ACTION & SCI FI
Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth. Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
Pretty much every superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows up, to take down intergalactic villain Thanos (played via motion capture by Josh Brolin).
Why go? It’s the Avengers, duh.
Maybe not: Can one movie, even at two and a half hours, really offer meaningful storylines for the dozens of characters crammed in here?
Deadpool 2 (May 18)
Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz. Directed by David Leitch.
The foul-mouthed superpowered mercenary returns for more violence and more self-aware humor.
Why go? The first Deadpool was a surprise hit that mocked the conventions of superhero blockbusters.
Maybe not: The jokes started wearing thin by the end.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke. Directed by Ron Howard.
The latest Star Wars stand-alone feature explores the early days of roguish space pilot Han Solo, with Ehrenreich taking over for Harrison Ford as the younger version of the character.
Why go? It’s Star Wars, duh.
Maybe not: The troubled production switched directors mid-shoot (with Howard reportedly reshooting nearly the entire movie), and its prequel story could easily feel redundant.
Hotel Artemis (June 8)
Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella. Directed by Drew Pearce.
In the LA of the near future, a group of bank robbers takes refuge inside a hotel that serves as a secret hospital for criminals.
Why go? The ridiculous premise could be fun in a trashy B-movie way.
Maybe not: Or it could just be a trashy B-movie with an overqualified cast.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell. Directed by J.A. Bayona.
Two former Jurassic World employees return to the island where genetically engineered dinosaurs run amok.
Why go? It’s dinosaurs, duh.
Maybe not: Oh, are the dinosaurs going to eat people again? Yawn.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas. Directed by Peyton Reed.
Shrinking Marvel superhero Ant-Man shares top billing with fellow micro-superhero the Wasp in his second movie.
Why go? The first Ant-Man was a lot of fun, showcasing a lighter side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Maybe not: After the enormous scope of Infinity War, this could be a bit of a letdown.
Skyscraper (July 13)
Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber.
The head of security for the tallest building in the world has to save his family when terrorists take it over.
Why go? If there’s anyone who can make dumb action movies work, it’s The Rock.
Maybe not: Even The Rock can only do so much.
The Equalizer 2 (July 20)
Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Pedro Pascal. Directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Washington’s retired CIA agent returns to equalize some more bad guys.
Why go? The first film was a surprise hit, giving Washington a spotlight as an action hero.
Maybe not: It was also plodding, grim and not much fun.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 27)
Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson. Directed by Christopher McQuarrie.
Secret agent Ethan Hunt chooses to accept another impossible mission while being pursued by his own government.
Why go? The Mission: Impossible franchise is possibly the most reliable and consistent action-movie series in Hollywood.
Maybe not: By the sixth movie, pretty much any franchise has lost momentum.
The Darkest Minds (August 3)
Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
In a post-apocalyptic future, children with special abilities are rounded up by the authorities.
Why go? Stenberg demonstrated strong screen presence in last summer’s fellow YA adaptation Everthing, Everything.
Maybe not: Haven’t we gotten through all the Hunger Games rip-offs already?
Mile 22 (August 3)
Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, John Malkovich. Directed by Peter Berg.
An American operative joins with a tactical team to escort a police officer with sensitive information out of a foreign country.
Why go? Berg and Wahlberg have previously teamed on three popular movies about macho American heroes (Lone Survivor, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon).
Maybe not: Those were all based on true stories, while this is a would-be franchise that sounds like a poor man’s Mission: Impossible.
The Meg (August 10)
Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson. Directed by Jon Turteltaub.
A deep-sea diver works to save the crew of an underwater research vessel attacked by a giant ancient shark.
Why go? It’s Jason Statham vs. a giant ancient shark, duh.
Maybe not: After 20-plus years in development, this adaptation of Steve Alten’s bestselling novel might have missed its window of opportunity.
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Show Dogs (May 18)
Will Arnett, voices of Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Stanley Tucci. Directed by Raja Gosnell.
A gruff police dog and his human partner go undercover at a fancy dog show in Las Vegas to stop a dangerous criminal.
Why go? Well, it is set in Vegas.
Maybe not: After Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, hasn’t Vegas suffered enough?
Incredibles 2 (June 15)
Voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell. Directed by Brad Bird.
The Parr family of superheroes returns in this sequel to the beloved Pixar animated movie.
Why go? The original movie is still one of Pixar’s best, and writer-director Bird is back for the sequel.
