The Summer Movie Shortlist!


Cooper Milliken, Staff Writer

     With the release of several trailers this week I’ve been reminded of one of the best times of the year: summer! Now everyone loves summer due to the weather, the fact that we don’t have to be in school, vacation, but what does that have to do with movies? Well, many production companies are aware of the fact that the summer season is ripe for the audience’s appeal as people need more to do during the days in which they’re not busy with school or work. Therefore, the summer movie season is ripe with a slew of new films both streaming and released theatrically. As well, plenty of new shows are receiving new seasons and artists are dropping their “songs of the summer”. So, let’s talk about the films coming out this summer season, and even some of the films that will most likely receive trailers in these coming months. 

     Let’s start with May. Many seniors are getting out of school throughout this month and studios are heavily aware of that as we have some heavy hitters coming out this month. The film that I’m most excited for is Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. GOTG is an incredibly fun, and heartfelt franchise that has managed to make me cry throughout their last two outings. It seems as if that trend will continue based on the marketing heavily implying that this will be the end of many of the Guardians. Now, if you’re not following the Marvel Cinematic Universe you most likely won’t have much interest in this film, but there’s plenty of time to catch up on the story before it comes out on May 5th. 

     On May 12th we’re getting the new film from Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alita Battle Angel, Sin City) called Hypnotic. The film stars Ben Affleck as a detective whose daughter was abducted and presumed dead. Then a string of mysterious bank robberies are enacted by seemingly normal people who would never need the money. The robbers are found to be under the control of a hypnotic, played by William Fichtner, and when it’s revealed Fichtner has connection to Affleck’s daughter, Affleck tumbles further down the rabbit hole. Rodriguez is an absolutely bonkers director and this high concept type crime thriller seems like something both new yet familiar for him. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, a little more mind bending then I would give Hypnotic a watch. 

     Fast X zooms into theaters on May 19th and is marketed as the first half of the Fast Saga finale. The film, of course, follows Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and his family as they take on a new villain, played by one of the best dudes ever, Jason Mamoa. These films aren’t high art, but they’re incredibly fun, heartfelt experiences that I find to be…just so silly. Like, I loved F9 and with the return of Han (Sung Kang) genuinely made me tear up. Yes, a Fast and Furious movie made me cry, and I’m not ashamed of that! If you wanna catch up on the Fast Saga you can stream the films across several different streaming platforms such as HBO Max and Peacock. 

     June is also packed with seemingly fantastic films! The one I’m looking forward to the most is the sequel to the Academy Award winning Animated feature Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. This film follows Miles Morales as he’s chased throughout the multiverse by a hoard of alternate universe Spider-Man and Women, including classic comics character Miguel O’Hara aka Spider-Man 2099 (played by Oscar Isacc). The titular character from the first film returns for another round and based on the trailers alone this film seems to be withholding the same level of creativity and emotional intelligence that the first had. Will it win the Oscar once again? Who knows, but I do know that if you’re a fan of visually striking films with stories that all audiences can relate to, the Spider-Verse is something you should definitely delve into on June 2nd. 

     Then, on June 9th, there are two films releasing. Firstly, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Based on the Beast Wars: Transformers cartoon this follows Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as they (alongside their cohorts) team up with a faction of Transformers who have taken the form of Earthly animals including a gorilla and cheetah. They’re of course joined by some humans including Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos as Noah Diaz (original name!). This film is in the timeline of the Bumblebee solo film from a couple of years ago, and that immediately gives more promise than anything connected to the original films from the 2000’s and 2010’s as those aren’t very good. If it’s just as cute and charming as the Bumblebee film I’ll give it a watch. 

     Although if a big action movie about metallic monkeys isn’t your style, you can also check out the adult comedy Strays starring Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx as man’s best friends. Yes, they’re playing dogs. Talking dogs. Talking dogs who drop f bombs and make a plan to mutilate an abusive owner. Yeah…much like the 2016 Seth Rogen animated feature, Sausage Party, this film can easily be seen as something for families if you’re just staring at the poster, but trust me-this is a parody of the talking pet films that’s meant to meet the absurdity of the idea of talking dogs in live action. The trailers have made me chuckle and the cast is pretty great when it comes to a flexing of the comedic muscles. Personally I’m more excited to see Will Forte as the abusive owner. That man is hilarious, love that guy. So, on June 9th maybe take your kids and younger siblings to go see Rise of The Beasts while you go check out Strays.

