Summer movie season is in full swing. The good news is that, this year, there are a lot of white female directors making bank directing movies, like Wonder Woman. The bad news? There are no women of color in those director’s chairs and the movies haven’t been the usual thrilling summer fare.
That said, there are still some great options. So head to the cinema and escape our crazy world for a couple hours this weekend. I missed a lot of screenings this month because I am developing a whole new business. So here’s a guide to what to see in June with notes on the ones I have seen and recommend:
Churchill – Fearful of repeating the invasion of Gallipoli in 1915, Winston Churchill attempts to stop the planned invasion of Normandy in 1944. Only the support of Churchill’s wife, Clementine, can halt the prime minister’s physical and mental collapse.
Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell, Julian Wadham, Richard Durden, James Purefoy, Danny Webb
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner
Director: Patty Jenkins
German soldier Stefan Brandt goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country’s authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser. As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke, one of the Kaiser’s maids.
Cast: Lily James, Jai Courtney, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Marsan, Ben Daniels, Janet McTeer, Mark Dexter, Lucas Tavernier
Director: David Leveaux
George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When their mean principal threatens to separate them into different classes, the mischievous boys accidentally hypnotize him into thinking that he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants. This is a must-see due the comic genius of Hart, Helms and Peele.
Cast: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal, Dee Dee Rescher, Brian Posehn
Director: David Soren
TGATP note: This was a barrel of fun and Tom was in top form. Set to be a successful series.
Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Simon Atherton
Director: Alex Kurtzman
It Comes At Night
TGATP Note: An instant horror classic. So taut and psychologically chilling that I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Kelvin Harrison, Jr. as the teen son was a standout and Joel Edgerton was robbed of this year’s Oscar. Because he completely morphed into Mr. Loving!
The plot: Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous order a man (Joel Edgerton) has established with his wife (Carmen Ejojo) and son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within the man as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough.
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Meagan Leavey – The true life story of Megan Leavey (Kate Mara), a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with a military combat dog saved many lives during her deployment in Iraq. Assigned to clean up the K-9 Unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey starts to identify with Rex, a particularly aggressive dog that she trains. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex complete more than 100 missions until an improvised explosive device injures both, putting their fates in jeopardy.
Cast: Kate Mara, Ramón Rodríguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford, Will Patton, Sam Keeley, Common, Edie Falco.
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
My Cousin Rachel – Philip is a young Englishman who finds his cousin Ambrose dead after traveling to Florence, Italy. He vows revenge against Ambrose’s missing wife Rachel, blaming her for his untimely demise. When Philip meets Rachel for the first time, his mood suddenly changes as he finds himself falling for her seductive charm and beauty. As his obsession for her grows, Rachel now hatches a scheme to win back her late husband’s estate from the unsuspecting Philip.
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino, Vicki Pepperdine, Poppy Lee Friar, Katherine Pearce
Director: Roger Michell
Night School – Documentary – Indianapolis has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. For adult learners Greg, Melissa, and Shynika, a high school diploma could be a life-changing achievement. The pursuit of their diplomas is fraught with the challenges of daily life and also the broader systemic roadblocks faced by many low-income Americans, including wages and working conditions.
Director: Andrew Cohn
Once Upon A Time In Venice
Steve Ford (Bruce Willis) is a private detective in Venice Beach, Calif., who’s good with the ladies, bad with the punches and wild about his dog Buddy. When local thugs steal Buddy, Ford turns to Spyder, their devious leader, and forges an unlikely alliance. With help from his best friend, Steve pulls out the big guns to retrieve Spyder’s stolen cash and cocaine and save Buddy.
Cast: Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch, Christopher McDonald, Maurice Compte, Adam Goldberg
Director: Mark Cullen
Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) falls in love with a fishmonger (Ethan Hawke) while working for him as a live-in housekeeper.
