Metro Weekly

2018 Spring and Summer Film Preview: “Avengers,” “Star Wars,” “Love, Simon” and more!

Every film worth seeing (and some you should definitely avoid)

Alden Ehrenreich in Solo: A Star Wars Story

If you’re a fan of big budget blockbusters, consider the first half of 2018 an all-you-can-eat buffet. From Marvel’s third Avengers film, to the return of Deadpool, to Pacific Rim, to Ready Player One to Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s going to be a busy (and expensive) few months for those who can’t get enough CGI-heavy action.

For everyone else, there’s a great assortment of content on offer, from family-friendly fare like like Disney’s Incredibles 2 and Christopher Robin, to comedies of all shapes and sizes — from absurd ideas like Blockers, to zany indies like Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town, to crowd-pleasers like Book Club, to absolute nonsense like Dear Dictator.

And if you like a good scare, there’s horror galore, be it the psychological tension of Unsane, the brilliantly original A Quiet Place, the Trump-skewering satire of The First Purge, or Hereditary, a supernatural horror that one critic called a “masterpiece” and looks set to be a genre-defining classic.

Queer cinema is getting more mainstream love, too, after recent successes like Call Me By Your Name and A Fantastic Woman. Love, Simon will offer a lighthearted glimpse into the coming out experience, while Disobedience sees Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams play lesbian lovers kept apart by their Orthodox Jewish community. We can’t wait.

MARCH

A Wrinkle in Time — Future president Oprah Winfrey returns to the silver screen for Disney’s latest live action effort, an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 fantasy novel about a girl who sets out to find her astrophysicist father. Winfrey is one of three “astral travelers,” including Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, who help Meg (Storm Reid) travel through a mysterious fifth dimension to track down her dad (Chris Pine) and save the universe from evil. Selma‘s Ava DuVernay helms a film written by Frozen‘s Jennifer Lee and with Disney’s trademark blend of copious CGI and family-friendly action. Fun fact: Disney released a critically-panned TV movie version of A Wrinkle in Time in 2003. Let’s hope this one fares a little better. (3/9)

Gringo — When an American cannabis company develops the “Weed Pill” — medical marijuana in pill form — they send their mild mannered accountant Harold (David Oyelowo) to Mexico to hand-deliver the formula to the lab. Naturally, things go wrong in Nash Edgerton’s action-comedy, as Harold finds himself kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Amanda Seyfried co-star in a film that early reviews suggest is popcorn-eating fun. (3/9)

Thoroughbreds — Notable for being Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin’s final film (it wrapped shooting two weeks before he died), writer-director Cory Finley’s first feature has been called “superbly unpredictable” and “Heathers meets American Psycho” by reviewers. Two teens (Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke) who’ve grown wildly apart reconnect in suburban Connecticut, only to bring out one another’s destructive tendencies. (3/9)

The Leisure Seeker — What could be more pleasant than watching Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland as a runaway couple escaping their medical conditions and controlling children to take one last journey in their faithful RV? Apparently many things, as early reviews have called it “dreadfully predictable” and “short on comedy and drama.” 3/9

Dear DictatorMean Girls meets James Bond villain in this bizarre comedy, as sixteen-year-old American teen Tatiana (Odeya Rush) becomes pen pals with island dictator Anton (Michael Caine) to spite her hippy social studies teacher. After a coup overthrows his regime, Anton seeks refuge in Tatiana’s home, and helps her plot to overthrow the popular girls at her high school. Katie Holmes and Jason Biggs also star. Pass. (3/16)

Flower — A sexually curious teen (Zoey Deutch) forms an unusual friendship with her mentally unstable stepbrother (Joey Morgan) to track down the man he believes sexually assaulted him (Adam Scott). One reviewer noted that if Max Winkler’s film were stronger it would be a star-making turn for Deutch, whose performance is “magnetic.” (3/16)

Love, Simon — Nick Robinson stars as Simon, a closeted high schooler forced to confront his sexuality after a blackmailer threatens to out him to the entire school. Greg Berlanti’s coming-of-age comedy explores a topic that countless indie films have covered before, but critics are praising Robinson’s performance and calling Love, Simon “groundbreaking,” “charming” and a “crowd-pleaser.” (3/16)

