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Lead art in the style of Spider-Verse’s multiverse antics, highlighting characters from upcoming movies in the 2023 summer slate. Miles Morales is center frame, but Barbie, Ariel, Indiana Jones, Dominic Toretto, and The Flash are included. Graphic: Matt Patches/Polygon | Source images: Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd/Netflix/Universal Pictures/Sony Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

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The big new movies coming out in summer 2023

It’s gearing up to be quite a few months at the movies

It’s already be an excellent year at the movies, and we’re not even halfway through 2023 yet. This summer’s lineup, from blockbusters to smaller releases ready to muscle in, suggests it’s about to get even better.

Things kick off in May with the third and final installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but that’s only the appetizer for the full course of movies this summer. We have new movies from celebrated directors, sequels to beloved projects, fresh new ideas from first-time filmmakers, and plenty more to look forward to in the coming months.

Here’s your guide to a packed summer of great movies.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

In theaters May 5

The Guardians of the Galaxy walk in a line in front of a bunch of stuff on fire in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Image: Marvel Studios

Genre: Superhero
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista

Fresh off their appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, Marvel’s most chaotic and colorful superteam is back for a third and supposedly final outing. (At least, it’s likely to be the last Guardians movie for a very long time for writer-director James Gunn, who has his hands full with overseeing the next decade of DC movies.) The gang’s all back together, with a focus this time on Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his mysterious origins, and on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) angsting over his lost lover Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and her alternate-timeline replacement who doesn’t love him. Expect Vin Diesel to say “I am Groot” a bunch, and for Dave Bautista to steal every scene he’s in. —Tasha Robinson


In theaters May 12

Ben Affleck stares intensely at a safety deposit box next to a row of them in Hypnotic. Image: Hypnotic Film Holdings

Genre: Mystery thriller
Directors: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Ben Affleck, William Fichtner, Alice Braga

Hypnotic’s pitch of Ben Affleck as a detective investigating a series of high-end heists that seem to defy the laws of nature and reality is already an incredible premise for a new movie, and that’s before you even get to the massive government conspiracy that seems to fuel the whole thing. Hypnotic is written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, and apparently originates from a script he wrote back in 2002 but never gotten around to — he’s long called it one of his favorite ideas. Now that it’s finally here, the trailer already looks like a bananas mix of fun action and heady sci-fi that seems to live up to the director’s own hype for the project. And if Robert Rodriguez is excited, how could we not be? —Austen Goslin

Fool’s Paradise

In theaters May 12

Charlie Day looks surprised while wearing a suit and hat while sitting in a chair in an office in Fool’s Paradise. Image: Roadside Attractions

Genre: Comedy
Directors: Charlie Day
Cast: Charlie Day, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis

Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia know from listening to the gang’s uproarious rewatch podcast that Charlie Day has poured his entire soul into making Fool’s Paradise, his upcoming directorial debut. Day’s passion for comedy, acting, cinema, and palling around for his friends collides in this satirical take on Hollywood, which finds a mental health patient (played by Day) stumble on to a set only to become a breakout star and a ticket to the big time for one struggling publicist (Ken Jeong). To play a modern day version of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Day has surrounded himself with a stacked cast. Jason Sudeikis, Edie Falco, Jason Bateman, Common, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Jimmi Simpson, Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, and John Malkovich will parade through what will likely be one of the weirdest releases of the summer. –Matt Patches

Book Club: The Next Chapter

In theaters May 12

Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, and Jane Fonda (wearing a wedding veil) stand in front of a statue in Book Club: The Next Chapter. Fonda puts her hand on Bergen’s shoulder, while the group laughs. Photo: Riccardo Ghilardi/Fifth Season

Genre: Comedy
Directors: Bill Holderman
Cast: Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen

2018’s Book Club gave a surprising jolt to the comedy genre, bringing in an all-star cast of legendary actors for a raunchy tale of self-discovery. Five years later, we finally have a sequel.

