Summer Wonder

How to best escape the sizzling sun in Tucson's cool dark theaters

Spring 2017 has been a real bitch on the news front, with talk of North Koreans priming nukes, the New York Mets suffering a complete meltdown (Sorry, Arizonans—I'm a Mets fan) and, of course, the Trumpster flirting with impeachment and basically acting like a complete dipshit on a daily basis.

Yeah, the movie reviewer just got political. Come on, everybody, regardless of your political leanings, the guy is a ding-dong!

What better way to escape all that terrifying reality than a night at the movies? It's time for big bright colors, much laughter and, yes, things that blow up real good. Perhaps such imagery will push visions of Trump scowling and Kim Jong-un's maniacal smile from our brains long enough to have a good old-fashioned time at the picture show. Or, perhaps, the movies will suck and just give us further headaches. I'm going to hold out hope for the good old-fashioned time thing. I'm forever the optimist.

I say it every year, and I will say it again: The blockbuster season starts earlier every year. March was sort of an early summer blockbuster primer, with Logan and Kong: Skull Island brightening up a month that used to be vacant of the big stuff. The Fate of the Furious was released fairly early too, but let's all just forget about that one, shall we? We must block Theron/Diesel spit swapping from our heads if we are to go on as a nation without frequent vomiting.

Last year's blockbuster season was a bit of a bust. I still have occasional muscle spasms and fainting spells because of my Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice viewing. My physician says it's a permanent condition that will be brought on by further exposure to any of these phenomena: Henry Cavill as Superman, asbestos and President Donald J. Trump.

Here's a list of cinematic extravaganzas coming your way. It looks like it could be a lot of fun, with some decent brain fuel/indie offerings to boot.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (5/26): Johnny Depp is a whore! A filthy, shameless whore!

Baywatch (5/26): Dwayne Johnson is in something like 53 upcoming movies. This one, a cinematic R-rated reboot of the despicably horrible TV show, features the likes of Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach running around in bathing suits. I'm sure the producers (Johnson being one of them) are sweating balls over the recent, R-rated failings of CHIPs.

War Machine (5/26): Brad Pitt is the latest star to lend his talents to that ever-growing entertainment behemoth, Netflix. Adam Sandler, Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., and now the Pitt! Netflix is going to take over the world.

I think somebody from Netflix was watching over me the other day as I was buying grapes at the supermarket. He was standing in an aisle, screaming "Scarlett Johansson is next! All ye who watch TV shall bow down before me!" and he was wearing a big red and white Netflix t-shirt and baseball cap. Maybe that was just a homeless guy (he kind of smelled), or maybe it was the Big Brother Netflix Man, spying on me and proudly declaring his next conquest.

He proceeded to snatch my grapes and run away. It was probably a homeless guy.


Wonder Woman (6/2): Before we get another chapter of Zack Snyder DC Universe with Justice League (a prospect that has me planning to build a bomb shelter), Diana Prince (Gal Adopt) gets her own vehicle. It's directed by Patty Jenkins, who led Charlize Theron to Oscar glory with Monster 14 years ago. That's an interesting choice.

The Mummy (6/9): Tom Cruise does his screaming, running around thing for the latest Universal monster reboot. Cruise finds the title character, puts it on a plane ride with him, and basically brings Armageddon upon the Earth. I enjoy the sights and sounds of Cruise in a full sprint screaming his ass off. I like to pretend his fiercest Scientology critics are chasing him with forks and sticks.

It Comes at Night (6/9): Director Trey Edward Shults, who delivered the excellent Krisha last year (a film seen by no one), journeys into post-apocalyptic horror with the mighty reliable Joel Edgerton in his cast.

Cars 3 (6/16): Pixar has gone a little sequel heavy as of late, and the results are often less than stellar. Cars 2 was pretty bad. Heck, Cars wasn't all that great to begin with, but the ride at Disneyland is awesome and these movies will hopefully keep that ride relevant and hip. As a Disney junkie, this is very important to me. I'm actually going to Disneyland next week. Hooray!

All Eyez on Me (6/16): Demetrius Shipp Jr., a man with an uncanny resemblance to Tupac Shakur, stars in this biopic about the late rap star.

Rough Night (6/16) Scarlett Johansson goes for laughs in this raunchy bachelorette party comedy. The homeless guy who stole my grapes told me this is supposed to be pretty good.

47 Meters Down (6/16): This summer's shark movie, starring Mandy Moore trapped in a shark cage. Thank you, Sharknado franchise, for bringing back the shark movie, and giving the dude from Beverly Hills 90210 something to do.

The Book of Henry (6/16) Colin Trevorrow gives us a dramatic thriller starring Naomi Watts (Hooray!) before he runs off to make a little indie film called Star Wars: Episode IX.

Transformers: The Last Knight (6/23): Well, Michael Bay had claimed the prior Transformers chapter would be his last. He's made two decent films since then (Pain & Gain, 13 Hours), neither of which were a big success. So it's back to the transforming robot car doodads for a big paycheck and a whole lot of slow motion and 360 shots.

The Big Sick (6/23): Director Michael Showalter (one of my heroes) follows up the well-received Hello, My Name is Doris with this romantic comedy that is already getting extremely positive buzz (97 percent on the Tomatometer).

The Beguiled (6/23): Director Sofia Coppola tries to inject some sophistication into the summer with this Civil War period drama about a girl's boarding school. Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst star. Do you think the musically adventurous Coppola will use Radiohead in this period piece drama? I wouldn't put it past her.

Baby Driver (6/28): Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead) was supposed to direct Ant-Man When that fell through, he took on this project about a getaway driver. I still want Wright's Ant Man! Do-over please!

