Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In June (2017)

According to Cat

 20) Awakening the Zodiac (6/9)

Tag Line: The deadliest serial killer in U.S. history ... is back.
Production Companies: Bunk 11 Pictures, TAJJ Media
Director: Jonathan Wright
Writers: Jennifer Archer, Mike Horrigan, Jonathan Wright
Actors: Shane West, Leslie Bibb, Matt Craven, Stephen McHattie, Nicholas Campbell, Kenneth Welsh, Jason Hook, John Bregar, Eva Link, Jennie Esnard
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

The premise of this movie is interesting. It plays on curiosity and the ‘what if’ scenario of someone purchasing the contents of an abandoned storage unit, ala A&E’s Storage Wars (2010-) and finding something amazing. Quite a bit of the time, the unit contents are about as interesting as the hyped up flop of opening Al Capone’s safe was. There are those times, however, that the gamble pays off and the unit contains really cool stuff. So what would happen if someone found the abandoned storage unit of the Zodiac Killer? I’d say, while a little far-fetched, this story lies in the realm of probability, since the notorious Northern Californian serial killer was never caught and his ciphers (for the most part) remain unsolved. 

19) Okja (6/28)

Tag Line: A Netflix Original Film.
Production Companies: Netflix, Kate Street Picture Company, Lewis Pictures, Plan B Entertainment
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writers: Bong Joon Ho, Jon Ronson
Actors: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyun Ahn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, Devon Bostick, Hee-Bong Byun, Woo-sik Choi
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: Unrated

So this family-oriented creature-feature has an intriguing cast, an interesting premise, and just about the cutest floppy-eared hippo-thing ever. The trailers leave me with questions, and certainly captured my attention. This one looks like a movie with a message under the child + rare critter formula. 

18) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (6/2)

Tag Line: Putting the "Mighty" in "Tighty Whitey".
Production Companies: DreamWorks Animation, Scholastic Entertainment
Director: David Soren
Writers: Nicholas Stoller, Dav Pilkey, David Soren
Actors: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal, Dee Dee Rescher, Brian Posehn
Genre: Animation, Action, Comedy
Rated: PG

My daughter is all excited about this movie. She read some of the books that this film is based on. I hadn’t even known that Captain Underpants was even a thing until the trailers started playing all over her favorite channels. It looks like some good old-fashioned mindless summer fun full of misadventures and laughs. 

17) Be Afraid (6/1)

Tag Line: Nightmares do come true.
Production Company: DarkShed
Director: Drew Gabreski
Writer: Gerald Nott
Actors: Brian Krause, Kevin Grevioux, Louis Herthum, Jaimi Paige, Callie Thorne, Jared Abrahamson, Noell Coet, Michelle Hurd
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

I’m not quite sure if this is supposed to be a paranormal sort of thriller or if it’s more of a supernatural creature feature. Either way, the trailer caught my attention enough that I want to watch this to see how events play out. I can see several ways that this might play out, depending on what sub-genre it falls in, so it has my curiosity piqued. I don’t expect this one to really throw away familiar recipes, but it looks interesting.

16) The Book of Henry (6/16)

Tag Line: Never leave things undone.
Production Companies: Double Nickel Entertainment, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Actors: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Dean Norris, Maddie Ziegler, Tonya Pinkins
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Rated: PG-13

From about here on in this list, I really agonized over some of the ordering. This is one of those that perhaps might have ranked higher; but they all have to go somewhere, right?

The story is creative, and I can’t say that I’ve seen its like in recent cinema. There’s been a recent heartstring-puller (as I expect this one to be) featuring a genius child – but this film is going in an entirely different direction with the concept.

This is also the live-action movie debut for dance prodigy Maddie Ziegler (Sia: Chandelier, Austin & Ally, Leap!). You might recognize her from her ‘small-screen’ endeavors such as Dance Moms (2011-) and judging the 2016 season dubbed ‘The Next Generation’ on So You Think You Can Dance (2005-), or any number of her plethora of guest appearances. I’m excited to see her expand her repertoire and am crossing my fingers that this film showcases her ability.

15) My Cousin Rachel (6/9)

Tag Line: Based on the classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier, author of The Birds and Rebecca.
Production Companies: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Free Range Films, Mestiere Cinema
Director: Roger Michell
Writers: Daphne Du Maurier, Roger Michell
Actors: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Rated: PG-13

I think that the production team hit a home run with the cast for this book adaptation from one of literature’s acclaimed classics authors. This isn’t the first time this novel has been retold on the silver screen; having iterations screening in both 1952 and 1983. It is my hope that this new version is nuanced well and memorable. If you enjoy the occasional period piece, this should be right up your alley with its tale of desired vengeance, love, sorrow, mystery, and what seems like obsession.

