ACTION & SCI FI
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista. Directed by James Gunn.
The intergalactic Marvel superhero team returns to save the universe from another alien threat.
Thumbs up: The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was exciting and fun.
Thumbs down: It might be hard to recapture that magic.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)
Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law. Directed by Guy Ritchie.
The legend of King Arthur gets a blockbuster-style action makeover.
Thumbs up: Ritchie did a good job of reinventing Sherlock Holmes as an action hero.
Thumbs down: Not every cultural icon needs to be an action hero.
Alien: Covenant (May 19)
Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup. Directed by Ridley Scott.
Space colonists are attacked by deadly creatures in this sequel to Prometheus and prequel to the prior Alien films.
Thumbs up: Scott directed the first and still best movie in the Alien franchise.
Thumb down: He also directed the deeply divisive Prometheus.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.
Captain Jack Sparrow returns for the fifth installment of Disney’s high-seas adventure series.
Thumbs up: Both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley return to the franchise after sitting out the last movie.
Thumbs down: Jack Sparrow’s inebriated antics wore out their welcome at least two movies ago.
Wonder Woman (June 2)
Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen. Directed by Patty Jenkins.
The DC cinematic universe expands with this World War I-set origin story for the iconic superhero.
Thumbs up: It’s about time we got a major tentpole movie starring a female superhero.
Thumbs down: It’s about time we got a major tentpole movie starring a female superhero.
The Mummy (June 9)
Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis. Directed by Alex Kurtzman.
Universal attempts to launch a cinematic universe featuring its classic monster characters with this new take on the undead Egyptian creature.
Thumbs up: Universal is going all-out to make this monster universe thing a success.
Thumbs down: Remember when Universal tried to launch a monster universe with Dracula Untold?
Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
Mark Wahlberg, Isabela Moner, Josh Duhamel. Directed by Michael Bay.
The giant robots destroy more property in the fifth movie based on the mega-popular toys.
Thumbs up: Bay sure knows his Transformers movies.
Thumbs down: Knows how to make them overlong, loud and unbearable, that is.
Baby Driver (June 28)
Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm. Directed by Edgar Wright.
A getaway driver attempts to go straight after meeting the girl of his dreams.
Thumbs up: This thriller has been very well-received at recent film festivals, with critics comparing it to a cross between Gone in Sixty Seconds and La La Land.
Thumbs down: Do those sound like two movies that would fit well together?
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei. Directed by Jon Watts.
After his introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War, the latest version of Spider-Man gets his own solo adventure.
Thumbs up: It’s exciting to see Spider-Man finally interact with all of the other Marvel superheroes on the big screen.
Thumbs down: Do we really need yet another Spider-Man reboot?
War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn. Directed by Matt Reeves.
Super-intelligent apes and humans engage in full-scale combat in the third movie of the rebooted Planet of the Apes series.
Thumbs up: The new Apes series has been surprisingly successful and well-reviewed.
Thumb down: The original series became irredeemably cheesy before it ended.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)
Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen. Directed by Luc Besson.
A futuristic sci-fi adventure adapted from one of France’s most popular comic-book series.action is just overkill.
Thumbs up: Besson is responsible for bonkers sci-fi action movies like The Fifth Element and Lucy.
Thumbs down: This one might be just a little too bonkers.
Atomic Blonde (July 28)
Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman. Directed by David Leitch.
During the Cold War, a British spy in Berlin tracks down a fellow agent’s killers.
Thumbs up: After Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron deserves to have an over-the-top action movie all to herself.
Thumbs down: Sometimes over-the-top action is just overkill.
The Dark Tower (August 4)
Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel.
Stephen King’s epic fantasy series about a gunman in an Old West-style alternate world gets a would-be franchise launch.
Thumbs up: King’s beloved novels have a massive, dedicated fan base.
Thumbs down: Those fans could easily turn on a movie that doesn’t live up to their exacting standards.
Snatched (May 12)
Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack. Directed by Jonathan Levine.
A mother and daughter get kidnapped while on vacation in South America.
Thumbs up: Schumer’s last starring vehicle, Trainwreck, was a refreshing take on a familiar genre.
Thumbs down: Making this premise funny could easily go very, very wrong.
Baywatch (May 25)
Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario. Directed by Seth Gordon.
The cheesy ’90s TV series about lifeguards becomes a movie that makes fun of its own cheesiness.
Thumbs up: Both Johnson and Efron have demonstrated a surprising flair for comedy.
Thumbs down: After two 21 Jump Street movies and CHiPs, the idea of making a comedy out of a dated cop show is no longer clever.
Rough Night (June 16)
Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz. Directed by Lucia Aniello.
A group of friends must dispose of a body after accidentally killing a male stripper during a bachelorette party.
Thumbs up: It’s the feature film debut from a pair of Broad City writer-producers.
Thumbs down: It sounds like a gender-reversed version of 1998 flop Very Bad Things.
The House (June 30)
Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas. Directed by Andrew Jay Cohen.
A couple decide to start an illegal casino in their house to pay for their daughter’s college education.
Thumbs up: Ferrell and Poehler are two of the most consistently funny performers in comedy.
Thumbs down: They can easily be let down by a weak script.
The Big Sick (July 14)
Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter. Directed by Michael Showalter.
A comedian and his girlfriend deal with their cultural differences and her sudden illness.
Thumbs up: The movie based on Nanjiani’s real-life experiences was one of the most acclaimed premieres at Sundance.
Thumbs down: Sundance acclaim doesn’t always translate to wider success.
Girls Trip (July 21)
Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee.
Four lifelong friends go wild on a trip to a New Orleans music festival.
Thumbs up: Lee’s Best Man movies have an appealing, relaxed hang-out vibe.
