The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

A look ahead at what has our attention from now through August


Summer’s here! For many, school is over or just about to end. Jobs go into their quieter time of year. And, as has been custom for so many years of American life since the ’70s, it’s also movie season. Sure, a lot’s changed: the theaters are cleaner and more homogenous, the audiences more obnoxious and distributed over more theaters, the Cokes freestyled. But there’s something nostalgic about the arrival of the big summer movies that we can’t shake, even in a summer where the sequel and franchise era has never been more blatantly apparent. (A fun game: Read through this feature and count how many of these movies aren’t either part of a franchise or hoping to be.)

The warm months of 2017 (at least for those of us in the Midwest who only get to count that time in months) have a lot to offer this year, from the biggest names to a handful of exciting indie releases from interesting, well-purchased distributors like A24 and Neon. There are Oscar-winning filmmakers returning to the forefront, sequels to properties both beloved and not, and at least one extremely stressful Stephen King adaptation. There’s an adorable dancing tree, some emojis, and the Minions. DC will try to reverse their cratering fortunes by relying on the one character it’s dragged its heels in bringing to theaters. Apes will engage in a great final war, and Edgar Wright might be about to finally release his breakout mainstream hit.

It’s like we said: There’s always something to get excited about during the summer season, no matter how cynical the trailer debates on Twitter get. And hey, no matter how it goes at large, a new Christopher Nolan movie is on the way. How bad can things really be? Without further ado, let’s get into it: our preview of the summer 2017 movie season. Choose wisely. Or just see ’em all.

Dominick Suzanne-Mayer
Film Editor


Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 

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Release Date: May 5th via Disney

You don’t really need us to tell you to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, right? James Gunn’s 2014 hit cemented the Troma vet as an A-list director, Marvel as a property so untouchable that it can sell any character to audiences, Chris Pratt as a leading man, and Dave Bautista’s comic timing as professional wrestling’s best-kept secret. Besides, we’ve already seen it and told you to do the sameVol. 2 is the kind of movie made for the first weekend of May, a wildly fun and thoughtfully heartfelt trip through the cosmos that also works as a standalone Marvel movie of its own merits. The MCU is about to get big and loud and full of crossovers, so savor these oddball one-offs while you can; the Infinity War is nigh. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 

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Release Date: May 12th via Warner Bros.

After The Man From U.N.C.L.E. wasn’t exactly the franchise starter Warner Bros. were clearly hoping for (despite its growing number of late-game fans), Guy Ritchie had to find a new avenue for his ongoing quest to make all of your grandfather’s favorite modern movies. Next up: the age-old legend of King Arthur, but with 100x more speed ramping! Jokes aside, Ritchie is far better at enlivening these stiff-on-paper studio vehicles than most other directors working on them, and Charlie Hunnam’s ripped, gritty take on Arthur has some promise. Even if the film’s trailers have suggested an aggressive barrage of Ritchie’s stylistic quirks (bare-knuckle boxing! everything appearing to be covered in dirt!), it could be just the right kind of early summer popcorn flick. Or, y’know, it could be King Arthur all over again. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer



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Release Date: May 12th via 20th Century Fox

It can’t be stressed enough that it’s been 15 years since Goldie Hawn last appeared on the silver screen. We love Goldie! Where’s she been? Wildcats, Private Benjamin, Foul Play; all of those, the best. Hawn’s always embodied lovable pluck, and that’s what made her a big-time star. Jeez, what we’d give for a witty, charming, female star-driven movie like Overboard or Protocol to come out in 2017. (Especially in a summer movie season.) Yet the Oscar winner is back for an Amy Schumer lost-in-the-jungle vehicle helmed by the mostly solid Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness). We’re curious. Will this be an insensitive culture clash that trots out Hawn to limited effect? Or will this prove to be a sort of high-time comedic jaunt in the vein of Romancing the Stone via Postcards from the Edge? If it’s the latter, we’ll relish the chance to use the pun “good as Goldie” in a review. –Blake Goble


Alien: Covenant

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Release Date: May 19th via 20th Century Fox