14) Megan Leavey (6/9)

Tag Line: Based on the true story of a marine's best friend.
Production Companies: LD Entertainment, Calle Cruzada
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Writers: Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo, Tim Lovestedt
Actors: Kate Mara, Edie Falco, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Damson Idris, Bradley Whitford, Common, Geraldine James
Genre: Biography, Drama, War
Rated: PG-13

Sometimes our connections with animals can be profound. It’s why we have such things as service dogs for those with various disabilities or medical conditions. This is one of those stories, and it is a true one. This tale about a marine and her bomb-sniffing K-9 partner is sure to give you a good kick in the feels. I plan to stock up on tissue before I watch this one. 

13) The Exception (6/2)

Tag Line: This spring, love is the exception.
Production Companies: Egoli Tossell KLK, Alton Road Productions, Ostar Productions, Umedia, Egoli Tossell Film
Director: David Leveaux
Writers: Simon Burke, Alan Judd
Actors: Lily James, Jai Courtney, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Marsan, Ben Daniels, Janet McTeer, Mark Dexter, Lucas Tavernier
Genre: Historical Drama, Romance, War
Rated: R

There are quite a few book adaptations hitting the screen this month. This movie is one of them. I can’t say that I’ve heard of this one before but the story seems compelling at first blush. It got my attention, at least, and I am looking forward to watching as soon as I get a chance to. I really like the cast lineup here. You might think it’d be for the hunky male lead, but that’s not the case. (OK so it is a little.) I am excited to see Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe, and Oscar winning actor, Christopher Plummer (Up, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Forger) in the role of Kaiser Wilhelm. The trailers ensnared me in the tale’s web of forbidden love, conspiracy, and the frighteningly gut-wrenching times of German occupation.

12) The Hunter’s Prayer (6/9)

Tag Line: It's just business.
Production Companies: Apollo Media, FilmEngine, Full Clip Productions, HP Yorkshire Limited, Hunters Prayer Production Spain, Maple Leaf Films, Screen Yorkshire, Vandal Entertainment
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Writers: Paul Leyden, Kevin Wignall
Actors: Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush, Martin Compston, Verónica Echegui, Allen Leech, Amy Landecker, Katia Bokor, Dean S. Jagger
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R

This doesn’t seem like it’s going to be your average assassin action movie. Of course, I still fully expect it to have the general recipe. What set this one apart for me was the quasi-parallel to the tale of Snow White. What would have happened if the huntsman had taken a more active role in defense of the girl, rather than taking an animal heart back to the evil queen? That’s not exactly what the recent huntsman-oriented movies were doing, but it was close. This doesn’t seem to be a true Snow White situation, but it still jumped out at me for the similarity. I’m curious and want to know more about the story.

11) Transformers: The Last Knight (6/21)

Tag Line: For one world to live, the other must die.
Production Companies: Hasbro, Paramount Pictures
Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, Akiva Goldsman
Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner, Santiago Cabrera, Stanley Tucci, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, John Turturro, Gemma Chan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: Unrated

I have loved Transformers since the cartoon hit the airwaves in the 80s. Optimus Prime was my first voice-crush. It will remain something I will watch unapologetically. I have geeked out with every Transformers live-action movie to hit the big screen. I love that they’ve kept some of the core voice actors involved, and have enjoyed the casting (for the most part) with other Transformer roles. I’ve rolled with the tweaks they’ve made to some of the characters and the mythos, itself. 

That being said, it just feels like Michael Bay (I Am Number Four, The Purge, Black Sails) is running out of steam where this franchise is concerned. The movies are starting to feel more marketing grab than real storytelling, and I could swear that I’ve heard some of the dialogue from the trailers before. Call me crazy. Because this movie is bound to get a reaction of eye-rolling just as much as geeky glee, it has landed far lower on this list than one of these movies would. I’m still willing to give it a chance. I just hope it doesn’t flop as bad as I’m afraid it will – considering this is the most expensive out of the series so far. 

 10) 47 Meters Down (6/16)

Tag Line: No help above, no hope below.
Production Companies: thefyzz, Dimension Films, Tea Shop & Film Company
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Johannes Roberts, Ernest Riera
Actors: Claire Holt, Mandy Moore, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura, Matthew Modine, Axel Mansilla
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: PG-13 

It wouldn’t be summer without a shark movie, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a feeling of dread when I watch shark cages going into the water. This movie is about the very nightmare scenario that gives me the willies. My heart was already in my throat while watching the trailers! I am already on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what happens next. I want to know if either of the sisters survive their unscheduled trip to the ocean floor. Mandy Moore (Tangled, TRON: Uprising, This Is Us) and Claire Holt (Mean Girls 2, The Vampire Diaries, Aquarius) seem well matched here.

