Entertainment

NCB Summer Blockbuster Preview

Summer blockbuster season is like the Christmas season. Every year, it seems to start a little earlier, and nobody can exactly agree when it ends. May is definitely Blockbuster season, but is April? March? September? It’s a gray area. Here we have assembled a guide to the biggest blockbusters of this season – mid-May to mid-September. NCB’s Andrew Rainaldi, Dan Soden, Robby Cowles, and Drew Wendt are here to weigh in on this summer’s biggest movies.

1) Deadpool 2 May 18th
RC: The first Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book and comedy movies of all time so of course I’m going to be first in line for this new one. It does, however, face some challenges. Namely, sequels are rarely as good as the originals and that’s doubly true for comedies. Of course, it’s not strictly a “comedy” movie, but I’m hoping there’s still some fresh jokes in the merc’s mouth.

AR: This movie has gone through a lot in order to reach theaters – not only did a stunt double died on-set, but actor TJ Miller was accused of sexual assault and was subsequently was arrested for calling in a fake bomb threat. Despite all this, the movie is scheduled to come out on time. The first Deadpool was a tremendous success, and this looks like it will be just as funny and as successful.

DS: I’d say Deadpool falls somewhere in my top 3 on the excitement scale for this Summer’s blockbusters. We know that traditionally the sequel never lives up to the original so I’m not going to be upset when it isn’t as great as the first.

While it seems the world is excited for Cable, which I am as well, I think I’m more excited to see how amazing Zazie Beetz is as Domino. This one is a must see for me.

2) Solo: A Star Wars Story May 25th

AR: I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I think a Han Solo movie has a lot of potential, but I’m worried about this one. Changing directors in the middle of production isn’t a great sign for a movie. (Neither is waiting until February to release a first trailer for a movie that comes out in May – compare this with The Force Awakens, which give us the first trailer more than a year in advance.) Everyone expected this movie to be delayed until December, and maybe more time would have helped it – or perhaps not. Still, I think the cast is great, and while not every Star Wars movie is perfect, they’re all a good time.

RC: Like Andrew, I am a Star Wars geek so I’ll probably see this twice, maybe three times in theatres unless it’s straight AWFUL. This Star Wars has had the most behind-the-scenes drama with director firings and acting coaches on set. The trailers have been comforting (although Phantom Menace had awesome trailers) and I’m cautiously optimistic. As long as there’s plenty of Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Chewbacca, this should be awesome.

DW: Despite all the behind-the-scenes drama, I still have faith that Solo will at the very least be a good time. The action looks thrilling, the cast is full of compelling actors (Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke), and Donald Glover as Young Lando is almost too perfect. Of course, the wild card is Alden Ehrenreich as Han. I don’t envy anyone that has to take on an iconic Harrison Ford role. Sure, the trailer isn’t too promising for Ehrenreich, but let’s give the man a chance on May 25th.

DS: This is going to be prequel level bad, with Donald Glover being the only shining spot in the entire mess. How they were able to ruin such an easy movie is beyond me, but hats off to whoever casted Alden Ehrenreich. I have MoviePass so I’ll still be seeing it.

3) Future World May 25th
RC: I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of this movie until I watched the trailer for this piece. But I’m in! James Franco as a wacky villain in a Mad Max-style apocalyptic movie? Hell yeah. Lucy Liu is in it? Double hell yeah. (Maybe think of a better title before release.)

AR: I’m glad to see Hollywood coming to terms with – and utilizing – how creepy James Franco can be. This movie seems rather reminiscent of Mad Max Fury Road and Ex Machina, but still manages to seem unique.It’s got so many variables that make it difficult to tell whether or not this will actually be a good movie, but honestly, I’m optimistic.

DS: Resident Evil 20 looks pretty damn interesting….but this is going to be a hard pass from me. Which is hard because I do love a good Snoop & Method Man cameo.