Maybe not: Pixar’s track record with sequels is a bit uneven.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (July 13)
Voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.
Dracula and his monster friends go on a cruise.
Why go? Tartakovsky brings a certain playfulness and creativity to these low-stakes, wacky-monster animated movies.
Maybe not: There was barely enough story for one Hotel Transylvania movie, let alone three.
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (July 27)
Voices of Scott Menville, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton. Directed by Aaron Horvath.
In this big-screen extension of the popular Cartoon Network animated series, DC’s goofy teen heroes decide to star in their own superhero movie (how meta!).
Why go? With all the bombastic superhero blockbusters, it’s nice to have a version that’s kid-friendly and doesn’t take itself seriously.
Maybe not: The small-scale storylines of the TV series might not be enough to sustain a feature film.
Christopher Robin (August 3)
Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Jim Cummings. Directed by Marc Forster.
Now all grown up, the boy from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories reconnects with his animal friends, who help him rediscover his childhood enthusiasm.
Why go? This is a Disney production, with all the wonder and magic that goes along with it (plus Cummings, the original voice of Pooh from Disney’s animated features).
Maybe not: The CGI animals look sort of creepy interacting with the live actors.
Tully (May 4)
Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston. Directed by Jason Reitman.
An overworked mother (Theron) forms a special bond with the young nanny (Davis) hired to help her in the evenings.
Why go? Theron, Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody previously teamed up for the brilliant dark comedy Young Adult.
Maybe not: It’s tough to recapture that kind of creative synergy.
Adrift (June 1)
Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur.
A couple on a sailing expedition must fight for survival when they end up lost at sea following a massive hurricane.
Why go? True-life survival stories can be riveting.
Maybe not: They can also be cheesy and melodramatic.
Alpha (August 17)
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Leonor Varela, Jens Hultén.Directed by Albert Hughes.
A caveman bonds with a wolf while trying to survive in the wilderness.
Why go? The movie promises nothing less than to depict the beginning of the symbiotic relationship between humans and canines.
Maybe not: That’s awfully ambitious for a late-summer movie about cavemen throwing spears at each other.
Overboard (May 4)
Anna Faris, Eugenio Derbez, Eva Longoria. Directed by Rob Greenberg.
In a gender-swapped remake of the ’80s Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn comedy, Faris plays a struggling single mom who convinces a wealthy playboy that he’s her husband after he loses his memory in a boating accident.
Why go? Faris is a gifted screwball comedian and a worthy successor to Goldie Hawn.
Maybe not: The concept felt creepy the first time.
Life of the Party (May 11)
Melissa McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs. Directed by Ben Falcone.
A middle-aged divorcée (McCarthy) decides to go back to college and becomes her daughter’s classmate.
Why go? McCarthy can be very funny as an overconfident bumbler.
Maybe not: She’s played the same part plenty of times already.
Book Club (May 18)
Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen. Directed by Bill Holderman.
A group of older women add new spice to their lives after their book club reads Fifty Shades of Grey.
Why go? The stars are all acting legends.
Maybe not: And this is the best they could do?
Action Point (June 1)
Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl. Directed by Tim Kirkby.
The owner of a run-down amusement park supercharges his attractions to dangerous levels in order to compete with a fancy new park stealing all his customers.
Why go? Knoxville and some of his Jackass co-stars incorporate their real-life stunt work into a fictional narrative.
Maybe not: Sounds like a struggle to find new ways to showcase the same jackassery.
Tag (June 15)
Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm. Directed by Jeff Tomsic.
For decades, a group of former college buddies has spent one month a year playing an elaborate game of tag together.
Why go? Grown-ups playing tag? How hilarious!
Maybe not: Although “based” on a true story, this just looks like an excuse for a series of tiresome pratfalls.
Uncle Drew (June 29)
Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll. Directed by Charles Stone III.
Real-life basketball star Irving dons old-age makeup to play a street basketball legend in this comedy based on a series of Pepsi commercials.
Why go? Uh …
Maybe not: It’s a movie based on soda ads starring an athlete with almost no acting experience. What could go wrong?
The Hustle (June 29)
Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp. Directed by Chris Addison.
Hathaway and Wilson play rival con artists who compete to swindle a tech billionaire out of his fortune, in this remake of the Steve Martin/Michael Caine comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Why go? Hathaway and Wilson are an unlikely but inspired comedic pairing to take over for Martin and Caine.