9) 2:22 (6/30)

Tag Line: A chance encounter.. a fateful connection.. their lives.. their love.. are written in the stars.
Production Companies: Lightstream Entertainment, Pandemonium, Screen Australia, Walk The Walk Entertainment
Director: Paul Currie
Writers: Todd Stein, Nathan Parker
Actors: Michiel Huisman, Teresa Palmer, Sam Reid, Maeve Dermody, Maeve Dermody, Simone Kessell, Kerry Armstrong, John Waters
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance
Rated: PG-13

If I didn’t already have enough reasons to be nervous about flying, this trailer certainly didn’t help. At first glance, I can’t tell if this is something closer to Knowing (2009) or Groundhog Day (1993). Either way, it doesn’t seem to be a straight time-loop or even as ‘predictable’ as the numerical patterns in Knowing were. This seems to have spun off in another direction with a heaping helping of stunning visuals and a generous dash of romance.

8) The Beguiled (6/30)

Tag Line: Innocent, until betrayed.
Production Companies: American Zoetrope, FR Productions
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writers: Sofia Coppola, Thomas Cullinan
Actors: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Wayne Pere
Genre: Historical Drama
Rated: R

There seems to be a lot of period pieces coming out this month. Be that as it may, I enjoy a good bit of historical fiction now and again. Now consider that the director’s last name is Coppola. The surname is almost synonymous with the movie industry. Regardless of the project, you want to watch just to see what their vision was for it. Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring) is definitely deserving of such accolades. She was the first woman in 50 years to win Best Director at Cannes – because of this film.

Of course, then factor in the all-star cast helmed by Nicole Kidman (Paddington, Secret in Their Eyes, Big Little Lies) and Colin Farrell (Fright Night, Epic, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). It’s said that he considers this his favorite movie to film so far in his career – and that’s saying a lot. I certainly hope that translates into his performance.

7) Baby Driver (6/28)

Tag Line: All you need is one killer track.
Production Companies: Big Talk Productions, Double Negative, Media Rights Capital, Working Title Films
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Edgar Wright
Actors: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza González, Flea
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

Someone stop me before I start quoting lines from Dirty Dancing (1987). I honestly can’t stand the title for this movie. I think it’s unfortunate and it might actually put some people off from watching the film. Even if they’d switched the word order it wouldn’t have been quite so awkward sounding. I digress.

In spite of the odd name chosen for this film, it really looks interesting. Of course, I’m enough of a gear head that I love action movies that are driven by car chases and the like. (Yes. I did that on purpose. I am unrepentant.) The stunts look pretty spectacular. I just hope the plot substance stands up well enough in balance. (Hell, even if it doesn’t – it should still be fun to watch.)

6) Once Upon a Time in Venice (6/16)

Tag Line: Never mess with a man's dog.
Production Company: Voltage Pictures
Directors: Mark Cullen, Robb Cullen
Writers: Mark Cullen, Robb Cullen
Actors: Bruce Willis, John Goodman, Jason Momoa, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch, Christopher McDonald, Maurice Compte, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn
Genre: Action, Comedy, Thriller
Rated: Unrated

I can’t wait to see this movie. I anticipate that it will be absolutely hilarious. The trailer alone gave me a serious case of the giggles. Bruce Willis (The Expendables, Moonrise Kingdom, Rock the Kasbah) is very well known for playing wise-cracking action heroes (or anti-heroes, as the case usually is). Though, he has an excellent grasp of comedy. Movies such as The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and RED (2010) are prime examples. Then, of course, you have Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Bullet to the Head, Frontier), whom usually plays such serious roles. I am thankful that I wasn’t drinking anything while watching this trailer or I would have had a spit-take moment when he hit the screen. Factor in John Goodman (The Monuments Men, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Atomic Blonde) and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. It promises to be a rollicking ride somewhere in the vicinity of a mashup of John Wick (2014) with Keanu (2016).

5) Kill Switch (6/16)

Tag Line: Worlds will collide.
Production Companies: CTM Productions BV, FilmNation Entertainment, RainMaker Films, SquareOne Entertainment
Director: Tim Smit
Writers: Charlie Kindinger, Omid Nooshin
Actors: Dan Stevens, Bérénice Marlohe, Tygo Gernandt, Chloe-May Cuthill, Gijs Scholten van Aschat, Mike Reus
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: R

Dan Stevens (The Guest, Colossal, Beauty and the Beast) is ‘Dan The Man’ right now. He is all over Hollywood at the moment – and it’s about time. I could go on fan-girling, but you’re here for my take on this movie and not my ramblings, right?

