Things To Do
Movies–The Summer Guide for what to See
By: Michael O’Sullivan
The Washington Post
May 7, 2015
Welcome to the summer of 1985.
I’m not talking about the theme of time travel, that staple of warm-weather movies. But there’s something in the cinematic zeitgeist this summer that reeks of 30-year-old Drakkar Noir. From George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” to “Straight Outta Compton,” there’s a distinct air of nostalgia in the multiplex for Reagan-era America.
Look at “Poltergeist,” a remake of the 1982 ghost story. Then there’s “Pixels,” an action-comedy about gamers defending the planet from weaponized Pac-Man monsters. And how about “Terminator Genisys”? The fifth film in the sci-fi franchise takes place in 1984 – the year the series launched – as well as in 2017 and 2029. Even “San Andreas” feels like a throwback to a bygone age of disaster flicks, which, let’s be honest, peaked in the late 1970s.
It’s not just the popcorn flicks, either. The Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy” jumps between the 1960s and the 1980s, with dueling performances by Paul Dano and John Cusack. Check out co-star Elizabeth Banks’ big hair, which deserves a separate credit.
Speaking of good hair, ’80s pop star Rick Springfield makes an appearance – as Meryl Streep’s love interest – in the dramedy “Ricki and the Flash.” Playing a middle-aged rock singer, Streep covers songs by ’80s icons Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. The horror movie “Regression,” which is set in 1990, features a detective (Ethan Hawke) investigating a Satanic cult. Shades of 1987’s “Angel Heart”?
In more contemporary news, this is the summer of Kristen Wiig and Paul Giamatti. Look for the former “SNL” star in three films: “Welcome to Me,” “Masterminds” and “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” the last of which isn’t a comedy. As for Giamatti, he’s now officially the hardest-working man in showbiz, with appearances in “San Andreas,” “Love & Mercy,” “Madame Bovary” and “Straight Outta Compton.”
Read on. There’s something – or someone – in our summer preview for every taste, especially movie fans still wearing acid-washed jeans. Just a reminder before you dip into the repackaged nostalgia, release dates may change.
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
May 15, R
Stars: Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron
The basics: Not quite a sequel, yet not exactly a reboot, George Miller’s fourth lap around the “Mad Max” track stars Hardy in the role originated by
Mel Gibson. Here, the taciturn loner does battle with bloodthirsty bad guys in a post-apocalyptic world where gasoline is king (and Theron is queen).
May 29, PG-13
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino
The basics: After California registers a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s search-and-rescue pilot swings into hero mode,
giving new meaning to the phrase “when the big one hits.”
June 12, not yet rated
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
The basics: Have the developers of dino-centric theme parks learned nothing from three “Jurassic Park” movies? In the futuristic amusement park of the title, a genetically engineered beast is introduced, wreaking predictable havoc.
June 26, PG-13
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila
The basics: When Air Force One is shot down over Finland by terrorists, a 13-year-old boy (Tommila) comes to the rescue of the U.S. president (Jackson).
July 1, not yet rated
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney
The basics: The fifth big-screen outing in the seemingly indestructible sci-fi franchise about killer robots introduces a wrinkle in the fabric of the time-traveling tale, which jumps from 1984 to 2029 (and in between): Maybe John Connor – whose role in the salvation of humanity has never before been in doubt – isn’t the solution, but the problem.
July 17, not yet rated
Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
The basics: Expect action and laughs from this screenplay (written by Adam McKay and Rudd) based on the Marvel comic books about an insect-size superhero (Rudd).
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
July 31, not yet rated
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner
The basics: When his spy organization disbands, superagent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his IMF teammates go freelance to defeat a syndicate of international supervillains. Let’s hope this reunion of Cruise and filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie is more successful than their 2012 collaboration, “Jack Reacher.”
Aug. 7, not yet rated
Stars: Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Miles Teller
The basics: After critical flops with the first two “Fantastic Four” films, Hollywood tries yet again to make these action heroes happen, reimagining their origin story as a drama about the burden of superpowers.
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”
Aug. 14, PG-13
Stars: Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander
The basics: Cavill and Hammer play unlikely allies – an American and a Soviet spy, respectively – in this Cold War-era adventure based on the 1960s TV series. It’s directed by Guy Ritchie, whose “Sherlock Holmes” movies prove he’s no slave to source material.
May 22, PG
Stars: George Clooney, Britt Robertson
The basics: A teenage girl (Robertson) finds herself in possession of a mysterious pin, unlocking a portal to a parallel universe. Her guide to this dangerous new world is a reclusive inventor (Clooney).
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara
The basics: Policewoman Witherspoon plays escort to Vergara’s wife-of-a-druglord on the lam in this odd-couple road movie.
“Pitch Perfect 2”
May 15, PG-13
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson
The basics: A competitive a cappella group attempts to redeem itself after an embarrassing loss in this sequel to the 2012 hit. The comedy marks the feature directorial debut of actress Elizabeth Banks.
June 5, R
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne
The basics: McCarthy’s deskbound CIA agent finally gets a shot at field operations in this fish-out-of-water yukfest from writer-director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).
June 26, R
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried
The basics: The trash-talking teddy bear (voiced by director and co-writer MacFarlane) returns, going to court to prove his humanity in this sequel to the raunchy 2012 comedy.
July 17, R
Stars: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader
The basics: In her first big-screen starring role, Schumer is a happy-go-lucky commitment-phobe who discovers, to her chagrin, that she’s falling for Mr. Right (Hader). Judd Apatow directed, from a script by Schumer.
July 17, PG
Stars: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker
The basics: McKellen plays Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved sleuth, now 93 and suffering from incipient dementia, in this drama based on novelist Mitch Cullin’s “A Slight Trick of the Mind,” about inter-generational friendship.
July 24, not yet rated
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker
The basics: Gyllenhaal’s troubled, musclebound boxer is the physical opposite of the emaciated sociopath he played in “Nightcrawler” in director Antoine Fuqua’s drama about a widower struggling to regain custody of his daughter.