The busiest month of the summer is upon us and though Jurassic World unexpectedly became the biggest movie of all time, there are still plenty of great films coming out while you take shelter from the heat. With that in mind, here’s a little guide to help you through the clutter of summer cinema.
Release Date: July 1st
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke
The fourth installment in the Terminator franchise, Genisys brings back Arnold Schwarzenegger as the iconic T-800 for what looks to be a complete retooling of the timeline. The trailers are really emphasising on how the movie plays around with the events of the original film, with Sarah Connor being the bad-ass this time and Kyle Reese the confused passenger as they must find a way to stop the machine apocalypse, this time caused by a nefarious IOS system called Genisys.. It’ll be interesting to see Emilia Clarke act outside of Game of Thrones, and Jai Courtney is an actor I’ve always wanted to see get a good role after his great performance in the Spartacus TV series. Time travel is a tricky subject to tackle in film, it can often get too confusing for its own good, but if any franchise can do it justice, it’s Terminator. All it really has to do is be better than the terrible fourth installment, Salvation.
Magic Mike XXL
Release Date: July 1st
Directed By: Gregory Jacobs
Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash
The original Magic Mike was a surprisingly successful movie, and was even improbably beloved by critics, due in large part to the direction of acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh. Unfortunately, Soderbergh has not returned for the sequel which seems to be everything we feared the first one would be: A plotless excuse to see built dudes stripping, and there’s nothing wrong with that considering the great choreography and theatricality involved in those strip performances. This time around, Magic Mike comes out of retirement and brings the gang back together as he and his fellow strippers travel cross country to Myrtle Beach for one last extravagant performance. Channing Tatum has become a much bigger star since the last installment, which leads me to wonder if this might be the last we see of Magic Mike.
Release Date: July 10th
Directed By: Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney
Giving side characters from popular animated franchises their own movies seems to be a new trend. Last year, we got Penguins of Madagascar, and this year, it’s the Minions’ turn. It’s impossible to look at these little yellow guys and not laugh. Centering on the best part of the Despicable Me films, Minions will focus on three particular minions: Bob, Kevin and Stuart as they embark on a search to find the most evil master to serve, leading them to team up with supervillain Scarlett Overkill as she plans to steal the crown jewels. The trailers have all been cute and funny, and the voice cast is filled with A-List actors. We’ll see how the Minions can carry their own full length movie, having only provided occasional comedic relief in the Despicable Me films. Hopefully, this isn’t a case of less is better, but if only a quarter of the gags are as good as that Dracula one in the trailer, it should be great.
Release Date: July 17th
Directed By: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stoll
The second MCU film to come out this year, Ant-Man has the incredibly big task of following Guardians of the Galaxy as the next Marvel origin film. Centering on Scott Lang (Rudd), a thief who gets recruited by Hank Pym (Douglas) — the original Ant-Man — to follow in his footsteps, Ant-Man seems to be a smaller (pun intended) Marvel film as it doesn’t seem like it’s going to connect very much to the larger universe, at least for now. The trailers have clearly been playing up the comedic element which makes sense considering Paul Rudd’s previous roles. Stole seems to be having a lot of fun playing the villain, so hopefully he won’t follow the trend of bland Marvel villains. The whole cast is fantastic and I’m excited to see how they use the shrinking ability, a superpower we haven’t seen on film before. If that train sequence from the trailer is any indication, it looks like they had a lot of fun with it.
Release Date: July 17th
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson
There was a time I thought Judd Apatow was an infallible comedic genius. Both 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are two of my favorite all-time comedies and are two of the movies that I have seen the most in my life (I can pretty much recite most of the dialogue from 40 Year Old Virgin by memory). Unfortunately, his later films, Funny People and This Is 40 didn’t live up to his first two movies and my excitement for his future projects decreased. Now he’s back, this time teaming up with up and coming female comic Amy Schumer for what appears to be a gender flip version of his usual plots as it centers on a career driven woman who doesn’t believe in monogamy… until she meets a charming sport doctor who changes her outlook on relationships. Schumer has proven on her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, that she is an amazing comedic talent and the supporting cast is comprised of equally talented top tier comedic actors, so this might very well be the comedy hit of the summer.
Release Date: July 24th
Directed By: Jake Schreier
Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Justice Smith, Austin Abrams
Last year’s Fault In Our Stars managed to stand out amongst the big budget blockbusters to become one of the most beloved films of the summer. That film was based on a novel by author John Green and was such a huge success that pretty much all of his novels are getting the big screen treatment. Paper Towns is the latest of these, telling the story of young Quentin Jacobsen, a shy youth who goes on an adventure to find his missing neighbor and crush, Margo. Paper Towns looks significantly cheerier than Fault and it’s great to see Natt Wolff go from supporting actor (he played Isaac in Fault In Our Stars) to leading man here. The trailer tries a little too hard to accentuate the quirky indiness of the film, but hopefully that’s not what the actual movie will be. Either way, this has all the potential to be the sleeper hit of the summer
Release Date: July 24th
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forrest Whitaker, Rachel McAddams, Naomie Harris
This one seems to have come out of nowhere to become one of the most interesting and different films coming out this summer. Written by Kurt Sutter (creator of Sons of Anarchy), directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this film has one hell of a pedigree. The film tells the story of Billy Hope, a professional boxer who, after being struck by a great tragedy on the eve of his retirement, finds himself returning to the sport that made him, determined to make a comeback. Although the plot does look a little cliché, everyone loves a good boxing movie once in a while. Gylenhaal clearly put on some muscle for the role, and this might be his big attempt at the acting Oscar he was denied last year for his amazing performance in Nightcrawler. Between this and the upcoming Rocky sequel Creed, 2015 is shaping up to be a good year for boxing movie fans.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Release Date: July 31st
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Alec Baldwin
Who would have thought that the Mission: Impossible movies would still be as big as they are today after 19 years? Tom Cruise may be getting older, but you wouldn’t know it based on the stunts he does for these film. In the previous installment, he actually repelled off the tallest building in the world and this time around he’s hanging off of an actual airplane while it takes off. This time around, the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) led by Ethan Hunt (Cruise) are facing off against the evil Syndicate – the villains from the original Mission: Impossible TV series — an organisation made up of assassin rogues and rogue operatives. This installment is being helmed by Christopher McQuarrie who is an extremely capable writer and director as well as a long time collaborator with Cruise. The trailers have all been sufficiently intriguing and the fact that they seem to be making Simon Pegg more of an important part is a great sign.