2019 Summer Movie Preview
Beat the heat with these 13 great films by and for grownups
Poms (May 10)
Who says aging can't be fun? Diane Keaton, 73, kicks up her heels as the leader of a retirement-community team (with Pam Grier, 69, Rhea Perlman, 71, and Jacki Weaver, 71) entering a cheerleading contest. Keaton proved the power of grownup actors and audiences with the $69 million 2018 hit Book Club, and this comedy (inspired by Arizona's real Sun City Poms team) sounds funnier than Kirsten Dunst's Bring It On. Plus, they do their own stunts!
The Tomorrow Man (May 22)
John Lithgow, 73, and Blythe Danner, 76 — two actors whose careers got hotter after age 50 — work together for the first time, playing a couple of eccentrics with opposite preoccupations. He's a survivalist who calls himself “Captain Reality,” dreading an impending apocalyptic future; she's a hoarder obsessed with the past — World War II documentaries and lost love. When the autumnal lovers harmonize on “Muskrat Love,” you may float like the heavens above.
Aladdin (May 24)
At 50, Will Smith could make a big comeback as the Genie, the triple-wish-granting, true-blue pal of the princess-courting hero in the live-action remake of the smash 1992 animated Disney musical. The role was originally inspired by black entertainers Cab Calloway and Fats Waller before Robin Williams was cast, and Smith reportedly plays him as a cross between Hitch and the Fresh Prince. Sounds like a flick with some punch, pizzazz, yahoo — and how!
Rocketman (May 31)
Everybody's hoping this fanciful film about Elton John's roller-coaster life told through his tunes will be as big as its director's last movie about a gay British rock superstar: Bohemian Rhapsody, at $900 million the biggest music biopic hit in history. Since Elton John is more successful than Freddie Mercury's Queen (or anyone except Madonna and the Beatles), it could happen. The star (and singer) is Kingsman's Taron Egerton.
Late Night (June 7)
Emma Thompson, 60, who started out in standup comedy, has her best role in years as an irritable comic in danger of losing her long-running talk show if she doesn't find some new energy, fast. She gets it from a new staff writer, Molly (six-time Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling, who wrote Late Night's screenplay), her first-ever female writer. It's a Devil Wears Prada-like comedy with serious issues on its mind.
Shaft (June 14)
The original cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about, Richard Roundtree, 76, joins his nephew John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson, 70) and the latter's straitlaced, estranged FBI cybersecurity-whiz son (Jessie T. Usher) to track down the killer of the youngest Shaft's pal. The film is billed as “More Shaft than you can handle!” but we think three's a charm.
Men in Black: International (June 14)
Who needs Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as quippy, memory-zapping secret agents when you can have Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson updating the bantering-buddy formula (which they previously perfected in Thor Ragnarok)? This time, an alien has been assassinated, and there's a mole lurking in the MIB organization. Liam Neeson, 66, and Emma Thompson, respectively, play MIB's U.K. and U.S. bosses. Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) plays a new alien in town who resembles a chess pawn.
Yesterday (June 28)
What if everyone on earth forgot the Beatles, and only one struggling songwriter (EastEnders’ Himesh Patel) remembered their tunes? So that he can claim to have written them and become a famous genius superstar singing his hits “Yesterday,” “Let It Be,” “Something” and the rest? Sounds like a fab fantasy, from the writer of Love Actually and the director of Slumdog Millionaire.
The Lion King (July 19)
How confident is director Jon Favreau, 52, that the computer graphic imagery in his remake of the titanic, hand-drawn 1994 toon is as utterly convincing as live-action filmmaking? He put in one live shot and dares you to tell it from the CGI. Judging from the previews, baby cub Simba is even cuddlier in CGI than in old-school animation, and odds are good for a repeat of Favreau's success in remaking The Jungle Book (which earned an Oscar and $966 million). With voice acting by James Earl Jones, 88, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Beyoncé and Seth Rogen.
David Crosby: Remember My Name (July 19)
Still the sweetest voice and loudest mouth in rock, a smart guy whose awe-inspiringly self-absorbed rudeness and wildly self-destructive ways alienated every fellow genius he ever played with (from the Byrds to CSNY to Joni Mitchell, the girlfriend he made famous), Crosby, 77, spills his amazing memories for hyper-savvy interviewer Cameron Crowe, 61. A smash at the Sundance Film Festival, it could be the most startlingly candid behind-the-music-style documentary ever made.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)
Not just about the grisly Manson murders, Quentin Tarantino's movie aims to do for 1969 Hollywood what James Joyce's Ulysses did for 1904 Dublin: bring it back alive down to the last detail, while providing a deep emotional autobiography of the artist. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, 55, play a washed-up TV actor and his stunt double, neighbors of doomed Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), a symbol of the era's lost innocence. With Dakota Fanning and Lena Dunham as bloodthirsty Manson girls, Bruce Dern, 82, as Manson's landlord, and Al Pacino, 79, as DiCaprio's agent.
Artemis Fowl (Aug. 9)
This one sounds ideal for a grownup and a youngster looking for a flick both can like. Based on a popular young-adult novel, it's about a 12-year-old genius master criminal (newcomer Ferdia Shaw) out to kidnap a fairy. Them's fighting words for the short-tempered elf Commander Root (Judi Dench, 84), the Churchill-like head of an elite police force called LEPrecon. Perhaps director Kenneth Branagh, 58, who cast Dench in his critical hit Murder on the Orient Express, has made another $350 million smash. Or maybe it's just a fun fantasy for all ages.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Aug. 16)
Not since Gone Girl have people been so fascinated by a missing person: in this case it's agoraphobic Seattle architect Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett, who turns 50 in May), who vanishes mysteriously, hunted by her teenage daughter (Emma Nelson). With Billy Crudup, 50, as her husband and a strong cast including Laurence Fishburne, 57, Kristin Wiig and Judy Greer. Will beloved indie director Richard Linklater have a mainstream hit on his hands?