Mega-disasters, dinosaurs, strippers, zombies, tiny superheroes – the summer lineup of films has plenty to shout about and a surprisingly limited number of sequels, remakes, or reboots for us to complain about. In fact, several sequels are welcome returns – after all, who isn’t excited about Magic Mike XXL? Exactly.
So we decided it was very important business to set about putting together a long list of all the notable releases using a highly sophisticated Jurassic Park rating system of excitement: Velociraptor = smart, fast, will eat you alive Frankendinosaur = proceed with caution, gimmick alert
Now go forth and plan your summer viewing accordingly … (skip to PART 2)
Dir: Brad Bird Cast: Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Judy Greer The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, MI: Ghost Protocol: Brad Bird has yet to make a bad, or even merely OK, film in his career. No, he's too busy crafting amazing action-adventure spectacles, perfect for the big screen summer, and Tomorrowland’s sci-fi mystery about a parallel world looks to be another in that mould. Verdict: Velociraptor – you better believe it. Out 22 May
Dir: Brad Peyton Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Cugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd No, this isn’t directed by Roland Emmerich, though it certainly looks like it ought to be. Disaster porn has long been summer blockbuster fodder, but of the natural disaster sub-genre (Godzilla doesn’t count) we haven’t seen anything really notable since 2012 in 2009. One thing is certain, if you’re caught up in a cataclysmic event, you better hope the Rock is working search and rescue. Verdict: Frankendinosaur – strap yourself in for a very silly, thrilling ride. Out 29 May
Dir: Paul Feig Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Jude Law Melissa McCarthy’s schtick might not be for everyone, but the vehicles it rides around in are getting more and more high-powered. Teaming her up with Mr Transporter, Jude Law’s toupee and Rose Byrne (no smart names, she’s too good) has heaps of promise, certainly much more than Luke Wilson and Eddie Murphy in I-Spy. Verdict: Frankendinosaur – bring your funny bone. Out 5 Jun
Dir: Colin Trevorrow Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Judy Greer The step up from Safety Not Guaranteed to Jurassic World is considerable for Colin Trevorrow, but after a decade in development hell we’re finally getting a return to the dino-theme park on Isla Nublar, with added genetically-enhanced dinosaurs and Chris Pratt, dino-whisperer. It could be amazing, it could also be Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Redux. Verdict: Frankendinosaur – literally. Out 12 Jun
Dir: Doug Ellin Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Rounda Rousey, Kevin Dillon Whether or not you watched the Hollywood adventures of Vincent Chase, Ari Gold and co during their eight season run, it’s unlikely that you’ll be precluded from joining in the fun now (though you’ll probably miss a few in-jokes). Star cameos from Liam Neeson, Calvin Harris, Jessica Alba, George Takei, Armie Hammer, Tom Brady and, of course, Mark Wahlberg. Verdict: Velociraptor – a big screen outing for a television show about making it to the big screen. Out 19 Jun
Dir: Bill Condon Cast: Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada Have the adventures of Sherlock Holmes ever been hotter? From Steven Moffat’s Sherlock to US adaptation Elementary with Johnny Lee Miller, the detective’s skills are in high demand. Mr Holmes offers a whole new angle, doing for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character what Shakespeare In Love did for Romeo & Juliet. Verdict: Velociraptor – Sir Ian McKellen rarely puts a foot wrong. Out 19 Jun
Dir: Sam Esmail Cast: Justin Long, Emmy Rossum, Kayla Servi Okay romantics, we’ve got the date movie of the year marked. With its charming lead actors and magic-infused meet cute, Comet certainly looks a lot like similar hip roms like (500) Days of Summer and Garden State. Verdict: Velociraptor – come on you curmudgeons, love a little. Out 3 Jul
Magic Mike XXL
