Summer-movie season is almost upon us. Here's when some of your favorites are scheduled to open.
Never mind the weather; the popcorn-movie season is about to descend upon us. Here are a dozen summer movies I can’t wait to see (note that release dates are tentative):
“Avengers: Infinity War.” Because you can only re-watch “Black Panther” so many times. The latest Marvel extravaganza kicks off the summer-movie season by bringing back not only Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, but pretty much everyone in the Marvel universe (Iron Man! Dr. Strange! Spider-Man! Thor!) for what should be a fairly epic saving-the-world battle. (April 27)
“Where Is Kyra?” The great Michelle Pfeiffer disappeared from movies for a few years, but returned in 2017 with a vengeance, in “mother!” and “Murder on the Orient Express.” This summer, you can see her in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (July 6) and this indie drama, from “Mother of George” director Andrew Dosunmu, about a Brooklyn woman facing unemployment. That description doesn’t sound compelling, but I bet Pfeiffer can make it sing. (April 27)
“Mary Shelley.” I don’t know why there hasn’t been a dozen movies about the fascinating life of author Mary Shelley, who was still in her teens when she scandalized England by running off to the Continent with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley — and there began to write the horror classic “Frankenstein.” Hoping this film, with Elle Fanning in the title role, does her justice. (May TBD)
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“Ocean’s 8.” Calm down — this is not an “Ocean’s 11” remake; it’s more of a spinoff, with Sandra Bullock as con woman Debbie Ocean (sister of Danny) leading an all-star gang of thieves bent on robbing the Met Ball. Also on hand: Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, and (if the trailer’s any judge), some fabulous coats and gowns. Sign me up! (June 8)
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Just try watching the trailer for this documentary about Fred Rogers, everyone’s favorite kids-TV gentleman, without tearing up. It can’t be done, I tell you. Morgan Neville, the Oscar-winning documentarian behind “20 Feet from Stardom,” directs. (June 8)
“Incredibles 2.” Summer just doesn’t feel right without a Pixar release, and this one’s particularly anticipated. Fourteen years after the original “Incredibles,” everyone’s favorite superhero family reunites, with mom Helen going back to work and dad Bob at home managing the mini-Incredibles. (How hard must it be to diaper a superhero baby?) (June 15)
“On Chesil Beach.” This book-turned-movie is based on a short, poignant novel about a newlywed couple in 1960s England — and stars the always brilliant Saoirse Ronan, fresh off her latest Oscar nomination for “Lady Bird.” (June 15)
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” I love how, in the “Jurassic Park” movies, nobody ever thinks that the dinosaurs will escape. Ever! In this fifth movie of the ever-popular summer franchise, dinos appear to be on the loose again — against all odds! —and it’s up to Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard to stop them. (June 22)
“Skyscraper.” OK, how lucky are we that this summer brings not just one (“Rampage”) but two action thrillers in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shows off both his innate likability and his ability to save the world while remaining entirely calm? In this one, based on the trailer poster, he jumps from a crane at the top of the world’s tallest building, and yes, I absolutely want to know why and how. (July 13)
“Crazy Rich Asians.” Kevin Kwan’s deliciously frothy book (first of a trilogy), about weddings and gossip and insanely great outfits among the Singapore superrich, finally gets its long-awaited movie. Directed by Jon M. Chu, it stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh (as the prospective mother-in-law from hell). The costumes alone should be worth the ticket price. (Aug. 17)
“The Happytime Murders” Directed by Brian Henson (son of Jim), this is one of those high-concept ideas that’s probably going to be amazing or terrible. It’s a crime-buddy comedy, in which a puppet private eye teams with a human detective (Melissa McCarthy) to investigate a series of puppet murders. Fingers crossed for amazing. (Aug. 17)
“The Little Stranger.” On some dark night soon, pick up a copy of Sarah Waters’ deliciously Gothic ghost story, set in post World War II rural England — and prepare to read the night away. If the movie, directed by Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) and starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson and Charlotte Rampling, is even half as good as the book, we should be in for a shivery treat. (Aug. 31)
The best of the rest …
Franchises: Ron Howard directs “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” with Alden Ehrenreich as a before-he-was-Harrison-Ford Han Solo (May 25). Tom Cruise grits his teeth and runs a lot, presumably, in “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” (July 27). Other sequels include “Deadpool 2” (May 18) with Ryan Reynolds, “The Equalizer 2” (July 20) with Denzel Washington, and “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” (June 29) with Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.
Comedies: Lots of female-centered comedy heading to screens this summer, with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon starring in the spoofy-looking “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (July 6); Melissa McCarthy going to campus in “Life of the Party” (May 11); Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen gigglingly reading “50 Shades of Grey”in “Book Club” (May 18); and Lily James and Meryl Streep playing the same character at different ages (both of whom sing ABBA songs) in “Mamma Mia! Here We go Again” (July 20).
Two of last year’s breakout stars, Lil Rel Howery (“Get Out”) and Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”), appear in “Uncle Drew” (June 29), in which a street ball player reunites a team of septuagenarian basketball players. Anna Faris headlines “Overboard” (May 4), a remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn comedy, and the team behind “Young Adult” — director Jason Reitman, writer Diablo Cody and star Charlize Theron — reunite for the motherhood comedy “Tully” (May 4).
Dramas: Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (Aug. 10), premiering at the Cannes International Film Festival in May, stars John David Washington as a black detective who infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. “Disobedience” (May 25), directed by Sebastián Lelio (an Oscar winner for “A Fantastic Woman”), features two Rachels — Weisz and McAdams — as two women in love in a conservative Jewish community. “The Seagull,” an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play set on a Russian country estate, stars Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening and Elisabeth Moss.
Writer/director Chloé Zhao’s “The Rider” (May 4), a prizewinner at numerous film festivals, is about a rodeo cowboy coming to terms with an injury. Claire Danes and Jim Parsons play the parents of a non-gender-conforming preschooler in “A Kid Like Jake” (June 1). Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin face love and a hurricane, presumably at the same time, in “Adrift” (June 1), based on a true story.
And a Bit of Everything: The year’s biggest cinematic event is the 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival, which gets underway at screens all over town May 17, continuing through June 10. Information: siff.net.