It’s summertime! Grab your tickets and a big box of popcorn and escape the summer heat with these great films.
The Secret Life Of Pets 2
I loved the first one and I loved this one almost as much. It was slightly less funny than the first but still a wonderful film. Max and Duke now have a toddler to look after and Tiffany Haddish joins the cast too. Harrison Ford as Rooster, a wise old country dog, is perfection.
Plot Summary: Max the terrier must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. When the family takes a trip to the countryside, nervous Max has numerous run-ins with canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon catches a break when he meets Rooster, a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses.
Cast: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Hart, Harrison Ford, Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey
Director: Chris Renaud
Genres: Adventure, Animated, Comedy, Children
Production Co: Universal Pictures, Illumination Mac Guff, Illumination Entertainment
Distributors: Universal Pictures
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
I LOVED this film and am surprised it did not do better. My one change – and it’s a major one – is that the reason Dark Phoenix is so enraged with Xavier didn’t make sense. This render the loss of a beloved major character hard to take. This is also why the whole film fell flat for so many people. That said, the action is stellar, especially the scenes on the train.
Plot Summary: The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out of control. During a rescue mission in outer space, Jean is nearly killed when she’s hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. The X-Men must now band together to save her soul and battle aliens that want to use Grey’s new abilities to rule the galaxy.
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters
Director: Simon Kinberg
Genres: Action , Fantasy , Science fiction , Adventure
Production Co: Hutch Parker Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, Donners’ Company
Distributors: 20th Century Fox
My late Dad was an opera aficionado and brought his kids up to also love it. I adored Pavarotti, who he introduced me to as a pre-teen. I am so excited about this intimate look into his Life and work. I am very sad that we lost him so early. Please take the young people in your family to this film and develop an early appreciation for great music in their little hearts.
Plot Summary: Featuring never-before-seen footage, concert performances and intimate interviews, filmmaker Ron Howard examines the life and career of famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Director: Ron Howard
Genres: Music, Documentary
Production Co: Mongrel Media, CBS Films, StudioCanal, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, White Horse Films
Reminiscent of the indie scares from the 70’s, this is campy fun for all horror fans.
A married couple stumbles into a feud between the owner’s of their rental cabin and a neighboring clan.
Cast: Ritchie Montgomery, Lindsay Anne Williams, Sherri Eakin, Miles Doleac, Jeremy Sande, Cotton Yancey, Creek Wilson, Michael Randall
Director: Miles Doleac
This One’s For The Ladies
Go see this one with all your girls and you best male gay friends!
Plot Summary: Hundreds of enthusiastic women gather for a potluck celebration to cheer on Tyga, Raw Dawg, Sweet Tea and other male strippers in Newark, N.J.
Director: Gene Graham
Production Co: Still Films
It’s politically incorrect on every level but it’s still a ton of fun. Samuel L Jackson is the PERFECT Shaft and what an awesome idea to have multi-generational Shafts investigating together. The film is perfectly cast and my favorite of the summer so far!
Plot Summary: John Shaft Jr. may be an FBI cyber security expert, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education that only his dad can provide. Absent throughout his childhood, the legendary John Shaft agrees to help his son navigate the heroin-infested underbelly of Harlem, N.Y. Besides, the locked and loaded Shaft has his own score to settle — both professional and personal.
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie Usher, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Matt Lauria, Titus Welliver, Method Man
Director: Tim Story
Genres: Comedy , Action
Production Co: New Line Cinema, Davis Entertainment
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
Men In Black International
I can’t get enough of Tessa and Chris, so I loved this reboot.
Plot Summary: The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep everyone safe, decorated Agent H and determined rookie M join forces — an unlikely pairing that just might work. When aliens that can take the form of any human arrive on Earth, H and M embark on a globe-trotting adventure to save the agency — and ultimately the world — from their mischievous plans.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Laurent Bourgeois
Director: F. Gary Gray
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Science fiction
Production Co: The Hideaway Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Original Film, Amblin Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Columbia Pictures Corporation
Distributors: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
The Dead Don’t Die
Jim Jarmusch directs an all-star cast, including Bill Murray and Adam Driver, in a comedic zombie flick? I am so there!
Plot Summary: In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable, and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behaviors. News reports are scary, and scientists are concerned, but no one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing Centerville: the dead rise from their graves and feast on the living, and the citizens must battle to survive.
Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Genres: Horror, Dark comedy
Production Co: Inkjet, Focus Features, Animal Kingdom, Universal Pictures
Distributors: Focus Features
A hilarious campy reboot of the Chucky franchise, Child’s Play is a blast. There was one gratuitous death of a black person that annoyed me. But otherwise, it is a perfect update.
Plot Summary: After moving to a new city, young Andy Barclay receives a special present from his mother — a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes his best friend. When the doll suddenly takes on a life of its own, Andy unites with other neighborhood children to stop the sinister toy from wreaking bloody havoc.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke
Director: Lars Klevberg
Genres: Horror, Thriller
Production Co: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Oddfellows Entertainment, Orion Pictures
Distributors: Orion Pictures
I’ll see anything with Helen Mirren in it. Add a kick-ass female assassin with Luc Besson directing and it becomes a must-see.
Plot Summary: Beneath a woman’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the most feared assassins on the planet.
Cast: Sasha Luss, Dame Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Alexander Petrov, Nikita Pavlenko, Anna Krippa, Eric Godon
Director: Luc Besson
Genres: Action, Thriller
Production Co: Lionsgate, EuropaCorp, Les Films Séville, Entertainment One
Distributors: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films
Toy Story 4
I am a laughing weepy mess through every single Toy Story movie. They are so heartwarming but at the same time completely hilarious. This one is tons of fun though I was not thrilled with the ending.
Plot Summary: Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Jordan Peele
Director: Josh Cooley
Genres: Animated , Adventure , Comedy , Fantasy , Children
A mega-hit at the year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Wild Rose will uplift your spirits.
Plot Summary: Fresh out of prison, a Scottish woman juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, Tenn., on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice.
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, James Harkness, Neill MacColl, Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, Jamie Sives
Director: Tom Harper
Genres: Comedy drama , Music
Production Co: Fable Pictures, Creative Scotland, British Film Institute, Entertainment One, Sierra/Affinity, Les Films Séville
Annabelle Comes Home
I love horror and “The Conjuring/Annabelle” series have delivered some really scary moments over the years. I still can’t figure out why the Warrens don’t just burn the bitch doll though.
Plot Summary: Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren lock the possessed doll in the artifacts room in their house. But when the doll awakens the room’s evil spirits, it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, her friends and their young baby sitter.
Cast: Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Emily Brobst, Samara Lee, Stephen Blackehart
Director: Gary Dauberman
Genres: Thriller, Horror
Production Co: New Line Cinema, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Atomic Monster
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
I am mad mad mad for The Beatles and I missed this film at the Tribeca Film Festival. So it was awesome to see this feel-good film from “Slumdog Millionaire” director, Danny Boyle. Overall, I loved “Yesterday”. But I do wish that there had been a more compelling romantic conflict between Jack and Ellie. As written, it didn’t make sense and weakened the entire story line.
Plot Summary: Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in an English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, Jack becomes on overnight sensation with a little help from his agent.
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, James Corden, Ana de Armas, Joel Fry, Alexander Arnold
Director: Danny Boyle
Genres: Music, Comedy
Production Co: Stigma Films, Dentsu, Working Title Films, Universal Pictures
Distributors: Universal Pictures