Tomb Raider — It’s been 17 years since Angelina Jolie first brought iconic video game character Lara Croft to the big screen. Now, Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) is stepping in for the franchise reboot — itself based on a reboot of the Tomb Raider games that took archeologist Lara into darker, grittier territory, abandoning her on a mysterious island during her first expedition and forcing her to quickly learn how to survive, adapt, and kick butt in the process. (3/16)

Final Portrait — Stanley Tucci wrote and directed this film, set in 1964, about Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (Geoffrey Rush) and his friend, American art critic James Lord (Armie Hammer), who agrees to sit for a portrait. In the process, Lord gains insight in Giacometti’s erratic genius. If you’re looking for a well-received, touching drama with moments of levity, this is the one for you. (3/23)

I Kill Giants — Based on an award-winning graphic novel, this Chris Columbus-produced fantasy belies its small budget with impressive CGI. Madison Wolfe (Keanu, The Conjuring 2) stars as a young girl who escapes into a fantasy world where she battles giants, while those around her try to convince her that the threat she tries to warn them of isn’t real. Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots also star. (3/23)

Isle of Dogs — Wes Anderson is noted for the strong visual style of his films, and his latest stop motion animation looks to only further that assessment. Anderson has dreamed up a near-future, alternate universe, where dogs have reached oversaturation in the fictional Japanese city of Megasaki. Following an outbreak of canine flu, the autocratic mayor sends every dog to trash island. There, a pack of five pooches help a young boy who comes in search of his lost dog, Spot. Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson lend their voices to a film that looks simultaneously unique, bizarre, and utterly compelling. (3/23)

Pacific Rim Uprising — You may wonder why Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi monster flick warranted a sequel, given relatively lackluster U.S. box office receipts and good but not great reviews. Thank the $114 million it earned in China alone, plus a good deal more elsewhere — enough to convince Warner Bros. to make a second. Set ten years later, with Star Wars‘ John Boyega and Suicide Squad‘s Scott Eastwood as the new heroes — and without del Toro at the helm (though he is producing) — it looks as stylish and empty as the original. (3/23)

Unsane — With the headline grabbing gimmick that it was shot entirely on a smartphone (much like 2015’s excellent Tangerine), director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich) also filmed Unsane in secret. Was it worth the effort? Reviews suggest that the thriller, which stars Claire Foy (The Crown) as a woman unintentionally incarcerated in a mental institution while trying to escape her stalker ex-boyfriend, is good — with a great performance from Foy — but not a genre classic. (3/23)

Ready Player One — Jammed full of pop culture references from the past four decades, Steven Spielberg’s latest takes place in a near-future dystopia, where humanity spends its time in the OASIS, an online, virtual reality world that offers limitless possibilities. When the VR world’s founder dies, he leaves behind a competition to find a hidden easter egg and claim his $500 billion fortune — and control of OASIS. Naturally, everyman hero Tye Sheridan wouldn’t mind that cash to escape his crappy daily existence, but so too would the evil IOI corporation, which will stop at nothing (including murdering people in the real world) to gain control of OASIS. Blending between live action and CGI animation, Ready Player One looks like a lot of fun, and should hopefully do justice to its bestselling source novel. (3/29)

Gemini — Critics are raving about the mystery at the heart of Andrew Katz’s neo-noir thriller, which sees an assistant (Lola Kirke) to a Hollywood starlet (Zoë Kravitz) witness a heinous crime, forcing her to stay ahead of the police as she tries to solve the dubious circumstances surrounding it. The consensus is that this is a stylish ride well worth taking. (3/30)

Lean on Pete — If what’s missing in your life is a coming-of-age tale in which a teenager steals a fading racehorse and runs away with him, Andrew Haigh’s drama is here to help. Charlie Plummer apparently gives a great performance as Charley, who takes horse Lean on Pete from his disgruntled owner (Steve Buscemi) and proceeds to meet a bunch of colorful small town Americana characters on his journey away from home. (3/30)

