Staying home ensconced in the comfort of your apartment while bingewatching the latest season of Stranger Things seems like a pretty good way of avoiding the city humidity in mid-July—but maybe you're the type of freak who gets off on leaving your home once in awhile. In that case, here are a bunch of movies to check out this summer. And at the very least, it's a good excuse to soak in the best communal air conditioning money can buy in the city.
Dark Phoenix (June 7th): Oh boy... well at the very least, we're really excited for Fox to finally dump this film (and The New Mutants, which maybe is coming out later this summer? Or perhaps is being tossed onto Hulu at some point?) so Marvel can take charge of the X-Men characters and hopefully reboot them into the MCU. In the meantime, maybe this pseudo-remake of X-Men: The Last Stand will at least get the Dark Phoenix storyline a little better. Here are a few predictions in the meantime: Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) will die, there will be one standout Quicksilver scene, and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) will help the good guys and then go back to being a bad guy.
Late Night (June 7th): If you're looking for a summertime movie to see that doesn't involve massive amounts of CGI or franchise-building, then you might be interested in this film from screenwriter Mindy Kaling. The film revolves around Emma Thompson as a pioneering late-night talk show host fighting to keep her job amidst low ratings—Kaling plays the new addition to her writer's room who helps shake things up.
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese (June 12th): This film has been in the works for over a decade; it is the follow-up to Scorsese's previous Dylan doc, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, which covered Dylan's rise in the '60s. The new doc will focus on Dylan's legendary 1975 tour, which was a rolling caravan of musicians and writers (including Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg and Sam Shepard, T-Bone Burnett, Mick Ronson and more). Netflix said in a release that the film "captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year" and describes it as "part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream."
Men in Black: International (June 14th): This sequel to the Men In Black franchise substitutes Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones for Thor: Raganrok costars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemmsworth. It looks like a perfect film to catch on an airplane or on TBS in three years—but maybe you want to get a jump start on that this summer!
The Dead Don't Die (June 14th): Jim Jarmusch's all-star zombie flick has an incredible cast including Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, RZA, Tom Waits, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Carol Kane and more. Reviews out of Cannes were mixed, but if you enjoy Jarmusch's idiosyncratic rhythms and underplayed tones, you'll probably get a kick out of this one.
Toy Story 4 (June 21st): This is one of the only beloved film franchises where every subsequent movie has been even better than the last. Couple that with new characters voiced by Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and Keanu Reeves, and we are pretty excited. Here's the logline: "Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called 'Forky' to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy."
Yesterday (June 28th): Let me abundantly clear: this film's plot is a literal waking nightmare to me. The Beatles are somehow erased from history, and yet Ed Sheeran remains the most popular musician in the world? Wouldn't the absence of the Beatles completely shift the course of popular music history to the point that whatever came afterwards would be radically changed? Why would this movie take such a loaded, fascinating premise and then do the absolute most boring, unimaginative, sappy thing with it? Anyway, I might hate everything about it, but even I can admit it looks charming as hell and is probably a pleasant way to spend two hours.
Midsommar (July 3rd): Director Ari Aster follows up last year's Hereditary with this spooky-looking film, in which Florence Pugh stars as a woman hanging out in a freakishly bright Swedish village during its midsummer festival—freaky shenanigans will occur. It looks a little like The Wicker Man—let's just hope it's closer to the original than to the remake.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5th): Spider-Man (Tom Holland) teams up with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to fight baddies around Europe in the next chapter of his MCU adventures. Is Mysterio actually a bad guy? Is Nick Fury Peter Parker's new father figure? Does everyone, including Zendaya's MJ and Marisa Tomei's Aunt May, know Spider-Man's secret identity now? Can you really make a movie revolving around Iron Man without paying Robert Downey Jr. a million dollars to show up for a cameo?
The Farewell (July 12th): Awkwafina plays a New Yorker who travels to China with her family to see her terminally-ill grandmother—except they have to say they're there for a wedding, because no one wants to tell the grandmother she's dying. Lulu Wang's semi-autobiographical feature (which was previously featured on the 2016 This American Life episode "In Defense of Ignorance") garnered rave reviews at Sundance, so this seems like a must-see.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26th): Everyone in Hollywood has signed up for Quentin Tarantino's next sprawling film which is (somewhat) centered on the Manson Family murders. Leonardo DiCaprio plays struggling TV actor Rick Dalton (who happens to live next door to Margot Robbie's Sharon Tate), Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth (Dalton's best friend and stunt double). The rest of the cast includes (deep breath): Al Pacino, James Marsden, Damian Lewis (as Steve McQueen), the late Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Scoot McNairy, Timothy Olyphant, Margaret Qualley, Emile Hirsch, Lena Dunham, Bruce Dern, and Tarantino regulars such as Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell.