Dir: Gregory Jacobs Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard Channing Tatum can do no wrong, this is known. So if Channing Tatum wants to make a stripper sequel to Magic Mike, he should do that even though we’re still waiting for him to return to the Step Up series – side note, could he do for that what Vin Diesel did for F&F? Anyway, chiselled bodies, road trip, screaming women etc etc. Should be a blast. Verdict: Velociraptor – not recommended for those with heart conditions. Out 3 Jul
Dir: Alan Taylor Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, JK Simmons Time has been so meddled with at this point in the Terminator series that we aren’t even sure if this is a sequel or a reboot or a remake. Either way, Arnie is in it, and so is the mother of dragons. The Terminatrix, thankfully, is not. Verdict: Frankendinosaur – looks like great fun, but time travel is a fickle mistress. Out 3 Jul
Dir: Seth MacFarlane Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson If you enjoyed the first buddy comedy with Wahlberg and his talking teddy bear and you’re not worried about the affect it has on your IQ, you’ll be delighted to know Seth MacFarlane is back for a potty-mouthed sequel. This time the bear gets legal recognition. Verdict: Frankendinosaur – expect some funny moments, but also poo jokes. You’ve been warned. Out 10 Jul
Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie
UK release: 22 May 2015
Science-obsessed teenager Casey (Robertson) teams up with mysterious Athena (Cassidy) and child-genius-turned-grump Frank (Clooney) to unlock the secrets of a mysterious pin. Futuristic family adventure, refreshingly driven by two young women; Casey and Athena are inspiring heroes and the visuals are stunning.
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Matt Smith
UK release: 26 June 2015
More time-travel hi-jinks as the Resistance battles Skynet and timelines collide all over the shop. Solidly workmanlike action sequences meet bewilderingly confusing writing and the characters are soon as lost as the audience, in what feels more like a parody of the franchise than the dawn of a new era.
Mike (Tatum) takes a weekend away from his business to join his stripper buddies on a road trip to … a stripping convention. Winning blend of male bonding and female fantasy, with the men much more likable than most all-male comedy ensembles. As sweet and steamy as fresh cherry pie.
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson
UK release: 12 June 2015
Dino-geek Gray (Simpkins) visits Jurassic Park with brother Zach (Robinson); the park's manager, their aunt Claire (Howard), is less than attentive until a new creation runs amok and raptor wrangler Owen (Pratt) steps in. Despite a merely functional screenplay, it has enough scares, scale, ideas and variety to keep…
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Jessica Barth
Though the novelty factor of the original has disappeared, the return of foul-mouthed teddybear Ted (voice of MacFarlane) and his best bro and thunder buddy John (Wahlberg) is a welcome one. This shamelessly puerile comedy begins after our furry friend and his new wife Tami-Lynn (Barth) are denied the chance to adopt a…
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Alison Janney, Jude Law
UK release: 5 June 2015
Susan (McCarthy) is a CIA office worker, the support to super-spy Bradley Fine (Law); when disaster strikes, Susan's withering boss Elaine (Janney) sends her into the field. Funny, exciting and genuinely ambitious spy spoof with an appealing performance from McCarthy, and Byrne exceptional as the arrogant villainess.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Colton Haynes, Morgan Griffin, Art Parkinson, Archie Panjabi, Todd Williams, Ioan Gruffudd, Will Yun Lee, Kylie Minogue, Paul Giamatti
An LA Search & Rescue pilot's ex-wife and her new man take his daughter to San Francisco. Meanwhile, in another part of the film, science guys are acting worried. Disaster movie! Johnson is great company, the supporting cast is fun and although the timing of the release is unfortunate, it's tremendously entertaining…
Cast: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hattie Morahan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Patrick Kennedy
UK release: 19 June 2015
Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) is 93 and living in with his stern housekeeper (Linney) and her son (Parker); the aged detective is still haunted by a case from 30 years before. McKellen is superb, Linney is on form and while the unhurried pace will frustrate some, if you like a meditative Holmes, this is for you.