Summer Movie Preview 2015


The best part about summer movie season is it starts with a bang the first weekend in May and heralds the coming of better movies and better weather. As a blogger, nothing is more fun that putting together a summer movie preview. Just about anything could turn out to be one of the year’s biggest and best.

This summer doesn’t have too many sequels, but it does have a lot of reboots and spin-offs. Overall, there should be something for everyone. I had a hard time finding 10 films I could definitively be skeptical about (though to be fair some I didn’t even consider “skeptical” an option and they didn’t make this post entirely.

So here are 20 other films that I want to call your attention to this summer. This year they are not ranked, but ordered by release date. You’ll be able to tell by reading just how interested I am. As per usual, below that is a list of 10 summer films to exercise caution over before seeing.


20 Most Anticipated Summer Films 

avengers_age_of_ultron_ver11The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

If you aren’t stoked for this one, you’re alone. Joss Whedon pulled off a master circus act with the first film, and Marvel has been on a roll ever since (and before, really). Knowing the money they’d make, Marvel and Disney probably poured a good amount into making this yet another spectacle. “The Avengers” series represents the direction of the industry toward “event” films and if Marvel keeps pulling it off, more will follow. (Watch the trailer)





mad_max_fury_road_ver11Mad Max Fury Road (May 15)

George Miller’s industrial wasteland Dystopia comes back to life at his own hand, with Tom Hardy as the star. I was never a huge fan of “Mad Max” and “Road Warrior” (didn’t even bother with “Thunderdome”), but there’s something refreshing about the stunts-driven look and intensity of “Fury Road.” You’re sure not to see anything quite like this film all summer and maybe for a long time after. (Watch the trailer)





pitch_perfect_two_ver3Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15)

I’m always the first person to cast doubt over a comedy sequel. We were spoiled last summer with “22 Jump Street,” but let’s not pretend that’s the norm. What “Pitch Perfect 2” has going for it, however, is the music. If Elizabeth Banks, making her directing debut, can capture the same energy and spirit of the music and maybe kick it up or notch, this could still be a fun time at the movies. Plus, Anna Kendrick. (Watch the trailer)







Tomorrowland (May 22)

“The Incredibles” director Brad Bird dazzled into live action with “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” so odds on “Tomorrowland” — whatever it’s about — being entertaining have to be pretty good at the very least. George Clooney’s involvement is also nothing to be shy about. In terms of originality, however, this looks far and away like Summer 2015’s most unique blockbuster offering. (Watch the trailer)






poltergeist_ver2Poltergeist (May 22)

It’s nice to see that this “Poltergeist” remake wasn’t simply an attempt to revive an old franchise as a contemporary-style horror film. The choice of director Gil Kenan (animated film “Monster House”) and writer David Lindsay-Abaire (“Rise of the Guardians”) shows a certain dedication to making this in the family-oriented, curiosity-driven horror style that Steven Spielberg brought to the 1982 original. (Watch the trailer)





alohaAloha (May 29)

Cameron Crowe has been quiet the last 10 years, and when he has surfaced, it hasn’t exactly been noteworthy. “Aloha” is his first original script since “Elizabethtown” in 2005. Nevertheless, all of Hollywood jumped at the chance to be in this film: Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone, John Krasinski, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin and more star in a film about a military man who gets a second chance where he made his name while closing one chapter of his love life and starting a new one. (Watch the trailer)





spySpy (June 5)

I had more or less jumped off the Melissa McCarthy train, but reviews from South by Southwest of her latest collaboration with “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig have been very good. “Spy” is terribly named, but puts McCarthy on screen with Jude Law, Jason Statham and Allison Janney, and re-teams her with Rose Byrne. She plays a CIA desk jockey who gets her chance in the field despite her physical incompetence. (Watch the trailer)





jurassic_world_ver2Jurassic World (June 12)

