summer movies: must see, maybe see, Won’t see

If you look in an almanac, summer doesn’t start until the summer solstice on June 21.  If you ask people in school, the summer doesn’t start until summer break – which is June 9 according to the LAUSD calendar.  So, you may be somewhat confused to see some articles in magazines, newspapers, and online talking about the summer movie season already.  It’s because, according to the movie industry, summer starts when the first “summer blockbuster” is released.  This year, the date was back on May 5th when “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” was released. 

Since other people are listing their picks for the best movies of summer 2023, I thought I should do the same.  However, my list includes ALL the major studio wide releases.  The following is the movies I will see (YES), I won’t see (NO), and the movies I’m still deciding about (MAYBE).  In chronological order according to the current release schedule.

May 5

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” – The guardians work together to save one of their own.

YES – In fact I already saw.

“Love Again” – A woman continues to send texts to the cell phone of her fiancée who died.  One day she gets surprised by the man who receives the texts after the number is reassigned to him.

NO – It’s an interesting premise – I’ve heard that things like that have really happened – but I don’t think I’m really the target demographic for the movie.  However, I know at least 2 women who have already seen it.

May 12

Book Club: The Next Chapter” – The four friends in the “book club” take a girl’s trip to Italy.

NO – Once again, I’m definitely not the demographic that would want to see this movie but it seems like a perfect choice to take your mother to for mother’s day weekend.

May 19

“Fast X” – The 10th and possibly final movie of the franchise (although the movie will have a part 2 – and they’ve recently mentioned it might have a part 3) has the family battling the son of a drug kingpin.

NO – I have never watched any of the movies in the franchise from beginning to end.  I could be missing out, but this franchise have never caught my interest.

May 26

“About My Father” – An old-school Italian immigrant father decides to join his son when the son visits his American girlfriends parents.

NO – Although I am a fan of stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco – who co-wrote and stars in this movie – the movie seems like a different version of other movies such as “Meet the Parents”.  Especially, since Robert DeNiro plays his father in the movie.

“The Machine” – Stand-up comedian Bert Kreischer often tells the true story of how he partied with Russian gangsters one summer when he was in college.  20 years later, this movie tells the not-so-true story of how Russian gangsters kidnap him and his father and bring them back to Russia.

MAYBE – I am also fan of Stand-up comedian Bert Kreischer and the red-band trailer of this movie looks pretty funny.  Especially since Mark Hamill plays his father.

“The Little Mermaid” – Disney has re-made its classic animated movies into live action (with a lot of CGI) movies the last few years.  The latest one is this remake.

NO – I don’t think I’ve liked any of the remakes of animated movies that Disney has.  Of course, I’m not the demographic for this movie.

June 2

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” – Miles Morales joins a team of Spider people who protect the multi-verse.

MAYBE – I liked the first movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” but this movie seems like more of the same.  It’s got a team of different directors (3 directors on the first movie – not even one of them returned for this one) and one of the directors of the first movie was also a co-writer.  For this new one they got 2 other people to co-write the movie with the other co-writer of the first one.

June 9

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” – Plot is unknown but possibly based on the Transformers spinoff “Beast Wars” which features robots shaped like animals.

NO – I’ve seen a few of the previous “Transformers” movies but I feel they’ve gotten somewhat repetitive.  Plus, this is the first one (other than the “Bumblebee” spinoff movie) NOT directed by Michael Bay.

June 16

“Asteroid City” – A Junior Stargazer convention in a small town is disrupted by a “world changing event”.

MAYBE – The latest Wes Anderson movie.  I really like some of his movies but dislike others.  This one looks like it has a great cast and the trailer is funny.

“Elemental” – Pixars latest animated movie is about a city where fire, water, and air people all live in the same city.  A young fire woman gets caught up with a young water man.

YES – Pixar has had only a couple movies that I didn’t like.  I watched the first few minutes of this movie at CinemaCon a few weeks ago and it was very good.

“The Flash” – Barry Allen uses his super speed to change the past, but he ends up changing much more than he wanted to.

YES – The whole movie was shown at CinemaCon although it was a “not-quite-finished” version of the movie.  Hopefully, they won’t change a lot when they finish it because I really liked the version they showed.  Although I didn’t agree with the internet reports that the movie was “very emotional” and “people were crying”.

June 23

“No Hard Feelings” – A woman responds to a craigslist ad posted by parents who are looking for a young woman to bring their introverted son out of his shell before he goes off to college.

YES – Although I’m still not sure how Jennifer Lawrence will be in her first raunchy R rated movie, the trailer is funny and they showed an extended scene at CinemaCon that was also funny.

June 30

“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” – An animated movie about a shy adolescent girl who learns that she comes from a famous family of sea krakens.

