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24 Must-See Movies for Summer 2016

Films big and small promise something special for grownup moviegoers

  • Courtesy Roadside Attractions

    It doesn’t get much more grownup than this: Colin Firth stars as legendary Scribner Books editor Max Perkins, guiding the pens of such literary notables as Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West). Nicole Kidman costars as Aline Bernstein, Perkins’ colleague and confidante.

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  • Courtesy Lionsgate

    Original cast members Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Michael Caine are among those who reappear in this sequel to the 2013 comedy-thriller about a troupe of Robin Hood–like magicians. Also popping up is a guy who knows a bit about movie magic: Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

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  • Courtesy Disney/Pixar

    You are one cold fish if the first 15 minutes of this long-awaited sequel to the 2003 animated Pixar classic Finding Nemo don’t have you bawling like a baby guppy. Ellen DeGeneres returns as the voice of Dory, the forgetful reef dweller who this time heads off in search of her long-lost parents. Dory’s old pals Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) tag along to help. Among the other fishy voices: Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Eugene Levy and Idris Elba.

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  • Courtesy 20th Century Fox

    The blockbuster sequels just keep coming: Twenty years after Earth fought off alien invaders in the original I.D., they’re ba-a-ack — this time bigger and badder than ever. And don’t ask us how, but original heroes Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner are back, too, joining forces with a new generation of beautiful Earthlings to save the planet one more time.

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  • Courtesy STX Films

    Matthew McConaughey parks his Lincoln Town Car in the garage long enough to star as an 1860s Mississippi farmer who leads a small army of Southerners opposed to the Civil War.  

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  • Courtesy Tribeca Film Festival

    When a young major-league pitcher (Johnny Simmons) becomes a head case on the mound, the team sends him to an unconventional sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti) who helps the kid come to terms with his bitter, abusive father (Ethan Hawke).

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  • Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

    The original swinger (Alexander Skarsgård) has been living in London for years when a crisis in his jungle homeland causes him to ditch the suit and tie in favor of a new loincloth. Joining him is his empowered partner, Jane, played by Margot Robbie. For this go-round, Tarzan is aided and obstructed by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent.

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  • Courtesy Walt Disney Studios

    Oscar winner Mark Rylance reunites with Bridge of Spies director Steven Spielberg in this sumptuous version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. Ruby Barnhill stars as the youngster who befriends a lonely giant, outcast by his towering peers because — luckily for her — he refuses to dine on little girls and boys.

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  • Courtesy Bleecker Street

    This one looks utterly wrenching. Intent on raising his six children in a sylvan glade of the Pacific Northwest untainted by civilization, a father (Viggo Mortensen) is forced by a family tragedy to abandon a paradise that “may be unique in all of human existence.” Call it Into the Wild meets Little Miss Sunshine, if you must, but we can’t wait to watch Steve Zahn, Kathryn Hahn and Frank Langella play off the Viggonator.

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  • Liam Daniel/Broad Green Pictures

    Bryan Cranston continues his parade of wildly diverse characters (Walter White, Dalton Trumbo, LBJ), this time starring as real-life DEA undercover cop Robert Mazur, who infiltrated the operation of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

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  • Courtesy Sony Pictures

    We didn’t ask for this remake of the funniest scary movie ever made, but we’re eager to see what distaff specter-ejectors Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon will bring to the séance. Original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts are on hand for cameos, but there’s no word yet on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

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  • Courtesy Weinstein Co.

    Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz and Zach Galifianakis are among the stars in this story of forbidden love between an artist (Dane DeHaan) and his married subject (Alicia Vikander). It’s set during the 17th-century Dutch tulip mania, when the value of a single bulb could reach 10 times the average person’s yearly wages.

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  • Courtesy Exchange

    This stirring documentary tells the inspiring story of New Orleans Saints NFL star Steve Gleason, diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 34.

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  • Courtesy 20th Century Fox

    Devotees of the classic BBC sitcom about a pair of hopeless social climbers (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders) will go gaga over this big-screen reunion. The two are forced to go on the run after they crash a London bash and accidentally kill Kate Moss (long story).

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  • Courtesy Universal

    Nearly a decade after his last appearance as Robert Ludlum’s amnesia-stricken hero, Matt Damon returns for another round of gun battles and car chases. This time Bourne recalls it all, only to have another character remind him: “Remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything.” Tommy Lee Jones plays a CIA mentor.

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  • Courtesy Roadside Attractions

    Oscar-nominated producer and writer James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain) directs his first film at age 56, a heartfelt coming-of-age story based on Philip Roth’s novel about a young Jewish man (Logan Lerman) trying to fit in at a small Ohio college.

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  • Courtesy Weinstein Co.

    Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, the genius behind McDonald’s. As a struggling milk-shake machine salesman, Kroc teamed up with the McDonald Brothers (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) to create history’s most successful fast-food chain. The film is directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks).

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  • Courtesy Pathé

    A fine singer in real life, Meryl Streep stifles that talent here to play the tin-eared New York socialite who galvanized Manhattan audiences with her perfectly wretched singing voice in the 1930s and ’40s. (Ms. Jenkins, of course, believed she possessed perfect pitch.) Hugh Grant costars as her longtime companion and manager.

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  • Sabrina Lantos/Gravier Productions

    In Woody Allen’s latest, a love letter to 1930s Hollywood, Jesse Eisenberg is a young man trying to make his way in the film industry while falling in love and hobnobbing with the town’s literary elite. The sprawling cast includes Blake Lively, Steve Carell, Parker Posey, Jeannie Berlin and Kristen Stewart. Even better, Woody has enlisted three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now).

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  • Courtesy Roadside Attractions

    Remember falling in love in the 1980s? A couple of kids named Barack and Michelle (Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter) sure do. This biographical romance traces the summer afternoon when the president-to-be wooed his future first lady during a first-date ramble around Chicago’s South Side. 

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  • Courtesy Weinstein Co.

    It’s always good to have Robert De Niro in your corner. This is the Raging Bull star’s fourth cinematic engagement with boxing, and this time he plays Ray Arcel, the trainer who helped shape the career of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez). Ellen Barkin plays Ray’s wife.

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  • Courtesy Sundance Film Festival

    John Krasinski (TV’s The Office) stars in and directs this comedy-drama about a struggling New York artist, John Hollar, who rushes back to his Midwest hometown when his mother (Margo Martindale) undergoes brain surgery. Richard Jenkins plays his father, and Anna Kendrick costars as John’s eight-months-pregnant girlfriend.

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  • DreamWorks Pictures

    In the aftermath of World War I, Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) is the keeper of a remote lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia, where his wife, Isabel (Alicia Vikander), prays for but cannot conceive a child. When a dinghy that’s carrying a dead man and a crying baby washes ashore, what are the odds she’ll judge it to be a sign from above? The film is based on the melodramatic best-seller by M.L. Stedman.

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  • Peter Mountain/Walt Disney Studios

    Johnny Depp is back as the Mad Hatter in this follow-up to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. This one looks even trippier than the first. The late Alan Rickman provides the voice of the spaced-out Blue Caterpillar.

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  • AARP
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