Prometheus left some audiences…we’ll say, pissed off. It was a tale of the dumbest scientists to ever explore space, poking at foreign slime and critters in a well-produced but abysmally scripted franchise starter. After multiple title changes, confusing and inconsistent pull quotes from Ridley Scott, and four credited writers (excluding other probable R&D and false starts), Alien: Covenant is nigh. And you know what? In spite of our better instincts, we’re still curious about this one. The earthy naturalism, unanswered mysteries, and already-teased appearance of the Xenomorph are all worth drooling over. And that recently released prologue, “The Crossing,” was sufficiently eerie. So it’s safe to say that there might still be things worth finding in the universe of Alien movies. We just can’t help but poke at those space eggs. And one last thing: Kenny Fucking Powers is in this! May this film feature at least one scene in which Danny McBride wastes an alien and quips, “you’re fucking out!” No, your fan fiction is stupid! –Blake Goble


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Release Date: May 26th via Disney

It’s wild to think how long this goddamn series has lasted. I’m 33 years old this year and I was just starting my undergraduate studies when Gore Verbinski’s 2003 blockbuster, The Curse of the Black Pearl, was a surprise sensation for the Mouse House. Further proof that money not only talks the talk, but walks the PLANK! Ha. So, what’s the deal with this fourth sequel? Well, Oscar-nominated Jack Sparrow is back, fresh off a heap of real-life, non-mariner controversy, and so is early aughts darling Orlando Bloom as a barnacle’d Will Turner, Jr. For added value, Disney’s gone ahead and roped Oscar winner Javier Bardem into the mix as a zombie pirate named Captain Armando Salazar. Whoa, wait a tick: Wasn’t Geoffrey Rush already a zombie pirate? Eh, whatever, he’s also in this one. Everyone is! Hell, even Paul McCartney climbed aboard. Yarr, me love! –Michael Roffman



baywatch The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: May 26th via Paramount

In the spirit of bringing hunks back to the summer multiplex, without all the giant beams of light and superheroism at least, here’s Baywatch! Granted, Seth Gordon’s update of the kitschy ’90s syndication mainstay is going R-rated; it stands to reason, we suppose, that in a world of easily accessible smut, you gotta do more to keep ’em hooked than you once did. It’s hard not to see Baywatch as being cut from the same cloth as the Jump Street movies, but if Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, and the rest of the new crew can muster even a touch of that series’ weirdo charm, it could make for a fun Memorial Day weekend at the movies. Let’s just remember that there are a lot more latter-day TV revivals like 2006’s The Dukes of Hazzard than Jump Street, though. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Wonder Woman

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Release Date: June 2nd via Warner Bros.

YASS QUEEN HIPPOLYTA. If there’s a sunny side to Warner Bros. churning out crappy DC films at an alarming pace, it’s this. We’re finally getting a Wonder Woman standalone. It only took seven Superman and nine (!) Batman movies before we finally got a big screen take from DC’s premiere Amazonian queen Diana Prince. Why’d it take so long? This feels like it should have been a cultural/commercial win-win for WB in the ‘80s, not long after Donner’s Superman. Development began in the mid-‘90s, attracting names like Ivan Reitman, Joel Silver, and Joss Whedon. (Maybe some of those were the problem.) Old thinking reiterates that Supergirl was no hit in 1984, but that’s irrelevant now. Monster’s Patty Jenkins has been given the keys to the Invisible Jet, and come June 2nd, a lot of people are going to welcome this with open arms. Possibly clad in gold bracelets. And that’s the truth, no lasso necessary. –Blake Goble


The Mummy

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Release Date: June 9th via Universal

Last time we got Mummy films, they were campy adventure flicks you could take your parents to. Moms love Brendan Fraser, it’s a fact. And they were largely successes that haven’t particularly aged with any sort of reverence. 20 years later and The Mummy is aiming to be something different. Moms love Tom Cruise, too, but Cruise here is looking to bring some credibility to the Egyptian monster institution. He’s tagging along Russell Crowe and Annabelle Wallis, too, while Sofia Boutella is playing the princess-turned-monster (she was memorable this year as Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond). The tone is straight-faced danger, with director Alex Kurtzman replacing the laughs with genuine thrills. If there’s anything to bank on, it’s Cruise’s remarkable success rate for his career. We could never have said the same about Fraser. –Philip Cosores



It Comes At Night

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Release Date: June 9th via A24

Last year, Trey Edward Shults arrived on the low-budget indie scene with one hell of an opening salvo. Krisha was among our favorite films of 2016, a nightmarish exercise in the anxiety of being the estranged family member returning to the flock at Thanksgiving, and it announced Shults as a filmmaker of quietly unsettling power. His follow-up, It Comes At Night, already premiered at this past week’s Overlook Film Festival to strong reviews, and its disquieting trailer, already premiered at this past week’s Overlook Film Festival to strong reviews, and its promises a slow crescendo of paranoid terror from Joel Edgerton and a host of other survivors in a post-disaster landscape. Just make sure the red door stays closed. At all times. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


