Summer of 2022

Here we are, right at the start of the summer, or the summer movie season at least. It’s always funny how the summer movie season starts in May, when summer itself doesn’t really start until July on the east coast and mid June on the west coast.

It’s also really funny how August is always such a dead month. Studios seem to be afraid of it, thinking everyone is away on vacation or trying to get their last licks of being outdoors before the school year starts. The studios forget that because there are so few movies being released at that time, there’s less competition, and therefore tons of potential. The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was released in August (because the studio thought no one would know who the Guardians were, and so didn’t expect much to come from the movie.) They were wrong. Now that the series is a proven hit, the studio you will never see a Guardians sequel being released in August again. Let that be an example of what studios really think of August.

 

But in talking about this summer in specifics,  let’s begin at the start… with May. We are right at the beginning now, and things are about to get warmed up real fast! 

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 6th)

Marvel always comes out of the gate hot. That means they always kick start the summer movie season with a big franchise sequel in early May. From Iron Man 3, to Guardians 2, to every one of their Avengers films, this is their prime weekend. And putting Doctor Strange 2 here tells you just how much confidence they have in this movie. It’s going to be dark and weird, but also very cool. Directed by Sam Raimi who not only made the original Spider Man trilogy, but  a hell of a lot of weird horror-comedy movies himself (The Evil Dead films, Dark Man, Drag Me to Hell,) this one will definitely be interesting and entertaining at the very least. Raimi is a director who mixes humor win the unusual style. He’s like the Coen Brothers of comic movies (and got his start with the Coens too, developing his craft right alongside them.) This one should be out there, and a lot of fun.

 

Top Gun Maverick (May 27th)

When they talk about making sequels today of movies from decades ago, this is it. This is the one. There literally hasn’t been a Top Gun movie since the eighties. So we’re talking close to forty years. On top of that, there has never been a Top Gun sequel before. So this is taking a single property from all those decades ago and finally making a sequel now. And interesting as that is, none of it says anything about how the movie will be. Considering it’s Tom Cruise, a lb actor who pores his heart into every movie he has a passion for (so The Mission Impossible movies yes, the Mummy movie no, for example,) this one should be pretty cool. It will feature real practical effects and is the kind of movie that IMAX was made for.

 

Jurassic World Dominion (June 10th)

Let’s start out with some honesty here. The second movie in this new Jurassic trilogy sucked. It was called the Lost Kingdom, and it was terrible. With the auction house mansion where Dinos were being sold to bidders until they started escaping, the movie was a mess. But the first one in the series was pretty cool, and featured a whole new park and landscape, which is how these movies are meant to be. So now we have the third film, and there are some positives right off the bat. First off, director Colin Trevorrow is back (the guy who made the first Jurassic World.) Secondly, the entire cast of the original is back, (and by original, I don’t mean Jurassic World. I mean Jurassic Park, the Steven Spielberg movie from the nineties that started it all.) Seeing Sam Neil, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum together again is going to be fantastic. And considering that this is the third and last movie in the new trilogy, it should go all out with both action and ideas.

Lightyear (June 17th)

The nostalgia movies continue with Lightyear, a semi-prequel to the Toy Story movies, about the character Buzz Lightyear. This one is meant to start up an all new trilogy by taking the well-loved character in a new direction. Only there’s something kind of unusual going on here, because Buzz Lightyear was a toy. His new movie is not about a toy. Instead, it’s about the character who the toy was made of. This movie is supposed to be a movie that Andy (the kid from Toy Story,) would have gone to see in theaters. So the Buzz we are seeing on screen here is an actor in a movie as opposed to a toy. Which means the possibilities of the planets and places this character could go should be endless. There’s definitely some potential here. We’ll see how well they capitalize on it.

Elvis (June 24th)

This one could easily go either way. Sure, it will be pretty cool to get an Elvis biopic. We got one for Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Elton John, all in the past two decades. But that doesn’t mean the movie will be good. Tom Hanks is attached, which guarantees that people will see it, but at the end of the day what’s going to matter most is the storytelling. Is there a good story to Elvis’ life? Probably yes. But how well is it told? We will have to wait for this one, to really know.

Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8th)

And this is the movie that I am most excited for. More then Doctor Strange 2, Top Gun 2, or Jurassic World 3. It’s Thor # 4. The reason for the excitement is because of the director, Taika Waititi. This guy is so in touch with bizarro humor and ridiculously funny ideas, that his mind seems to know no bounds. Waititi made the third Thor movie, Ragnorak, which relaunched the entire series, breathing new life into it by giving it a complete overhaul in tone. of top of that, his notion of presenting these movies with a type of barbaric 80s adventure theme is genius. This one will definitely be a lot of fun!

