For the past few months cinema has been a wasteland. Zootopia? More like BOOtopia. Hail Caesar!? More like, FAIL Caesar! Captain America: Civil War? More like Captain AmeriCAN’T: Civil BORE. Everyone knows that movies that aren’t Oscar winners and aren’t blockbusters are just not trying that hard at being movies. But thankfully, we can all let out a collective sigh: The sun has risen, the ice has melted, and Summer Blockbuster season is here! We all have reasons to live again! We can all spend $14 and a bag of popcorn to see these movies! But just in case you don’t want to pay that price, you can still join in talking about Blockbusters with your coworkers and avoid the humiliation of being “The One Who Doesn’t Watch Movies”. That’s right, as always, I have the most important of our summer Blockbusters this year summarized below. You’re welcome, America. Captain America. Civil War: Solved.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3)
The Heroes in a half-shell are back, and this time their up against the greatest evil of all: Tyler Perry’s Madea. Having not learned “her” lesson in Madea’s Neighbor’s From Hell (when Madea used the dark arts to to get back at a foster mother and her unruly kids), Madea is again playing God resulting in the creations of the hideous monsters Bebop and Rocksteady. How will our rad Quartet eat their way out of this pizza? With the help of The Green Arrow! While our Turtle heroes are fighting the boar-headed Bebop, an arrow flies out and strikes him down, revealing a hooded figure: “Hi, I’m Oliver Queen. After spending five years in Hell I’ve returned with a mission to save my city. But my old approach wasn’t enough, I’ve had to become someone else, I’ve had to become something else. I’ve had to become: CASEY JONES”- by this time Bebop has waddled away to his monster truck and lived to terrorize another day- “Because archery is a sport, you see”. “Oh yes, this makes sense. Squeak-squeak”, replies Tony Shaloub’s Splinter, who was there the whole time. Fred Armisen also stops by to voice alien-brain Kraang because Nickelodeon is only going to get this one last movie before TMNT movie before it looses its nostalgia appeal, so they might as well throw everything into this one. Also expect a surprise cameo from the TMNT’s greatest foe: Pizza Face.
Warcraft (June 10)
This extended video game cutscene tells the story of how a bunch of orcs crossed through a dimensional portal into the human world in order to escape an evil orc-wizard. Only they then come up against a new evil: racism. The humans are repulsed by the orcs appearance and refuse to learn their orcish culture, and instead insist that these dimensional outsiders are pure evil and should be killed, their tusks cut off and made into tourist trinkets. What follows is a human-orc war that all eventually crosses into Elf territory. When the Elven fields of Elfwhistle (a flower known for its glittery petals and glow-in-the-dark color), the Elves become furious and join the battle, shooting arrows at everything: Including a nearby town where Dwarfs and Goblins exist in an uneasy alliance. Pretty soon, everything all gets shot to hell and promo for the next World of Warcraft game (Opossum Person Rising) ends the movie with a giant question mark. It’s up to you to finish the story now! SPOILER ALERT: You end the story by shouting “Leroy Jenkins!” and rushing into a spider pit.
Now You See Me 2 (June 10)
Also known as “Magician Heist 2: Heist Harder”, we catch up with Morgan Freeman who is now in prison for being black and the “Four Horsemen” who rob banks… WITH MAGIC! The Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Mark Ruffalo) break into a computer laboratory with cards, flash paper, and MAGIC(!) in order to expose a deranged tech millionaire and probable magician Daniel Radcliffe. However something goes wrong and Michael Caine traps everyone in China. Now the Four Horsemen and their non-white-male magician friend Lizzy Caplan have to magic their way out of the most heavily guarded fortress (China) and hopefully come up with a way to saw open a banking scandal that’s stealing millions of dollars away from the public (because that’s what banks do. Look it up).
