clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Summer movie preview: Can you feel Roeper’s love for Iron Man, Woody and Simba?

The future leader, Simba, is introduced to the animals of the Pride Land in the more realistic remake of “The Lion King.” | Disney Enterprises

Forget the calendar and the cold, it’s summer movie time!

Before this preview, let’s look back at my previous preview.

Just around this time last year, I told you how excited I was to see “Hereditary,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “Sorry to Bother You” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Good picks, Rich!

Ah, but I also mentioned “Tag,” which turned out to be dopey and awful, “The Happytime Murders,” one of the worst movies of the decade — and “Under the Silver Lake,” which apparently is so underwhelming it was never even released in 2018. After a quiet, limited theatrical debut on Friday (but not in Chicago), “Silver Lake” gets the VOD treatment just three days later.

Maybe it’s so great they thought our heads would explode if we saw it last summer.

Probably not.

Per the usual tradition, our annual summer movie preview includes some of the expected blockbusters — but also a few relatively smaller films that could turn out to be something special.

In chronological order:

‘Avengers: Endgame’ (April 25)

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.” | Marvel Studios
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.” | Marvel Studios

So there’s this whole seemingly unbeatable team of superheroes from all across the Marvel Universe — but after half their ranks were seemingly vanquished by the most formidable foe they’ve ever faced, it’s time to …

Oh come on. You already KNOW everything there is to know about “Avengers: Endgame,” excepting the tiny detail of whether it’s any good.

This we know for sure: “Endgame” will gross billions of dollars worldwide, and some of the fan-geeks will love it and others will hate it, and more than few will get more worked up about this movie than just about anything that occurs in their actual, real lives in 2019.

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (May 3)

Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile.” | Netflix
Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil & Vile.” | Netflix

On the heels of the riveting and haunting docu-series “Confessions of a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” Netflix is planning a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release for this fictionalized account of the notorious spree murderer, starring Zac Efron, an underrated actor who has the range to play the dashing, charming, duplicitous and thoroughly rotten sociopath Ted Bundy. Early word from Sundance was strong.

‘John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum’ (May 17)

Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry in “John Wick: Chapter 3.” | Lionsgate
Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry in “John Wick: Chapter 3.” | Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves’ stoic and stylish killing machine has become one of the most iconic action characters of the 2010s. Who saw that coming when the first “John Wick” was released in 2014?

One of the posters for “Parabellum” depicts Wick in a standoff with dozens upon dozens of armed foes.

I’d say Wick is a touchdown favorite in that matchup.

P.S. “Parabellum” is Latin for “Prepare for war.” They definitely should have just called it “John Wick 3: Prepare for War.” Why you making us do all this extra work of looking things up and stuff?

‘Aladdin’ (May 24)

In “Aladdin,” Mena Massoud (left) plays the title role with Will Smith as the Genie. | Disney
In “Aladdin,” Mena Massoud (left) plays the title role with Will Smith as the Genie. | Disney

Come on. Aren’t you dying to see if the live-action version of the 1992 classic can overcome the disastrous reviews for the first glimpses of Will Smith as the genie?

‘Rocketman’ (May 31)

Taron Egerton as Elton John in “Rocketman.” | Paramount Pictures  summov19
Taron Egerton as Elton John in “Rocketman.” | Paramount Pictures summov19

The trailers for this Elton John biopic have me equal parts excited and fearful. It could be exhilarating and colorful and fantastically great, or it could be … camp crap.

Then again, how could it possibly be any more banal and watered-down than “Bohemian Rhapsody”?

The talented Taron Egerton has the title role, with Jamie Bell as John’s legendary lyricist Bernie Taupin. Dexter Fletcher, who meshed well with Egerton on “Eddie the Eagle,” directs.

‘Late Night’ (June 7)

Emma Thompson plays a TV host in “Late Night.” | Amazon Studios
Emma Thompson plays a TV host in “Late Night.” | Amazon Studios

The invaluable Mindy Kaling wrote and co-produced this comedy about a veteran talk show host (Emma Thompson) who hires her first female staff writer — played by Kaling, who was the only staff writer on “The Office” when she joined that classic show as a writer/performer at the age of 24.

The wonderful supporting cast includes Ike Barinholtz, Hugh Dancy and John Lithgow.

This sounds like it could be perfect, smart, summer escapist comedic fare.