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony — Taraji P. Henson goes full Cookie from Empire as a devoted wife who learns that the husband she has spent years supporting is living the life she desires with another woman. Tyler Perry might not have the greatest track record when it comes to critical praise for his films, but two hours of Henson slowly going crazy as she makes life hell for a cheating husband sounds like perfect escapism. (3/30)

APRIL

A Quiet Place — Husband and wife duo John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star in this supernatural horror, which Krasinski also directed. The film has a great premise: a family lives an isolated existence in total silence, even communicating by sign language. The reason? The slightest sound will cause an unknown monster to attack. If it sustains its premise, this could be 90-minutes of utter, heart-stopping tension. (4/6)

Blockers — Three parents — Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena (yes, the wrestler) — discover their daughters’ plan to lose their virginity on prom night, and decide to do everything they can to stop that happening. Much like you should do everything you can to stop anyone you care for from seeing this film. (4/6)

The Endless — Two brothers return to a UFO death cult they abandoned a decade ago after receiving a cryptic message, only to encounter strange phenomena in the lead up to a mysterious event. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead star and direct, but it’s far from a vanity project — the sci-fi horror currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (4/6)

You Were Never Really Here — Lynne Ramsey’s film, adapted from Jonathan Ames’ novella, follows a traumatized veteran who hunts down missing girls for a living, until one job starts spiralling out of control — both personally and professionally. The film received a seven-minute ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, while Ramsey’s screenplay and direction and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as lead character Joe have received particular praise. (4/6)

Beirut — Jon Hamm stars as a U.S. diplomat asked to return to the city of Beirut to help negotiate the life of a friend held captive by the group responsible for murdering his family a decade ago. On the surface, the ’80s-set thriller looks like a pastiche of several other films, but reviewers are calling it a good, old-fashioned espionage thriller. (4/11)

10×10 — If nothing else, Suzi Ewing’s 10×10 will leave you terrified of car parks — that’s where Cathy (Kelly Reilly) is snatched from by Lewis (Luke Evans) in a brazen, broad daylight kidnapping. Lewis locks Cathy in a 10×10 room and proceeds to try and extract a dark secret from her past. (4/13)

Overboard — Does anyone remember 1987’s Overboard? The moderately financially successful rom-com starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell that critics responded to with a resounding “Meh.” No? Well, you’re in luck, because now there’s a remake starring Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez. And the gender roles have been swapped. How fun… is something you won’t be saying after leaving the cinema. (4/13)

Rampage — The 1986 arcade game Rampage had a simple premise: Take control of a gigantic, mutated monster — a gorilla, a dinosaur/lizard, or a werewolf — and smash your way through as many cities as possible. Naturally, Hollywood has taken that idea, made it needlessly convoluted, charged Dwayne Johnson with stopping the monsters, and spent millions pasting over plot holes with CGI. Ah, movies. (4/13)

Truth or Dare — What would happen if not playing Truth or Dare properly had lethal consequences? That’s the question asked in Jeff Wadlow’s horror — anytime someone refuses a dare or tells a lie, they get punished by someone… or something. Expect a sequel about the consequences of not kissing during spin the bottle. (4/13)

I Feel Pretty — Amy Schumer’s latest comedy has a simple premise: An “ordinary woman” falls at SoulCycle and wakes up believing she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Cue various scenes in which Schumer wears what she wants, flaunts her body, goes after men, and generally exudes the confidence we all wish we could have. However, the trailer hasn’t gone down well on Twitter — some are arguing that, as a white, blonde, able-bodied woman, Schumer is already “conventionally” attractive by Hollywood standards. (4/20)

Tully — The latest film from Juno‘s Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody — director and writer, respectively — sees overworked and overstressed mother of three Marlo (Charlize Theron) adjust to life with the night nanny (Mackenzie Davis) her brother has hired for her. Critics are mostly enjoying Tully, but, true to form, it’s the magnetic and exquisite Theron who is garnering the lion’s share of the praise. (4/20)

Avengers: Infinity War — While Black Panther was likely Marvel’s most exciting release this year, it’s Avengers that will be the biggest. The penultimate entry in the world-conquering ensemble franchise, it’s all setup for next year’s final Avengers flick, so expect lots of unanswered questions and unfinished plot details, as Iron Man, Captain America, and everyone else joins forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop big bad Thanos from using the Infinity Stones to bend reality to his will. (4/27)