Finding Dory (June 17)
The lovable blue tang Dory is back in this sequel to Disney-Pixar’s hit film Finding Nemo. This time around Dory remembers she has parents (because as we the audience remember, Dory has short-term memory loss, and if we don’t remember that maybe YOU have short-term memory loss! [If you do, consult a doctor, it’s a serious problem]), and she sets out to the Jewel of the Morro Bay in California with her friends Marlin, Nemo, Crush, and Squirt. Once Dory gets to Morro Bay she finds herself at the Marine Life Institute, where she meets up with a Seven-legged Octopus named Hank and plenty of other whacky fish! They all swim around and have a grand old time, until it’s revealed that Dory’s Parents were killed and eaten at a seafood restaurant. Dory is very sad, but then she can’t remember why she’s sad. At that point, Marlin and Nemo had wandered away, and Dory finds herself all alone with no memory of where she is or what she is doing. Floating in the open ocean, too forgetful to be confused, she is eventually hit by a boat and eaten by an eel. Elsewhere in the ocean, Marlin has lost Nemo again and he questions himself on whether he is actually a good father or not, and decides that it’s best for Nemo to be alone. Nemo then meets Hank, the two bond over their respective issues with limbs, and Hank takes Nemo in as his son and the two become best friends. The moral: Out of tragedy comes hope. Or maybe: All of your family will one day die and you’re powerless to stop it. There will also be a funny Loon named Becky.
Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
Don’t close your eyes, because you’re not going to want to miss a thing: Jeff Goldblum is back and ready to kick people off his plane when the Aliens come bursting out of the chest of the universe again. “Hold on to your butts”, says scientist Brett Spiner who most certainly didn’t die in the first movie (or maybe he did and robots happened so now he’s alive?), “This is going to be a bumpy ride”. President Bill “Clinton” Pullman also shows up, now in jail for being the jerk president who let aliens blow up the jerk white house, only this time he’s not going to take the invasion sitting down : “It’s time to suit up and rock and roll!” President Pullman says, activating his energy ring which calls forth the UN general council who all come together in their own robotic vehicles to form UNITRON: EARTH DEFENDER! Meanwhile Jeff Goldblum stutters his way into our hearts again, and Liam Hemsworth shows up to be handsome. “Be in a spaceship movie they said”, Hemsworth mutters to himself in a corner, “It’ll be fun they said. Well Ho Ho Ho, I’ve got a laser gun”. Also, for those of you concerned with “Independence Day” not premiering on July 4th, this is actually meant to mirror the decisive Battle of Carabobo on June 24 1821 during the Venezuelan war for Independence (though actual Venezuelan Independence Day is July 5th).
Swiss Army Man (June 24)
A biography of Karl Elsener, Swiss knife-maker, inventor, and entrepreneur. From a very young age Elsener (played with aplomb by Paul Dano) knew he was destined for greatness, and after years of working in the Knife Fields of Switzerland (including several years as an apprentice to Swiss Knife-Giant Zug) Karl was able to open his own knife factory. The film truly takes off in the fateful year 1894 when, after a decade of making commercial surgical instruments and knives, Elsener fulfills his destiny and invents the biggest leap in knife manufacturing since the first bread knife (which, in turn, was instrumental in the invention of sliced bread): Elsener invents the Swiss Army Knife. Elsener’s name goes down in history, and even the ghost of his father Manfried (played woodenly by Daniel Radcliffe)- the same man who swore that if Karl went into the dangerous field of knifework that he would never become a proper gentleman- has to smile and say softly to Karl “Congratulations, son, you’ve truly become a Swiss Army Man”. Fade to black.
The BFG (July 1)
A little girl is kidnapped by a Giant and taken to his weird farting house, but it’s all okay because he’s not just a giant, he’s a Big Friendly Giant. It’s also okay because the girl’s parents are neglectful and mean and want to send her away to an evil boarding school where they’ll try to stop the girl’s telekinetic powers from manifesting. Unfortunately the BFG has problems of his own (and it’s not just the uncanny valley that his CGI dwells in that makes him look like a nightmare coming out of a joint feature of David Lynch and David Cronenberg) in that the other giants want to both keep the BFG from being the girl’s foster father but also want to eat the little girl. Directed by Steven Spielberg, expect plenty of people to be staring up into the sky in awe and for a warm message about the power of family at the end. Oh, also there’s a cat. Expect for the cat to cock its head and mew as a question. Kids like that, it’s funny.
