The first-best reason to get vaccinated against COVID is a tie between “not dying” and “not causing other people to die.” The second-best reason is that you can then see a movie in a theater without fleeing in terror when the mouth-breathing wizard three rows back magically makes phlegm appear out of nowhere. With great antibodies comes greater entertainment options.
Yes, some of the films highlighted here will be streaming either simultaneously or shortly after their theatrical release. Who cares?! Did you hear the part about how you can now safely see a movie as God/Martin Scorsese intended? Local theaters need us to survive, HBO Max doesn’t. Here are the flicks I’m most excited to devour in an aspect ratio outside of “Zack Snyder’s creative vision.”
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (June 4)
Do you remember how it feels to see a spooky movie with strangers? Any one of them could secretly be a ghost or controlled by Satan, you can’t know! The third installment in the flagship horror franchise that has successfully launched at least one killer doll’s career is inspired by a real-life murderer who claimed he was demonically possessed, which is an excuse some politicians may deploy soon.
In the Heights (June 11)
I have truly loved exactly zero movie musicals based on Broadway hits. I remain dangerously, pathologically obsessed with Hamilton. Something’s gotta give! Trailers suggest this adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s debut show actually does manage to reproduce the magic created by the stage version. Still, I’ll (gladly) be the judge of that when giant speakers blast my ears with non-stop talk-singing.
Siberia (Limited release June 18)
Look, either you very badly want to see a movie from the guy who directed Bad Lieutenant in which Willem Dafoe dog-sleds to a cave and trips balls while contemplating life or you very much do not. There’s no middle ground here. Siberia has been described as both mystifying and “sometimes hilarious,” which sounds just perfect. I’ve watched a ton of arthouse movies at home this past year. I’m ready to watch one, you know, in an arthouse.
The Sparks Brothers (Limited release June 18)
The tricks that director Edgar Wright used to make the fake-cool Baby Driver seem tailor-made for a documentary about the pop-rock duo Sparks. Described on the poster as a film about “your favorite band’s favorite band,” The Sparks Brothers is likely to be a nonstop montage of slightly-less-well-known music played over hyper-edited visuals. You know, for a documentary, that sounds like it could be actual cool.
F9 (June 25)
Summer is about three things: increasing your odds of skin cancer, sweating in places you can’t sop up in public and watching Vin Diesel mouthbarf an attempt at the word “family.” The Fast and Furious series started as a simple dudebro love story about cars and cops and is now launching wrestlers into space. It’s called progress.
I Carry You With Me (Limited release June 25)
The narrative feature debut from director Heidi Ewing, who made her name with a documentary that got a Christian summer camp closed, tells the story of a real-life undocumented gay Mexican couple in New York City. This tender bit of Fox News kryptonite appears to be the kind of legitimately moving endeavor we are legally allowed a maximum of one (1) of every year.
Zola (June 30)
Looking equal parts Spring Breakers and Hustlers, Zola is based on a 148-tweet thread about a real-life pole-dancing road trip that got Florida-level insane. I never doubted that “a film based on a Twitter thread” would happen, I simply can’t believe how much I want to see it. At this point, it’s like A24 knows me better than I know myself…
Black Widow (July 9)
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but can it make the least interesting Avenger more appealing? Adding both Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz to the Marvelverse is a gift beyond that which we deserve. The word prequel phonetically has the word “reek” in the middle for a reason, but boy does cinematic comic book nonsense sound real, real good right now.
OLD (July 23)
Two options: M Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of a graphic novel about a mysterious island that rapidly ages people is somehow another twisty return to form or it is as truly embarrassing as the previews suggest. As someone who unabashedly defends Lost and considers The Happening to be one of the funniest movies ever made, I’m going to be happy no matter what.
The Green Knight (July 30)
A24’s other summer release is a reimagining of a classic tale about one of King Arthur’s knights from director David Lowery, whose Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is one of my favorite films of all time. I made fun of people who got Apple logos tattooed on their person, but I’m ready for an A24 tramp stamp at this rate. The trailer gave me a shiver up my spine and put a smile on my face. I’m shiver-smiling, y’all!
The Suicide Squad (August 6)
James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad has one more “the” and one less Jared Leto than 2016’s Suicide Squad. The former may be irrelevant, but the latter is definitely addition by subtraction. Sylvester Stallone is a talking shark. Idris Elba does murders. John Cena wears a bucket on his head. Nathan Fillion plays Arms-Fall-Off-Boy (for real). The villain is a kaiju starfish. I don’t know, I guess? Okay? Fine, let’s do it.
Cryptozoo (Limited release August 20)
Seeing creepy-weird hand-drawn animation on the big screen is like someone throwing wagyu beef in your mouth when you yawn: a surprisingly rare treat! The film is allegedly a condemnation of capitalism that follows zookeepers trying to capture a dream-eating creature and features the voices of Lake Bell and Michael Cera. Yeah, strap me in and throw that at my face. I’m not suggesting that Pixar better watch its back, only that the hopping lamp in their vanity card may soon be captured and put in a zoo.
Reminiscence (August 20)
Writer/director Lisa Joy is a showrunner for HBO’s sometimes brilliant (sometimes the-opposite-of-brilliant) naughty robot show, Westworld. Her partner on that program is Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher Nolan. Joy’s big-screen debut, Reminiscence, sounds a lot like Christopher Nolan’s Inception, only with people mucking with memories instead of dreams. Listen, if this means we basically get a Christopher Nolan sci-fi epic in which women are not plot devices that only talk about love or babies, we could be onto something here.
Candyman (August 27)
A direct sequel to the 1992 film, this version of Candyman comes from director Nia DaCosta by way of a script by Jordan Peele. If that doesn’t jangle your bones, you must not understand this film’s potential. A horror film about gentrification that prominently features a dude who kills people with a giant hook and does creepy bee stuff is enough to make August feel like Halloween.