Despicable Me 3 (6/30): In a summer that looks to be surprisingly slight when it comes to animated movies, this third in the series brings back Steve Carell playing the repentant evil Gru and his twin brother. Please, anything to take the spotlight off the annoying Minions.

The House (6/30): Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler start an illegal casino in their basement to pay their daughter's college tuition. Ferrell comedy coming! Ferrell comedy coming!

Amityville: The Awakening (6/30): For the umpteenth time, this long shelved movie has a release date. I'm thinking they might want to keep this one on the shelf collecting webs. It looks like donkey spunk.


Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7): Tom Holland was marvelous opposite Naomi Watts in The Impossible, and he appears to be a good choice for Peter Parker (he's one heck of a gymnast) in this "reboot again" installment of Spidey. Michael Keaton plays the Vulture, a bad guy role originally slated for John Malkovich in Sam Raimi's abandoned Spider-Man 4 project. Hey, Marisa Tomei plays Aunt May. That's crazy stuff!

A Ghost Story (7/7): Casey Affleck, coming off his recent Oscar win, costars with Rooney Mara in what looks to be one of the summer's more daring, more experimental ventures. Affleck spends a lot of the film under a white ghost sheet, and it's not a comedy.

War for the Planet of the Apes (7/14): Woody Harrelson goes up against Caesar (Andy Serkis) in the battle of humans versus motion-capture CGI apes. This franchise started in 1968, the year of my birth. It featured Charlton Heston in a loincloth and humans dressed in prosthetic makeup that was considered state of the art at the time. Forty-nine years later, Charlton Heston is super dead, the apes are gigabytes, and coffee cost $4 a cup. Get off of my porch! (Bob reloads shotgun, takes a shot of Geritol, and resumes whittling).

Dunkirk (7/21): The latest from Christopher Nolan, a WWII epic, looks freaking amazing. A large portion of it was previewed at an IMAX screening I attended recently, and it's still the coolest thing I've seen on a screen this year. Early prediction: Major Oscar contender.

Also, it makes me think of Dunkin' Donuts every time I see the word Dunkirk. I love me some Dunkin'. Especially those glazed blueberry donuts. Who needs blueberry muffins when you have that glazed blueberry donut? Couple it with a large iced coffee with just a smidge of cream and sugar, and you are in franchise coffeehouse heaven. The kicker: That large iced coffee cost less than $3, a bargain by today's standards!

Anyway, this movie looks pretty cool.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (7/21): From the director who brought you The Fifth Element comes a movie that looks an awful lot like The Fifth Element!

Atomic Blonde (7/28): Charlize Theron's bid to be an action star looks to be a fun one, with David Leitch, the man picked to direct Deadpool 2, at the helm. Remember her awesome fight scene with Teri Hatcher in 2 Days in the Valley? This looks like a whole movie of Charlize kicking butt...THERON STYLE!

An Inconvenient Sequel (7/28): A scary sequel to Al Gore's documentary. Is anybody out there as weirded out as I am over Al Gore and Tipper Gore not being together anymore? I mean, that was a power couple for the ages, or so I thought. Remember that whole PMRC thing, when Al and Tipper tried to get ratings on music albums? Remember how condescending and douche-like they sounded during that whole fiasco? Remember when they had congressional hearings, and Frank Zappa made them both look like a couple of blooming idiots? Oh, and don't forget, the planet is dying.


The Dark Tower (8/4): This is my brother Mike's favorite Stephen King thing ever. He's been trying to get me to read it for years, but I refuse to for some reason. In return, Mike refuses to watch Breaking Bad all the way through even though I beg him to do so almost every time I speak with him. It seems we will never be able to share our views on these two entertainment entities. This leaves a dark, deep hole in my soul.

Detroit (8/4): This return of director Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) focuses on civil unrest and riots in Detroit during summer of '67.

Annabelle: Creation (8/11): This is a sequel about the possessed doll from The Conjuring that got its own spinoff/prequel in 2014.

Next up in the series: a prequel/spinoff/sequel featuring one of the evil sweaters the little girl wore in The Conjuring 2. It's a really evil sweater.

It's so evil that when you pull on one of its loose threads, it creates a hole—a virtual vortex of evil—in the middle of the sweater, and the garment becomes self-aware and finds a way to drain your bank account by purchasing home appliances at a shopping mall 2,000 miles away from your dwelling. Instead of possessing your soul, it possesses your financial identity. This requires a trip to the tailor, or basically just throwing the stupid evil, shamelessly spending sweater away. It's the stuff of wardrobe nightmares.

Unnecessary horror sequels chap my nads.

The Hitman's Bodyguard (8/18): Ryan Reynolds plays a bodyguard to Samuel L. Jackson's hitman, and the marketing team is having a whole lot of fun with the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston parallel.

Logan Lucky (8/18): This is director Steven Soderbergh's first feature film since announcing his retirement from movies after directing Behind the Candelabra in 2013. Happy as heck to have him back, with the likes of Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Hilary Swank in tow in this story about a NASCAR race heist.

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (8/18): Yes, we are all chomping at the bit for this animated sequel. Summer truly dies hard in August when it comes to quality of releases.


It (9/8): Yeah, it falls in September, but it's worth noting because it's still summer, and it sort of caps off the season for Stephen King.

Confession: I was never a huge fan of the Tim Curry/John Boy/Jack Tripper/goofy-looking-spider TV version of the novel. Actually, I wasn't a big fan of the novel, either. Actually, screw this movie. Actually, I shouldn't actually say that until I see the film. It's unprofessional! Actually, it's my article, and I can say whatever I want, so screw this movie. Actually, it does kind of look cool, so I am going to pull back that last comment and head towards it with a scent of optimism, and general fear of evil clowns.

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