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20 Movies To See This Summer

Updated on June 12, 2016

Summer movie season has arrived and will kick off with the newest movie starring the Marvel superheroes. This year will bring a variety of choices to an air-conditioned theater: superheroes, comedies, reboots, sequels and a new movie from Steven Spielberg. I have chosen 20 that you should look out for between now and Labor Day weekend.

Copyright: Marvel Studios
Copyright: Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War

The latest movie in Marvel's Cinematic Universe will this time pit Chris Evans' Steve Rodgers/Captain America against Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man in a fight over whether to allow the government to interfere with their operations that could lead to the end of the Avengers team. Also showing up for the first time is Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a new Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Summer will begin with a bang. Expect my review on Sunday. Now Playing.

Copyright: TriStar Pictures
Copyright: TriStar Pictures

Money Monster

Jodie Foster directs this thriller about a financial talk show host (George Clooney) who is taken hostage on the air during one of his shows by an angry viewer (Unbroken's Jack O'Connell) who lost everything after following the host's advice one time. As this goes on, the host's producer and director (Julia Roberts) monitors the action as it occurs on live television. The big stars involved on both sides of the camera make this one to see. 5/13.

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nice Guys

Shane Black directed Iron Man 3 but is associated with buddy comedies: he wrote Lethal Weapon and wrote/directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. In 1970s Los Angeles, a hired enforcer (Russell Crowe) and an unlucky private eye (Ryan Gosling) search for a missing girl and discover a much bigger conspiracy. The previews are great, highlighting great chemistry between the stars. Matt Bomer and Kim Basinger co-star. 5/20.

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
Copyright: 20th Century Fox

X-Men: Apocalypse

Director Bryan Singer returns for the latest movie in the long-running series based on the Marvel comic in which the First Class team (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence) face off against a new nemesis named Apocalypse (Oscar "Poe Dameron" Isaac). Also joining the cast are Olivia Munn, Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan. Expect a Deadpool cameo now. 5/27.

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Copyright: Universal Pictures

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Shaffer) make their first movie as a group with a parody of music documentaries like Katy Perry: Part of Me and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Separately, the trio has not found a lot of success in the movies, but the soundtrack should be funny. Fingers crossed this spoof delivers laughs. 6/3.

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Copyright: Universal Pictures

Warcraft

Movies based on video games have a history of turning out more duds than gems, but 2016 has two that could change that perception. The second is Assassin's Creed with Michael Fassbender, which will open at Christmas. This film is based on the multiplayer computer game World of Warcraft and is from one of the most promising directors today, Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code). Warcraft is about the war between humans and orcs over who owns the land after the orcs are forced to flee their home. Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper star. Jones and Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond) wrote the script. After doing great things for the science fiction genre, there is every reason to believe that Jones can bring his creativity to fantasy. 6/10.

Copyright: Disney
Copyright: Disney

Finding Dory

The sequel to one of Pixar's most beloved movies in which the blue tang with short-term memory loss (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) finds her family. Expect moviegoers of all ages to keep cash registers ringing throughout the summer. 6/17.

Copyright: STX Entertainment
Copyright: STX Entertainment

Free State of Jones

Since winning his Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey's has stumbled a bit: Christopher Nolan's Interstellar did not quite live up to the expectations of being a new sci-fi classic, and Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees was booed at Cannes. But this story of Newton Knight's retaliation against the Confederacy could get him back on track. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Brendan Gleeson co-star. Gary Ross (the first Hunger Games) directs. 6/24.

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
Copyright: 20th Century Fox

Independence Day: Resurgence

Director Roland Emmerich returns with the sequel to his 1996 hit. Will Smith doesn't return, but Jeff Goldman and Bill Pullman do. New characters include Liam Hemsworth and Sela Ward. The humans are sure to cause us to look at our watches, but we are here for aliens destroying the earth again. 6/24.

Copyright: Disney
Copyright: Disney

The BFG

The adaptation of the Roald Dahl (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) book is directed by none other than Steven Spielberg, making his first Disney movie. The giant is played by Mark Rylance, this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner for Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. Could this be the next ET? 7/1.

