Summer is here! Along with sequels and superheroes come funny stuff, spooky stuff, touching stuff, imaginative stuff and thoughtful stuff – in other words, a little something for everyone.
Spy (June 5)
Another graduate of the “Freaks & Geeks” school, director Paul Feig has scored with “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” and has generated more heat with his upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot. “Spy,” re-teaming him with star Melissa McCarthy, may be another huge hoot-fest. McCarthy plays a CIA desk jockey who gets a chance to work in the field. Jude Law and Jason Statham costar. Rated R.
Jurassic World (June 12)
The fourth movie in the “Jurassic Park” series just could be worth writing home about because it comes from director Colin Trevorrow, following his amazing, low-budget sci-fi “Safety Not Guaranteed.” It also stars the unstoppable Chris Pratt (“The Lego Movie,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and a handful of other terrific actors. With luck, it will be as inventive and funny as it is a blatant cash-in. Rated PG-13.
Inside Out (June 19)
Pixar’s “Inside Out” is a flat-out masterpiece, possibly the best thing the studio has yet made, and a contender for the year’s best film. It’s from Pete Docter, whose last outing was the brilliant “Up.” This one involves many colored orbs representing emotions in the growing brain of an 11-year-old girl. It’s set in a slightly fictitious San Francisco. Rated PG.
Terminator Genisys (July 3)
The “Terminator” series has seriously flagged since James Cameron left the controls, but this fifth entry shows promise, coming from director Alan Taylor, of “Game of Thrones” and “Thor: The Dark World.” It features “Game of Thrones’” Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons, the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, plus San Francisco locations. Not yet rated.
Ant-Man (July 17)
We’re still smarting from the departure of director Edgar Wright from this San Francisco-based movie, but hope Peyton Reed (“Bring It On”) will bring his own quirky touch to it. Truthfully, the most interesting superhero movies so far have been based on B-list comic heroes, and with Paul Rudd in the lead, “Ant-Man” could be a very good thing in a small package. Not yet rated.
Irrational Man (July 17)
Woody Allen has been on a roll lately with hits (“Midnight in Paris”) and Oscar-winners (“Blue Jasmine”), even though there have been misses in between. This more serious effort could go either way. Joaquin Phoenix plays a philosophy professor who considers doing something morally questionable. Emma Stone plays the student who becomes fascinated with him. Rated R.
Trainwreck (July 17)
One-man comedy factory Judd Apatow returns with his fifth film as director, and it’s possible it could be another of his touching combinations of outrageous humor with truly lovable characters. (If only he can keep those running times tighter.) Amy Schumer wrote the screenplay and stars as a woman who distrusts relationships, until she meets Bill Hader. Raed R.
Mr. Holmes (July 17)
Featured at the San Francisco International Film Festival, “Mr. Holmes” stars the wonderful Ian McKellen as the retired Sherlock Holmes. Something about his final case, which he has forgotten, has been bugging him lately. McKellen is reunited with director Bill Condon from the equally excellent “Gods and Monsters.” Laura Linney co-stars. Rated PG.
Pixels (July 24)
It’s not clear whether director Chris Columbus and star Adam Sandler will challenge each other in this special-effects driven comedy, but the initial idea — classic video games (Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, etc.) from outer space attack the Earth — has the potential for some decent laughs and nostalgia-fueled entertainment. Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, and Peter Dinklage co-star. Rated PG-13.
Southpaw (July 24)
Boxing has been the subject of some of the greatest films ever made… could “Southpaw” join them? Jake Gyllenhaal transforms for his role as a light-heavyweight boxing champ who faces hard times in his daily life. Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) directs, and promises to bring some of his gritty, street-smart style. Rachel McAdams co-stars. Not yet rated.
Ricki and the Flash (Aug. 7)
Jonathan Demme directs this family drama with Meryl Streep as an aging rocker and absent mother who comes back home when her daughter (Mamie Gummer, Streep’s actual daughter) is in trouble. Streep hasn’t had a decent role for a while; Demme and “Juno” Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody have the stuff to give her one. Not yet rated.
Straight Outta Compton (Aug. 14)
F. Gary Gray directs this biopic of the legendary, notorious rap group N.W.A., which took the world by storm in the late 1980s. Gray has cast a batch of amazing lookalikes as the young Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and MC Ren, and Paul Giamatti plays manager Jerry Heller. With luck, Gray will celebrate the incendiary energy of the music without entombing it. Rated R.
American Ultra (Aug. 21)
Along with “Dazed and Confused,” “Smiley Face” and “Pineapple Express,” “American Ultra” could be the next pot-smoker’s delight. Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) and his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) are content with their laid-back life, until it appears that government forces are coming after Mike. Not yet rated.
Regression (Aug. 28)
Chilean-Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar went off track recently, but this new movie looks a lot like his twisty, spooky mind-bending “Open Your Eyes” and “The Others.” Emma Watson stars as a troubled woman with a terrible past, and Ethan Hawke is a detective trying to help her. So far, the tease in the trailer looks enticing. Not yet rated.