Coming to the big screen this summer
By Reed Ripley
May 29 – Top Gun: Maverick
It’s finally here. After three years of pandemic delays, the highly anticipated sequel to Tony Scott’s 1986 classic is coming out this weekend, fittingly over Memorial Day. Cruise is back as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, and this time he’s an instructor at TOPGUN, the Navy’s grueling fighter pilot program. They held out this long for a theater release for a reason, and if the buzz on early screenings is any indication, they were right to do so. Fighter jets, beach football, cocky young pilots, and of course, call signs galore. Go see this on the biggest screen you can find.
June 17 – Lightyear
Do we really need an origin story for Buzz Lightyear, the Toy Story franchise’s iconic toy astronaut? Disney and Pixar certainly think so, and we’re going to get an answer for ourselves this summer. Skepticism is understandable, but Pixar’s given few reasons for doubt. It looks to be a fun space romp with plenty of humor and a big, warm heart, and the animation looks fittingly Pixarian in its design and execution. It’s the first Pixar movie to come out theatrically since 2020’s Onward, which is crazy given how Pixar’s come to define the summer animated movie blockbuster, but it looks like a return to form.
June 24 – Elvis
Another highly anticipated, but pandemic-delayed, film, Elvis is a seemingly straightforward biopic starring Austin Butler as the titular King, all the way from his burst on the scene through his untimely demise. It’s all there: the coifed hair, the gyrating hips, the thick southern drawl, the sequin-encrusted jumpsuits. Also there? Tom Hanks playing Elvis’ infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and with an … interesting accent. Luhrmann, who hasn’t directed a feature film since 2013’s The Great Gatsby, is an interesting choice to direct, but all his films have a certain flair (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge), so perhaps it’s a perfect match. This could be great, or it could be a brilliant disaster, but either way, it’ll probably entertain.
July 8 – Thor: Love and Thunder
Aside from arguably Shang-Chi and the Sony-produced Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel’s had a relatively rough go since its spectacular conclusion to the Infinity Saga. Sure, they’re still making many hundreds of millions each release, but they haven’t seen this lengthy and muted a period of critical and fan response since very early on in the MCU. Enter Love and Thunder, which has all the makings of a perfect antidote (at least for now). It’s an 80’s rock inspired, superhero ballad, featuring Christian Bale as a villainous character named Gorr the God Butcher. If it’s anywhere near Waititi’s first Thor attempt, it’ll be an absolute blast.
July 22 – Nope
The studio has released precious little about Peele’s third feature (following Get Out and Us), but that’s par for the course – the less you know about one of his movies, the better. The only thing we really have is the teaser trailer, which does as good a job as any trailer has ever done to instill an immediate and weighty sense of dread. There’s a small ranch town, and something sinister just out of sight haunts town’s residents, animal and human alike – that’s it, and that’s all that’s needed. Peele has one of the most unique creative perspectives out there, and Nope’s chances to deliver a smart, thrilling, and probably disturbing bit of social commentary are sky high.
August 5 – Bullet Train
Here’s the premise: Pitt’s character is a retired assassin who gets pulled into one last job to recover a briefcase on a bullet train. Only he quickly finds out he’s not the only assassin on the train, and they’re all after the briefcase. Also, Pitt rocks a bucket hat. Essentially, it looks like John Wick, but with Pitt’s character from Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood as the central assassin. If you need any further convincing, run to your nearest device, and queue up the trailer. You won’t regret it.
You can find more review from local movie critic Reed Ripley at Ripleysreviews.com