Alibi V.28 No.21 • May 23-29, 2019 

Feature: Film Guide

Summer Film Guide 2019

Cops and Kaiju, Superheroes and Scary Toys, Piano Men and Pets

This summer has already been a record-smasher at the movie box office, what with Avengers: Endgame raking in more than $725 million (in the US alone). But movie lovers should not despair; there are plenty more blockbusters to come in the official Memorial-Day-to-Labor-Day summer movie season. Theaters will be overflowing with comedies, action films, horror movies, dramas, biopics and animated features. Which ones should you pick?

To help you out in this crowded cinematic time, Weekly Alibi offers up its annual Summer Film Guide, running down the details of all the major releases from Hollywood and abroad. Read on! Then get to your local cineplex and watch some movies!

May 24

Booksmart

Actress Olivia Wilde directs this teen comedy about two academic overachievers (Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein) who realize—on the eve of high school graduation—that they should have worked less and played more. Naturally, they attempt make up for it by cramming four years of teenage hijinks into one night.

Bightburn
Bightburn
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Brightburn

Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn’s brother and cousin wrote the screenplay for this cliché-flipping superhero feature. What if an alien baby landed on Earth and was raised by upstanding rural parents—then started using his godlike superpowers to do all sorts of evil stuff instead of saving humanity?

Disney's Aladdin

Disney continues making live-action reboots of all its classic cartoons. Here Will Smith takes over for Robin Williams. Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) directs.

May 31

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Warner Bros.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Turns out (like we didn’t already know) that Godzilla isn’t the only giant monster out there. Seems a whole host of towering creatures (Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah among them) have now invaded Earth and are turning its cities into smoldering wastelands. Can humanity convince Godzilla to fight them off before it’s too late?

Rocketman
Rocketman
Paramount Pictures
Rocketman

Hot on the heels of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, British rocker Elton John gets his own sequin-decked biography. Taron Egerton (Kingsmen: The Secret Service) stars.

Ma

A lonely woman (Octavia Spencer from Hidden Figures) allows a bunch of teenagers to party at her pad. But it’s not long before everybody starts to suspect she’s a murderous stalker.

June 7

Dark Phoenix

Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones” returns as telekinetic superhero Jean Grey, reborn as the ultra-powerful cosmic being Phoenix in this latest adventure in the X-Men franchise. But can her fellow superheroes stop her when her powers grow too great and she is seduced by the power of evil?

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Patton Oswalt takes over for persona non grata Louis CK in this sequel to the 2016 animated hit about the hijinks pets get into while us humans are away at work all day.

Late Night

Emma Thompson stars as a late night talk show host who fears she may be losing her gig thanks to ageism and sexism. Mindy Kaling (who also wrote this comedy) stars as the newbie staff writer who helps her forge a bold new TV personality.

June 14

The Dead Don’t Die
The Dead Don’t Die
Focus Features
The Dead Don't Die

Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Steve Buscemi, Carol Kane, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop are among “the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled” in this campy horror comedy from longtime indie director Jim Jarmusch (Night on Earth, Mystery Train, Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law).

Men in Black: International
Men in Black: International
Columbia Pictures
Men In Black: International

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson (both of whom teamed up in Thor: Ragnarok) take over for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in this globe-hopping sequel/reboot of the alien-hunting secret agency series.

Shaft

This tongue-in-cheek action comedy is a sequel to the 2000 film Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson (which was also called Shaft). That one was a sequel to the 1971 film starring Richard Roundtree (which was called Shaft as well). Now three generations of badass street detectives named Shaft (Roundtree, Jackson and newcomer Jessie T. Usher) are on the case.

June 21

Anna
Anna
Summit Entertainment
Anna

Frenchman Luc Besson sure does love him some sexy female assassins (see for reference: La Femme Nikita, The Professional, Lucy, Colombiana). Here it’s Russian actress Sasha Luss (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) doing the killing.

Child's Play

Mark Hamill takes over as the voice of murderous doll Chucky in this high-tech reboot of the popular horror series.

Toy Story 4

Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Jordan Peele and Tony Hale are among the added voice cast in this latest Toy Story entry, which finds Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) out on the road, trying to reunite little Bonnie with her most beloved plaything—an ordinary plastic fork with googly eyes glued to it.

June 26

Annabelle Comes Home

This third film in the Annabelle series (itself a spin-off of The Conjuring series) finds demonologists/ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bringing haunted doll Annabelle to their home/museum—only to have their own daughter fall under its supernatural spell.

June 28

Yesterday
Yesterday
Universal Pictures
Yesterday

Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire) directs this inventive musical fantasy about a struggling musician who wakes up in an alternate timeline in which The Beatles never existed. Naturally, he starts “writing” their songs—which instantly makes him the most popular singer-songwriter in the world.