Bad Samaritan — What do you do if you break into someone’s home, only to find another person being held captive there? That’s the dilemma facing enterprising criminal Sean (Robert Sheehan), who robs rich people while his friend valets their cars, when he breaks into a home to find a kidnapped woman. What follows is a game of cat and mouse with a psychotic, menacing owner (David Tennant). (4/27)

Disobedience — Sebastián Lelio (fresh off an Oscar win for A Fantastic Woman) directs an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about a lesbian woman (Rachel Weisz) who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community in London after the death of her rabbi father. There, she meets and falls for her childhood friend (Rachel McAdams), and the pair begin a secret and potentially dangerous romance out of sight of their disapproving friends and relatives. Critics are lauding Weisz and McAdams’ performances, and the film looks to be beautifully crafted. Could this be 2018’s Call Me By Your Name? (4/27)

Kings — What happens when an Oscar-nominated writer-director, an Oscar-winning actress, and James Bond get together to make a film about the life of a single foster mother in the weeks before the 1992 L.A. riots? Apparently nothing you’d want to see, as Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s film — starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig — currently holds 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. (4/27)

MAY

Izzy Gets The F*ck Across Town — Indie filmmaker Christian Papierniak brings a comedy-drama about a woman at rock bottom, who wakes up hungover as hell to discover that her ex is now engaged to her former best friend. Determined to break them up, Izzy (Mackenzie Davis) stumbles through a series of vignettes as she traverses L.A., all while counting down the hours until she can pull together her plan. Papierniak has apparently delivered a fun, frenetic film, with a commanding, energetic central performance from Davis. (5/4)

Life of the Party — Melissa McCarthy is peak Melissa McCarthy in another comedy from her husband Ben Falcone (Tammy, The Boss), here starring as a divorced, stay-at-home mom who decides to enroll in her daughter’s college to finally get a degree. Given McCarthy’s recent track record, her performance will likely iron out any flaws in Falcone’s film, which looks to be decent fun. Maya Rudolph and Julie Bowen also star. (5/11)

The Seagull — Based on Chekhov’s infamous play, considered one of his four major works. An aging actress (Annette Bening) visits her brother (Brian Dennehy) and her son (Billy Howle) on their country estate and brings her younger lover, Boris (Corey Stoll). An innocent neighbor (Saoirse Ronan) proceeds to fall in love with Boris, sending the whole house into a tailspin. Broadway director Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) is behind the camera, which should help this period drama accurately convey Chekhov’s material — and if all else fails, we’re here for Elisabeth Moss as hard-drinking, lovelorn Masha. (5/11)

Deadpool 2 — Few could have predicted that Deadpool would become one of 2016’s best films — a relatively small budget for a superhero flick, a character not well known among mainstream audiences, and the dreaded R-rating that ensured parents wouldn’t be increasing box office returns by bringing their kids along for the ride. And yet, it went on to become a global smash, breaking records, earning critical praise, and giving Ryan Reynolds a role he seemed perfectly crafted for. Here’s hoping the sequel, which will see Deadpool face off against Josh Brolin’s cybernetic soldier Cable, can match the original. (5/18)

Book Club — If Deadpool 2‘s R-rated superhero antics aren’t your thing this weekend, what about watching Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen read 50 Shades of Grey and reignite their sexuality? That’s literally the plot of first-time feature director Bill Holderman’s film, which sees the four friends try dating, explore new passions, and generally enjoy life more. And all because of badly written erotica. Who knew? (5/18)

Solo: A Star Wars Story — The latest entry in Disney’s plan to wring every last cent out of the Star Wars franchise, this is also perhaps the studio’s riskiest effort. Rogue One thrilled by offering a look into a little-known aspect of the Star Wars canon, but with Solo, Lucasfilm is taking a beloved character everyone associates with Harrison Ford and fleshing out his backstory. Alden Ehrenreich steps into the role in a film that also explores Han’s first encounter with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). It’s penned by Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens, however question marks hover over the final product, particularly after its original directors were fired three-quarters of the way through filming due to “creative differences” with Lucasfilm, who hired veteran director Ron Howard to wrap things up. (5/25)