I love the concept of this movie. As far-fetched as it seems, it seems somewhat plausible that with the best intentions, in search of a solution to the world’s energy crisis and the need for more sustainable sources, that scientists would stumble on something both brilliant and unexpectedly destructive. I won’t even get into parallel universe theories. My point is that there is a strong sci-fi element here that is plausible enough to make it easier to suspend disbelief.

My only caution with this movie is not to see it in theaters if you get motion-sick or had problems when watching something like Hardcore Henry (2015). While the trailer makes it clear that not all of the movie is in first-person perspective, there will be at least a significant portion of it that will be – and there will be intense action involved.

4) Cars 3 (6/16)

Tag Line: It's not over until lightning strikes.
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Brian Fee
Writers: Brian Fee, Ben Queen
Actors: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy , Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Armie Hammer, Cristela Alonzo, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: G

I can’t remember which movie I was seeing, but I do remember with crystal clarity the moment the first Cars 3 trailer played. The whole audience gasped with horror, and a few kids got really upset – it looked like they were going to kill off Lightning McQueen! No spoilers here – at least I hope not. The more recently released trailers make it clear that isn’t the case. (Unless there’s a sadistic twist I just don’t know about.) We all love the antics of the race-car with headlight stickers and his best buddy Mater the tow-truck. What makes this 3rd installment remarkable? Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Castle) is in it, for one thing. Beyond that awesomeness, I like the way the story seems to be coming full circle, and I’m interested to see how it all plays out.

3) Despicable Me 3 (6/30)

Tag Line: Oh brother.
Production Companies: Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures
Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon 
Writers: Ken Daurio,  Cinco Paul
Actors: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand, Pierre Coffin
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: PG

One word. Minions. They absolutely make each of these movies worth watching and elevate them to a whole other level that just wouldn't be possible without the odd little banana-loving yellow rascals. As a side note, I find the premise of the nemesis stuck in the 80s also amusing. I'm not sure about this whole brother thing, but hey - even if that part of the movie isn't as successful, it'll still be great.

2) The Mummy (6/9)

Tag Line: Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, Sean Daniel Company, Secret Hideout
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Writers: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman, Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet
Actors: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Simon Atherton
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

Just in case you haven’t heard yet – this movie has nothing to do with the prior mummy franchise that was launched with The Mummy (1999). This film will stand alone and harkens back to the original Universal Pictures monster movies that terrified movie-goers in the 30s and 40s.

This mummy movie is Universal’s testing of the waters to relaunch their own interconnected monster franchise they’ve dubbed the ‘Dark Universe.’ Russel Crowe’s (The Man With Iron Fists, Man of Steel, The Nice Guys) character of Dr. Henry Jekyll seems to be well placed to spin out a future film in that world – though, no official announcements have been made of such that I am aware of.

Love him or hate him, Tom Cruise (Knight and Day, Oblivion, Jack Reacher) does have a gift for action movies and is steadfast in performing as many of his own stunts as possible. This seems right in his wheelhouse and it’ll be interesting to see Cruise and Crowe interact on screen together for the first time.

Bonus? The mummy character has been through a gender-bender. I’m interested to see what direction they decided to take this change and how it impacts the story. It’s my hope that they don’t fall into the romance trap right out of the gate – but we’ll see.

1) Wonder Woman (6/2)

Tag Line: The future of justice begins with her.
Production Companies: Atlas Entertainment, Cruel & Unusual Films, DC Entertainment, Dune Entertainment,  Tencent Pictures, Wanda Pictures, Warner Bros.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs, William Moulton Marston
Actors: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13

It's Wonder freakin Woman. Is there any other reason to watch this movie? I've been intrigued by the trailers, but really it boils down to excitement of seeing this character hit the big screen again. I love the story of Diana and this film brings us just that much closer to the release of a Justice League movie and other DC Universe adventures.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Selina

Okja .20
Blood Feast .19
My Cousin Rachel .18
I, Daniel Blake .17
Baby Driver .16
11:55 .15
13 Minutes .14
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie .13
It Comes at Night .12
Kill Switch .11
Once Upon a Time in Venice .10
Opening Night .9
The Bad Batch .8
47 Meters Down .7
All Eyez on Me .6
The Beguiled .5
Megan Leavey .4
Despicable Me 3 .3
The Book of Henry .2
Wonder Woman .1

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