In the first movie, four successful women (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen) have been a part of a book club for 40 years. When one of them nominates Fifty Shades of Grey as the club’s next selection, it ends up being a wake-up call for the group to enjoy their lives and take some chances. The cast included Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, and Richard Dreyfuss as potential romantic interests, and all the principal cast besides Dryefuss are in line to return for the sequel, The Next Chapter, where the book club travels to Italy for a long overdue girls trip. If it’s anything like the first movie, it’ll be a breezy and uproarious good time. —Pete Volk

Fast X

In theaters May 19

Jason Momoa purses his lips while wearing sunglasses and a snakeskin jacket in the Fast X trailer. Image: Universal Pictures

Genre: Action
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa

There are some who might dismiss more Fast films as summer blockbuster schlock. But those in the family know: they rip! (Those in the family also disagree on which ones rip the hardest.) Fast X promises to be more of the same, bless up. There’s Dominic Toretto (a stoic Vin Diesel) and his family of carheads, facing down an external threat — in this case Dante Reyes (a peacocking Jason Momoa) — who wants revenge against Dom. There’s some callbacks to past Fast and Furious flicks, specifically Fast Five, when Dante allegedly suffered a loss at the hands of the family’s heist.

That can seem impenetrable to those uninitiated — that’s a lot of mentions of Dom, family, timelines, and “Fast” — but here’s the thing: It’s not! Fast X promises to be a high-octane thrill romp through streets and highways around the world. Everyone is invited to tag along for the ride, and we can (and should). There’s nothing in here to dismiss really; when you’re here, you’re family. —Zosha Millman

Master Gardener

In theaters May 19

Quintessa Swindell and Joel Edgerton star at each other on a brick pathway, surrounded by a green garden, in Master Gardener. Image: Magnolia Pictures

Genre: Thriller
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Quintessa Swindell, Sigourney Weaver

After the one-two punch of First Reformed and The Card Counter, you are likely either way in or way out of what Taxi Driver writer and slow-cinema enthusiast Paul Schrader is dishing out in the late renaissance of his career. We are way in (and not just because Schrader talked to us at length about Infinity War, Taylor Swift, and ayahuasca a few years back, though that helped). Schrader returns this year with what sounds like another puncturing of the masculine brain and a consideration of the apocalyptic capitalist world we’ve created our selves. Fun at the movies! This one has Joel Edgerton (The Green Knight) playing a horticulturalist with dark secrets and, boy, when it comes to Schrader, the darker the better. Let’s go. —MP

The Little Mermaid

In theaters May 26

Jonah Hauer-King and Halle Bailey peer out from behind a gate in The Little Mermaid. Halle Bailey wears a straw hat and a light blue dress, while Hauer-King is in his classic Prince Eric attire. Photo: Giles Keyte/Disney

Genre: Musical
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy

The latest in Disney’s string of rarely beloved but always profitable live-action remakes of animated classics, The Little Mermaid turns the 1989 Disney Renaissance movie into a CG-laced blockbuster, with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Halle Bailey as Ariel the mermaid, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the sea witch, and a roundup of familiar voices for Ariel’s CG-critter buddies: Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab, Awkwafina as Scuttle the seagull, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder the fish, Ariel’s best fishy friend. Perennial musical fixture Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns) directs, and Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda provided some new music. Everybody is going to complain about this movie not living up to the original, and then it’s going to make a billion dollars. —TR


In theaters May 26

A bearded Navid Negahban gestures at Gerard Butler with a blue sky behind them in Kandahar. Image: Open Road

Genre: Thriller
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Gerard Butler, Bahador Foladi, Navid Negahban

Former stuntman Ric Roman Waugh has carved out a solid career for himself as a director, especially in his collaborations with Gerard Butler. Greenland was an excellent underseen apocalypse thriller (I’m excited about the sequel), and Angel Has Fallen was by far the best of Butler’s Has Fallen series (which is, admittedly, not a high bar, but one Waugh cleared easily). Kandahar is the second 2023 movie about an American operative in the Middle East attempting to execute a dangerous operation with his interpreter, after Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant. But Waugh’s run of thrilling movies and Butler’s unique brand of movie stardom make it one to watch out for this summer. —PV

You Hurt My Feelings

In theaters May 26

Julia Louis-Dreyfus sits at a bar with her head leaning against her left hand and a pair of martini glasses in front of her in You Hurt My Feelings. Image: A24

Genre: Dramedy
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins

It’s been five years since the last movie directed by Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking, Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money), who’s been writing and producing in the interim. A24’s You Hurt My Feelings looks like a return to form for her, given the enthusiastic festival reactions: Holofcener’s even-keeled adult comedies always earn praise for their sharp, witty writing and well-balanced but wry look at adult relationships and emotions. In this case, the relationship is between New York author and teacher Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), her therapist husband Don (Tobias Menzies), and how they navigate the fallout after she overhears him disparaging her latest book. This one may be the ticket for people who miss Woody Allen’s New York-set comedies of manners, but don’t miss Allen himself. —TR