4) Ocean’s 8 June 8th


RC: There is a very (VERY) good chance this is the best movie of the summer. The Ocean’s movies, as flawed as they are, are great summer popcorn flicks that drip style and are super fun. The cast is, of course phenomenal, and I’m going to bet Anne Hathaway steals the show playing a ditzy, superficial cartoon of herself in a hilarious way. I stand for Anne.

AR: All-women reboots of classic films can be highly-divisive, or they can be exactly what we need. If you try to do something like Ghostbusters or Lord of the Flies, everyone’s going to take issue with it. But if you reboot something like the Oceans series? Jackpot!
But seriously, this movie looks amazing. Ensemble heists are always a blast, and this one in particular looks great. Everyone seems like they’ll be at the top of their game, even Rihanna, who has relatively few acting credits to her name. Sandra Bullock – an actress so hot-and-cold she won a Razzie and an Oscar in the same year – looks like she’s at the top of her game here.

DW: Let me just stand up and applaud the casting director of Ocean’s 8. Cate Blanchett as the Brad Pitt character? Anne Hathaway as the rich and conceited target? Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rihanna are all in the crew? Yeah, go ahead and count me in. The premise of the Oceans’ movies is so simple, yet so effective, providing you can get a bunch of movie stars to do it. This very well could end up my favorite movie of the summer.

DS: When I first heard about this movie I was less than thrilled, figured it was just going to be another flip the role money grab like Ghostbusters. Well I was clearly wrong, from the trailers and sneak peaks alone this might even out do it predecessor. The cast is amazing, the writer Olivia Milch has impressed me and it’s a freaking heist movie so naturally I’m all in.

5) Incredibles 2 June 15th


RC: Is it purposeful planning on the part of Pixar to wait decades to release sequels to their widely-popular titles so that they can get young kids and new adults who grew up on the originals? If it is, damn, that’s genius long-term planning. It also works. One adult ticket, please.

AR: I’m hardly the only one to say this, but about damn time! The first movie is nothing short of a classic. Reviving old franchises doesn’t always work, but this is long overdue. Not to mention, there’s been a billion superhero movies since the original, so it will be interesting to see what a movie that is neither an adaptation of a DC or Marvel character brings to the current dominant genre among blockbusters.

DW: This is an easy win for Pixar. Who wouldn’t want another Incredibles after seeing the first? It made over $260 million at the domestic box office and was nominated for four Oscars, winning two. It’s amazing it took this long considering it’s still the seventh-highest grossing Pixar film, ahead of Monsters, Inc., two Toy Storys, and all three Cars movies. Brad Bird is back writing and directing the sequel, so it feels like it’s in good hands for round two.

DS: Raise your hand if you’ve never seen the 1st one….oh it’s just me, okay then. I’ve been told since 2004 to see the first one. Maybe this will push me to actually doing it.

6) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom June 22nd

AR: The first Jurassic World, for me at least, is one of those movies like Avatar. Sure, it set a box office record, but it definitely didn’t leave any real lasting impression. Having a second one just feels like an obligation. I’m sure this movie will be fine, but I’m not sure it’ll be anything great. That being said, Jeff Goldblum is coming back to one of the franchises that made him a household name. Sometimes, that really works – like Harrison Ford in Star Wars: The Force Awakens – and sometimes it doesn’t – like Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So let’s see.

RC: Look, it’s a movie about dinosaurs. I don’t really care about plot holes or character development, if it looks cool and has some gnarly raptors running around I’ll give it a thumbs up.

7) Sicario: Day of the Soldado June 29th
RC: Always here for Benicio Del Toro. However, if there’s any movie that absolutely did not need a sequel it was Sicario. Plus, no returning Emily Blunt or Denis Villanueve? Yikes. Taylor Sheridan returning to write it is what’s giving me hope this isn’t a mess.