All Eyez On Me

Tupac Biopic

Release Date: June 16th via Summit Entertainment

It might appear as though a Tupac Shakur biopic only seemingly gained traction after the runaway success of F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton. But in All Eyez on Me’s defense, it’s been in production since 2011. Besides, have you seen the photos of Demetrius Shipp Jr.? He’s practically a clone of the late artist. The trailers look promising. The vibrance, wiles, and physicality of Tupac look alive in Shipp Jr.’s performance. And after 2009’s Notorious chronicled Biggie, it’s about time for Tupac to get the prestige treatment. But will it transcend genre clichés? You can imagine this film already, can’t you? Pac riling Biggie. Glossily shot sex, drugs, and violence. The tragic end. Shakur’s life story is the stuff of a good adult drama, but can Benny Boom and his crew tell a story as fresh and lasting as Pac’s music? It’s this film against the world, at this point. –Blake Goble


Rough Night

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Release Date: June 16th via Universal

There’s already been a bit of blowback about Rough Night‘s comically blase attitude regarding the killing of a male stripper. However, that feels like a slight reach when the movie seems to most resemble Very Bad Things or Weekend at Bernie’s or other classic dark comedies of yore. It remains to be seen how dark the film will be willing to go with its demented premise (estranged friends bond over the erasure of an accidental murder), but the talent on hand suggests something a touch more skewed than your average “irreverent” comedy: Scarlett Johansson as the bride-to-be, alongside Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, and Ilana Glazer. The R-rated comedy has been back in full swing for a while now, but it could use something bold to shake things up from the hangout formula popularized in recent years. Here’s hoping that Lucia Ainello’s directorial debut can offer just that. —Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


The Book of Henry

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Release Date: June 16th via Focus Features

What does the man that makes $1.6 billion dollars do after he’s amassed his fortune from a long-standing franchise? He makes a tonally ambitious indie drama. The trailer for Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry shifts its focus and direction around every 30 seconds. Starting off like a neo-Amblin family romp, Henry then turns into a mystery, and bluntly transforms into some kind of domestic abuse thriller. Before long, we get Naomi Watts wielding a sniper rifle and plotting vengeance against a dirty cop while listening to instructional tapes from the titular Henry. All this is to say, best of luck with all that, Colin Trevorrow. May this be closer to the intriguing balancing act you mastered with Safety Not Guaranteed, than the execrable Jurassic World. ­–Blake Goble


Transformers: The Last Knight

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Release Date: June 23rd via Paramount

Look, man. We don’t even know what to say about these goddamn things anymore. The craven marriage of product placement and shiny, whirring CGI that Michael Bay has been pushing for a full decade now isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, the Transformers series is the modern studio ideal: a big, loud thing that can be sold to virtually any marketer in any vertical, has immediate enthusiasm from its target audience, and will never see its opening weekends diminished by its now-traditional glut of creatively mean reviews. This time, the series will shift gears back to the grimmer tone of Dark of the Moon, while pairing Mark Wahlberg’s unkillable inventor with Isabela Moner’s scrappy kid, presumably so Bay wouldn’t have to fall over himself to justify the inclusion of a fuckable teenage daughter for the second consecutive movie. And there’ll be some of the last footage of the soon-to-be-demolished Pontiac Silverdome; to be fair, Transformers seems like as good a method of dancing on the auto industry’s grave as any. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


The Beguiled

 The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: June 23rd via Focus Features

Since The Bling Ring, Sofia Coppola has been uncommonly quiet, working on only the Netflix holiday special A Very Murray Christmas. It would appear as though the director is about to roar back, however, taking on a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood vehicle about an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell, this time around) taken into protection by an all-girls school deep in Confederate territory, during the height of the Civil War. Coppola’s work has taken a softer, sadder edge since her debut withThe Virgin Suicides, but The Beguiled has serious potential to return to that darkness, with Coppola’s signature patience deployed for churning dread instead of lilting melancholy. It’s one of the summer’s more exciting prospects, and will only be more so after the first reviews emerge out of Cannes later this month, where the film will premiere in competition. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