 

The Gray Man (July 22 on Netflix)

Its the Russo Brothers. And it’s an action movie. That’s really all that matters with this one. In other words, if it was a different director, this one wouldn’t be anything special. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans are both fine actors, but they’re not gonna seal the deal on how good the movie is. But the Russo Brothers have really shown their skill by going four for four with Marvel movies (Cap: The Winter Soldier, Cap: Civil War, and the two Avengers: Infinity War movies.) These guys are clearly talented action movie directors. Now let’s see how they do when they’re not making a Marvel movie. This one will most likely be good, but we’ll have to see.

 

Nope (July 22)

Jordan Peele. Back at it again. No working director is more interesting right now. His debut film, Get Out, was a sensation. His second movie, Us, wasn’t quite a as good, but was still pretty out there and compelling. For the third movie, very little is known, but it seems to be about aliens and with this director anything goes. He’s clearly the new M Night Shamalan, which means movies with a dark, creepy twist. And we all know how things worked out for that guy. But let’s hope Peele has a little more up his sleeve. Based on Get Out alone, this guy has mountains of potential (Get Out is far superior to the Sixth Sense, in comparing the best work of each director.) Nope os gonna be the movie that tells us whether or not Peele is the real deal.

Bullet Train (July 29th)

They don’t really make big budget action movies based on non-existent IP, as theatrical releases anymore. These days, it’s either based on an already existing property (like Marvel movies, Jurassic World movies, or other sequels,) or it’s a streaming film like Red Notice, Extraction, the Tomorrow War, or the Grey Man. The last of these theatrical originals to do so well that it spawned a franchise was John Wick. So it’s pretty great that they got one of that movies directors, David Leitch, for this one. The title and concept are cool. The star, Brad Pitt, is top notch. And yet still this one still looks a little too familiar, like Smoking Aces meets Murder on the Orient Express. It’s even got John Wick undertones. Instead of a hotel or assassins, this one is about a train of assassins. In all honesty, it probably won’t be that great. Leitch isn’t exactly a guarantee as a director (his recent films are Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, both mediocre movies.) But here’s hoping for the best.

Vengeance (July 29th)

BJ Novak, a reporter in New York City who heads south to investigate the mysterious death of his girlfriend. This looks like it’s mostly a comedy about people in Texas and a fish out of water story where a New Yorker comes to join them and experiences what things are like over there, including all of the guns and talk of vengeance. The trailer makes it seem kind of one-noted, about how all of these people around him are idiots, but something tells me this movie will have more to offer than that. BJ Novak seems like a pretty smart guy, and he’s the writer and director here (I believe he was a writer on the show The Office.) Aside from him, the movie also stars Isa Rae, of Insecure, who is another immensely talented comedian. Then again, her last movie, which featured two great comedians, her and Kumail Nanjiani, was a mess (The Love Birds.) So there’s a good chance this one isn’t anything special, but for now I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Beast (August 19th)

A man and his daughters are stalked by a lion in Africa. The movie stars Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley, an African actor who we haven’t seen do a whole lot lately. The plot sounds a little like the Ghost in the Darkness, only the family version instead of the hunters version. Which is to say that it doesn’t sound all too great. One has to wonder if Elba took this movie because he wanted to spend more time in Africa, after he had already done so for his movie Beasts of No Nation. And Copley of course is from Africa, no skin off his back making a movie there. I would bet against this one being anything good.

 

Me Time (Aug 26th, Netflix)

A man’s wife and family go away for the weekend, and the man reconnects with his best friend from when they were young, for a wild time. That doesn’t sound like there’s a whole lot of plot there, and instead very much sounds like a one-liner, one-joke movie kind of situation. Considering the cast of Kevin Heart (as the down to earth friend,) and Mark Wahlberg (as the wild friend,) I can’t imagine this one is great. Both of these actors have proven they are most paycheck guys than choosy when it comes to scripts. Wahlberg’s Daddy’s Home movies were awful, and Kevin Hart has made more bad comedies with both the Rock and Will Ferrell (ironically the other star of Daddy’s Home,) than one can count. So, now expecting this one to be very good.

Fear (August 26th)

A group of friends gather in a cabin for a getaway during the pandemic. The timeliness makes it seem interesting, but more needs to be revealed about the plot to know if this one actually has potential or not.

 

Three Thousand Years of Longing (Aug 31st)

Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, directed by George Miller in his first movie since Mad Max: Fury Road. A woman encounters a genie who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. A romantic comedy and also supposedly an epic adventure. Based on the trailer, this one looks very weird. It’s as if George Miller is trying to outdo himself as a crazy artistic mastermind. Like he’s trying to prove something, or take advantage of how crazy people thought Mad Max: Fury Road was. The trailer literally says, “from the mad genius of George Miller,” which makes one think this guy wants to be known as someone who makes crazy, out-there films. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Maybe the movie will be something great, like that Mad Max: Fury Road turned out to be, but it seems like this will be art just for the sake of art, and not something that features all that great of a story. I guess we’ll have to see.