Amanda’s Summer Movie Preview Extravaganza
Remember Amanda’s Summer Movie Preview Extravaganza where she would guide you through all the films that she deemed worthy of your time and money? It’s back. But are you?
Because I feel a responsibility to my devoted readers (that’s you), and because I felt perfectly safe, I’ve been going out to the movies since my local cinema reopened. Yes, I’ve enjoyed watching a major release or two at home on my couch in my jammies, with unlimited free snacks and beverages. And when a movie was disappointing, I did say, “Glad I didn’t have to spend my money on that.” However, there are some films that deserve viewing on the big screen. If you are thinking, “I’m vaccinated, I’m proud and I’m ready to spend $7 on a soft drink,” these might be the summer movies for you. Oh, and remember, these dates could, and probably will, change.
A Quiet Place Part II (May 28, PG-13) - This sequel to the 2018 surprise hit, is first on my list to see in the theater. I am not a fan of horror films, but the original, directed by John Krasinski, earned its critical and box office success and was super scary without being super icky. The only reason I haven’t seen it yet, is because my boyfriend still hasn’t gotten around to watching the first one. Hint, it’s called Amazon Prime.
In the Heights (June 11, PG-13) - Sure, I could wait 31 days after its release date to watch this musical on HBO Max. But you know how big song and dance numbers look on a TV? Not so big. Watching the trailer was enough to convince me to part with my cash for this long-awaited film adaptation of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Broadway hit, before he gave us a little thing called Hamilton.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (June 16, R) - While this movie gets my respect for having a title with two possessives, it’s not enough to get me to the theater. I enjoyed the original, mostly due to the chemistry and comedy stylings of stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. The filmmakers are smart to give Selma Hayak, as Jackson’s wife, more to do. I just prefer movies with excessive gun activity on the small screen.
F9 (June 25, PG-13) The only kudos I have for the ridiculously successful Fast and Furious franchise, is that they’ve given up on all those letters and have embraced abbreviation. This tells me to expect more of the noisy, speedy, stunty Vin Diesel vehicles (pun intended). Apparently in this version, “Justice is coming.” I’ll be skipping this, as I have the previous eight, but the action does seem big-screen worthy.
Black Widow (July 9, PG-13) - You need the cast of The Big Bang Theory to calculate all the delayed releases of this Marvel movie, the first one focused on Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. It’s been a long time since you’ve seen a superhero movie on the big screen. And I’m about 90% sure, stuff will get blown up.
Old (July 30, not yet rated) - In the too-close-to-home category, we find the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, who brought us The Sixth Sense and a lot of confusing follow-up thrillers, but to his credit never “The Sixth Sense II,” which I would have called “The Seventh Sense.” Old, which wins the award for easiest to spell title of the year, is about “a cursed beach that ages visitors.” It’s a theaters-only release, but I’ll wait to watch at home, because this one looks very creepy and I love the beach.
Stillwater (July 30, not yet rated) - I’m more than a bit intrigued by this movie that stars Matt Damon as a father who leaves Oklahoma to visit his daughter who’s in prison in France for a murder she says she didn’t commit (do they ever?). From the trailer, it looks like Damon’s best work since 2015’s The Martian. It is also the first major release for director Tom McCarthy, since he wrote and directed 2015’s Oscar-winning Spotlight, my favorite film of that year.
Respect (August 13, PG-13) - This biopic of Aretha Franklin stars Jennnifer Hudson, who will definitely score an Academy Award nomination. Its pandemic-postponed release comes almost one year after we first started seeing the trailer last summer. The “Queen of Soul” deserves a big-screen only release and she got it.
You waited 35 years for the sequel to Top Gun, what’s a few more months? Top Gun Maverick was supposed to hit theaters on July 2, itself a delay from December 3, 2020. Now you will have to wait until November 19 to see Tom Cruise return as fearless Navy pilot Maverick. Hey Tom, you’re not getting any younger and neither are we.