The Big Sick

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Release Date: June 23rd via Amazon

One perk of film criticism is getting to talk to people who’ve seen movies months before they come out, and few things are more exciting than a movie heaped with praise in the wake of the big festivals. (Read our A-grade review, pronto.) The film is all about love, specifically the blossoming romance between a young Chicago comic (Kumail Nanjiani), and a grad student (Zoe Kazan). Millennial references, cultural minutiae, and the ups and downs of young relationships ensue. It might sound Sundance as all hell, but what pushes Big Sick into the higher realm of romantic comedies is the sharp script by Nanjiani and his real-life wife Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani gives a leading performance that’s nothing short of a barn burner. And Michael Showalter continues to emerge as an exciting, kindhearted comic filmmaker. –Blake Goble


The Bad Batch

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Release Date: June 23rd via Neon

Ana Lily Amirpour made a big impression with her debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, an unconventional neo-Western that announced her as a compelling new voice in genre filmmaking. The Bad Batch has drawn polarized reactions since it began screening at festivals in 2016, but you’ll be able to judge for yourself before long whether Amirpour’s freaked-out vision of the post-apocalypse is a hit or miss. Following Suki Waterhouse as a young woman trapped in a hellish Texas wasteland, the offbeat feature is said to be one of the more distinctive features of the year even by its detractors, and hey, any chance to see Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey flex their talents in a stranger corner of the industry is a good one. By this point in the summer, trust us, you’ll be craving something this unique. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Baby Driver

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Release Date: June 28th via TriStar Pictures

Baby Driver is good. Baby Driver is damn good. So good, in fact, that TriStar pushed it up two months because they know it’s so good. Look, I’m usually wary of any and all hype, but start believing: Edgar Wright has delivered time and time again, but this is a whole other level for the English filmmaker. As I wrote in my glowing review at this year’s SXSW: “This is the La La Land of car chase movies, a jaw-shattering spectacle of sight and sound that sets the bar through the roof for any filmmakers currently cutting their teeth in music videos.” Don’t watch the trailer, don’t read anything more about it; just go to the theater on Friday, June 28th, buy yourself a big tub of popcorn, maybe some Twizzlers, a cherry cola even, and enjoy by far the most exciting film you’ll see all summer long. To drive this point even further, we’re not even going to post a link to a preview. –Michael Roffman


Despicable Me 3

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Release Date: June 30th via Universal

Credit where credit’s due: the early phase of the Despicable Me 3 promotional cycle has dialed down the omnipresence of the Minions, which will regardless live on in bad memes and the households of people who probably had too many kids in too little time until long after we’ve all returned to the loam and dust. Instead, the third outing of Universal’s smash franchise (and pillar of their theme park economy, if this writer’s recent visit was any indication) will follow the revelation that Gru (Steve Carell) has a twin brother, Dru, who’s more charming and successful in just about any way, as they team up to take on Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), an ’80s-obsessed child star-turned-supervillain. And the Minions will do some stuff, because the children, they love those Minions. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


The House

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Release Date: June 30th via Warner Bros.

Neighbors writer and director Andrew J. Cohen returns with another big-budget comedy alongside his writing pal Brendan O’Brien, and once again, he’s working with an incredibly inspired cast. This time around, he’s got Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins, Sam Richardson, and … what the hell … Jeremy Renner? Okay, sirs, you’ve got our attention, now what’s the catch? Here’s the rub: The story follows a couple (Ferrell and Poehler) who collaborate with their neighbors and open an illegal casino in their basement to earn money after they destroy their daughter’s college fund. Okay, so it’s not that far off from, say, Neighbors and Old School, but one imagines this cast will upgrade that entirely OK premise from a six to at least an seven. We’ll see. –Michael Roffman


Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Release Date: July 7th via Sony

What if we just called this Spider-Man 6? It would make life easier. From the MCU ties to Iron Man’s cameo in the ads, Homecoming looks like it’ll have just enough sizzle to cross the $200 million domestic mark this July. Tom Holland played Peter Parker as a fairly endearing teen in Captain America: Civil War, after all. Sony looks at the series like James Bonds; the email leaks seemed to suggest that the studio doesn’t care who plays the wall crawler, so long as they get a Spidey blockbuster every 2-3 years. But the franchise is in a rough spot. How do you keep things exciting, and audiences attracted to the web-crawler’s exploits? Previously mentioned new villains and a sprightly young lead. So now we have Homecoming for this 6th iteration of Stan Lee’s prized hero. And speaking of six, right now Homecoming has six credited writers on IMDB. So expect a grounded, logical, even-flowing comic book film from a director with just a pair of indies to his credit. It’s too early to call, but we’re skeptical for now. –Blake Goble