AR: Sicario will probably be remembered as one of the best action thrillers of this decade. You’re bound to wonder if it was something so excellent that giving it a sequel will ruin the original’s legacy. It’s tough to say. This movie definitely seems to be going for a bigger scope, which makes me feel like it will probably get carried away with excessive action set pieces.

DW: A Sicario sequel did not need to happen. That movie is just about perfect; it’s tight, tense, and hits like a military truck through a front door. So running it back without director Denis Villeneuve and star Emily Blunt feels unnecessary and gratuitous. Also, what’s going on with that Spanglish mess of a title?

With that said, this could be terrible but I’ll probably be buying a ticket in June. Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Wind River) hasn’t written a bad movie yet and something about this trailer is drawing me back to the land of wolves.

8) The First Purge July 4th
RC: I have never seen any installments of the apparently unstoppable franchise that is The Purge. What is this now, seven films in seven years? It’s been fun to watch the franchise and its tone evolve based on seeing trailers for it in theaters before I see other movies. This is the politics one, I guess, where they finally dive into the obvious consequence that legalizing crime is a convenient way of wiping out the poor and minorities. The Purge series, welcome to #TheResistance.

AR: I have the feeling that this movie is going to turn out better than it has any right to be. “The first purge” sounds like such a scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel kind of idea, it shouldn’t be good, but when they combine such a premise with timely political commentary, this idea has more and more potential.

DS: I’ve been at odds with Blumhouse after they made me believe that Truth or Dare was going to be good. I know I’m really to blame for that one. However this really looks like another great installment in the Purge franchise. Which has quietly stepped into the role Saw once controlled.

9) Ant-Man and the Wasp July 6th

AR: I’m not necessarily opposed to this movie, but I think putting it as the first thing after Avengers: Infinity War might be a mistake. Infinity War was a huge event in a wide, sprawling series of movies, and for the immediate follow-up to it to be Ant-Man and the Wasp feels like it’ll be a step down. There better be a lot of Michael Peña.

RC: I think I liked the first Ant-Man movie more than most. Paul Rudd is good, folks. Having it be the immediate follow-up to Infinity War seems like a mistake. It’s like when you’re watching Game of Thrones on HBO and its immediately followed by Ballers.

DS: Every Monday Night after WWE RAW they used to play one of their meh TV shows, shows like Royal Pains, White Collar or Burn Notice. I know they use to do it because of the ratings lead in, but I took it as a chance to decompress after watching 2-3 hours of wrestling. Putting Ant-Man and The Wasp out after Infinity War is a chance for us to collectively decompress from that emotional roller coaster ride. It’s going to be fun, light and campy and that’s a good thing because we need some laughter right now.

10) Skyscraper July 13th
RC: I’m an American, damn it. Which means I will drive my to the movie theatre, buy a ticket, take a seat and dutifully watch our greatest treasure, Dwayne Johnson. That’s in the constitution. Very excited to see how The Rock will drop The People’s Elbow on a building.

AR: I usually prefer action movies that have a little bit of personality – that’s why I prefer franchises like Mission Impossible and James Bond over Jason Bourne. Setting this movie in a skyscraper and having a one-legged veteran as the action hero makes it just a little bit more interesting. I’m definitely intrigued to see how they use the setting to create some interesting action setpieces. This doesn’t look like it’ll be amazing, but it definitely looks like a good time.

DS: The Rock jumps from a crane to a skyscraper with a prosthetic ‘freaking’ leg and you think I’m not hyped out of my mind to see this movie. It’s like someone took Die Hard and was like “Yo, what can we do to take this concept but make it completely unimaginable?” and his writing partner was like “How bout we give the most unnecessary jacked human being in the world a prosthetic leg and have him jump from a crane into a burning skyscraper to save the girl from Party of Five.”

This is going to be the greatest movie of the summer not matter what Andrew Rainaldi thinks.

11) The Equalizer 2 July 20th
RC: The Equalizer seemed to get overshadowed at the time of its release because it came out at about the same time as John Wick. It wasn’t as good as John Wick but still a solid action movie with Denzel Washington. Based on the trailer, they’re doubling down on the violence and adding Oberyn Martell to the mix. Smart strategy.

