The Alternate Ending crew’s feelings about June this year can maybe be summed up by point out that all three of us, in forming our most-anticipated films of the summer, had a majority of our picks come from this month – eight of the twelve total movies we discussed in that podcast. And after a rather light May, it’s none too soon.
It’s not on my list, but we’re all friends, so can I admit that I’m kind of actually a little bit excited for Adrift? I cannot quite say why – it’s not inherently likely to be any better than the dreadful 2003 Open Water, earliest among the current crop of “survival thrillers in a single location” genre. Still, I hold out hope that it will be more like a soap opera version of All Is Lost, which I know sounds stupid as hell, but for one thing: director Baltasar Kormákur has kind of been here before with the very good 2012 thriller The Deep, and if this taps into any of that film’s vibe, it could be one of the low-key best films of the season.
I doubt very much the same will be true of the other wide releases: Action Point, AKA “Jackass at a theme park”, and Upgrade, which looks like it could have kind of cool “we live in a world of tech” thriller vibe, right up until that moment you notice that it was written and directed by Leigh Whannell, AKA the half of the Saw guys that didn’t go on to prove he had bucketloads of talent.
I am not optimistic that A Kid Like Jake will come out in more than the 2 theaters it’s currently scheduled for, but it was on Carrie’s list, so here it is.
If June is, as a whole, our big winner as a team, 8 June is the single-biggest day: four of the films on our collective top 12 all open, either wide or limited. The biggest deal, no question about it, is Ocean’s 8, the spin-off of the 2000s trilogy about sexy people performing heists and being cool. The twist this time is that they’re all women, which means Cate Blanchett and seven other people, and does it matter? Cate Blanchett! Actually, it does matter, because some of the seven are Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and Mindy Kaling, and this absolutely has the best ensemble cast of the summer, all due apologies to Book Club. How very badly I wish Gary Ross was not directing it.
That was the only film to make all three of our lists. I was the only one to pick the Sundance horror breakout Hereditary, but it’s my most-anticipated film of the summer, and very high up on my most-wanted list for the rest of the year. It’s a smaller great cast than Ocean’s 8 can boast, but the sight of Toni Collette having a proper part and not just the latest in her frustrating run of “a clothes rack with a tape recorder could play this” roles is enough to do it for me. Not to mention the scale of the hype – it will of course be insufferable art-horror, but that’s my favorite type.
Moving over to limited release, and Carrie’s #1 pick for the summer, we have the have the very pleasant-looking, sure-to-make-everybody-cry Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, in which it is demonstrated that Mr. Fred Rogers was, in fact, the most decent man in the history of filmed media. Director Morgan Neville hasn’t actually made an actually good movie yet, but sometimes you need a good happy cry, and this looks like it will have that in spades. Carrie also has another pick of a movie that I doubt will get much play time outside of the holy walls of New York and Los Angeles: a father-daughter musical bonding movie, Hearts Beat Loud. A film that is, I want to point out, the first movie ever released by its distributor. But let us hold out hope, for Carrie’s sake.
One of the latest additions to the summer’s wide-release schedule to wrap things up: Hotel Artemis, which makes it 3-for-3 in films with a lead actress that I’d happily follow off a cliff into the sea. This time, it’s Jodie Foster, who is apparently playing Lance Reddick’s character in a barely-veiled John Wick copycat, if it never left the assassin hotel. I mean all of that as a compliment, by the way.
The remake of Superfly is primarily interesting to me as an excuse to finally watch the beloved 1972 original, but I guess it’s not like there are so many blaxploitation remakes out there that we need to complain about the tiny number that get released, even if nothing about it looks intrinsically good.
Oh my God, I hope Incredibles 2 isn’t as much of a do-over as it looks.
(P.S. I would be remiss not to point out that Incredibles 2 was Rob’s #1 pick).
Only one wide release, but it’s a big ‘un: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and fuck them forever for not calling it The Lost Park: Jurassic World. Anyway, my thoughts are that the first trailer made it look horrifically dull and samey, and the second trailer really did open up the possibility that we might be in so-bad-it’s-good, they-made-a-Syfy-Original-for-a-quarter-billion-dollars territory. Which is territory that I’m really quite happy to be in, by the standards of massive summer tentpoles.
In limited release, I’m less high about David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows successor, Under the Silver Lake than I was when I made my top picks back in April, but it still looks at least unusual, and very indie-movie in the right way that has been largely forgotten in the 21st Century. Also, Riley Keough’s stock is really high in my estimation right now.
It feels like The Hustle – a gender-swapped Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake – is actually coming out in just one month’s time, but let us consider that it shall, till they actually pull it from the schedule.
Much likelier to actually make their targets, we first half Uncle Drew, in which basketball plays in wildly unconvincing makeup play old men playing basketball. I am not too proud to admit that it looks ludicrous enough – and aware enough of how ludicrous it is, importantly – that it might be a fun way to waste a couple of hours. Then comes Sicario: Day of the Soldado, one of the most throughly random-ass sequels that I can recall having been made. What about Sicario was incomplete? What about it says that “the same, but with Emily Blunt removed” is a going to be interesting at all? I don’t have answers to these questions, but it is on Rob’s most-anticipated list, anyway, so take it up with him.