JUNE

American Animals — A classic “idiots who believe they’re masterminds” heist movie kicks off June, as Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan star as childhood friends who are convinced they can get away with stealing priceless art and books from Transylvania University. Naturally, nothing goes to plan in Bart Layton’s crime drama, which critics seem to be enjoying for its unconventional style. (6/1)

Animal Crackers — Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are teaming up again for this animated effort, about a couple who inherit a circus only to find there’s no animals and no prospects for the future. The solution? A box of magical animal crackers that transform them into whatever animal they require to perform. That will likely prove enough to keep their evil uncle from taking control of the circus, in a film that Variety called “delightfully inventive, frequently hilarious.” (6/1)

Hereditary — “Terrifying,” “masterpiece,” “harrowing,” “bone-chilling.” Just some of the words critics are using to describe first-time director Ari Aster’s horror. When the matriarch of a family dies, her daughter (Toni Collette) is left to slowly unravel the haunting secrets of her ancestry, as a monstrous presence starts to torment her family. The film holds 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and Collette’s performance has been receiving particular praise. If the hype is true, this could be a modern classic of the genre. (6/8)

Trading Paint — A film about racing that has all the makings of a car crash. The hair plugs and plastic surgery formerly known as John Travolta star as a veteran racing driver who has to reconcile with his son, also a racing driver, when the latter starts working for a competitor. Playing Travolta’s love interest? Shania Twain, in her first outing as a film actress. Sadly, the film she’s chosen don’t impress us much. (6/1)

Ocean’s 8 — Rather than give women new franchises and unique characters to call their own, Hollywood has a simpler, cheaper solution: remake films that had majority male casts! Following 2016’s Ghostbusters, it’s now the turn of the Ocean’s heist franchise, with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and Dakota Fanning all starring. Still, it’s a dream cast, and the film — which see’s Bullock’s Debbie Ocean rounding up her friends and associates to rob the Met Gala — looks to be good fun. (6/8)

Incredibles 2 — Easily one of Pixar’s greatest films, The Incredibles blew critics and audiences away when it opened in 2004. Fourteen years later, we have the sequel that the first film’s ending unsubtly teased, and it comes from Brad Bird, the writer-director of the original. This time around, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is the stay-at-home parent as Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) fights crime and campaigns for the return of superheroes. Nothing less than perfection will be tolerated from Pixar, as the first film set an impossibly high bar. (6/15)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are back to run away from CGI dinosaurs in the sequel to 2015’s billion dollar-earning Jurassic World. J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) takes over behind the camera, as Owen and Claire try to save the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar when the island’s volcano threatens an extinction-level eruption. (6/22)

Sicario 2: SoldadoSicario was a surprise smash in 2015, with Emily Blunt’s performance as an FBI agent tasked with bringing down a Mexican drug cartel leading a wave of critical praise. A sequel seems obvious, but there are a few key elements missing here: original director Denis Villeneuve, composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, and cinematographer Roger Deakins, all of whom earned acclaim for their work, as well as Blunt herself, replaced by Josh Brolin’s character from the first film. At least Benicio del Toro is still here to assist Brolin in ending a terrorist-smuggling operation. (6/29)

JULY

The First Purge — Well goddamn. Who knew the producers of dystopian action horror franchise The Purge would offer one of the most pointed jabs at the Donald Trump presidency? The films are set in a future where, each year, America has a 12-hour period in which all crime — even murder — is legal. The First Purge plans to detail how it all began, and promos for the film are directly tying it to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rhetoric — there’s even a red hat emblazoned with “The First Purge” — and it’s all intended to make murdering other Americans seem palatable and even patriotic. Given the current state of affairs, this doesn’t seem as extreme as we might once have thought. The film itself will likely be hot garbage, but for its ad campaign alone, we offer all the applause. (7/4)