Cinema’s dino-sized franchise is back and there are many talented pieces going into this reboot. Director Colin Trevorrow made the indie sci-fi comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed,” which had a great sense of humor and more importantly, imagination. Also, the story and screenplay come from Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who blew our expectations away with “Rise of” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Chris Pratt as the star only helps. (Watch the trailer)





me_and_earl_and_the_dying_girlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl (June 12 – limited)

I never thought I’d write this, but coming-of-age stories about young adults with cancer are a dime a dozen these days. Anyway, something must be said for the power these stories contain because the latest one has gotten fantastic reviews since premiering at Sundance. Jesse Andrews adapts his novel about a high school senior who reluctantly befriends a classmate with leukemia and with his best friend endeavors to make a movie that will cheer her up. (Watch the trailer)





inside_out_ver13Inside Out (June 19)

Pixar’s decision to churn out more sequels lately has given the studio’s once impervious name a few blemishes, but the creativity is back in full swing with this story that imagines the emotions we all experience as different characters controlling our actions. “Up” director Pete Docter helms this one, which has the look of a total winner, and sounds like one too: Amy Poehler (Joy), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Digust), Bill Hader (Fear) and Phyllis Smith (Sadness) all offer their voices. (Watch the trailer)





terminator_genisysTerminator Genisys (July 1)

Reviving “Terminator” post-James Cameron has been a struggle. “T3: Rise of the Machines” and “Terminator Salvation” were 20th-century duds, as was the first trailer for this film. Director Alan Taylor (“Game of Thrones,” “Thor: The Dark World”) with rising stars Emilia Clarke and rising stars Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney and martial arts expert Byung-hun Lee tackle a story that turns “Terminator” lore on its head and brings back Ah-nold for some fun. (Watch the trailer)





minions_ver2Minions (July 10)

It was a matter of time before the beloved yellow pills of the “Despicable Me” franchise got their own spin-off. Sandra Bullock and John Hamm lend their voice talents to this one, a prequel in which our little friends come into the employ of famous villain Scarlett Overkill (Bullock). Expect the same formula that made those films charming to be in play here and for “Minions” to be one of the summer’s highest-grossing movies. (Watch the trailer)





trainwreckTrainwreck (July 17)

Amy Schumer is about to become a really big deal. Her show has started to gain traction and it’s deserved — she’s hilarious. She writes and stars in “Trainwreck,” and teams with Judd Apatow, who directs. The “Knocked Up” and “This Is Forty” filmmaker should add some gravity and heart to the film, which co-stars Bill Hader as a normal dude. (Watch the trailer)







pan_ver5Pan (July 24)

Anything Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Hanna”) makes gets my attention, because his films are always beautiful. Apply his approach to a “Peter Pan” origin story and surely Neverland will have never looked so good. Who knows about the story, but with Pan (Levi Miller) befriending a young Hook (Garrett Hedlund), it will be interesting to see how the two become enemies. Hugh Jackman stars as the villainous Blackbeard. (Watch the trailer)





southpawSouthpaw (July 24)

One of the more notable dramas of the summer appears to be boxing film “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, a champion boxer whose decisions cost him his wife (Rachel McAdams) and daughter. Of course he needs to step back into the ring in order to prove he’s not the man they say he is. Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent co-star, but it’s the director, Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Equalizer”), and writer, Kurt Sutter (creator of “Sons of Anarchy”), that give this promise. (Watch the trailer)





paper_townsPaper Towns (July 24 – limited)

Author John Green (“The Fault in Our Stars”) is looking to become the Nicholas Sparks of coming-of-age indies. “Stars” was a great film, and “Paper Towns” comes from the same duo that adapted that one to the big screen, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who also penned “(500) Days of Summer” and “The Spectacular Now.” Odds are they have done another bang-up job on this story of a teen in love with the girl next door who searches for her when she goes missing. (Watch the trailer)





mission_impossible__rogue_nationMission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (July 31)