The Purge: Election Year (July 1)
Following the rise of the Trump campaign as they went from joke to GOP frontrunner (one could call this an improvement ; one almost certainly could), , The Purge offers unique insight into The Big D’s personal turmoil throughout this time. With almost no time to tell people about the immense size of his hands, seldom a day to spend looking out the giant windows of his various towers contemplating the insects toiling below him, and having to make all of his bad business decisions on the road; The Purge: Election Year shows us the Man behind the El Trumpo mask and reveals a genuinely caring person, a person who feels very strongly about a lot of things like money, coming up with funny nicknames for people, coming up with new nicknames for himself (He’s work-shopping “Mr. T” right now, but is that too racist? Donald wonders if there’s such a thing. We in the audience yell at the screen “Yes, Donald, there is such a thing. There most certainly is such a thing”), money, towers, money, and sending letters to all of the former GOP candidates telling them that he’s won and he’s really handsome and they should be honored to have shared a stage with the Trumpinator. He was also excited about calling himself “Dangerous Donald”, but Hillary Clinton found that e-mail he wrote to himself and started using it. At any rate, when elected Donald will put into effect “Purge Law”, making all crime legal for one night a year. That’s why it’s a The Purge movie. Donald “The Big Handsome Shark” Trump is the purge.
The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)
Talented Filmmaker Jason Lees has already made this movie. It’s embedded below. You don’t need to see this in theaters. I understand you want to support Louie CK, but instead how about you buy seasons of his hit TV Show “Louie”, or his critically-acclaimed TV show “Horace and Pete”. Talented Filmmaker Jason lees has also made many other movies, some of which even include his adorable pug.
Ghostbusters (July 15)
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon star as a bunch of ladies out to destroy your childhood. Even though New York is experiencing a ghost-pocalypse, our trio of so-called “Ghostbusters” set forth to tell children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist and God is dead. Then they go up to the statue of liberty- symbol of truth, justice, and the American dream- and they punch it in the face! As if this weren’t enough, original Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson show up just to be cursed out and defecated on by this new lady-trio. Also, Leslie Jones shows up as a sassy black woman and Sigourney Weaver speaks directly to the camera when she says “I hated Alien“. Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth also makes an appearance, only to be possessed by another racist ghost and destroy what little integrity was left. By the end of the movie expect not only to be curled in your seat questioning the point of existing in a world that would allow such a monster to exist, but also expect the fall of the once-proud cinema giant that brought us a scene where the Statue of Liberty dances through the streets to the musical stylings of Howard Huntsberry..
Star Trek Beyond (July 22)
Also known as “Oh Yeah There’s Also A New Star Trek Movie This Year”, we catch up with the intrepid Captain Kirk and the fearless crew of the Enterprise on an alien planet outside of Federation control. Captain Kirk goes against the Prime Directive (*GASP*) in order to help female alien Jaylah (*GASP!*) escape from a tyrannical ruler who has nearly destroyed the Enterprise (*GASP!!!*). Spock questions Kirk over whether its wise to get involved with lifeforms who have no conception of outer space and are embroiled in nuclear-based territory disputes, Bones says some things about how he doesn’t like space travel, Scotty and his tree-dwarf friend share some banter in the teleportation room, and Sulu and Uhura say a few lines too! Also expect the Star Trek reboot to finally bring back a fan-favorite character as Adam DiMarco is set to play… The Injured Senator (*GASP GASP GASP!*).