Ant-Man and the WaspAnt-Man is far from Marvel’s biggest franchise — no pun intended — but its 2015 outing was a fun, suitably small-scale introduction to tiny hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). This second film introduces another small soldier, The Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. Expect more size-shifting fun, as Marvel tries to tie Ant-Man deeper into the post-Captain America: Civil War cinematic universe narrative. (7/6)

Sorry to Bother You — Rapper Boots Riley has apparently crafted an absurd but enjoyable sci-fi fantasy comedy, about a telemarketer who discovers a magical key to business success, but in the process discovers his corporate bosses are harboring a macabre secret. It all takes place in an alternate universe Oakland, and stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews and Danny Glover. (7/6)

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot — Filmmaker Gus Van Sant has a mixed track record, but this comedy-drama based on John Callahan’s memoir is apparently worth watching. Joaquin Phoenix plays Callahan, a heavy drinker who became a quadriplegic after a night of drinking led to a devastating car accident. The film follows his recovery, from giving up drinking to discovering his gift for edgy, irreverent editorial cartoons. (7/13)

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation — Even Sony Pictures must be surprised that they’ve managed to wring three films out of this idea. But with box office receipts of $800 million, it’s not hard to see why a third film was greenlit, even if it’ll likely be more of the same pleasant but far from genre-defining animated family comedy. (7/13)

SkyscraperDie Hard meets The Towering Inferno. Dwayne Johnson stars as a former FBI agent who works in skyscraper security. Asked to assess things at the world’s tallest building — the fictional Pearl in China — naturally everything that could go wrong does, and he’s forced to save his family, who are trapped 240 floors above ground. Probably not one for acrophobics. Or batophobics, for that matter. (7/13)

Generation WealthQueen of Versaille director Lauren Greenfield’s documentary has an interesting premise: chronicling the lives, pathologies, and psychological tragedies of wealth in the richest society the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, reviews suggest that, while compelling in its depiction of consumer culture, her film is unfocused and overly padded. (7/20)

Mamma Mia! Here We Go AgainMamma Mia! was a flawed but fun hit in 2008, earning over half a billion dollars, a couple of Golden Globe nominations, and a Golden Raspberry for Pierce Brosnan. Was a sequel — which reuses a couple of ABBA’s songs from the first film and throws in several more for good measure — really necessary? Particularly given that Meryl Streep’s Donna is taking a backseat to her daughter (Amanda Seyfried) and a younger version of herself portrayed by Lily James in a series of flashbacks. Still, Cher is onboard as the grandest of grandmothers, so there’s that to look forward to (and she’s a perfect match for “Fernando”). (7/20)

Mile 22 — Mark Wahlberg continues his action movie renaissance as an elite CIA agent tasked with smuggling a secrets-holding police officer out of Colombia. Naturally, there will be plenty of resistance, explosions, and gunfire in Peter Berg’s film — his fourth with Marky Mark. (7/20)

The Equalizer 2 — Denzel Washington as a retired agent who becomes a hired gun for vengeance sounds like a recipe for success, but the first film in this apparent franchise received mediocre reviews and only moderate box office success. Apparently that was enough to greenlight a sequel. (7/20)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout — Tom Cruise broke his ankle after slamming it into the side of a building during filming for this, the 900th installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Was it worth it? Who cares. It’s a popcorn movie intended for summer escapism. (7/27)

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies — Wouldn’t it be something if DC Comics’ best ensemble film in years ends up being an animated one? It’s not an outlandish premise — The Lego Batman Movie is often considered to be one of the most popular film versions of that character — and Teen Titans Go! comes on the success of the animated TV show, which follows teenage versions of Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy as they balance saving the world against dealing with teen life. It’s zany, exaggerated, regularly pokes fun at DC itself, and is littered with in-jokes, and the film version has Will Arnett and Kristen Bell joining the regular voice cast. Color us intrigued. (7/27)

AUGUST

Christopher Robin — Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor), a downtrodden working man, meets his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who — along with the rest of the gang, including Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore — helps him rediscover his lost imagination. Disney’s blend of live action and CGI might make for an unusual looking Pooh, but with Jim Cummings returning to voice the silly old bear, we’re getting all kinds of nostalgia tingles for this one. (8/3)