“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” gave a dwindling franchise new life with incredible, heart-pumping stunt work, so it will be interesting to see if Christopher McQuarrie, who made his blockbuster directing debut with star Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher,” can keep that ball rolling. “Rogue Nation” has IMF squaring off against a rogue organization called The Syndicate. (Watch the trailer)






fantastic_four_ver3Fantastic Four (Aug. 7)

After wowing everyone with the teen superpowers film “Chronicle,” Josh Trank became an in-demand filmmaker, and rebooting “Fantastic Four” for Fox seemed like a natural fit. If he can pull it off, he’ll be a genius, as just about everyone is skeptical about the latest take on Marvel’s oldest superhero squad. Miles Teller, Kata Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan (who starred in “Chronicle”) make for a strong cast, but it’s the script that will matter most. Trank has a writing credit, but so does Fox blockbuster script doctor Simon Kinberg. (Watch the trailer)





straight_outta_comptonStraight Outta Compton (Aug. 14)

With everything that has gone on in America in the last year, most recently in Baltimore, “Straight Outta Compton” could be the year’s most important film. The story of NWA — Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E — tells of the emergence of hip-hop as a cultural tidal wave but also a way to voice a need for change in the system. “Straight Outta Compton” shines a spotlight on race issues and cultural divides in a way that’s sadly as relevant now as it was in the 80s and 90s. Longtime hip-hop and R&B video director F. Gary Gray directs. (Watch the trailer)





man_from_uncleThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Aug. 14)

After the success of the “Sherlock Holmes” films, Warner Bros. turns to Guy Ritchie to bring this Cold War era spy TV show to the big screen with rising star hunks Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”) as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer (“The Lone Ranger”) as Ilya Kuryakin. For those who didn’t like the new “Holmes” movies, the good news is that this one looks way more in the style Ritchie excels at, as it isn’t trying to be family friendly in the least. The ’60s vibe is also pretty fun. (Watch the trailer)





10 Summer Films to Be Skeptical About


hot_pursuit_ver2Hot Pursuit (May 8)

Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara in a film about a goody cop and drug kingpin’s wife on the run is not a formula I would’ve ever put together, but maybe it’s just crazy enough to work. Witherspoon has avoided comedy for awhile, and Vergara hasn’t gotten enough
of a chance to shine. Director Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses,” “The Proposal”) knows how to make a crowd-pleaser, just not a critic-pleaser. (Watch the trailer)





san_andreas_ver2San Andreas (May 29)

If you’re surprised that Roland Emmerich didn’t direct this earthquake disaster movie, you’re not alone. Instead, it’s Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”). Yea, not better, but worse. Warner Bros. undoubtedly hopes that lots of carnage, and lots of Dwayne Johnson gets butts in the seats. (Watch the trailer)






entourage_ver2Entourage (June 5)

I didn’t watch “Entourage” like all my friends did back in college, so my skepticism is for those thinking they should see the movie if they aren’t fans of the show. What I’ve learned about TV shows that inspire a movie many years later is they pander to the die-hards, meaning they aren’t so good, but if you loved all those characters, you’re bound to enjoy yourself. (Watch the trailer)






insidious_chapter_three_ver2Insidious Chapter 3 (June 5)

Any horror franchise that goes beyond two films, no matter how good the first one was, needs to be looked at skeptically, especially a prequel. “Insidious” writer and creator Leigh Whannell directs this one, which means it will be true to its predecessors (helmed by James Wan), but without any major talents holding it up like Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne did the first two, it’s hard to believe this one will be an improvement. (Watch the trailer)




ted_two_ver4Ted 2 (June 26)

I enjoyed the hell out of “Ted,” but as lovable as Seth MacFarlane’s character is, something about the premise of a teddy bear having to prove that he’s human in a court of law in order to have a baby, seems like a stretch, and comedy sequels often fail because they are a stretch. MacFarlane’s last film, “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” was a total dud, so he’s got something to prove here. (Watch the trailer)






magic_mike_xxlMagic Mike XXL (July 1)