The Machine

In theaters May 26

Bert Kreischer pushes a bald man through a train car window while a blonde woman attempts to hold him back in The Machine. Kreischer is screaming. Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Action comedy
Director: Peter Atencio
Cast: Mark Hamill, Bert Kreischer, Jess Gabor

Thanks to his bare-chested comedy sets featured prominently on Netflix, Bert Kreischer is a name comedian at a time when everyone online’s a comedian. This summer, he leverages his stand-up status for a madcap thriller based on his own life (and sets). On stage, Kreischer has recounted his real-life run-in with Russian mobsters during a college trip. In the movie, 23 years later, he and his estranged father (Mark Hamill) are kidnapped by the Russian mob to pay for their sins. With American Vandal and Home Economics star Jimmy Tatro filling in for younger Bert in flashbacks, The Machine resurrects the action comedy with a John Wick-like tonal twist. —MP


Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

In theaters June 2

Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen fight the Spot in Across the Spider-Verse. Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Superhero
Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse redefined American animation and retooled expectations for big blockbuster superhero movies. Since Spider-Verse came on the scene, more and more animated movies have pushed the style envelope and shied away from once-coveted photorealism, while every single subsequent superhero movie has just paled in comparison to the triumph of the “What’s Up Danger?” scene.

Across the Spider-Verse cranks the idea of the original — multiple Spider-people in multiple animation styles — to 11. There are so many Spiders, so many eclectic visuals. Every single trailer has just been a visual feast. Miles Morales is back, along with Spider-Gwen and everyone’s favorite loser Peter B. Parker — but they’re only a small sampling of the huge multi-verse spanning cast. —Petrana Radulovic

The Boogeyman

Streaming on Hulu June 2

Sophie Thatcher in a green-tinted image from The Boogeyman. Image: 20th Century Studios

Genre: Horror
Director: Rob Savage
Cast: Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, David Dastmalchian

Rob Savage blew minds during the pandemic with Host, a horror flick orchestrated entirely in Zoom and shot for a mere $35,000. 20th Century wisely scooped up the up-and-comer to make his first studio movie, and paired him with A Quiet Place’s Scott Beck and Bryan Woods to adapt a lesser-known short story by Stephen King. The result is a movie that was supposed to go straight to streaming but is suddenly in a primo spot on the summer movie calendar. Buzz out of CinemaCon in April suggests the supernatural family story, which stars Sophie Thatcher (Yellowjackets), Chris Messina (Air), and David Dastmalchian (Dune), brings the scares (and a surprising amount of horror-laced action). —MP

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

In theaters June 9

Bumblebee in offroad car form and Cheetor looking like a bit robot cheetah race each other in an open field in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Image: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Sci-fi
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Michelle Yeoh

Transformers is one of the weirdest modern blockbuster franchises, with Michael Bay jumping off a Steven Spielberg “boy and his car robot” to the moon, medieval times, and everywhere in between. The series’ latest entry, Rise of the Beasts, once again plays with the Transformers timeline, jumping backward to the 1990s when Optimus Prime and his fellow Autobots are forced to do battle with yet another intergalactic cohort of evil robots. This time, they have the help of a group of Transformers who morph into animals, rather than vehicles.

While this premise is, on its face, incredible, it’s made even better by the fact that the leader of the beast Transformers is named Optimus Primal, transforms into a giant gorilla, and is voiced by Ron Perlman. The trailer for Rise of the Beasts also promises a massive battle that might be the most intense Transformers on Transformers fighting of the entire series so far. —AG


In theaters June 16

In an image from Pixar’s Elemental, Ember the fire woman and Wade the water guy smile. Wade looks like he’s pleading, with his hands put together and a white collared shirt on, while Ember smiles while wearing a black dress. Plants are behind them, while a wooden desk is in front of them. Image: Pixar

Genre: Comedy
Director: Peter Sohn
Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Leah Lewis

Pixar’s newest movie is about a fire person and water person falling in love against the backdrop of the vibrant Element City — but it’s also an allegory for cross-cultural relationships and the immigrant experience. It follows Ember (a fire person) and Wade (you guessed it, a water person), two young people who come from totally different backgrounds who find themselves drawn to one another. But because they’re literally not capable of mixing, will their love be doomed?

