Here Are the Summer Movies Worth Getting Excited About

Amy Schumer's first starring film role, a movie shot entirely on iPhones, and the blockbusters worth seeing this summer.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, hitting theaters TK.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, hitting theaters June 12th.

Sure, technically the 2015 Summer Blockbuster season started May 1st, but we figured we’d wait for the dust to clear somewhat before choosing the films being released over the next three months we’re actually interested to see. As always, there’s an enormous amount of glop to wade through, but if you can make your way through the swampland of crappy action movies, burnt buddy pictures, and relentlessly puerile comedies, there could be some real glories standing there on the slightly higher ground.


Love & Mercy: I have certainly used my bully pulpit in the past to decry bio-pics and the ways in which they tend to overly simplify and lionize their subjects, but Bill Pohlad’s film about Brian Wilson is an entirely different sort of fish. Starring Paul Dano as Pet Sounds-era Wilson, and John Cusack as mid-‘80s manic Wilson, the film works on a great number of levels, all of which offer insight into this singular musical wunderkind. (June 5)

Jurassic World: It’s not so much that we have a huge amount of faith in Colin Trevorrow, it’s that from Spielberg’s original through the sequels, the series has always left so much on the table, it just feels like we’re due for something pretty exciting out of the concept. (June 12)

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl: It initially tore it up at early Sundance screenings, but by the time I caught it a couple of days later in the festival, the backlash had already begun. A high-school comedy with plenty of winning cinephile jokes that morphs into a full-on weeper at the end. It is polarizing but definitely worth checking out. (June 12)

Inside Out: Pixar’s considerable star has sunken over recent years, but this film’s more-than-warm reception at Cannes suggests this could be a major part of their comeback. (June 19)

Dope: Rick Famuyiwa’s comedy about a trio of misfits in Inglewood certainly has its moments, but its misogyny is a bit difficult to swallow. Still, along with Earl, it could be a summer sleeper hit. (June 19)

The Overnight: An adult, ribald comedy about a pair of unsuspecting young parents (Parks and Recreations‘ Adam Scott and Orange is the New Black‘s Taylor Schilling), new to L.A., who spend a memorable night at the mansion of a very unorthodox couple (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godréche), where things go horribly, terribly—often hilariously—wrong. (June 19)


Magic Mike XXL: The secret ingredient that made the original film so slyly winning—director Steven Soderbergh, who retired from cinema—is gone, as is Matthew McConaughey, for that matter. But there will still be a whole bunch of Channing Tatum, which should be sufficient for his legion of ardent fans. (July 3)

Self/Less: We know next to nothing about this sci-fi thriller involving an elderly rich man who gets to switch bodies with a younger man, other than the fact that it’s directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh, so count us well on board. (July 10)

Tangerine: Yet another big-buzz effort to come out of Sundance, Sean Baker’s ultra-low-budget film (shot entirely on iPhones!) concerns a prostitute, newly released from prison on Christmas Eve, trying to track down the pimp who broke her heart. (July 10)

Trainwreck: The latest Judd Apatow comedy is, thankfully, not actually written by the director, whose more recent films turned more inward and bitter. Instead, the screenplay comes from its star, Amy Schumer, now one of the it-women of modern comedy. We were interested even before Bill Hader was mentioned, so that seals it. (July 17)

The Look of Silence: Joshua Oppenheimer’s essential follow-up to the Oscar-nommed doc The Act of Killing, finds the director returned to Indonesia to speak with more of the guards and administrators of the country’s bloody ‘60s military uprising, only this time, the person leading the interviews is one of the victim’s younger brothers: A brilliant—and extremely necessary—film for our age. (July 17)


Fantastic Four: Yes, there have been rumors of a pretty messy and emotionally draining shoot, and there have been numerous articles that suggest Josh Trank, the upcoming young director, might well have been in over his head, but the trailer was certainly compelling enough, and you may recall hearing a lot of naysayers before last year’s The Guardians of the Galaxy came out, and we all saw how that one turned out. (Aug. 7)

Ricki and the Flash: A wince-inducing title, to be sure, but it does feature Meryl Streep as an aging rock star (who covers Springsteen!), who finally returns home to settle things with her estranged family. The film is directed by Jonathan Demme, so it has some possibility to it. (Aug. 7)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Guy Richie helms this remake, which features a strong cast—including Harry Cavill, Hugh Grant, and Ex Machina’s Alicia Vikander—and some decent early buzz. The man can stage an action scene, is all we’re saying. (Aug. 14)

Straight Outta Compton: This has almost every chance to be cataclysmically bad—anyone remember the Biggie biopic?—but a drama based on the early pioneers of unapologetically furious hip-hop is simply too rich to ignore. (Aug. 14)

Grandma: Featuring the very-welcome return of the criminally underused Lily Tomlin. That is all. (Aug. 21)