A Ghost Story

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Release Date: July 7th via A24

A Ghost Story won’t be for everybody. We strongly encourage you to see it, to let its dreamlike rhythms wash over you long after it ends. But David Lowery’s muted, emotionally wrenching film isn’t like any other tale of an adrift spirit you’ve seen before. Shot in long, observant takes, the narratively minimalistic film follows Casey Affleck as a man who, after suddenly dying, returns as a spirit covered in a sheet, attempting to remain with the woman he left behind (Rooney Mara) even as time and space conspire to set him adrift. It’s a muted, achingly lovely meditation on decay, time, and death, shot in secret by Lowery in advance of its premiere at Sundance this past January, where we found it “a tone piece about the slow erosion of a being’s humanity and what it means to be irreparably lost.” It’s also, for our money, already one of the best films of 2017, a film meant to be felt more than understood. And believe us, you’ll feel it. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


War for the Planet of the Apes

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Release Date: July 14th via 20th Century Fox

We’re all dead tired of sequels and reboots, but director Matt Reeves stumbled on a surprisingly great premise in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and turned it into a surprisingly great film, one that transformed the scattershot sci-fi franchise into a deeply affecting meditation on humanity’s capacity for self-destruction. Oh, and there were apes with machine guns riding horseback, too. Reeves’ other massive achievement is both technological and narrative in nature. He (along with motion actor Andy Serkis) managed to create cinema’s first utterly convincing CGI protagonist in Caesar, the ape leader tasked with defending his newly intelligent brethren from humanity’s last, gasping breath. War for the Planet of the Apes looks to be the conclusion of Caesar’s epic journey, and he seems to have found an appropriately ruthless opponent in Woody Harrelson’s Colonel. Any film that can get us to root for a computer-generated chimp against our own kind is one we have to applaud. –Collin Brennan




dunkirk The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: July 21st via Warner Bros.

Hollywood doesn’t need to make another World War II epic. But, apparently every director has to scratch that itch at some point in their career and considering we just opened the history books this past fall with Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, it only makes sense to keep them on the table for Christopher Nolan. Now, as someone who caught the film’s first seven minutes with Rogue One in IMAX 3D, I can assure you this is going to be an event and a spectacle to remember. When the rousing, nail-biting footage came to a painfully teasing end, my first thought was, Well, damn, why can’t we be watching that right now instead, and that was minutes away from a new Star Wars film. Yes, Nolan has once again pieced together another rollercoaster of a movie, and with Tom Hardy zipping around in a biplane and Kenneth Branagh chewing up the scenery with his dashing Irish looks … um, let’s just say you don’t have to be a total history buff to enjoy appreciate it. –Michael Roffman



Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Release Date: July 21st via STX Entertainment

Luc Besson’s Lucy became an inexplicable summer hit in 2014, and that’s not a comment on its quality (it’s terrific), but rather on how singularly bizarre a film it is by the standards of modern franchise blockbusters. Emboldened by that success, Besson will now follow that with a film that seems to offer an answer to the question of whether Besson was capable of something more distinct and imaginative than The Fifth Element. Based on the long-running, endlessly influential comic series Valerian and Laureline, the feature is not only France’s all-time most expensive production (rumored around $200 million), but the priciest of Besson’s career. But in the director’s innovative hands, it could also be summer 2017’s best opportunity to get truly weird. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Atomic Blonde

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Release Date: July 28th via Focus Features

If you like bathing in neon light, reading historical fiction, applauding lesbian assassins, and bobbing your head to some Peter Schilling, then for Christ’s sake, go see Atomic Blonde. It’s not great, but it’s really good, and “really good” goes a long way in today’s unimaginative rock ’em and shock ’em action climate. Of course, it helps that action goddess Charlize Theron is great, and with Blonde, she continues her supreme reign over the genre with another achingly physical performance, one that’ll shatter everyone’s expectations, mostly due to a scene towards the end that’ll be YouTube’ing again and again come October. Want to read more about it? Check out my review from South by Southwest, or grab the original graphic novel it was based on. A little summer reading never hurt anymore, right? –Michael Roffman