With some of the coolest visuals and character designs from Pixar since Inside Out, Elemental comes from Good Dinosaur director Peter Sohn. This time, however, the project is way more personal, and Sohn really looked back at his own childhood and marriage to carve out this story (along with immigrant movies like The Godfather and The Big Sick). We’re excited for the gorgeous world (and punny names), but also for the Pixar tears that will inevitably flow (pun intended). —PR

The Flash

In theaters June 16

Ezra Miller mid-running motion in suit as The Flash. Image: Warner Bros.

Genre: Superhero
Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton

Poised to reset the DC Universe, The Flash was filmed in 2021 but has faced repeated delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as controversy around star Ezra Miller after multiple arrests and other troubling allegations. Miller has since said they were in the midst of an intense mental health crisis, and that they are now in recovery and seeking treatment.

Early reactions to the movie itself have been glowing, and a recent trailer leaned hard on the multiple Bat-men (Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton) making appearances in The Flash. Michael Shannon also returns to reprise his role as General Zod from Man of Steel, and Sasha Calle debuts as Supergirl. The Flash is likely the movie on the summer slate with the most troubled and controversial production, and it’s also one of the most important movies for Warner Bros. in years, as they attempt to move beyond the Snyderverse and start the DC Universe all over again. —PV

The Blackening

In theaters June 16

Melvin Gregg as King, Grace Byers as Allison, Antoinette Robertson as Lisa, Sinqua Walls as Nnamdi, Jermaine Fowler as Clifton, Dewayne Perkins as Dewayne, and Xochitl Mayo as Shanika in The Blackening. They all look at the camera, which is probably placed at a computer monitor. They looked surprised and shocked. Photo: Glen Wilson/Lionsgate

Genre: Horror comedy
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Antoinette Robertson, Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls

Barbershop director Tim Story takes his comedic talents to the horror genre here, with this tale of a group of Black friends who stay at a cabin in the woods and encounter a killer who insists the group rank their “degrees of blackness” to determine who dies first. Originally a short movie by the improv comedy group 3Peat, The Blackening premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. —PV

Extraction 2

On Netflix June 16

Chris Hemsworth in body armor riding on a train in the snow in Extraction 2 Image: Netflix

Genre: Action
Director: Sam Hargrave
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Daniel Bernhardt

The first Extraction is one of the biggest hits in Netflix’s history (at least according to Netflix). They gave the reins of an action movie to an accomplished former stuntman, and created a solid action thriller that would have been a VHS rental staple had it been made a few decades before. That’s often (but not always!) the best you can hope for from a Netflix original, so it’s exciting to have the sequel right around the corner. The trailer promised a fight where Chris Hemsworth’s fist is literally on fire, and plenty of other high-octane set pieces. Also: action legend Daniel Bernhardt is in it! I will be watching Extraction 2 the moment it comes out, popcorn in tow. —PV

Asteroid City

In theaters June 16

Scarlett Johansson stares into the distance in a booth in Asteroid City, with the Southwest sunset over the desert behind her. Image: Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features

Genre: Comedy
Director: Wes Anderson
Cast: Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks, Edward Norton

Take a look at any single still image from Asteroid City and it’s immediately obvious who directed it: Either Wes Anderson or the Wes Anderson AI bot. Billed simultaneously as a romance, a comedy, a drama, and a science fiction story (which may be a spoiler about its eventual storyline), the film boasts a typically Andersonian overstuffed cast: Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Carell, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie, and about 20 more recognizable names. (No Bill Murray this time, apparently — he says he got COVID just before he was supposed to shoot his scenes.)

While the initial description of the film calls it a story about a “group of brainy teenagers” at a 1955 convention for junior astronomers, the focus is still likely to be on that adult cast, and on Anderson’s signature striking cinematography and sense of dry humor, both of which are all over the movie’s first trailer. —TR

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

In theaters June 30

Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in a white button-up shirt tied up to the navel) stands in front of some ruins with Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford, wearing his classic Indiana Jones outfit) in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Photo: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

Genre: Adventure
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen

Harrison Ford is back – as both an elder Indy who is too old for this shit, and through the magic of de-aged motion capture, his younger Nazi-battling self. Very little is known about why Dr. Henry Jones is out to find the “Dial of Destiny,” but we do know the first Indiana Jones movie not to be directed by Steven Spielberg (Ford v. Ferrari’s James Mangold steps in) will tell a story in separate timelines, bring Phoebe Waller-Bridge in as the daughter of the late Marcus Brody, and find a grumbling Nazi-in-hiding (Mads Mikkelsen) trying to reboot Hitler’s fascist regime.

If Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made room for aliens in the Indiana Jones franchise, will Dial of Destiny go full-on fantasy and introduce time travel? The good news is whatever wacky direction Mangold takes it, John Williams is back to deliver one final Indiana Jones soundtrack, bless him. —MP


Insidious: The Red Door

In theaters July 7

Patrick WIlson sits up in bed, startled, in Insidious: Fear the Dark. Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Horror
Director: Patrick Wilson
Cast: Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson

The Insidious franchise has remained consistently good, interesting, and scary for far longer than it has any right to, and there’s no reason to think it would stop now, with the series’ fifth and most ambitious entry. The Red Door picks up with the Lambert family 10 years after the first two Insidious movies, with the previously possessed Dalton now facing down college, while the demons his family kept at bay threaten to return. Longtime series-star Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut with the film, which brings the franchise full-circle; Insidious director James Wan helped put Wilson on the map as a horror star, and is also back to executive produce this installment of the series. —AG

Joy Ride

In theaters July 7

The cast of Joy Ride stands in the middle of the road while looking off camera and a bit surprised. Photo: Ed Araquel/Lionsgate

Genre: Comedy
Director: Adele Lim
Cast: Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu, David Denman

A raunchy female-fronted comedy that is also about the Asian-American immigrant experience? Sign me up.

Joy Ride is the directorial debut of Adele Lim, co-writer of Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon, with a screenplay by Family Guy executive producer Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and co-creator of Awkwafina is Nora from Queens Teresa Hsiao. It follows best friends Audrey (Ashley Park) and Lolo (Sherry Cola) who set out on a journey across China to find Audrey’s birth mother. They’re accompanied by Audrey’s college roommate and now famous actress Kat (Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Stephanie Hsu) and Lolo’s eccentric cousin (who sports the best pink kitty Razer gaming headphones ever) Deadeye (Sabrina Wu). But the simple — if life-changing — trip goes horribly wrong after an encounter with a drug smuggler in a train. Horribly, horribly wrong. It looks like an absolutely wild ride, peppered with just enough camaraderie and reflection about finding the place you belong. —PR

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One

In theaters July 12

Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson wear formal clothing and stand near a crowd in front of a pink and purple-tinted building in Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning — Part One. Photo: Christian Black/Paramount Pictures

Genre: Action
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby

The Mission Impossible movie franchise has been running since the late ’90s, but this is the third collaboration between Tom Cruise and writer and director Christopher McQuarrie, who seems to become the star’s most trusted partner (he also worked with Cruise on Top Gun: Maverick). Dead Reckoning Part 1 picks up the story shortly after the last movie, 2018’s Mission Impossible: Fallout, with a story concluding in Part 2, which will supposedly come out in 2024. But this is Mission: Impossible, and we’re here for the stunts. Among the big moments in the action-packed trailer, by far the biggest is when Tom Cruise jumps a motorcycle off a cliff with only a parachute on… a thing he actually did for the movie. And you know what: If Tom can jump off a cliff for our enjoyment, the least we can do is be excited about it. —AG

Theater Camp

In theaters July 14

Molly Gordon and Ben Platt talk to each other behind a table in Theater Camp, while actors on stage look on. Image: Sundance Institute

Genre: Comedy
Directors: Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman
Cast: Jimmy Tatro, Ben Platt, Molly Gordon

Summer camp movies are like a tiny gateway into a culture. No matter how dorky, weird, or singular someone is about their passion when they’re in the regular world, summer camp is the one place they can go for full immersion. Which makes theater nerds a perfect subject for a camp movie.