“Magic Mike” earned critical success not because of the entertainment factor of naked men (that drove the box office success), but because director Steven Soderbergh took a sensitive, down-to-earth approach and had the right sense of humor about it. With Soderbergh out of the picture, it’s hard to imagine “Magic Mike XXL” (I mean, the title alone …) being half the film its predecessor was, even with original writer Reid Carolin still covering writing duties. Also, no Matthew McConaughey. (Watch the trailer)





selfless_ver3Self/Less (July 10)

Despite being known as a visual master, director Tarsem Singh has not impressed anyone of late between “300” knock-off “Immortals” and Snow White tale “Mirror, Mirror.” The premise of “Self/Less” is way more original than those films, at least. “Self/Less” stars Ben Kingsley as a dying man whose wealth allows him a second lease on life in the body of a younger man, Ryan Reynolds. Where this new body came from, however, leads to a world of problems. (Watch the trailer)






Ant-Man (July 17)

I never thought I’d put a Marvel Studios film on my skeptical list, but I’m just not buying into “Ant-Man.” Maybe I’m still bitter that Edgar Wright left the project and his originality went with it. Instead, Peyton Reed directs (“Yes Man”) with a script from Adam McKay (the guy who brought you every Will Ferrell comedy of the last 10 years, practically). With Paul Rudd starring, it’s almost hard to take “Ant-Man” seriously. It could be the funniest or the worst post-“Iron Man” Marvel movie of all time. (Watch the trailer)





pixelsPixels (July 24)

Video game characters taking over the world sounds like a great concept, just not in the hands of Adam Sandler and his usual crew. Perhaps “Harry Potter” director Chris Columbus can add some heart and adventure to this one, and Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Michelle Monaghan some chops, but expect a lot of dumb jokes mixed in with 8-bit humor for the older generation. (Watch the trailer) 






mastermindsMasterminds (Aug. 7)

“Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess hasn’t quite found the magic since that film was a hit more than 10 years ago, but he’ll try with someone else’s script and some of the top comedians working today: Kristen Wiig and Zach Galifianakis. They star as two morons who have pulled off a huge cash heist. Lots of credits on the script make this a little concerning but perhaps the talent can reel it in better than they do in the trailer. (Watch the trailer)




Other Notable Summer Films

The D-Train (May 8 – limited) – Jack Black and James Marsden star in this Sundance entry about a class reunion committee chair who tracks down the most popular guy in high school to get him to come to the reunion. (Dir. by Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul)

Maggie (May 8 – limited) – Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in a film that actually looks promising. He plays a man whose daughter (Abigail Breslin) is slowly turning into a zombie. (Dir. by Henry Hobson)

Dope (June 19) – A coming of age story set in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Inglewood, California, “Dope” got a nice reception at Sundance. (Dir. by Rick Famuyiwa)

Infinitely Polar Bear (June 19 – limited) – A Sundance 2014 entry, Mark Ruffalo stars as a manic-depressive father of two trying to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana) by showing he can take care of his kids. (Dir. by Maya Forbes)

Max (June 26) – A family drama about a U.S. Marines dog who returns to the family of his human partner who died in Afghanistan and creates a new bond with the soldier’s younger brother. (Dir. by Boaz Yakin)

Irrational Man (July 17 – limited) – Woody Allen’s latest is classic Woody – a philosophy professor enters a relationship with a student. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. (Dir. by Woody Allen)

The Gift (July 31) – Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut in this creepy mystery thriller starring Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. (Dir. by Joel Edgerton)

Vacation (July 31) – We have yet to see anything but a movie still of this reboot of the National Lampoon’s classic starring Ed Helms as an older Rusty Griswold taking his kids to Wally World. (Dir. by John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein)

Ricki and the Flash (Aug. 7) – Meryl Streep stars as a guitar player returning home to her family in this Diablo Cody-scripted dramedy. No trailer yet, unfortunately. (Dir. by Jonathan Demme)


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