Jason Bourne (July 29)
The Government sends out a drone to the Himalayas or somewhere with a message “Jason Bourne: We need you to punch things again please thankyou”. “Ugh. I hate the stupid government. They always want me to punch things. What about what I want?” says Jason Bourne into his pillow “No one understands me except for all these bands I listen to!” Jason Bourne then puts on Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and looks up at the ceiling. “It’s so unfair!” says Jason Bourne to no one in particular. Julia Stiles as herself then breaks through the wall (As she is known to do) to give Jason Bourne a stern talking-to “You think you have it bad? Why, people mostly remember me from 10 Things I Hate About You or Ghostwriter. GHOSTWRITER, Jason Bourne, you hear me? I’ve done Shakespeare and I’ve won awards, but people just think of me as ‘That girl in the movie with a young Heath Ledger. Oh, it’s such a shame what happened to Heath Ledger, he was really going places, that Heath Ledger. Boo hoo hoo Heath Ledger’ What about ME, Jason Bourne? WHAT ABOUT ME?!”. “You were also in that season of Dexter, Julia Stiles, don’t forget about that. And Save the Last Dance. And the largely Underrated It’s a Disaster” replies Jason Bourne. “That’s right, why I’ve had a long and storied career. How about we take a look?” And they do. For two hours, Jason Bourne and Julia Stiles go through and look at all of Julia Stiles’ many roles throughout film and television. Afterwards expect to have a new found respect for Julia Stiles, and 10 Things I Hate About You, which really is more than just a film with a young Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it. So, so much more.
Suicide Squad (August 5)
Suicide Squad represents two big realizations for the DC Cinematic Universe: 1) People like DC villains more than DC heroes, and 2) The DCCU needs to have more fun. Enter Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), clown princess of crime, and the rest of the Suicide Squad recruited by ARGUS head Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to carry out missions that will likely involve members of the team dying, perhaps even dying to save us all resulting in us reconsidering their status as “villain”. Will Smith shows up as the Robot-Eyed Deadshot and Ben Affleck’s Batman makes another appearance this summer, just to make sure that we’re not having too much fun. Also to make sure that we remember that Ben Affleck is now Batman and any ideas we have of a Christian Bale or- God forbid- George Clooney Batman were just dreams (good and bad, respectively) that we’ll have to wake up from if we ever want to see a full on Aquaman movie. Jared Leto also provides the requisite “actor who decided to go deeper into a role that was really necessary” for the summer, so at least he took that bullet for all of us. As for the plot of this movie? Um. Well… Cara Delevingne plays the demon-fighting word-activated antihero The Enchantress, Jai Courtney the mercenary Captain Boomerang who fights with [wait for it…] a boomerang, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the skin disorder/experiment gone awry Killer Croc, Hit Rapper Common as Monster T the tattooed man, and Karen Fukuhama as Katana. Also expect an appearance by the DC Universe’s premier Latina superhero with Alyssa Veniece as… HISPANIC WOMAN! And, once again, Ben Affleck is the Cowled Scowl Batman.
Pete’s Dragon (August 12)
Deep in the Disney Dungeon Vaults, director David Lowery, CEO of Disney Bob Iger, and Sean Bailey President of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production were writing things on a board. The first thing: DRAGONS. Dragons are big right now. “Daenerys Stormborn, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Mhysa and Khaleesi of the great grass sea, the unburnt, the breaker of chains, the mother of Dragons” Heck yeah, let’s jump on that. Item two: darker reboots of former Disney properties. It’s worked great: Alice in Wonderland got a billion dollars, Maleficent got a Subway sandwich deal, these reboots are GOLD. Item three, this is where David Lowery comes in, Disney needs someone with an edge. “Well…” says David Lowery, clasping a tumbler of fine walt whiskey (it’s like malt whiskey, the barrels its aged in are wearing mickey ears) “I DID edit Upstream color. Oh, and did you see the episode of Sundance Television’s crime drama ‘Rectify’ that I directed? What about my Indian Paintbursh Producer’s Award-Winning Crime Drama feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints?”. “Okay, Dave, we get it, your good” says Iger “Heck, your Goofy Movie Good”. “What a compliment!” Lowery drops his tumbler. Item four: America’s Heartthrob Robert Redford. Item five, going hand-in-hand with Daenerys Targaryen: Bryce Dallas Howard, Daughter of Ron, Queen of last years blockbuster, winner of the golden globe, breaker of racism in The Help. Item six: We want something huge, but we don’t want to show it. Like… like if we had a giant dragon in moody woods that was invisible to everyone but a little boy. Item seven: Oakes Fegley, AKA “Young Eli Thompson from the hit show Boardwalk Empire“.