     Friday, June 16th is a big day for movies! First, the new Pixar film Elemental. Which follows several different characters made of the different elements, particularly one made of fire and the other made of water. These two characters fall for each other despite the fact that they can’t quite interact. The animation for this film looks amazing and the concept is quite endearing. I’m aware it’s made for kids, but as a senior in high school I’m extremely excited. Another film I’m excited for is The Flash which, despite the production troubles, is finally shaping up to be an extremely fun film about Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) traveling through alternate timelines and trying to perfect his life. Will it be good? I don’t know, but it’s definitely the film that I’m the most excited about after Guardians of the Galaxy. Then, there’s The Blackening. A horror comedy following a group of all black friends who have a run in with a Jigsaw adjacent killer while they go out to a cabin in the woods. Now, there’s a trope in horror movies that the black character dies first, but when all the characters are black, the question in the satirical slasher is…who dies first? Who’s the blackest? Which alone is a great and hilarious concept, perfect for a short film (which the film is based on). Although will it continue to be funny throughout an entire ninety minute venture? Hopefully, because I would love for the parody movie genre to make a return with a much more imaginative and intellectual spin. 


     Next up, July! To start off we have the film Joy Ride, coming out on July 7th. This film follows four Asian American friends who travel to Asia in search of one of their birth parents. The film was produced by Seth Rogen and stars several new names on the scene including Sherry Cola, Sabrina Wu, and Ashley Park as well as Oscar nominee Stephanis Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once). Apparently, comedies are making a comeback and hopefully this film sees the same level of success as the past two Asian led mainstream comedy films Crazy Rich Asians and Everything Everywhere All At Once. Personally, I think the film looks incredibly silly, incredibly raunchy, and just the right kind of a film for a Friday night with your friends. 

     A week later on July 14th is the seventh Mission Impossible film, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. Which much like Fast X will be the penultimate installment of a beloved franchise that has spanned over twenty years. Very little is known about the film outside of the fact that it will feature a scene where Tom Cruise rides a motorcycle off of a cliff and then leaps into the air–primed and ready to skydive. That alone is a draw for me and seems to be for many others as that is what they’re playing up the most for the promos, posters, and trailers. I’ll most likely go see this one with my dad because he and I loved the previous film, Mission Impossible: Fallout, a tremendous amount. We’re ready to see what Ethan Hunt is up to next!

     The clash between Barbie and Oppenheimer has been something that Twitter has been hyping up for a while, but the July 21st film that I’m most excited about is the Netflix original They Cloned Tyrone. Starring John Boyega, Jamie Foxx, and Teyonah Parris star as an unlikely trio who unearth a giant conspiracy that, presumably, involves clones! This film looks like a fun, funky, fresh, whip smart mystery comedy that will include fantastic mixes of 70s Blaxploitation films, intellectual sci-fi thrillers, and modern day dramedy. Yes, Barbie looks like a blast and Oppenheimer is probably gonna win some Oscars, but They Cloned Tyrone has that flair of originality and smooth style that neither of the previous films will bring to the table on July 21st. 


     Then finally, there’s August. For now August doesn’t boast much, but there are two films that seem like family fun coming out at the beginning and end of the month. Firstly, there’s the animated feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem releasing on August 4th. This is the third rendition of the TMNT on film and this time they’re actually played by teenage actors! This film’s plot is pretty unknown for now, but the cast is stacked as it boasts voices like Jackie Chan, Paul Rudd, Ayo Edibiri, Seth Rogen (this dude is everywhere!), and John Cena. The style of this film seems like a fantastic blend of the silly cartoons and the gritty comics of the 80s. It’s very obviously been affected by the “Spider-Verse effect” which I personally don’t have a problem with as that movie very simply just supports the idea of fun artistic endeavors that haven’t become homogenized by the mainstream. 

     Blue Beetle rounds out this list as it premiers in theaters on August 18th. Another DC film, Blue Beetle follows Jaime Reyes (played by Cobra Kai’s Xolo Maridueña) as his body gets hijacked by an alien scarab that is designed to keep its wearer safe under any circumstances. The trailer for this film dropped on Monday, April 3rd, and I’ve watched it a plethora of times. It seems like a fun family film that’ll be perfect for kids, but engaging enough for adults. I’m getting serious Aquaman vibes with this film. 

     So those are my picks for the Summer Movie Shortlist! As my time as your resident movie guy begins to fade I hope you guys check out some of these films simply because I recommended them. That’d be pretty cool. Hope you guys enjoy some fun this summer!