Feature: Film Guide
Angry Birds, X-Men, Ben-Hurs, Bad Moms and Yoga Hosers
Your 2016 guide to summer movies
Illos by Rob M
Summertime here in the good old USA means three things: popsicles, pool parties and summer movie blockbusters (and possibly a zika virus outbreak this year—we’ll see). It’s been a year of titanic showdowns already—from Batman versus Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to Captain America versus Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice versus Captain America: Civil War at the box office. So what sorts of fights does the summer box office hold? How about the Angry Birds video game movie versus the Warcraft video game movie? How about a Finding Nemo sequel versus an Ice Age sequel? How about Neighbors 2 versus The Conjuring 2 versus Now You See Me 2? Looks like it’s gonna be a hot summer—especially if you love things you’re already familiar with.
Note: All opening dates are subject to change.
The Nice Guys
A private detective (Ryan Gosling) and his right-hand muscleman (Russell Crowe) investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles. Shane Black (of Lethal Weapon fame) writes and directs.
The Angry Birds Movie
2010's favorite time-wasting iPhone game about birds being slingshoted into towers of pigs becomes an animated film. With luck we'll get to see the Fruit Ninja movie next summer.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
So it seems a heinous, drunken sorority house has moved next door to parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, replacing the heinous, drunken fraternity house from the original Neighbors. … Yup, the movie logic is airtight.
The temporally rebuilt X-Men have made it into the 1980s now and find themselves battling the world's first mutant (Oscar Isaac from Star Wars: The Force Awakens), a blue-skinned despot aiming to wipe out all of mankind.
Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this very odd sci-fi romance from very odd Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth). In a dystopian near-future, single people are obliged to find romantic partners within 45 days or face being transformed into random animals. Um, yeah.
A Bigger Splash
Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson star in this high-minded erotic drama about a famous rock star who goes on vacation only to be interrupted by a visit from an old friend and his daughter.
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Disney follows up Tim Burton's hit Alice revamp with this (non-Burton) sequel. Seems Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is back in Wonderland trying to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) from the ravages of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Explosion-minded producer Michael Bay (Transformers) returns with a second TMNT reboot. This time, at least, we get fan-fave characters like Casey Jones, Bebop, Rocksteady and Kraang.
Me Before You
Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) stars in this adaptation of Jojo Moyes' romantic novel about a small town girl who forms and “unlikely bond” with a recently paralyzed man (Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games).
Popstar: Never Stop Popping
Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (better known as the musical sketch comedy group Lonely Island) write, direct and star in this spoof about a Bieber-esque pop/rap star whose professional life goes into a tailspin. Hey, it beats Dick in a Box: The Movie.
The Conjuring 2
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as real-life “paranormal investigators” Ed and Lorraine Warren in this inevitable sequel to James Wan's sufficiently profitable 2013 jump-scare ghost story.
The long-popular massively multiplayer online fantasy game gets a live-action/CGI adaptation. Travis Fimmell (“Vikings”) stars as the human warrior fighting off an invasion of orcs. Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son and the filmmaker behind Moon) writes and directs.
Now You See Me 2
The 2013 thriller about Las Vegas magicians pulling off an impossible heist gets a sequel. Seems the original gang is being blackmailed into pulling off another impossible heist. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself) is along for the ride on this one.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart star in this 48 Hours/Rush Hour-inspired mismatched buddy action comedy about a mild-mannered accountant and a hulking CIA superspy who get thrown together on some wacky caper or another.
From producer Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) comes another one of them there scary clown movies.
Pixar gives in and lets Disney talk them into a sequel to their 2003 hit Finding Nemo. This time around it's friendly-
Independence Day: Resurgence
Several cast members (minus expensive Will Smith) return to battle space aliens in this belated follow-up to the 1996 summer hit.
Free State of Jones
As the Civil War (the historical one, not the one between Captain America and Iron Man) divides a nation, a poor farmer from Mississippi (Matthew McConaughey) leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army.
Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth star in this Western drama about a Texas Ranger who investigates a series of unexplained deaths in a frontier town.
The Legend of Tarzan
David Yates (director of four Harry Potter movies) helms this action-filled adaptation starring Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”) and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as swingin' couple Tarzan and Jane.
Swiss Army Man
Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) stars in the strange black comedy about a man marooned on a deserted island who gets some unexpected help from a very useful dead body that washes up on shore. Daniel Radcliffe plays the dead body. I’m not making that up.
Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl”) stars as a surfer battling a shark in this nature horror flick from Spaniard Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan).
Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who gave us a little film called E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) reunite to adapt Roald Dahl's children's classic about a kindhearted giant who meets an orphaned girl.