AR: I really wish I had more to say about this movie. It looks good? Denzel is a real action talent, and I like Pedro Pascal. This will probably do well financially, and maybe succeed critically, but I don’t expect anything else from it.

DS: Earlier I said that sequels very rarely live up to the original movie, this looks like the exception. They upped the violence in this one, which is always a plus in assassin revenge movies. The soundtrack sounds great and the supporting cast is still just as good as the first one. I’m excited to see this one, almost as excited as I am to see Skyscraper.

12) Mission Impossible: Fallout July 27th
RC: It doesn’t get more summer blockbuster than Tom Cruise in a new Mission Impossible. But, I don’t know, man. I feel like we’ve taken this film franchise as far as it’s going to go. Cruise, my guy, my wingman, Maverick, you don’t need to keep doing these insane stunts to get us to see these movies. You can do other stuff, man.

AR: As Robby said above, Tom Cruise’s love of doing his own stunts brings a certain level of spectacle to this series. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation had some truly amazing action sequences. I never feel an overwhelming urge to see these movies, but I’m always glad I did.

DW: In the trailer, when Ving Rhames says, “Oh you know, same ol’ Ethan,” he might as well be referring to the same ol’ Tom Cruise, because the last 30 seconds of this trailer are shots of Cruise dangling beneath a helicopter, leaping from a building, and getting thrown from his motorcycle. This man is 55 years old. We’re going to get him killed because we keep paying to see him do this stuff. And yet, I would watch Mission: Impossible films until the end of time.

DS: We’ve got The Rock jumping from a crane into a burning skyscraper with a prosthetic leg and you expected me to be excited about Tom Cruise jumping on to a plane/helicopter for the millionth time?

This franchise should have ended years ago and already been rebooted with Chris Hemsworth.

13) Christopher Robin August 3rd
RC: Despite my loyalty to young Obi-Wan Kenobi, I don’t need to see a movie where the kid from Winnie the Pooh is grown up and hates his job. I’m good.

AR: Yeah, the cast is great: Ewan McGregor and Jim Cummings, whose Pooh voice is iconic, but that doesn’t answer the question on everyone’s mind: why?

DS: Earlier I said Deadpool 2 was in my top 3 movies that I’m most excited to see this summer. Skyscraper is number 1 naturally and Equalizer is number 4 so that lives a spot open at number 2 and that spot is reserved for Pooh.

I’ve been a big Winnie the Pooh fan since birth and I’m excited to see what it would look like if I had a severe mental breakdown and my childhood obsession came to life.

14) The Meg August 10th

AR: This seems like it’ll be a lot of fun, depending on how much the movie leans into the wacky and absurd side of it. There’s a proper balance that movies like Furious 7 can find that manages to be crazy, fun, action movies, and also compelling and dramatic stories. So when Jason Statham and Dwight from the Office square off against a giant shark? Yeah, this movie should be awesome.

RC: Yaaaaas. A big dumb movie about a big-ass shark that has to be taken down by the team of Jason Statham and Dwight Schrute. Hook it to my veins.

DW: How do you attempt to top Jaws, the quintessential summer blockbuster? Simple, you just make the shark a 75-foot prehistoric monster previously thought to be extinct. Apparently, Hollywood has been trying to make The Meg for over two decades. Now that it exists, it honestly looks fun as hell. It will be fascinating to see if audiences will be pining for a big, dumb summer blockbuster like this in August.

DS: Jason Statham, Dwight & a Viner take on the largest shark of all time…..and they said Infinity War was going to be the biggest crossover hit this year. Anything were people have to take on sharks is a must see, plus this cast screams outrageous action movie that’s ending will make no sense.

