Although it’s not even June yet, the summer movie season of 2016 is officially in high gear, as several blockbuster titles have already come and gone (so long, Superman!).
But plenty of other highly original titles are headed our way, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
Just kidding. That’s not true at all, ’cause we got more sequels, reboots and big-budget spectacles on the way. We’ll see some new Ghostbusters, vengeful aliens, a ridiculously ripped Tarzan and the return of a forgetful little fish named Dory. Remember her?
Here’s a look at 10 buzzy best bets to come (dates subject to change):
▪ “Me Before You” – A girl (Emilia Clarke, best known as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a paralyzed man (Sam Claflin, best known as Finnick Odair in “The Hunger Games”) she is taking care of. (Opening Friday)
Buzz: Kleenex alert! This adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel is sure to be a weeper, so romance fans who love to cry will be out in droves. This could be a star-making turn for the two impossibly attractive leads.
▪ “Finding Dory” – Everybody’s favorite forgetful fish (and voice of Ellen DeGeneres) comes back for this much-anticipated sequel to the beloved “Finding Nemo.” (June 17)
Buzz: Everything looks lined up for this to be a hit, but Pixar sequels haven’t fared too well other than the “Toy Story” outings (“Monsters University,” anyone?). “Finding Nemo” director Andrew Stanton returns, so we can hope he rekindles the magic of the original.
▪ “Independence Day: Resurgence” – Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new alien threat. Liam Hemsworth is in; Will Smith is out. (June 24)
Buzz: The first film is a guilty pleasure, even though there are plot holes big enough to drive a space ship through, but who needs logic? We just wanna see iconic American landmarks blown up!
▪ “The BFG” – Director Steven Spielberg adapts Roald Dahl’s fable about a girl who befriends a giant who is an outcast from his own people because he refuses to eat children (uh, gross). (July 1)
Buzz: This looks especially promising because Spielberg re-teams with the Oscar-nominated writer of “E.T.,” the late Melissa Mathison.
▪ “The Legend of Tarzan” – A new take on the classic tale finds Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) returning to the jungle after many years to serve as a trade emissary, but he’s actually a pawn in a Belgian captain’s (Christoph Waltz) deadly plot. (July 1)
Buzz: Did you see Skarsgard’s ridiculously ripped abs? Almost inspires me to skip the butter on my popcorn. Almost.
▪ “Ghostbusters” – We know who to call with this reboot of the 1984 comedy classic: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones go on the hunt for paranormal activity in New York City. (July 15)
Buzz: The remake has been controversial, to say the least. First there were camps that didn’t want a remake at all, then some who didn’t want a female cast. And then the first trailer was released, sparking more outcries from people complaining that the lone black cast member (Jones) was a blue-collar worker while the other (white) women were scientists. Director Paul Feig tweeted, “Haters, attack me all you want but when you attack and insult my cast, you’ve crossed the line. Grow up and leave my cast alone.” Whew! Let’s just hope the new movie is funny. (Is that too much to ask?)
▪ “Star Trek Beyond” – The further space adventures of the USS Enterprise and its crew (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, John Cho). (July 22)
Buzz: Justin Lin (who directed four “Fast & Furious” installments) takes over directing duties from J.J. Abrams (who serves only as producer this time), so we’ll see if his action sensibilities lend themselves to the Trekkie universe. But anticipation doesn’t seem to be as high this time around. Will Trekkies keep trekking?
▪ “Jason Bourne” – Having recovered his memory at the end of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and skipping “The Bourne Legacy,” the super-agent (Matt Damon) goes in search of hidden truths from his past. (July 29)
Buzz: Director Paul Greengrass (who directed Bourne installments two and three) re-teams with Damon, so that’s a strong factor. But are we nearing Bourne burnout?
▪ “Suicide Squad” – The next DC Comics entry follows imprisoned supervillains (Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney) who are recruited to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency. What could possibly go wrong? (Aug. 5)
Buzz: Fans of the comics have been following the making of the film very closely and seem equal parts eager and skeptical. Rumors that Warner Bros. ordered re-shoots to add more humor to the film after the dismal reviews for “Batman v. Superman” didn’t exactly help.
▪ “The Space Between Us” – Asa Butterfield (“Ender’s Game”) stars as a teenage boy born and raised on Mars who visits Earth and goes in search of his unknown father. (Aug. 19)
Buzz: Get this: The film is not based on an existing movie or book and is – gasp! – an original story by writer/director Peter Chelsom. But it looks to be a refreshing bright spot in an otherwise unoriginal summer.
Independent art/house films for the summer
These are scheduled to open at the east Warren Theatre (dates are tentative):
▪ “The Lobster” – Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz star in this Cannes Film Festival hit that takes place in a dystopian future, where single people must find a romantic partner or be transformed into beasts and sent off to live in the woods. Seriously, that’s what the film is about. (Opening Friday)
▪ “Maggie’s Plan” – This comedy played at the Berlin, Sundance and Toronto film festivals and stars Greta Gerwig as a woman whose plan to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with a married man (Ethan Hawke). (June 10)
▪ See Rod Pocowatchit’s Movie Maniac column in Friday’s GO! section for a complete guide to independent films coming this summer.