Copyright: Columbia Pictures
Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Ghostbusters

Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) teams up with Melissa McCarthy again for the female reboot of the classic 80s movie that co-stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Feig spun comedy gold with his previous collaborations with McCarthy, making this his most exciting (and following the internet backlash, most controversial) project to date. The stars of the original movies have cameos. 7/15.

Copyright: Amazon Studios
Copyright: Amazon Studios

Café Society

Woody Allen cranks out a movie annually, and his newest is a comedy set in the 1930s about a New Yorker (Jesse Eisenberg) who moves to Hollywood. Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Steve Carell co-star. Woody's track record this decade is mixed: Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine were two of his best, but Magic in the Moonlight and Irrational Man were two of his worst. Could this be a return to form? 7/29.

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Star Trek Beyond

J.J. Abrams is not back as the director since he went off to a different galaxy far, far away but in his place for this third movie in the series is Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 3-6). Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and the rest of the S.S. Enterprise are pitted against a new enemy (Idris Elba) while stranded on a planet after their ship is destroyed. Be on the lookout for the new rebooted TV series coming in 2017. 7/22.

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Copyright: Universal Pictures

Jason Bourne

Little is known about the premise other than that Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are back after sitting out on The Bourne Legacy (Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross is gone). But the return of the star and director have made this one of the summer's most buzzed about movies. Joining the cast are recent Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones. 7/29.

Copyright: The Weinstein Company
Copyright: The Weinstein Company

The Founder

Michael Keaton continues his comeback that began with Birdman and Spotlight in this biopic about Ray Croc, the man who would turn McDonald's into a global fast food giant. Anything Keaton is in is worth watching now. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) directs. 8/5.

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad has come along to turn around the DC movie universe left in shambles after Batman v Superman. The government recruits a group of supervillains to stop The Joker (Jared Leto). The cast is great, which includes Will Smith, Viola Davis and Jai Courtney. But receiving the most chatter are Leto and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, who already became a Halloween costume. David Ayer (Fury) writes and directs. 8/5.

Copyright: Disney
Copyright: Disney

Pete's Dragon

Disney is all about remakes these days, and for the non-musical update of their 1977 live-action and animation musical hybrid about a boy and his dragon, they have enlisted an unusual choice of a director with David Lowery (Ain't Them Body Saints). Pete's Dragon looks distinctive compared to Disney's recent string of visual effects-driven live-action updates of their cartoon classics. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford star. 8/12.

Copyright: Columbia Pictures
Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Sausage Party

A rough cut of this R-rated cartoon parody of Pixar's movies from Seth Rogen premiered to rave reviews at the South by Southwest film festival. Rogen leads a star-packed voice cast as a sausage who goes on a mission to save his food friends from becoming lunch. The uproarious R-rated trailer promises a surreal experience that you will want to leave the kids at home for. 8/12.

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures

War Dogs

Todd Philips leaves the Hangover franchise behind for a comic thriller inspired by a true story. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are arms dealers who make a $300 million dollar deal to set up American forces in Afghanistan. As long as it isn't as bad as the Hangover sequels were, we're all good. 8/19.

Copyright: Touchstone Pitcures
Copyright: Touchstone Pitcures

The Light Between Oceans

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander play a lighthouse keeper and his wife whose lives change forever when a baby girl washes ashore in a lifeboat near their Australian home and raise her as their daughter. The latest movie from Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines), which was enough to get it on this list. 9/2.

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Copyright: Universal Pictures

Also look out for

Movies that almost made the cut include: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (5/20), in which Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne face a new next door opponent, a sorority led by Chloë Grace Moretz, and call upon their previous nemesis Zac Efron to take them down; The Angry Birds Movie (5/20); The Legend of Tarzan (7/1) with Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie; Blake Lively vs. a shark in The Shallows (6/29); magician sequel Now You See Me 2 (6/10); and much more.

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