15) Crazy Rich Asians August 17th
RC: Never heard of this movie prior, but looks good (Macklemore soundtrack, aside) from the trailer! Seems to be a solid date movie, if nothing else. Keep doing diverse casts, hollywood, regardless of this movie’s box office numbers.

AR: I’m not always one for rom-coms, but this looks decently funny. And I think it’s great that we’re at the point where there are comedic Asian actors like Constance Wu and Ken Jeong who are becoming household names. One of the standout performances looks like it might be Awkwafina – someone I was not familiar with until recently, and will also be starring in Oceans 8.

16) The Predator September 14th
RC: For not knowing this movie even existed until like a week ago, I’m pretty excited for it! Shane Black, apart from Iron Man 3, makes good movies (which was funny that they used “from the director of Iron Man 3” in the trailer) and the cast is pretty damn impressive. Sterling K. Brown? Boyd Holbrook? Olivia Munn? Keegan-Michael Key??? Hell yes. Bring me a throwback action movie with tons of guns and gore and some funny quips along the way to end the summer blockbuster season.

AR: We don’t have a trailer yet, and anytime there’s no trailer for a major Hollywood movie that’s only a couple months away – again, like Solo – it’s a little worrying. But Shane Black is a great writer/director, and he’s got a good cast for this one, so it’ll probably turn out well. UPDATE: The trailer released after this post was initially published, but I’m still inclined to stick with what I said. The fact that they waited this long to release a trailer is a red flag, but I trust everyone involved and the trailer itself looks pretty all right.

DS: I forgot that this movie was still a thing, hell I even skipped over it when I was reading the list. The cast looks good and I like a majority of the movies Shane Black does (Basically everyone except Iron Man 3) so I’m optimistic about this one.

DW: I’m not too familiar with the Predator movies, but I do enjoy Shane Black movies (The Nice Guys was super underrated). This looks frightening, gory, and thrilling, so a perfect end-of-summer picture. It also might have the best cast of the summer. Who doesn’t want to see more Sterling K. Brown (STL represent!), Boyd Holbrook, and Olivia Munn? Tough look for 11-year-old Jacob Tremblay, though. Apparently this whole thing is his fault.

Conclusions:

AR: Last summer, we heard all about how movie theaters and the movie industry are both struggling and need a really good summer full of great movies that make a lot of money. I don’t see it happening this summer. If you count last week’s Avengers: Infinity War as a summer blockbuster, then that will far and away be this summer’s biggest money-maker. Some parting predictions: Oceans 8 will be the best movie, Incredibles 2 will make the most money, The First Purge will be the surprise success, and Solo or Sicario 2: More Sicario will be this summer’s biggest disappointment.

DS: Summer has always been the time for outrageous action movies with thin plots, comic book heros & the power house cast and this summer doesn’t disappoint. I’m really excited to see just about every “blockbuster” that’s making its way to theaters. Skyscraper, Christopher Robin, Deadpool 2, Equalizer 2 & The Meg are my top 5 must sees this summer. But honestly Ocean’s 8 is probably going to steal the show.

Other movies I’m excited to see not listed above; Johnny Knoxville’s Action Point, Adrift, Hereditary, Hotel Artemis, Tag, Superfly, Uncle Drew, Sorry to Bother You & Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. This summer really looks like it’s going to be a good one for the movies.

RC: It’s definitely a sequel/spinoff heavy summer season. Which, if you like spouting the “Hollywood has run out of ideas” line, will probably feel like vindication. If you ask me, the more “oscar bait” movies will get their time in the fall. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, I want big explosions on a big screen interspersed with one-liners and people getting punched in the face. This summer should be quite satisfying in that regard.

DW: We’ve got offerings from Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel, as well as new installments in the Mission: Impossible, Jurassic, and Ocean’s franchises. So there should be something for everyone this summer. As far as smaller, more original fare to look forward to, there’s Hereditary, which received rave reviews at Sundance and has been called a new horror classic, and Sorry to Bother You, another Sundance hit that looks unforgettably absurd.

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