The Purge: Election Year
The third Purge film arrives just in time to greet Donald Trump's presidency. This time around a peacenik senator running for president vows to eliminate the Purge—much to the disappointment of some violence-loving citizens.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Mike (Adam DeVine) and Dave (Zac Efron) advertise for wedding dates on Craigslist and end up with a couple of crazy gals (Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick).
Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack star in this adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a mysterious cell phone signal that causes apocalyptic chaos.
The Secret Life of Pets
The animation studio behind Despicable Me expands with this comedy about the crazy antics pets get into when their owners are away at work. An all-star cast of comedians (Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Albert Brooks, Steve Coogan, Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey) provides the voices.
Bryan Cranston and John Leguizamo star in this biographical drama about a US Customs official who uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
In an emotionless future “utopia,” two people (Kristen Stewart from the Twilight movies and Nicholas Hoult from the X-Men movies) fall in love after regaining their feelings from a mysterious disease. Who says sci-fi romance is dead?
TV-turned-movie-star Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Spy) and former “SNL”ers Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon star in this sequel/reboot to/of the 1984 sensation. Fans of the original and misogynists are not happy.
Ice Age: Collision Course
The sixth outing in the Ice Age series (if you count the TV special “Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade”) finds our prehistoric creatures trying to stop a extinction-causing meteor from striking the Earth.
Star Trek Beyond
This third film in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot is directed by frequent Fast and the Furious helmer Justin Lin. The studio has worked hard to keep info about the film from being leaked. Here's hoping the series finally gets beyond simply rewriting scripts from old Trek movies.
A woman (Teresa Palmer from Warm Bodies) is haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out. Based on director David F. Sandberg's short film of the same name.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
More than 20 years after the original British series went off the air, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley return as drunken fashion victim BFFs Edina and Patsy. For this feature film revisit, the ever-glamorous, ever self-indulgent gals find themselves at the center of a media firestorm after accidentally killing supermodel Kate Moss. (Eh, she had a good run.)
Into the Forest
In the near future, two sisters (Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood) living in a remote forest discover that the world around them is on the brink of technological and social collapse. Based on author Jean Hegland’s feminist sci-fi thriller of the same name.
We've had bad Santas, bad teachers, bad judges, bad neighbors and bad grandpas, so bad moms are up next. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate star in this raunchy comedy from the guys who gave us The Hangover movies.
Matt Damon returns as Robert Ludlum’s bad-ass amnesiac after 2012's Bourne-less The Bourne Legacy. (Sorry Jeremy Renner, you did your best.)
Kevin Smith follows up his, um … interesting 2014 horror comedy Tusk with this wacky Canadian fantasy about a couple of teenage convenience store clerks in Canada (Smith's daughter Harley Quinn and Johnny Depp's daughter Lily-Rose) who battle a demon threatening their party plans.
DC tries to course correct after the fatally glum Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with this spirited version of the popular antihero comic book by John Ostrander. Jailed super criminals Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Rick Flag, Katana and El Diablo are recruited by the government to serve as a deadly black ops squad. Oh, hey, this is where Will Smith went this summer!
Michael Keaton stars in this biopic as Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's. No word on who’s playing Mayor McCheese.
Oscar-winning, Emmy-nominated actor Kevin Spacey stars as a selfish businessman who gets turned into a cat in this family comedy that doesn't even have the decency to have been made by Disney in 1973.
Disney remakes the live-action/animated fantasy from 1977 as a live-action/CGI film. Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban and Robert Redford star.
Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Kristin Wiig, Salma Hayek and Danny McBride provide the voices for this raunchy, R-rated cartoon about talking food. No, really. Salma Hayek plays “Teresa Taco.” No, really.
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jenkins (played here by Meryl Streep) was a New York socialite around the turn of the century who dreamed of becoming an opera singer—despite having no talent. Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, High Fidelity) directs this lighthearted biopic—the second of the year about this same subject after Xavier Giannoli’s Marguerite.
Tod Phillips (Old School, The Hangover) directs this based-
The Space Between Us
After being born and raised on Mars, a young man (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) returns to Earth to find his father.
Timur Bekmambetov (the director of Night Watch, Wanted and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter) adds a whole lot more gladiator action to Lew Wallace's biblical epic. Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) takes over for Charlton Heston.
Kubo and the Two Strings
This CGI adventure, set in ancient Japan, finds a young boy searching for a magical suit of armor in order to put to rest an age-old conflict between gods and monsters. Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes and George Takei are among the voice cast.
A group of troubled Detroit teenagers breaks into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they'll get away with the perfect heist. Unfortunately, they're in for some good old-fashioned stalking and slashing in this reverse home invasion thriller. This one comes to us from the dude who remade The Evil Dead a couple years ago.
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