Theater Camp is a mockumentary that follows the attendees and staff of a small theater-arts camp after its founder and leader has a stroke. The duty of running the camp then falls to her son Troy, played fantastically and hilariously by Jimmy Tatro (see: The Machine). He’s a jock and semi-professional YouTuber, but mostly he is a dumbass who is clueless about theater. Surrounding him is a cast of loveable and extremely funny characters, from two codependent teachers — one played by Ben Platt (Dear, Evan Hansen) the other by the movie’s co-writer and co-director Molly Gordon — to students who live their entire lives waiting for this brief summer respite from the rest of the world. We caught Theater Camp at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and can saw it’s funny, full of heart, and totally in love with theater people, which means it can make fun of them with the kind of specificity you can only really aim at yourself. —AG


In theaters July 21

Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer climbs up the ladder of a tower against a cloudy sky. Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures

Genre: Biopic
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

According to Christopher Nolan, for better or worse, J. Robert Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived, and there’s a pretty good case to be made that he’s right The architect of the nuclear age and the atomic bomb is a fascinating subject for a movie — especially one from a filmmaker so often known for his high-concept action movies. Oppenheimer’s life wasn’t exactly action-packed, but it does exist on a scale that’s hard to imagine any modern filmmaker but Nolan can work on.

Nolan’s obsession with practical effects led him to crash a real airplane into a hangar in Tenet, and now found its greatest test yet in Oppenheimer when the director, apparently, had his crew build and detonate a real bomb for the movie’s scenes of the Los Alamos nuclear test. The sheer scope, size, and vision of Nolan’s version of a biopic already sounds staggering, so it’s hard to be anything but thrilled by the prospect of what else the movie, which stars Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer and an all-star supporting cast, has in store. —AG


In theaters July 21

Margot Robbie as a giant barbie doll in the Barbie movie Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Comedy
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Margot Robbie, Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren

Judging by what we’ve seen, everyone involved with the Barbie movie has committed 110%. Margot Robbie is the perfect Barbie — but so are Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Dua Lipa, Emma Mackey, and every other Barbie in the movie, because Barbie can be anything and everything. Ryan Gosling is the ultimate Ken, here to look pretty and support Barbie in everything she does. (Also, shoutout to Michael Cera’s Allan… there’s only one Allan!)

The trailers revealed a hot pink beach paradise, with set pieces that look straight out of the toy aisle and costumes that look like you could find them in little plastic boxes. Here’s the thing: we don’t actually know what the hell the Barbie movie is about besides, well, Barbie. But that doesn’t matter because we’re already sold, because of just how hard director Greta Gerwig and the rest of the filmmakers committed to the entire B-A-R-B-I-E experience. —PR

They Cloned Tyrone

On Netflix July 21

Teyonah Parris, Jamie Foxx, and John Boyega stand in an elevator and look fly as hell in THey Cloned Tyrone. Photo: Parrish Lewis/Netflix

Genre: Sci-fi comedy
Director: Juel Taylor
Cast: Tyler Antonius, Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris

There’s not much room these days for the kind of vicious blaxploitation movies legendary director Gordon Parks Jr. was known for back in the 1970s, but Netflix’s new comedic sci-fi thriller might inch close. In 1974, Parks Jr. directed the totally-kick-ass-but-terrifying flick Three the Hard Way, featuring Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Jim Kelly as a trio of fighters who uncover a white supremacist plan to poison the water supply of Black communities in Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Los Angeles. Hardcore.

They Cloned Tyrone, which marks the directorial debut of Creed II writer Juel Taylor, takes a similar track, with a covert cloning operation standing in for the poison-water plot, and John Boyega, Teyonah Parris, and Jamie Foxx stepping into the ass-kicking roles. If it has bite, it could be one of the better original movies coming out of Netflix in a long while. —MP

Talk to Me

In theaters July 28

A close-up of a woman screaming in a car in Talk to Me. The image is tinted in red, and her hand is pressed up against the glass window. Image: A24

Genre: Horror
Directors: Danny and Michael Philippou
Cast: Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen

Say you’re a teen, and you find a mummified hand that, when you hold it, allows you to speak to a spirit. What’s your next move? Correct, the answer is treat it like a party drug and bring it to the next rager.

Talk to Me’s premise starts there, and, like so many wild nights, quickly spirals out of control — and gets right to the good stuff. That means when Mia (Sophie Wilde) inadvertently pushes the boundaries of the supernatural a bit too far, the demonic elements they’ve been toying with come to play — hard. The result is creepy and utterly compelling, a taut 90-minute ride into possession and paranoia.