‘Shaft’ (June 14)

Jesse Usher as John “JJ” Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft and Richard Roundtree as John Shaft Sr. in “Shaft.” | New Line Cinema
Jesse Usher as John “JJ” Shaft, Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft and Richard Roundtree as John Shaft Sr. in “Shaft.” | New Line Cinema

Richard Roundtree, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie Usher: That’s one, two, three generations of the bad mother-SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

‘Child’s Play’ (June 21)

A “Child’s Play” reboot re-introduces the killer doll Chucky. | Orion Pictures
A “Child’s Play” reboot re-introduces the killer doll Chucky. | Orion Pictures

Hey, it’s about time the millennials felt the same sense of terror we experienced when that creepy killing doll Chucky first started slicing and dicing people back in 1988. (At one point in “Child’s Play 2,” Chucky even jumped into the back of a Sun-Times delivery truck, yipes!)

The reboot stars Aubrey Plaza (whose April Ludgate from “Parks and Rec” must have loved the “Child’s Play” movies) and Brian Tyree Henry, who can do no wrong lately.

‘Toy Story 4’ (June 21)

Woody Harrelson (Tom Hanks) and Forky (Tony Hale) in “Toy Story 4.” | Disney-Pixar
Woody Harrelson (Tom Hanks) and Forky (Tony Hale) in “Toy Story 4.” | Disney-Pixar

That’s right: The terrifying, nightmare-inducing Chucky, one of the most horrific children’s toys to come to life in motion picture history, returns to the big screen on the same date we welcome back the beloved Woody, Buzz Lightyear et al.

Suffice to say we’re probably never going to get a crossover of these two franchises.

I would rank “Toy Story 3” as among the best third-chapter films of all time, as it provided a seemingly perfect ending to Pixar’s brilliant franchise, so I’m a little apprehensive about “TS4,” especially after the teaser trailer debut of that “Forky” character, who came across like an “SNL” creation.

Ah, but this is Pixar, and this is “Toy Story,” so odds are better than good they’ll figure out a way to once again deliver the perfect summer blend of comedy gold and heart-tugging drama.

‘Yesterday’ (June 28)

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) gets a major career boost from Ed Sheeran (playing himself) after Jack begins performing songs by The Beatles, in “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle.
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) gets a major career boost from Ed Sheeran (playing himself) after Jack begins performing songs by The Beatles, in “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle.

Ask me to pick the summer 2019 movie I’m MOST looking forward to, and I’ll go with this supernatural/comedy/musical/drama from the great Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “28 Days Later.”)

Himesh Patel stars as an unknown musician who is struck by a bus and wakes up finding the world exactly as it was, with one notable exception — no one has ever heard of the Beatles.

Can you imagine what he does?

This could be the “Back to the Future” of its time.

‘The Lion King’ (July 19)

On the long, long, LONG list of Disney live-action remakes of beloved animated classics, “The Lion King” might seem like the riskiest of all, given the enormous and lasting success of the 1994 original, which holds such a special place in the hearts of millions.

But with Jon Favreau (who helmed the acclaimed live-action/CGI reboot of “The Jungle Book”) behind the camera, a voice cast including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyonce as Nala and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa — not to mention those undeniably stunning visuals from the teaser trailer — we have high hopes for the arrival of this new “King.”

‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ (July 26)

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” | Columbia Pictures
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” | Columbia Pictures

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, James Marsden and Dakota Fanning, is set against the backdrop of the Manson family murders of 1969.

The Troll Patrol dumped all over an early poster image and still photos, which is beyond ridiculous.

SETTLE. DOWN. You can’t judge a movie by its poster any more than you can judge a book by its cover.

‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ (Aug. 9)

Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette Fox in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” | Annapurna Pictures
Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette Fox in Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” | Annapurna Pictures

Just as every Tarantino movie should be considered an event, so should every film by the prolific and versatile Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused,” “Waking Life,” “Boyhood”).

Based on the crackling good novel by Maria Semple, this is the story of a misanthropic mom (the great Cate Blanchett) who disappears, leaving her 15-year-old daughter (Emma Nelson) to figure out what happened to her. Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer co-star, and it’s a shame we don’t live in a world where we hear “Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer co-star” at least once a year.

‘Good Boys’ (Aug. 16)

(from left) Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) in “Good Boys.”
(from left) Max (Jacob Tremblay), Thor (Brady Noon) and Lucas (Keith L. Williams) in “Good Boys.”

Co-produced by Seth Rogen, this sounds like a classic example of a “could go either way” summer release.

Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon and Keith L. Williams star as 12-year-old best buddies who get entangled in a “Superbad”-esque series of misadventures.

Yes, it’s an R-rated movie about a bunch of kids not nearly old enough to get into an R-rated movie. From the actual MPAA rating: “Strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material and language throughout — all involving tweens.”

Something tells me this is NOT going to be a favorite of conservative commentators.