NO – Although this is from Dreamworks Animation which has made some great animated movies, this one feels a little too similar to other animated movies like “Turning Red” and “The Little Mermaid”.  Although, once again, I’m not the demographic for this movie.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” – Indiana Jones races to get a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.

YES – I as definitely going to see this one in fact I already have plans to see it (probably more than once).  I just hope it isn’t as bad as the last Indiana Jones movie.

July 7

“Joy Ride” – Four Asian-American friends take a trip through Asia to find one of their birth mothers.

NO – I missed the screening of this movie at CinemaCon but I heard it was funny.  However, it just seems too much like a different version of “Bridesmaids” or “The Hangover” to me.

“Insidious: The Red Door” – The next movie about the Lamberts family which started with the first “Insidious”

NO – I’m not a fan of horror movies like this.  I didn’t even know there are 3 other movies in the “Insidious” franchise.  I actually thought this was another spinoff of “The Conjuring” movies (which has the “Annabelle” spinoff movies) because both movies’ franchises star Patrick Wilson.  This is the first movie he stars in and directed.

July 12 (Wed)

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” – The seventh (and possibly final – after part 2 comes out) movie in the “Mission Impossible” franchise.

YES – I’ve seen all the Mission Impossible movies and I’ve liked most of them (didn’t like #2 much).  It looks like part 1 of the final movie will bring back a lot of people from the previous movies.

July 21

“Oppenheimer” – The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer developing and testing the atomic bomb.

YES – Although his storylines sometimes falter, director Christopher Nolans movies always look spectacular.  I’m hoping his switch from Warner Bros to Universal doesn’t diminish anything.

“Barbie” – Barbie is living it up in Barbieland until things start changing for her.

NO – Until someone gives me a good reason for making a movie based on the iconic doll (other than the other movies like “G.I. Joe”, “Lego Movie”, and “Transformers” made money) I’m going to skip this movie.

July 28

“Haunted Mansion” – After discovering their new house is haunted, a family hires people to exorcise the ghosts.

NO – The trailer is somewhat funny but – again – until someone gives me a good reason for making a movie based on the Disneyland ride (other than the other movies like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies made money) I’m going to skip this one too.

Aug 4

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” – The teenage brothers take on an army of mutants.

NO – They’ve tried a few times to make a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie – both live action movies and animated movies.  This one looks about the same as all the previous movies.

“The Meg 2: The Trench” – It looks like this time “The Meg” is even bigger.

NO – I haven’t liked any of these types of movies since “Jaws”

Aug 11

“Last Voyage of the Demeter” – Based on a single chapter – “Captains Log” – from the classic novel “Dracula”

NO – Trying to make a full-length movie based on a single chapter of a book seems like it’s trying to stretch a very short story.

“Gran Turismo” – Based on the true story of a expert video game player that gets a chance to drive in a real race.

NO – I’m sure this is for the fans of the video game and I’m sure the movie will have scenes that look just like the video game.  I’m not that big a fan of the video game.

Aug 18

“Strays” – An R rated live action comedy (with comedians doing the voices of the animals) about a dog who wants to get revenge on his owner who abandoned him.

NO – Although Will Ferrell (who is the voice of the main dog) was very funny at CinemaCon, I would need to see more funny scenes to convince me to see this movie.  The movie was recently pushed back to August because from June because – according to reports – they couldn’t promote this movie as much as they wanted if the late-night TV talk shows are off the air due to the writers’ strike.

“Blue Beetle” – Based on the DC comic about a Mexican teenager that gets a suit that gives him superpowered armor.

NO – It looks like another superhero origin story.  I’ve seen so many of those with previous DC and Marvel movies I don’t think there’s any way they can have a completely original origin story.

Aug 25

“White Bird” – Based on a book by the writer of “Wonder” about one act of kindness that can change a life.

NO – The trailer looks like a historical love story drama.  I don’t know much more about it because I’ve never read the book.  As of now, I think it’s a no.

Sep 1

The Equalizer 3” – Robert McCall is living in a small town in Southern Italy when he discovers the whole town is being controlled by local crime bosses.

MAYBE – I liked the first 2 “Equalizer” movies.  I’m not sure why they’re doing a 3rd one but the first trailer looks interesting.

One additional movie right after the end of summer

A Haunting in Venice” (opening Sept 15th) – Kenneth Branagh directs and plays Hercule Poirot for the 3rd time.  This time the movie is based on the Agatha Christie book “Hallow’een Party”.

YES – I like the last two Hercule Poirot movies Kenneth Branagh has made and what’s even better about this one is that the book the movie is based on is one of the few Poirot mysteries that I haven’t read yet.  According to the trailer, it looks like this mystery involves ghosts.

So, that’s it for the summer.  My picks for movies to see (as of today) are “A Haunting in Venice”, “Oppenheimer”, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, “No Hard Feelings”, “The Flash”, and “Elemental”.  Also, I liked “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” if you haven’t seen it yet.