Hobbs & Shaw (August 2nd): The relationship between The Rock and Jason Statham was the best part of The Fate Of The Furious (and also allegedly what caused Vin Diesel and The Rock's ongoing on-set feud), and they are being rewarded with the first spinoff of the Fast & Furious saga. DJ Idris Elba will play the bad guy and David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) will direct what is sure to be the most fun film of the summer.
The Nightingale (August 2nd): Australian director Jennifer Kent follows up her beloved horror hit The Babadook with this film, which the Times described as a "deeply upsetting outback western." This 19th century period piece, starring Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin, is about an Irish woman seeking revenge for the murder of her family.
The Kitchen (August 9th): Based on a pulpy DC comic book series, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss star in The Kitchen as a trio of wives who take over the Irish mob in 1970's Hell's Kitchen after their husbands are nabbed by the FBI. It turns out they're really good at running the mob too! It doesn't have an official trailer yet, but it DOES have this video preview below, which honestly is even better.
Blinded By The Light (August 14th): Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), this films is about a Bruce Springsteen-obsessed Pakistani British teen in the '80s, and is soundtracked by The Boss's songs—and it is supposed to be a total delight. As Variety wrote, "When the Springsteen songs come on, you don’t have to be a rockist to feel the supreme lack of irony, the passionate majesty of it. It’s music so unhip it’s transcendent, to the point that when Javed starts to sport a flannel shirt with cut-off sleeves, or when he and Roops (Aaron Phagura), the fellow Pakistani who first turned him onto the Boss, sneak “Born to Run” into the school DJ booth, and blast it, and the movie suddenly becomes a virtual musical, with Javed, Roos, and Eliza dancing through the city and into the fields, it’s corny as hell and irresistible for that reason. Blinded by the Light has the courage of its own shameless teen rock-god sincerity."
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (August 16th): Richard Linklater's latest film has been shuffled around the calendar a few times already, but it apparently dropping in August now. It's based on Maria Semple’s hit 2012 novel about a disappearing mother, played by Cate Blanchett in the film. Based on the trailer, I would affectionately call this "very minor Linklater," but some of his best films have been done in that mode (Bernie), so don't sleep on it!
And here's a bunch more films that are coming in the second half of 2019...
James McAvoy, Bill Hader & Jessica Chastain portray grown-up versions of The Losers Club in It: Chapter Two (September 6th). Director James Gray follows up his wonderful The Lost City Of Z by going to space with Brad Pitt in Ad Astra (September 20th). Will Smith plays an elite assassin (and his target) Ang Lee's sci-fi film Gemini Man (October 4th). Joaquin Phoenix dons the clown makeup in the much-documented origin film Joker (October 4th). Donna Tart's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch (October 11th) is getting adapted into a film by Brooklyn director John Crowley. Tom Hanks will star as Mr. Rogers in Marielle Heller's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (October 18th). Director Taika Waititi will play an imaginary Hitler in the "anti-hate satire" Jojo Rabbit (October 18th).
Director James Mangold (Logan) follows a team of American engineers and designers, led by Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as they attempt to build a new automobile in Ford V. Ferrari (November 15th). Rian Johnson took a break from making Star Wars movies with whodunit mystery Knives Out (November 27th) which stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, and Christopher Plummer. Writer Lena Waithe (Master Of None, The Chi) and director Melina Matsoukas (Insecure, Beyonce's "Formation" video, Master Of None's "Thanksgiving" episode) team up for Queen & Slim (November 27th) about "a black man and black woman who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop." The Skywalker family saga probably (?) comes to a conclusion with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (December 20th). And Greta Gerwig has assembled quite the cast (including Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet) for her remake of Little Women (December 25th).
And a few more that currently don't have release dates:
I can't wait to see what Martin Scorsese has put together for Netflix with The Irishman, which stars Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, and is about the man who allegedly killed Jimmy Hoffa. Wes Anderson returns to making live action films with The French Dispatch, which is said to be a love letter to newspapers set in 1950s Paris. Legion and Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley will helm Lucy In The Sky about an astronaut love triangle starring Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm and Zazie Beetz. For their followup to the electrifying Good Time, the Safdie Brothers have recruited Adam Sandler to play a jewelry-store owner and gambling addict in Uncut Gems.Terrence Malick's next film A Hidden Life depicts the life of Austria’s Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector during World War II who was put to death for undermining military actions—it's especially exciting because Malick actually wrote a script for it! Mudbound director Dee Rees adapts Joan Didion's book about a journalist caught up in the middle of the Iran-Contra Affair (with Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, and Willem Dafoe) in The Last Thing He Wanted for Netflix.