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2017 Summer Movie Preview

This season offers plenty of treats for grownup filmgoers

  • Illustration by Josue Evilla; Images Courtesy of Lionsgate, Cohen Media Group, Warner Brothers, The Orchard, Focus Features and Columbia Pictures

    The Great Summer Movie For Grownups Preview

    This summer movie season isn’t just for kids. In fact, the 2017 roster boasts three highly anticipated titles by award-worthy directors with decidedly adult tastes: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) and Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker). And more than a few releases place 50+ stars front and center. Here are 12 upcoming movies that grownups of all ages can appreciate. 

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  • Gilles Mingasson/Courtesy of IFC Films

    'Wakefield' (May 19)

    Bryan Cranston stars in an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s story about a man in the throes of a midlife crisis. He decides to escape his suffocating life and hide out in his attic, where he observes and comments upon the comings and goings of his family, including his seemingly perfect wife (Jennifer Garner). Director-writer Robin Swicord brings a scathing honesty to what is essentially a one-man show.

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  • Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

    'Churchill' (June 2)

    Cigar at the ready, Scottish actor Brian Cox embodies British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at a high-pressure moment in World War II: the week before the D-Day attack on the Normandy beaches. (This November brings a second Churchill-related drama, Darkest Hour, with Gary Oldman as the so-called British Bulldog.)

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  • Courtesy Everett Collection

    'The Hero' (June 9)

    A one-of-a-kind actor, Sam Elliott, 72 (The Big Lebowski, TV’s Justified) has gone mostly unsung for too long. In this film he moseys into a custom-made lead role as an aging Western star who spends his waning days as a barbecue sauce spokesman — when he isn’t in a pot-smoking haze. But a scary medical diagnosis forces him to reconsider his life and career.

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  • Courtesy of Bleecker Street

    'Megan Leavey' (June 9)

    If you liked the doggy doings of Marley & Me and Max, make a date with this true-life story of a heroic Marine (Kate Mara of House of Cards and The Martian) and her bomb-sniffing German shepherd, Rex, who saved countless lives during two tours of duty in Iraq. Leavey, retired after a combat injury, faces one more battle: to save 11-year-old Rex from being euthanized so she can adopt him.

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  • Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

    'Maudie' (June 16)

    This rare biopic about a female painter stars British actress Sally Hawkins (an Oscar nominee as Cate Blanchett’s sister in Blue Jasmine) as Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, who overcame debilitating arthritis to produce vivid artworks inspired by her native Nova Scotia. Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) is her irascible husband, Everett, who hired her as a maid for his one-room cabin and married her weeks later.

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  • Ben Rothstein/Focus Features

    'The Beguiled' (June 23)

    Nicole Kidman stars in this remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1971 film about an injured Union soldier during the Civil War. He’s given shelter at an all-girls school in Louisiana, leading to sexually charged tensions among the female teaching staff and students. Oscar-nominated director Sofia Coppola brings her distinctive vision to this Southern gothic thriller, which also stars Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.

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  • Nicole Rivelli/Courtesy of Lionsgate

    'The Big Sick' (limited release June 23)

    This crowd-pleasing rom-com directed by Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris) isn’t afraid to tackle immigrant culture, mixed relationships, family expectations and mysterious illness. Kumail Nanjiani of TV’s Silicon Valley (who wrote the semiautobiographical script with wife Emily V. Gordon) stars opposite Zoe Kazan, while Ray Romano and Holly Hunter steal the show as her parents.

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  • Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

    'A Ghost Story' (July 7)

    Recently crowned an Oscar winner for his role in Manchester by the Sea, Casey Affleck stars in an eerily entrancing and unconventional tale about a newly deceased spirit who dons a sheet with cutout eyes and returns home to observe his grieving widow (Rooney Mara of Carol and Lion). Accepted notions of memory, time and spirituality are put to the test by director-writer David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon).

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  • Melinda Sue Gordon/Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    'Dunkirk' (July 21)

    Move over, Saving Private Ryan. Director-writer Christopher Nolan has drafted actors Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh for his ambitious World War II epic that re-creates the heroic 1940 evacuation of thousands of Allied troops stranded on a beach in France. The rescue is seen from three perspectives — land, air and sea — and Nolan uses actual reconditioned warships instead of relying on digital effects.

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  • Courtesy Annapurna Pictures

    'Detroit' (August 4)

    Kathryn Bigelow, the only female to win an Oscar for best director, revisits Motown’s tumultuous past to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 12th Street Riots. The racially charged drama zeros in on the aftermath of three killings and nine beatings committed by law enforcers at the Algiers Motel. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) tops a cast that includes Anthony Mackie and John Krasinski.                

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  • Fred Hayes/The Weinstein Company

    'Wind River' (August 4)

    Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (nominated for an Oscar for Hell or High Water) also directs this noirish crime drama about a Wyoming wildlife officer (Jeremy Renner) who joins forces with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen of Avengers franchise fame) to track down a rapist who left a young girl to die in the frigid desolation of a Native American reservation. Highlight: an explosive high-stakes showdown worthy of Quentin Tarantino.

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  • Columbia Pictures/Photofest

    'The Dark Tower' (August 4)

    No superhero capes were employed in this years-in-the-making potential franchise based on the Stephen King book series, whose film adaptation fans have demanded since 1982. In this genre mash-up set on modern-day Earth and Mid-World (a parallel universe), good-guy Idris Elba dons a leather duster as the "Gunslinger," and baddie Matthew McConaughey is the “Man in Black.” In these stars we trust — but as a wannabe pop phenomenon, Tower could soar or fall.

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