We are now past the half-way point of the year and all of the big Summer heavy-hitters are about to open. Here I highlight my personal picks and also the other films that look as if they will make a big impression on audiences and at the box office.
Independence Day: Resurgence
The sequel to the 1996 original, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ has failed to perform at the box office and with both critics and audiences currently sitting on a disappointing 31% at Rotten Tomatoes but fans who enjoyed the original will possibly want to make their own minds up for this sequel.
The Secret Life of Pets
Illumination Entertainment’s latest offering, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ has received positive reviews and scored big at the box office and the film looks as if it appeals to not just children, but adults too. This year has been a great year for animation (there still have been a few disappointments such as ‘The Angry Birds Movie’) and this film looks set to continue the current trend.
Now You See Me 2
An unlikely sequel to the 2013 film that received mixed reviews but audiences enjoyed it and the first film made enough money to warrant a sequel. Jon M. Chu replaces Louis Leterrier in the director’s chair who decided to ditch this in favour of making ‘Grimsby’ – good job as the film ended up being fantastic! ‘Now You See Me 2’ reunites the original cast with the exception of Isla Fisher (who also went to work on ‘Grimsby’) who is now replaced by Lizzy Caplan and the team now face a formidable foe in the form of Daniel Radcliffe.
The Legend of Tarzan
A personal pick of mine, I can’t wait what director David Yates has created post-Harry Potter and with a cast this good, I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint. Reviews for this film are decidedly mixed but I will reserve judgement until I see the film. It would have to try very hard to disappoint with a cast comprising of Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Broadbent and Djimon Hounsou. Ok, I’m not convinced by Alexander Skarsgård but let’s wait and see.
The Neon Demon
The new Nicolas Winding Refn film, most famous for 2011’s neo-noir crime thriller, ‘Drive’ starring Ryan Gosling. Refn returns with this film that stars Elle Fanning and the reviews seem to be more in line with his follow-up to ‘Drive’, ‘Only God Forgives’ that received polarising reviews – some people loved it, some people hated it. A personal pick of mine, Refn’s films are a little mixed in quality in my opinion so here’s hoping it’s one of his better ones.
The reboot of this lucrative franchise that started with its beloved 1984 original and lesser 1989 sequel, ‘Ghostbusters (2016)’ has an all-female cast which has infuriated many fans and one of its trailers ended up being the most disliked in the history of YouTube. However, reviews have suggested that this film is actually pretty good so although there will be some haters, this film might not suffer too much at all. Paul Feig is in the director’s chair, of which I am not a fan of at all and stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones who again, I find none of them funny but I understand that there will be an audience who will enjoy this. The trailers have confirmed my fears that this film isn’t going to be particularly great, but I will reserve judgement until I see the film
I can’t wait to see what Steven Spielberg has done with this beloved Roald Dahl novel especially with Mark Rylance playing the giant, who won an Oscar for his fantastic performance in last year’s ‘Bridge of Spies’.However, reviews for this film are a little mixed – it does currently have a 71% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes but there are some polarising options and the film bombed in America when it opened. The fact still remains though, I’m really excited to see what Spielberg and Rylance have managed to come up with.
Star Trek Beyond
I’m not a fan of this franchise, but I understand a lot of people cannot wait to see this coming off the first two films in the franchise that have proved very popular. However, J. J. Abrams is not directing this time – directing duties have transferred to ‘Fast and Furious’ director Justin Lin and it will be interesting to see if he can perform outside of the other franchise that he found success in.
Matt Damon returns in one of his most successful roles as does Paul Greengrass in the director’s chair who last directed 2013’s ‘Captain Phillips’ which ended being nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. I must admit I like the first and third instalment (‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’) of this franchise and have no care for ‘Supremacy’ and ‘Legacy’ so here’s hoping for a film that is more in line with the films that I have enjoyed. With Greengrass returning, I’m hoping it will be good.
The sequel to the universally loved ‘Finding Nemo’, Pixar continue their trend of releasing sequels however the reviews have indicated that this is one of the better ones with a great 95% fresh rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m hoping this delivers as I was not a fan of ‘The Good Dinosaur’, the latest Pixar offering which was a big nose-dive for Pixar last Christmas. You can view my ranking of all the Pixar films here as well.
Although mainstream, this is my pick for August. The next entry in the DCEU, this follows the DC villains in a deadly mission which we will have to wait and see for further details when the film is released. The film is directed by David Ayer who directed the 2014 film ‘Fury’ which I quite liked and in terms of tone, I think his style seems to suit the film to a tee. What perhaps fans are most looking forward to seeing is Jared Leto’s portrayal of The Joker, last portrayed by the late Heath Ledger in a career-defining performance in ‘The Dark Knight’ and it will be interesting to see how he portrays the character.
The latest film by Jaume Collet-Serra, this is his first film out of his past four not to have Liam Neeson in the main role (‘Unknown’, ‘Non-Stop’ and ‘Run All Night’) and instead pitches Blake Lively who portrays a surfer who gets stranded 200 yards from shore of who a deadly Great White Shark stands in her way. Expect nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat tension in the film’s economical 86 minute run time!
A film that a lot of people may not have heard of, this looks like an oddball comedy directed by Todd Solondz which has received positive reviews and details 4 families who one daschund impacts on their lives. Perhaps the most exciting thing going for this film is the fact that it stars Ellen Burstyn and Danny DeVito, two outstanding veteran actors who rarely play in films so if they’ve chosen to act in this, surely that can only be a good sign?
Who doesn’t want to see a horror film produced by horror-maestro James Wan?! ‘Lights Out’ had its initial premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the reviews for it have been very positive, currently it’s sitting on 100% at Rotten Tomatoes but bear in mind that this is only 7 reviews. This film is also the major directorial debut by David F. Sandberg who is tipped to direct the sequel to ‘Annabelle’ next year so let’s hope this film delivers.
The Purge: Election Year
The third instalment to this series, I have always admired the concept of these films but the actual quality of these films have been middling. ‘Election Year’ has similar reviews to ‘Anarchy’ which suggests a film of the same quality, but even if the film isn’t the best it should still be sure to pose some interesting ideas to audiences.
This film has received a lot of backlash as it is a remake of the the beloved 1959 film that is generally regarded as one of the best films of all time. Now I know this doesn’t look great with a middling cast and Timur Bekmambetov in the director’s chair but that said, I do enjoy Bekmambetov’s films, as silly as they are. This won’t be in the same league as the original for sure, but it still should be a fun time.
Technically, this is released at the beginning of September but this is the last significant film to be released so I feel it deserves a mention. The concept and cast of this film just looks incredible – an adult animation film that will have plenty of swearing and crude, over-the-top humour. The trailers for this look great and early reviews look promising as well with the film sitting on 100% at Rotten Tomatoes, but again bear in mind that this is only based on 7 reviews. Still, this looks utterly hilarious and I hope it delivers.
What are your thoughts? What films are you looking forward to see that I have missed? Let me know in the comments or tweet @TheFilmMeister