The Emoji Movie

emoji The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: July 28th via Sony

The great Patrick Stewart, a man with a well-earned aura of prestige about him, is set to play the ???? emoji, and that’s a little funny. That’s self-effacing, good-humored casting right there. But yeah, this movie sounded like a mess when it was greenlit a few years ago, and it still sounds like a bad idea. If The Angry Birds Movie taught us anything, The Emoji Movie’s best chance of finding a kind audience reception is by throwing in some leftfield gags and a self-aware wink or two about the whole craven thing. Preferably under 90 minutes. Sofia Vergara, T.J. Miller, James Corden, and Anna Faris are lending their vocals to this venture, and you don’t really care, do you?

Here, we’ll close this out fast and honestly.

????YOU???? WILL???? BE???? STUCK???? SEEING???? THIS???? IF???? YOU’RE???? A???? PARENT???? SO???? BUY???? CANDY???? AND???? DON’T???? SHARE???? WITH???? YOUR???? KID???? –Blake Goble


The Dark Tower

the dark tower The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: August 4th via Sony

It hasn’t been easy for fans of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. The film adaptation of the popular sci-fi fantasy novels had been in development hell for over a decade until Sony and MRC put things into rotation a couple of years ago. Of course, that rocky road carried over into post-production, forcing the studio to push its original February 17th release date all the way back to July 28th, and then August 4th. That date should stick, especially now that we finally have a trailer, but our fears aren’t exactly quelled. While Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey look brilliant as Roland Deschain and The Man in Black, respectively, there still isn’t enough at face value that separates this from any other YA adaptation in recent memory. And really, that’s going to be key for Sony, seeing how they’re starving to turn this into their next blockbuster franchise, what with an accompanying television series and future sequels penciled in for the future. To be fair, they’re not alone; fans have been waiting for decades to see this adaptation, which means there’s a lot riding on this film. All we can do now is trust in ka. –Michael Roffman




detroit The 30 Hottest Films of Summer 2017

Release Date: August 4th via Annapurna

Kathryn Bigelow’s last film, 2011’s Zero Dark Thirty, was a masterful investigation of the American drive for justice and revenge in the wake of 9/11, and sparked a wealth of troubled dialogue about the blurry lines between depicting brutality and supporting it. It’s unlikely Detroit will avoid similar talk of power apologetics and the lack thereof, as Bigelow turns her historical gaze to one of modern American history’s more painful true stories: the 1967 Detroit riots that left 43 dead and nearly 1,200 injured before ending in a controversial military occupation. If there’s a filmmaker today capable of taking the long view that such a troubling, contextual fiasco requires, it’s Bigelow, and Detroit has the potential to say as much about the racial and economic tensions in the country today as it will about the riots at large. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


Wind River

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Release Date: August 4th via The Weinstein Company

This Sundance 2017 entry was well-received, and Taylor Sheridan may be officially establishing himself as the premier modern auteur for hard-boiled Western action. When the summer is owned by the PG-13 rating and so many tactless tales, the ever-vanishing adult thriller needs good men like Sheridan. We need counter-programming like Wind River. The Oscar-nominated scribe behind Sicario and Hell or High Water directed this tale of murder on a Native American reservation starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner. It’s been called not only a taut work and re-invigoration of the procedural, but Wind River also appears to have a socially conscious streak, investigating the plight of present-day Native Americans. On paper, it sounds like late-period John Ford with sniper rifles and pick-up trucks. And like something we’d love to see. –Blake Goble


Ingrid Goes West

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Release Date: August 11th via Neon

Winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival is a pretty big deal. Here’s a short list of notable past winners: 1996’s Big Night, 2000’s You Can Count on Me, 2001’s Memento, 2003’s The Station Agent, 2005’s The Squid and the Whale, 2010’s Winter’s Bone, 2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed, 2014’s The Skeleton Twins, 2015’s The Stanford Prison Experiment, and 2016’s Morris From America. Those are all smart, confident, and daring indie films, right? Right. Well, this year the winner was Matt Spicer’s comedy-drama Ingrid Goes West, which pairs the maniacally hilarious Aubrey Plaza with the ever-charming Elizabeth Olsen for a whacky story about obsession. It’s being distributed by Neon, who’s currently on target to be the next A24, aka the distributor who just won Best Picture for Moonlight, so it would wise to start following ’em here. –Michael Roffman