The Darkest Minds — A dystopian thriller about a world where 90% of America’s children are killed by a mysterious disease. Those that survive start to exhibit strange superpowers, and are locked up on internment camps. Jennifer Yuh Nelson, best known for directing two of the Kung Fu Panda films, is handling this adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s young adult novel, which stars Amandla Stenberg as one of the incarcerated youths who is determined to break free and live a normal life. (8/3)

The Spy Who Dumped Me — Best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are drawn into the world of espionage after Audrey’s ex shows up with a bunch of assassins chasing him. We have no idea how this is going to turn out as there’s no trailer and limited information, and writer-director Susanna Fogel has a limited number of films to compare with, but the winning combo of Kunis and McKinnon should hopefully make for at least a few laughs. (8/3)

The Meg — Jason Statham will save the day as a former naval captain who must fight to rescue Chinese scientists trapped deep underwater in a submarine. Oh, and they’re being attacked by a 70-foot “megalodon” white shark. That’s probably going to complicate things. (8/10)

Captive State — If aliens occupied Earth but didn’t exterminate humanity, would you accept their new order, or fight against it? That’s the premise of this sci-fi thriller from Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), which focuses on either side of a Chicago neighborhood — the collaborators and the dissidents — almost a decade after the initial occupation. John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, and Ashton Sanders star. (8/17)

The Happytime Murders — Put this on your list of “ones to watch.” Twenty years after Family Guy crossed Sesame Street with Homicide: Life on the Street (portraying Bert as a hard-drinking detective and Ernie as his lover), The Happytime Murders is here to flesh that idea out to feature length. Set in a world where puppets live alongside humans as second-class citizens, Muppets puppeteer Bill Barretta plays private eye Phil Phillips, a disgraced former cop trying to track down a serial killer who is murdering the cast of ’80s TV show The Happytime Gang. Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale and Leslie David Baker all star, and it’s being directed by Brian Henson — son of puppet genius Jim Henson. (8/17)

White Boy Rick — A dramatic retelling of the early life of Richard Wershe Jr., known as White Boy Rick, who at 14 became the FBI’s youngest ever drug informant during Detroit’s crack cocaine epidemic. Wershe ultimately turned to dealing drugs himself, and became a major player in the Detroit drug scene. Newcomer Richie Merritt tackles the title role, with Matthew McConaughey as his father and Jennifer Jason Leigh one of the FBI agents who first started working with him. (8/17)

Papillon — The first half of 2018 is unusually quiet on the remake front — likely due to the sheer number of blockbusters and superhero films scheduled for release. Enter, then, Papillon, a Charlie Hunnam-starring remake of the 1973 Steve McQueen-starring film, itself based on the 1969 autobiography by French convict Henri Charrière, which details his imprisonment and escape from a penal colony in French Guiana. Unfortunately, Michael Noer’s film doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the table, rendering it all a bit pointless. (8/24)

Replicas — Seemingly jamming every possible sci-fi idea into one film — a controlling, overtly religious government, robotics, mind transfer, impossible technology, cheating death and more — the Keanu Reeves-starring Replicas is either going to be great, or a hot mess. Either way, it’s interesting: A scientist defies laws, overseers, and the laws of science to reincarnate his family, who were killed in a car crash. Naturally, the consequences aren’t good. (8/24)

Slender Man — A horror film based on a “Creepypasta” — a story intended to scare users on an internet forum — Slender Man has already graced our screens in 2015’s Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story. A thin, tall, faceless being with long arms, he stalks and traumatizes children, moves by teleporting, and instills paranoia, nightmares and delusions in those who come near him. Still, he always wears a suit, so at least he’s a smartly dressed monster. (8/24)

The Little Stranger — Summer ends with another supernatural horror, this one based on Sarah Waters’ 2009 gothic novel about a 1940s doctor (Domhnall Gleeson) who befriends an old gentry family living in a crumbling estate in Warwickshire, England. However, it soon becomes apparent that the family is being haunted by something more ominous than rising bills for the upkeep of their home. The Washington Post called Waters’ book “deliciously creepy,” so here’s hoping Lenny Abrahamson’s film maintains that same tone. (8/31)

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.