Ah, summer. Some think it’s the best time of year, and others are wrong. It’s warm, sunny, and the perfect time to enjoy all that nature and the great outdoors have to provide. The season is also a perceived home to big, fun, wannabe blockbusters and smaller acts of counter-programming. I say “perceived” because that also describes pretty much the entire year, but still, summer is pretty much king when it comes to hopeful hits and escapist fare.
This summer looks no different as the films releasing from May through August offer a wide variety of sequels, franchise starters, action, horror, kids flicks, and more. Some will find massive success, and others will simply fade away, but all of them will find some kind of audience. In this house, we love all kinds of movies, and to that end, our look ahead at the summer releases that excite us most includes all kinds of films.
Aquarela (August 16th)
What is it? Water covers most of our planet, and while it’s beautiful and necessary for life it’s also a powerful force of destruction.
Why should you see it? The focus of this documentary is water in all its various natural forms, from oceans and rivers to ice and rain-filled hurricanes, and director Victor Kossakovsky captures it all with an eye for awe-inspiring beauty. The film has been storming its way through the film festival circuit from Venice to Park City and earning acclaim along the way, and it promises to be a spectacular theatrical experience.
The Art of Self-Defense (June 12th)
What is it? A young man who’s afraid of the world signs up for a karate class in the hopes of becoming scary himself.
Why should you see it? Riley Stearns’ (Faults, 2014) latest sees Jesse Eisenberg playing a bit against type as the cocky bastard personality he usually embodies is replaced by someone far more visibly fragile. He plays a man who’s attacked one night which only serves to magnify his fear of the dark, other men, and confrontations, and the film’s journey is his attempt to climb out of this hole of fear. It has the bones of a drama, but Stearns and Eisenberg ensure a nervous sense of humor pervades the tale too.
Artemis Fowl (August 9th)
What is it? Eoin Colfer’s bestselling YA series about a pre-teen criminal mastermind and his series of fantastical adventures comes to the big screen.
Why should you see it? There are as many, if not more, failed YA franchise-starters as there are success stories, and while some are unfortunate — Beautiful Creatures (2013) and Mortal Engines (2018) deserved sequels goddammit! — most are far from missed opportunities. This one could go either way, but it has the ingredients to be a success instead thanks to its impressive-looking world-building, detailed story, and the relatively sure directorial hand of Kenneth Branagh.
Booksmart (May 24th)
What is it? Two best friends decide to cut loose on their final day and night of high school.
Why should you see it? Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut took SXSW by storm earlier this year with its blend of big laughs and heartfelt relationship between the two friends. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein make for an engaging, sweet, and hilarious duo which just might make this more than merely a female-focused Superbad.