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Summer movie guide 2016: All the big movies you need to watch

by Brandon Russell | April 30, 2016April 30, 2016 10:00 am PST

The beginning of every year is typically considered a lull period where movies of no significance are released. Filler films that serve no purpose other than to provide a brief distraction. This year, however, was completely different, with Hollywood providing us with movies such as Zootopia, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Deadpool, The Jungle Book and, dare I say, Batman v Superman.

With the summer months fast approaching, it’s finally time to indulge in the type of movies we’d put on a list of “guilty pleasures.” I don’t think anyone is really asking for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, but it perfectly encapsulates what summer movies are all about: insane dumb fun. These are the movies that make going to the theater such an experience.

Last year, Hollywood gave us Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, and Jurassic World. That’s a pretty strong list of brainless popcorn fun. Can this year’s lineup top that?

Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

What better way to kick off the summer blockbuster season than with an epic showdown between Marvel’s biggest heroes? Don’t call it Avengers 2.5. Instead of aliens and human-hating robots, Civil War focuses on the tensions that have been building over Phase One and Phase Two. It’s Cap vs Iron Man. Which side will come out on top?

The Angry Birds Movie (May 20)

The smash-hit mobile game is becoming a movie. Why? Its cultural relevance seems to have faded, leaving the movie interpretation in a precarious position. But curiosity is getting the better of us, and I won’t lie that the trailers haven’t made me laugh. Pair that with a stellar voice cast, and The Angry Birds Movie could wind up being a surprise hit, just as the mobile game was years ago.

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)

The final movie in Bryan Singer’s X-Men trilogy. This time, the mutants will face off against their greatest foe yet, taking on an ancient being and his Four Horsemen. The last two X-Men movies were great, and it looks like Singer is closing the trilogy up in epic fashion. Lots of mutants and high stakes. Sounds good to me.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3)

Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael are back for another New York adventure. This time, the crew is “out of the shadows” and in plain view of the public, fighting to save the city because it’s their home and darnit they’re going to protect it. Bebop, Rocksteady and even Krang will feature this time around, making Out of the Shadows TMNT’s version of an Avengers movie.

The Conjuring 2 (June 10)

Directed by James Wan, The Conjuring 2 will once again follow real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Wilson. This time, the two find themselves in London, where everything is scarier (it’s science). Just watching the trailers creeps me out.

Now You See Me 2 (June 10)

I wouldn’t consider the first movie to be “good,” but I also wouldn’t call it “bad.” Rather, it falls somewhere in between in a kind of movie purgatory, where bad is good and good is good. In Now You See Me 2, the same crew is back (minus Isla Fisher; replaced by Lizzy Caplan) performing their same heisty magic. Oh, and Daniel Radcliffe is in it, sans magic wand. Do you see the irony?

Warcraft (June 10)

Based on Blizzard’s beloved MMORPG, Warcraft will focus on humans and orcs as they struggle to protect their respective races. Can’t we all just get along? That seems to be the message behind Warcraft, which is being directed by Duncan Jones. We’ll find out this summer.

Finding Dory (June 17)

The third Pixar movie in just over 12 months. How did we become so lucky? In Finding Dory, the forgetful regal blue tang embarks on an adventure to find her family, meeting plenty of wacky characters in the process. The Good Dinosaur saw Pixar take a slight misstep, but Finding Dory looks like a return to form. Can the charm of Dory work twice?

Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)

An Independence Day sequel without Will Smith? At least Jeff Goldblum is back as the quirky hacker scientist guy. In Resurgence, the aliens are back to wreck all of humanity’s popular landmarks, because aliens are jerks. Honestly, Resurgence looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun—a lot more fun than it has any right to be. If this does well, and it will, you can expect many other Independence Day movies to come.

The BFG (July 1)

A big friendly giant kidnaps a little girl and whisks her away to Giant Country. That sounds like a horror movie, but it’s not. The movie is based on a book by Roald Dahl, with Steven Spielberg taking over directing duties. The trailers haven’t shown all that much so far, but what they have shown looks to be a great interpretation of Dahl’s classic.

The Secret Life of Pets (July 8)

You didn’t think your pets just sat around and stared at the wall all day, did you? Not according to The Secret Life of Pets, which shows audiences what sneaky pets do when their owners are away—and what kind of secret lives they live. The idea is simple but there’s plenty of material to play with. Combine that with a pretty stellar voice cast and you have what could be one of this year’s top animated features.

Ghostbusters (July 15)

A reboot of the 80s classic featuring an all-new cast, Ghostbusters is in a tough position. Not only does it need to keep the original movie’s spirit intact, but it needs to find an audience among a generation that has no idea what Ghostbusters is. Considering the talent involved, I’d say the film will have no problem finding its place among the other two.

Lights Out (July 22)

Have you seen the trailer? Once you watch it you’ll understand why it’s included on the list. Nobody likes the dark, which makes the premise for Lights Out so terrifying. Hopefully the trailer hasn’t revealed all the cool parts. Between this and The Conjuring 2, this summer is going to be great for fans of horror.

Star Trek Beyond (July 22)

Let’s just say that people were less than pleased by the first trailer. Since then, we haven’t seen or heard much, causing us to think the studio had to rethink its strategy for this one. Be that as it may, the same cast is back to go where no man has gone before.

Jason Bourne (July 29)

Jason Bourne is back and he remembers a lot of things. If only he could remember if he left the garage door open. In his latest adventure, Matt Damon returns to the titular role, with new friends and enemies along for the ride. The first trailer was great, showing that the franchise is most certainly back to form. It’s as if Damon never even left the role.

Suicide Squad (Aug. 5)

A bunch of bad guys team up to take on other bad guy(s). Compared to Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad looks like it’ll have a lighter tone despite its source material. The trailers we’ve seen have shown a terrific balance of action and humor, so things are looking up for the cinematic universe Warner Bros. is attempting to build. All eyes will be on the movie when it hits in August, particularly to see how Jared Leto does as Joker.

Pete’s Dragon (Aug. 12)

A remake of the 1977 film of the same name, Pete’s Dragon will follow a young boy and his giant green dragon named Elliott. With modern technology and a veteran cast, Pete’s Dragon looks like it could become a great addition to Disney’s growing stable of live-action remakes. We haven’t seen all that much of the film just yet though we have been given a pretty good look at Elliott, the movie’s invisible monster.

Sausage Party (Aug. 12)

Not all animated movies are about cutesy animals and feel-good adventures. In Sausage Party, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg inject their patented vulgar humor into the world of food. The trailer we’ve seen is great and stands in stark contrast to Pixar’s Finding Dory, which is the farthest thing you can get from an R rating.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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