Maybe not: Was anyone asking for a Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake?
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20)
Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Meryl Streep. Directed by Ol Parker.
In this sequel to the ABBA-themed musical, Seyfried’s Sophie learns about her mother’s younger days while getting ready to have a child of her own.
Why go? ABBA songs are catchy! Also, Cher’s in this one.
Maybe not: ABBA songs are annoying! And Cher is the only person in this movie who can actually sing.
The Spy Who Dumped Me (August 3)
Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan. Directed by Susanna Fogel.
Two best friends find themselves on the run from international assassins after one learns that her ex-boyfriend was a secret agent.
Why go? McKinnon is one of the funniest people in Hollywood, and Kunis is likable and charming.
Maybe not: Their action skills might not match up to their comedic chops.
Crazy Rich Asians (August 17)
Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan. Directed by Jon M. Chu.
This adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s acclaimed comedic novel follows a Chinese-American professor as she enters the overwhelming world of her boyfriend’s ultra-wealthy Singaporean family.
Why go? It’s the kind of story that’s still rarely told in Hollywood, and the cast is packed with some of the best Asian and Asian-American actors working today.
Maybe not: Director Chu’s previous work is all dance movies and action movies, so he might not have the subtle touch needed for a more grounded story.
The Happytime Murders (August 17)
Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph. Directed by Brian Henson.
A private detective tracks a killer who’s been targeting the cast members of a 1980s TV series—all of whom happen to be puppets.
Why go? It’s a noir-style murder mystery starring Melissa McCarthy and a bunch of puppets, directed by Jim Henson’s son!
Maybe not: A movie like that will be either brilliant or dreadful.
THRILLS & CHILLS
Breaking In (May 11)
Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Seth Carr. Directed by James McTeigue.
A single mother fights to protect her children during a home invasion.
Why go? Union has the right amount of ferocity to play an ass-kicking mama.
Maybe not: Everything else here screams “Lifetime original movie.”
Ocean’s 8 (June 8)
Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway. Directed by Gary Ross.
A group of female thieves conspires to pull off a high-profile jewel heist in this spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s series.
Why go? The all-star cast (which also includes Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling) looks to be having a great time, and the previous Ocean’s movies have been stylish fun.
Maybe not: Putting together a great story requires more than just swapping men for women.
Hereditary (June 8)
Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne. Directed by Ari Aster.
A family experiences mounting terrors after the secretive matriarch passes away.
Why go? A sensation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Hereditary has been branded the next big thing in horror.
Maybe not: That kind of hype can deflate easily.
Superfly (June 15)
Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael K. Williams. Directed by Director X.
A drug dealer attempts to quit the business in this remake of the 1972 blaxploitation classic Super Fly.
Why go? The source material is not the typical candidate for a remake.
Maybe not: There could be a good reason for that.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29)
Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner. Directed by Stefano Sollima.
Del Toro and Brolin return from the first Sicario as U.S. operatives battling drug cartels in Mexico.
Why go? The first movie was a tense and intelligent thriller, and writer Taylor Sheridan is back for this one, too.
Maybe not: Original director Denis Villeneuve and original star Emily Blunt are conspicuously absent.
The First Purge (July 4)
Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Marisa Tomei. Directed by Gerard McMurray.
The fourth Purge movie goes back to the beginning, to explore the origins of the policy that all crime is legal for one night a year in the U.S. of the future.
Why go? The ridiculous concept of the Purge movies has proven surprisingly fruitful.
Maybe not: Origin stories are where film franchises go when they run out of ideas.
Under the Silver Lake (July 4)
Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace. Directed by David Robert Mitchell.
An aimless young man becomes obsessed with the disappearance of his beautiful and mysterious neighbor, in this noir-style thriller.
Why go? Mitchell brought a thrilling new spin on the horror genre with his last movie, It Follows, and seems poised to do the same thing here with the detective story.
Maybe not: Just because he can reinvent one genre doesn’t mean he can reinvent another.
Slender Man (August 24)
Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair. Directed by Sylvain White.
Teenagers summon a supernatural evil in this horror movie inspired by the online urban legend.
Why go? The memes and stories about Slender Man are seriously unsettling.
Maybe not: Considering Slender Man was the inspiration for a real-life attempted murder case in 2014, maybe this movie isn’t in the greatest taste.