film’s US release date is still only listed as “June 2016.” My greatest wish and biggest fear is that this film is just Beyoncéd on me (AKA released with absolutely no warning).
This All Might Be For Naught Because Nothing Else Matters Once This Movie Happens
I mean, come on.
As always, comments (or tweets) are always welcome (I suppose I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a Tumblr reply either?) and you can look forward to a summer full of hyperbolic film reviews at my on-going film diary on Letterboxd.com