July 2

Spider-Man: Far From Home

In the wake of Avengers: Endgame, Tom Holland returns as young Peter Parker, trying to get a little R&R with a class trip to Europe. But when mysterious and deadly “elementals” start threatening the continent, Peter and his web-slinging alter ego are recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to save the day.

July 3

Midsommar

From writer-director Ari Aster (the harrowing Hereditary) comes this eerie horror mystery. A young woman (Florence Pugh) reluctantly joins her boyfriend (Will Poulter) on a trip to an ancient folk festival in Sweden. Things quickly go awry, however, plunging the couple into much flower-draped pagan madness.

July 12

21 Bridges

Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) star in this conspiracy-minded cops-and-robbers drama about a massive manhunt in New York City that forces an embattled NYPD detective to shut down all bridges leading in and out of Manhattan in hopes of capturing two young cop killers.

Crawl

A young woman, trying to rescue her father during a Category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooded house with a bunch of man-eating alligators. Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) directs.

Stuber

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) star in this action comedy about a detective who recruits his Uber driver for an unexpected night of adventure.

The Farewell

A Chinese family discover their grandmother has only a short time left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a fake wedding in order to gather together before she dies.

July 19

The Lion King
The Lion King
Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
The Lion King

Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man, The Jungle Book) directs. Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Chiwitel Ejiofor, Beyoncé, Amy Sedaris and Keegan-Michael Key are among the stars providing new voices for this “live-action” (actually all-CGI) remake of Disney’s classic animated musical.

July 26

Brahms: The Boy II

Not the celebrated 19th century German composer, but the creepy porcelain doll from the 2016 horror film The Boy. Evidently, you can’t keep a bad doll down.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino returns with this sprawling look at Hollywood, circa 1969. The film’s various story threads revolve around the Manson Family murders. Among the cast: James Marsden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Tim Roth and Margot Robbie (who plays our poor, doomed Sharon Tate).

August 2

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham return as their characters from various Fast & Furious iterations. Abandoning all pretext of reality, this spin-off finds them united in a buddy cop comedy in which the mismatched duo must hunt down super-powered cyborg bad guy Idris Elba.

August 9

In the Shadow of the Moon

Jim Mickle (Stake Land, Cold in July, We Are What We Are) directs this “genre-bending” thriller about a pair of detectives who become obsessed with a series of murders that “seem beyond explanation.”

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) is producer and writer of this old-fashioned horror thriller about a bunch of teens who fear for their lives after being threatened by a cursed book. Anyone who grew up in the ’80s will recognize the titular source material: Alvin Schwartz’ mega-popular horror anthology for teens.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Damn. Hollywood loves it some dog movies. The more philosophical and tear-jerky, the better. Here, a dog named Enzo recalls the life lessons he has learned from his race car-driving owner. It’s based on the cloyingly “inspirational” novel by Garth Stein. Kevin Costner voices the dog.

Brian Banks

A football player’s dreams of playing in the NFL are halted when he is wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit and sent to jail. Years later, he fights to clear his name. Based on the true story, of course.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Paramount Pictures
Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Popular kiddy cartoon character Dora the Explorer gets real in this live-action reboot. Benicio del Toro and Eva Longoria are among the cast. Danny Trejo provides the voice of Boots (that’s Dora’s pet monkey).

The Kitchen

The wives of New York gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen continue to operate their husband’s rackets after they’re locked up in the 1970s. Elisabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Margo Martindale star.

August 16

Blinded by the Light

A teenaged Indian kid, growing up during the austere days of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, learns to find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. It’s based on the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.

August 16

The Angry Birds Movie 2

The popular (in 2009) computer game somehow became an animated feature in 2016. Evidently, it made enough money to rate a sequel. Jason Sudeikis returns as Red. Awkwafina (from Crazy Rich Asians) joins in as Courtney.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Four teenage girls are trapped underwater in a series of submerged caves and stalked by bloodthirsty sharks. This natural horror flick is a “sequel” (not really) to 2017’s 47 Meters Down.

Good Boys

From the makers of Superbad, Neighbors and Sausage Party comes this raunchy comedy about a trio of sixth grade boys who ditch school to embark on an epic journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs and being hunted by a pack of teenage girls.

The Informer

An ex-convict working undercover gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison. Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing,” Suicide Squad) stars.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, Boyhood) writes and directs this comedy drama about a middle-aged woman (Cate Blanchett) with a beautiful home, a loving husband and a brilliant daughter who up and vanishes on the eve of a family vacation. This forces her family to embark on a comic adventure to solve the mystery of her disappearance. Based on the novel by Maria Semple.

August 23

Angel Has Fallen

If your dad finished the latest Tom Clancy novel and has been eagerly awaiting a sequel to the preposterous action flicks Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016), tell him his patience is finally being rewarded. Gerard Butler is back as Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, embroiled in more saving-the-president intrigue.

Ready or Not

A bride’s wedding night takes a sinister turn when her wealthy new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game (you know, like Truth or Dare—only that title has already been taken by a cheap horror thriller.)