Thumbs down: Appealing and relaxed movies tend to get eaten alive at the summer box office.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard (August 18)
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman. Directed by Patrick Hughes.
A bodyguard is hired to protect a former hitman who’s testifying at an international trial.
Thumbs up: After Deadpool, Reynolds is the go-to guy for snarky action comedy.
Thumbs down: Reynolds and Jackson could easily coast through this kind of movie.
Logan Lucky (August 18)
Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
A pair of brothers attempt a heist during a major motorsports race.
Thumbs up: It’s Soderbergh’s first film since ending his alleged retirement from feature filmmaking.
Thumbs down: Can we really trust a guy who lies about retiring?
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (May 19)
Jason Drucker, Charlie Wright, Alicia Silverstone. Directed by David Bowers.
The fourth movie based on the kids’ book series features an entirely new cast in a story about a family road trip.
Thumbs up: These Wimpy Kid movies appear to be popular with kids and/or wimps.
Thumbs down: If the entire original cast has gotten too old for these movies, maybe the audience has, too.
Captain Underpants (June 2)
Voices of Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms. Directed by David Soren.
The goofy superhero (and his nemesis Professor Poopypants) comes to life in this animated movie based on the popular series of kids’ books.
Thumbs up: The hero’s name is Captain Underpants! And he’s fighting Professor Poopypants!
Thumbs down: The hero’s name is Captain Underpants! And he’s fighting Professor Poopypants!
Cars 3 (June 16)
Voices of Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo. Directed by Brian Fee.
Race car Lightning McQueen must recover from a terrible crash in the third movie in Pixar’s animated series set in a world of anthropomorphic vehicles.
Thumbs up: The geniuses at Pixar almost never get things wrong.
Thumbs down: When Pixar does get things wrong, it’s with the Cars movies.
Despicable Me 3 (June 30)
Voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker. Directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin.
Lovable reformed supervillain Gru returns to take on a washed-up child star bent on world domination.
Thumbs up: This time Gru has a long-lost twin brother!
Thumbs down: Nothing says desperation like introducing a long-lost twin brother.
The Emoji Movie (July 28)
Voices of T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden. Directed by Tony Leondis.
Emojis come to life in this animated movie set in the secret world inside a smart phone.
Thumbs up: Who doesn’t like emojis?
Thumbs down: Many, many people.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (August 11)
Voices of Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph. Directed by Cal Brunker.
Surly squirrel Surly returns to save his park home from destruction.
Thumbs up: Parents will need distractions for their restless kids right before school starts up again.
Thumbs down: The first Nut Job was one of the worst animated movies of the past decade.
THRILLS & CHILLS
It Comes at Night (June 9)
Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott. Directed by Trey Edward Shults.
An isolated family is threatened by an unnatural outside menace.
Thumbs up: Shults’ micro-budget debut film Krisha was an acclaimed festival sensation.
Thumbs down: This is a big leap from a movie shot in the director’s parents’ house.
Amityville: The Awakening (June 30)
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, Cameron Monaghan. Directed by Franck Khalfoun.
For some reason, families keep moving into the famously haunted house in Amityville.
Thumbs up: Haunted house movies are a reliable horror subgenre.
Thumbs down: This is the 10th official Amityville movie; haven’t they learned by now?
Wish Upon (July 14)
Joey King, Sherilyn Fenn, Ryan Phillippe. Directed by John R. Leonetti.
A teenager discovers an antique box that grants all her wishes, but, y’know, in an evil way
Thumbs up: This is a dependable horror premise going all the way back to 1902 short story “The Monkey’s Paw.”
Thumbs down: It’s tough to put a new spin on such an old story.
Annabelle: Creation (August 11)
Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia, Talitha Bateman. Directed by David F. Sandberg.
The origin story of the possessed doll from The Conjuring.
Thumbs up: The Conjuring and its related films have been a huge horror success story.
Thumbs down: It’s a prequel to a spinoff, really testing the bounds of the franchise.
Everything, Everything (May 19)
Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose. Directed by Stella Meghie.
A young woman with a rare disease that keeps her housebound falls in love in this adaptation of a popular young adult novel.
Thumbs up: The Fault in Our Stars proved that teen romance plus tragic illness could be a formula for success.
Thumbs down: Wait, isn’t this the plot of Midnight Sun?
All Eyez on Me (June 16)
Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham. Directed by Benny Boom.
A biopic about the life of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur.
Thumbs up: Shakur is an important figure whose story deserves to be told.
Thumbs down: He’s also a controversial figure whose story could easily be screwed up.
Dunkirk (July 21)
Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh. Directed by Christopher Nolan.
A sweeping epic about the 1940 Allied evacuation of Dunkirk beach during World War II.
Thumbs up: Nolan might be the most acclaimed, accomplished large-scale filmmaker of his generation.
Thumbs down: He might not be as good with historical realism as he is with sci-fi and fantasy.
Detroit (August 4)
John Boyega, Will Poulter, Anthony Mackie. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
An ensemble drama set during the 1967 Detroit riots.
Thumbs up: Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal delivered riveting true-life drama with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
Thumbs down: Their style might not translate as well to a period piece.
Midnight Sun (August 4)
Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle. Directed by Scott Speer.
A young woman with a rare disease that keeps her housebound falls in love in this adaptation of a popular Japanese movie.
Thumbs up: The Fault in Our Stars proved that teen romance plus tragic illness could be a formula for success.
Thumbs down: Wait, isn’t this the plot of Everything, Everything?
AND AL GORE
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (July 28)
Al Gore. Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk.
The former vice president returns to lecture America about the dangers of climate change and how they can be combated.
Thumbs up: Gore’s perspective could be a welcome change of pace from current political rhetoric.
Thumbs down: Audiences might not be open to any kind of political rhetoric at this point.