Summer blockbuster preview


Chuck Zlotnick

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star in “Jurassic World”. Official image.

Jennifer Manalili, Copy Editor

This year’s summer blockbuster season kicked off with a vengeance, with prolific big budget ships like “Furious 7” and “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron” both breaking box office records in the U.S. and overseas, successfully catching the attention of moviegoers and their wallets as well. This phenomenon isn’t going to lose steam any time soon either, with films sure to catch your attention being released well until the temperatures die down. Grab a ticket and some popcorn, these big screen stories are a can’t miss.

“Poltergeist” — May 22

“They’re heeeeere!” — again. In a remake of the 1982 film, Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie Dewitt star as parents desperate to protect their daughter from evil spirits — the poltergeist of the title namesake — that are sc– aring their family and home. Steven Speilberg produced the original film, with the reboot calling on Sam Raimi to produce this time. And if Raimi’s producing resume on horror namesakes such as “30 Days of Night,” “The Grudge,” “Drag Me to Hell” and the 2013 remake of his own classic “Evil Dead” are anything to go by, fans of the original have nothing to fear. The reboot promises to retain elements (the static-y TV, a weird psychic and a creepy clown) from the original, all while scaring a whole new generation of moviegoers.

“Aloha” — May 29

Cameron Crowe used to be the undeniable king of the romantic comedy genre, penning and directing classics about finding yourself such as “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous” and “Say Anything …” But after duds at the box office that failed to capture critical acclaim much less garner attention or ticket sales (“Elizabethtown,” “We Bought a Zoo”), Crowe seems poised for a comeback. Bradley Cooper stars as a military defense contractor who returns to Hawaii to redeem himself after a professional humiliation. A workaholic and lone wolf, as many of Crowe’s characters have been, Cooper gets a second chance at love and life caught in a love triangle with Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. Bill Murray also stars.

“Jurassic World” — June 12

Twenty-two years after the original, “Jurassic World” takes off where its visionary John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) left off. Hammond’s dream of a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, has finally materialized, but after 10 years of operation the park sees visitor interest and ticket sales declining. To cope with the decline, the park creates and introduces a new attraction to re-spark the popularity it once had, which of course, in the grand scheme of things in the movie series, backfires and goes horribly wrong. Steven Speilberg, “Jurassic Park’s” original director, serves as producer on the film, which stars “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard.

“Inside Out” — June 19

You’ve got to hand it to Pixar. They have a knack for making you feel things by giving things feelings. Don’t believe it? The studio had the idea of giving toys feelings and successfully captured the bittersweet reality of growing up and moving on with “Toy Story.” The same can be said for how they successfully secured the same sentiment to other ideas — give monsters feelings (“Monsters, Inc.”) and robots and cars (“Wall-E,” “Cars” and “Cars 2”). Now the studio aims to give feelings, feelings with the release of “Inside Out.” The lovable pixie-like Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) lives inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley. Since she was born, Joy has been the guide of a quirky group of emotions that include Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. With Joy in control, Riley is upbeat and optimistic, but as puberty hits, she turns moody, forcing Joy and the gang to begin their own journey as they try to navigate her through a new city, house and school, as well as other benchmarks of growing up. The emotional ride is a personal one for the film’s writer and director, Peter Docter, who also directed “Up.” “When my daughter grew up, she became a different person. It’s wonderful, but it’s different. It fundamentally changes the way you speak to her, relate to her,” Docter said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“Terminator Genisys,” “Magic Mike XXL” — July 3

The competition for this year’s Fourth of July weekend seems like a hilarious toss-up between what men want versus what women want. On one hand you have a new installment of the “Terminator” franchise, starring “Game of Thrones’” Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, and brings back Arnold Schwarzenegger as an aging terminator as they try to stop the one thing about the future that they both fear “Judgement Day.”

On the other hand, you have a sequel to Channing Tatum’s surprising wildly successful and semi-autobiographical story about male stripping. The film takes place three years after Tatum’s Magic Mike bows out of the stripper life, and watches as he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit Myrtle Beach to put on one last performance. Jada Pinkett Smith, Amber Heard and Donald Glover join the cast that includes returnees Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer.

“The Gallows” — July 10

Tired of the found footage horror film genre? “The Gallows” begs you to give it one last try, and if the creepy tone of the simplistic trailer (which features a girl crying in a crumpled heap on the floor, and a close up of deep, bloody rope marks around her throat before a dark figure holding a noose grabs her from behind) is anything to go by, it’s going to be worth it. The production is a team effort by the horror aficionados at Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Blumhouse Productions who have created horror classics such as “Scream,” “The Purge,” “Insidious” and “Sinister.” 20 years after a horrific accident during a small-town school play, students attempt to resurrect the failed show in a misguided effort to honor the anniversary of the tragedy, but soon discover some things are better left alone.

“Ant-Man,” “Mr. Holmes” — July 17

Marvel’s second helping this summer comes in the form of Paul Rudd, who stars as a con-man with the ability to shrink in scale and size, but double his strength and of course, his very own super suit. Determined to embrace his inner hero, and help his mentor Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Ant-Man must plan and pull off a heist to save the world. “Lost’s” Evangeline Lily also stars.

Ian McKellan stars as the enigmatic detective Sherlock Holmes, who when the movie picks up is 93 and losing his memory, as he looks back on his life and recalls a case from 35 years earlier. McKellen, who is 75, was aged with prosthetics for the film, which is directed by Bill Condon (“Chicago,” “Kinsey,” “The Twilight Saga – Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2”).

“Pixels,” “Paper Towns,” “Southpaw” — July 24

This weekend has something for everyone. “Pixels” is for the family-friendly crowd. The action-comedy sees 1980s video games come to life and reimagines Pac-Man as, of all things, an extra-terrestrial villain of Godzilla like proportions ready to eat the world. Nintendo favorites “Donkey Kong” also star alongside Peter Dinklage and Kevin James.

“Paper Towns” is for the indie romance and young adult crowds. Based on the John Green novel of the same name, and by the same team that helped bring Green’s tearjerker “The Fault in Our Stars” to fruition, the mystery-romance follows Quentin (Nat Wolff), a teenager who sets off on a road trip to find out whatever happened to his mysterious girl next door, Margo (Cara Delevigne).

Finally, “Southpaw” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a hot-tempered boxer trying to regain his leverage on a personal and professional scale after the murder of his wife (Rachel McAdams) and losing custody of his young daughter. Kurt Sutter (of “Sons of Anarchy” fame) originally wrote the script for Eminem, designed originally as a sequel to “8 Mile,” but when plans with the rapper fell through, director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) sought out Gyllenhaal for the title role.

“Fantastic Four” — Aug. 7

Do you have superhero fatigue yet? With their third and last helping of the season, Marvel is hoping you aren’t. In this reboot of the comic book series, four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, and don’t come out unscathed. With their physical forms altered in different ways (we’ll let you figure out what a character like the Human Torch means), the four must learn to harness their new abilities as they try to work together and save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.

“Straight Outta Compton” — Aug. 14

With racial tensions rising in the U.S., it seems like a perfect time to look back at an equally poignant time in history and N.W.A, the rap group that made musicians Dr. Dre and Ice Cube household names, and the same group who were bombarded with threats of boycotts and criticisms for releasing tracks like “F**k Da Police.” Directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday,” “The Italian Job”), the film looks back on N.W.A’s emergence in music, following their rise from Compton, and the way the group revolutionized entertainment and popular culture with their rhymes.