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan, Marthe Bernard, David Feehan
Director: Aisling Walsh
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast cars, the legendary Lighting McQueen (Owen Wilson) finds himself pushed out of the sport that he loves. Hoping to get back in the game, he turns to Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), an eager young technician who has her own plans for winning. With inspiration from the Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns, No. 95 prepares to compete on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage.
Cast: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy , Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion
Director: Brian Fee
TGATP Note: I hated this movie. I don’t know if it is the influence of the awful people currently occupying the White House but I have no space for the comic portrayal of people getting away with murder. I just didn’t find the dead stripper storyline funny or, for that matter, original. It is time to stop trying to remake “The Hangover”, which was a one-of-a-kind thing.
I hated this but you might feel differently. Five best friends (Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon) from college reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Their hard partying takes a hilariously dark turn when they accidentally kill a male stripper. Amid the craziness of trying to cover it up, they’re ultimately brought closer together when it matters most.
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Paul W. Downs, Ryan Cooper, Ty Burrell
Director: Lucia Aniello
All Eyez On Me
TGATP Note: This is an amazing film and a summer must-see! I am annoyed that more marketing dollars were not put into this film as there don’t seem to have been any NY media screenings. In addition, it is ridiculous that people are expressing surprise that the film did so well on its opening weekend. It’s TUPAC SHAKUR’s story, for Pete’s sake!
The true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), from his early days in New York to his status as one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mindset establish him as a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his death.
Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Katerina Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Danai Gurira, Jamal Woolard, Dominic Santana, Keith Robinson
Director: Benny Boom
The Book of Henry
TGATP Note: Great acting from Jaeden Lierberher and Naomi Watts. But very very very very very sad. I openly wept. And the plot line of the Mom actually considering murdering a man was disturbing.
Single mother Susan Carpenter works as a waitress alongside her feisty family friend Sheila. Taking care of everyone and everything in his own way is Susan’s older son Henry. Protective of his brother and a tireless supporter of his often self-doubting mother, Henry blazes through the days like a comet. When Susan discovers that the family next door harbors a dark secret, she’s surprised to learn that Henry has devised a plan to help the young daughter.
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Dean Norris, Maddie Ziegler, Tonya Pinkins
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Documentary on Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Quincy Jones, Rachel Portman, Trent Reznor, Randy Newman and other musicians discuss the challenges and creative secrets of composing film scores.
Cast: Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Quincy Jones, Rachel Portman, Trent Reznor, Randy Newman, Alexandre Desplat
Director: Matt Schrader
47 Meters Down
Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Director: Johannes Roberts
Transformers: The Last Knight
TGATP Note: This will do well at the box office. But the studio doesn’t seem to have much faith in it as they were weary about doing screenings. Despite repeated requests, we never heard back about a NYC media screening. This usually only occurs when the studio doesn’t want much news out about a film in advance. In addition, it is opening on a Tuesday, which is also strange. There was purportedly a screening tonight – Monday – the night before it opens. It also got 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not a great sign.
Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel
Director: Michael Bay
The Bad Batch
The Bad Batch follows Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) after she’s left in a Texas wasteland fenced off from civilization. It’s a dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals.
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Diego Luna, Jayda Fink, Jim Carrey
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
TGATP Note: I am a huge fan of the original Clint Eastwood version of this film and Colin Farrell will always be a fav after the hot sex tape. Not thrilled that so much has been given away in the trailer as it is better to know very little about this thrilling plot.
Plot: At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women have been sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries, and an unexpected turn of events.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice
Director: Sofia Coppola
A talented, young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams (Lily James), Baby sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Director: Edgar Wright
Despicable Me 3
When Gru, the world’s most super-bad turned super-dad has been recruited by a team of officials to stop lethal muscle and a host of Gru’s own, He has to fight back with new gadgetry, cars, and more minion madness.
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
A dad convinces his friends to start an illegal casino in his basement after he and his wife spend their daughter’s college fund.
Cast: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler Allison Tolman, Andrea Savage, Jason Mantzoukas, Michaela Watkins
Director: Andrew J. Cohen