Welcome back to another edition of PoG's Media Roundup. This is where we lay out the movies that you may want to see at your local theaters for the month. We are firmly in the summer moviegoing season and there is seemingly a film for every cinematic appetite in the month of June. So, get out your calendar and prepare for June's movies!
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Stars: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Tim Meadows, Sarah Silverman, Maya Rudolph, Seal
Universal Pictures’ Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is headlined by musical digital-shorts superstars Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, collectively known as The Lonely Island. The comedy goes behind the scenes as singer/rapper Conner4Real (Samberg) faces a crisis of popularity after his sophomore album flops, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he’s no longer the dopest star of all.
This is the comedy pick for the weekend, as Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg takes another swing at cinematic stardom. This time he is hedging his bets by bringing along his Lonely Island crew, which is where he made his name with their satirical take on modern music. Popstar seems likes a natural evolution and could be a surprise. However, the deflating debut of the R-rated Neighbors: Sorority Rising certainly doesn't bode well for movie's chances. The marketing also makes the movie seem slightly formulaic and plastic...but that is exactly what pop music is, right?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Stars: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Tyler Perry, Sheamus, Alan Ritchson, Stephen 'Sheamus' Farrelly, Gary Anthony Williams
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to theaters this summer to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder (Brian Tee) escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.
Anyone who was a fan of the TMNT cartoon in the 1990's can immediately identify the new approach to the franchise in the upcoming sequel. Will it pay off? Nah...probably not. But there is no way I will be missing out on this. In the 90's I was a simple kid who just wanted to see Rocksteady and Beebop in Secret of the Ooze, instead getting cheap imitations with Razar and Tokka. Plus, the upcoming movie features Krang, the intergalactic talking brain in it, making all my adolescent dreams come true, for better or worse. It's hard to really ask for more... Seriously, don't ask for anymore...
Stars: Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Ben Foster, Clancy Brown, Ben Schnetzer, Ruth Negga, Robert Kazinsky
From Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures comes Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon.
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.
So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
The early buzz on this has not been great, but it seems that fans of the World of Warcraft will get all of the necessary Easter eggs and winks to satisfy them. However, the question will be whether or not people that haven't played the game will actually come to theaters. The industry is watching as the video game genre continues to expand and expectations along with it. Regardless, the movie looks just ambitious enough to work, or to become the next Krull... Which isn't that bad if you think about it. We need more of those movies in the world.
The Conjuring 2
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga
The supernatural thriller brings to the screen another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
This is a sequel to one of the better horror films this decade and is the clear option for scares this month. James Wan has a bright future in front of him, filled with projects such as Aquaman and Robotech that geeks have waited a lifetime to see onscreen. But first he is coming back to the franchise that he started and honestly doesn't seem to need... So if there is something that excited Wan that much to come back, it's worth checking out.
Now You See Me 2
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
The Four Horsemen [Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan] return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry [Daniel Radcliffe], a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.
The first movie was filled with empty calories and is barely memorable. However, it's hard to pass up on a cast this talented and charismatic. But I probably will anyways...
Stars: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul
"Central Intelligence" follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Johnson), coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.
So it's either overkill, or a stroke of genius to throw together the most overexposed comedian with the most overexposed action star in America, in the same movie. And that isn't a bad thing because both Kevin Hart and The Rock are always in the limelight because they both know how to shine. This has the feeling of a classic comedic pairing and the duo is already planned to crossover into other movies, including the upcoming remake of Jumanji. This looks like the definition of a popcorn movie.
Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neill, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy
Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” reunites everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?
Last year Pixar blew away everyone's unreasonably high expectations with Inside Out, so while I'm not losing sleep waiting for the movie to open. I do fully expect the movie to surpass expectations once again.
Independence Day: Resurgence
Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner
We always knew they were coming back. After "Independence Day" redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
Ugg... There is a surprisingly high level of enthusiasm for the upcoming sequel to the twenty year old franchise. While the special effects look...expensive, it's hard to get excited for anything in the trailer beyond Jeff Goldblum. But honestly, I thought that we had our collective need to see our world destroyed on the big screen in the 1990's. I guess I was wrong...
Free State of Jones
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell
Directed by four-time Oscar® nominee Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games," "Seabiscuit," "Pleasantville"), and starring Oscar® winner Matthew McConaughey, "Free State of Jones" is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.
This is the first of two major releases this year that focus on famous historical slave rebellions from America's past that rarely gets mainstream play. The other being Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation, the retelling of bloody revolt led by Nat Turner, that cleaned up the festival circuit and is prepping for a release later this year. It's clear that this movie is built on the star power of Matthew McConaughey, but its unclear if the movie will attempt to take any real chances in recounting America's horrific recent history. I will be watching...closely.
Stars: Blake Lively
In the taut thriller "The Shallows," Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing alone on a secluded beach when she is attacked by a great white shark and stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she is only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills.
Studios have been trying since last century to revamp the shark thriller genre and recreate the Jaws' magic. That is akin to trying to recreate the Mona Lisa, but sometimes when shooting for greatness, you just end up with something really good. Hopefully that is the case here.
What movies are you looking forward to this month? When you see them, let us know what you thought of June’s films in the comment boards!