Iger and Lowery drew lines between all of these pieces for hours, trying to come up with a movie. Finally, Sean Bailey- who had been staring deep into the abyss of the Disney Vault- spoke in a voice that destroys worlds. “We use every little piece. Every little cut. We could make a million on every little piece!” All three of them looked at each other and smiled and said simultaneously “WATCH THE PROFITS COME ROLLING IN!”
Ben-Hur (August 12)
Also Known as “Sure Let’s Re-make Ben-Hur”, this sword-and-sandals picture is about Roman Slave Ben-Hur (his parents didn’t want to change their slave names when they slave-married) who has a chance to win his freedom in the Colosseum by driving a chariot around and fighting people with swords, sandals, and (of course) punching them over and over again. Over the course of the movie it’s revealed (through flashbacks accompanied by lens flares and music swells. Also, the flashbacks are sepia-toned) that Ben-Hur was once a Jewish nobleman, but he was betrayed by the Devil Ben Kingsley. Finally, after one particularly harrowing chariot race against a lion in a chariot, Ben Hur is able to have an audience with the Man Himself: Pontius Pilate.
“Hey Pilate, Ben Kingsley sent me to race lions in the Colosseum even though I was a land-owning white male”
“In my defense, Pontius Pilate, this man is Jewish” snivels the Devil Ben Kingsley.
“Yeah, but… you’re stupid” replies Ben-Hur. He’s got Ben Kingsley now.
“Okay Fellas, let’s stop fighting, ’cause you know what? I’m sick of this. You figure it out, last time I judged someone it turned out they were a messiah to a bunch of people and- I’m just done with all this. Pilate out”. With that Pontius Pilate drops his microphone and gives the finger to the Roman Court. Ben-Hur and Ben-Kingsley look at each other wondering what the world is coming to. The movie ends.
Kubo and the Two Strings (August 19)
Portland-based animation company Laika has provided wonderfully hand-crafted worlds with Coraline and The Boxtrolls, but it looks like this year they’re making the bonehead decision of making an original screenplay (they did this with ParaNorman, and that was only nominated for an Oscar. you’d think they would have learned their lesson). Kubo follows a young boy who inherit a magic two-stringed guitar from his dead mother when she released demon twins from the moon into the world (The sisters are voiced by Rooney Mara, in the second sly attempt to get us all to see Ain’t Them Bodies Saints this summer) who are under the command of the nefarious Moon King (Ralph Fiennes, voice of evil). Along the way Kubo is guided by the ghost of his father (who died as well. Probably a boating accident. Or a mandolin-playing spider monster) who is voiced by the indomitable George Takei, and his talking animal friends Monkey and Beetle (The soundtrack also includes a Beatles song. Presumably this will become a plot point when Kubo has to go Across the Universe to the Octopus’ Garden to meet up with Eleanor Rigby and her Piggies before going Back to the USSR). The video-game like qualities of Kubo are yet to be determined, however it’s assumed that by the end of the movie Kubo will have to jump through platforms on the final ice-level of the moon, collecting guitar strings while also keeping Beetle safe from wandering into the gaping maws of The Twins. Kubo and the Two Strings is expected to loose the oscar win to The Angry Birds Movie in 2017.
Southside With You (August 19)
Two words: BARACK. OBAMA. Movie written, Oscar won, mic dropped.
Hand of Stone (August 26)
The “Summer of Punches” ends with a movie all about Professional Puncher and lead singer for most of Duran Duran’s existence Simon Le Bon (played by Edgar Ramirez) who goes on a quest to punch out the lights of Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath (Played against type by Usher, in a questionable decision by the Weinsteins) because why did anyone ever like Sugar Ray? Robert DeNiro co-stars as someone who teaches Duran Duran how to punch good, and punch good he does. PUNCH PUNCH WHAMMO! With that the Summer will be out cold, pun intended.