We caught this one out of Sundance this year, and can say Talk to Me perfectly threads the needle, setting up some obvious metaphors but lending itself to plenty of other readings. It’s also an absolute banger of a horror movie, offering a high that’s so hard to maintain, but making it look easy. —ZM


The Meg 2: The Trench

In theaters August 4

Genre: Horror
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Jason Statham, Wu Jing, Skyler Samuels

There is not a cynical bone in my body about this movie. All I really needed to know was the promise of the title: The Meg, but again. The plot of The Meg 2: The Trench is: There are more megs this time. This time around it’s directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Free Fire), whose tonal interests range so broadly it’s hard to know how drastically The Meg 2 will swing. Per according to reactions out of CinemaCon, there’s also more gore, Jason Statham leading up a high-tech submarine mission with a mech suit, giant squids, and apparently a megalodon eating a T-Rex. Folks, cinema. Jaws swam so The Meg 2 could swim as a bigger, more ancient shark. —ZM

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

In theaters August 4

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look shocked in an animated image from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Image: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Action comedy
Directors: Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears
Cast: Rose Byrne, Jackie Chan, Ayo Edebiri

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have put every dream they’ve ever had on screen, from Superbad to Sausage Party to Amazon’s The Boys. Next up: Reinventing TMNT with a cast of actual teenagers who bring slacker vibes to the heroes in a half shell and a new animation style that would not exist without the Spider-verse movies but who cares because it looks freakin’ rad. The Turtles haven’t had the greatest go of it over the last decade, starring in a mediocre animated movie and some solid TV animation/direct-to-video stuff. But just like ’90s kids, the next generation deserves their Pretty Darn Good TMNT movie, and with Rogen and Goldberg taking it seriously, and a Last Ronin video game in the works, we actually have a Turtles renaissance ahead of us. —MP

Last Voyage of the Demeter

In theaters August 11

A crew member on the Demeter holds on to the ship’s mast while Dracula lurks behind him. Image: Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Genre: Horror
Director: André Øvredal
Cast: Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham

Dracula’s on a boat; LET’S GO!!!!! The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a perfect example of public-domain explication: The movie takes the tiny mention in Bram Stoker’s original novel of the empty boat Dracula came to England on and blows it out to feature-length, imaging the ghoulish carnage the world’s most famous vampire brought to the vessel. In other words, this is basically a slasher movie confined to a boat where Dracula murders every single person on-board. What could be better than that?

The Last Voyage of the Demeter is directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter) and stars David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man) and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones). On top of those actors, the movie’s particularly monstrous version of Dracula is performed by Javier Botet, who has played several monsters before, including the excellent and eerie Crooked Man from The Conjuring 2. —AG

Gran Turismo

In theaters August 11

A race car driver is very focused, with both hands on the wheel, in Gran Turismo. Image: Sony Pictures

Genre: Sports
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Archie Madekwe, David Harbour, Orlando Bloom

The latest extension of the video game adaptation boom is a little different than The Last of Us or Super Mario Bros. Movie. That’s because Gran Turismo, while adapting the racing game franchise, is also based on a true story — that of a young Gran Turismo prodigy who graduates from virtual racing to racing in real cars.

There have been a few real-life racing drivers who have followed that or similar paths, but this movie is specifically based on the journey of Jann Mardenborough, a British driver who won a Gran Turismo competition and has since had a decade-long professional racing career. Archie Madekwe (Midsommar) stars as Mardenborough, while David Harbour (Stranger Things) plays his trainer. The movie will be the first video game adaptation directed by video game enthusiast Neill Blomkamp (District 9). —PV

Blue Beetle

In theaters August 18

Blue Beetle looks down on Earth from space in his suit in Blue Beetle, with lens flare from the sun. Image: Warner Bros.

Genre: Action
Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Cast: Xolo Maridueña, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez

DC’s cinematic universe is going through a major reboot under James Gunn, who’s wrapping up the existing continuity of the DC Extended Universe, and replacing it with a completely new continuity that will just be called the DCU. The Flash is meant to enact that change, and its immediate follower, Blue Beetle, will bridge the two continuities, giving DC its first Latinx live-action superhero lead (Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, the third incarnation of the superhero Blue Beetle) and its first post-reset adventure.

In this superhero origin story, Jaime encounters and bonds with an alien artifact that gives him superpowers, then clashes with villain Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), who wants it for herself. In comics canon, Victoria is the sister of Ted Kord, the original Blue Beetle, but like everything else in the DCEU, she’s probably getting a reset here. —TR

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