The summer movie season is in full swing and, whilst we may have to wait until next month for the likes of the enormously hyped The Incredibles 2 and the bound-to-be-amazing Mission: Impossible – Fallout, June 2018 is still promising a plethora of diverse gems. It’s not necessarily a stacked blockbuster month (lets be honest: we’ve had more blockbuster flicks so far this year than arguably ever before), but, again, it seems that there is undoubtedly something for everyone; popcorn movies, slick crime capers, laugh out loud comedies, and psychological thrillers, what’s not to love?!
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, dir. by J.A. Bayona
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ted Levine, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Justice Smith, B. D. Wong, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeff Goldblum.
Release date: June 6th.
Everyone expected 2015’s Jurassic World to be a solid success, both as an entertainment product and as a box office performer. But I don’t think anyone quite foresaw what it became; $1.6 billion later and a highly divided audience, Jurassic World became the film of 2015, after a certain adventure in a galaxy far, far away. With an unheard of haul like that, a sequel was inevitable, and now, three years later, it’s here – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. In the aftermath of the dino rampage on the reopened island-theme park, a volcanic eruption begins to threaten all life on the island with extinction, leading to trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) and former park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leading a rescue mission for the Jurassic creatures, with Owen chasing the last of his trained Velociraptors, Blue. Colin Trevorrow is out as director, as are the thoroughly wasted acting talents of Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson and Vincent D’Onofrio, but Pratt and Howard are back, veterans Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Ted Levine and James Cromwell are in, breakthrough starlet Justice Smith joins the cast, and Dr Ian Malcolm himself Jeff Goldblum returns. It’s a strong ensemble with, arguably, an even stronger director this time, with The Impossible and A Monster Calls director J.A. Bayona taking the helm. Bayona promises an eerie, gothic inspired take on the blockbuster franchise, with the trailers showcasing more of the popcorn consuming thrills that we’ve come to expect from the films, something that Jurassic World thrived on (inconsistencies aside). Be it as divisive as the previous entries of the franchise, or a unanimous hit, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a summer movie through and through. Grab your popcorn, grab your drinks, and let the thrills take over.
Ocean’s 8, dir. by Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, James Corden, Dakota Fanning, Damian Young.
Release date: June 18th.
Speaking of franchises returning to the big screen, cinema’s biggest heist-based franchise not starring Vin Diesel is back in its newest iteration – Ocean’s 8, a sequel-spin off to the George Clooney-led Ocean’s trilogy of the 2000s. Here, the ladies take over. Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Clooney’s Danny, leading her group of experts to rob the Met Gala in New York City. Joining her team are the usual suspects of the typical heist squad, but it’s the cast that makes it all the better. Bullock teams up with veterans Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson and Helena Bonham Carter, comedic dynamite Mindy Kaling, and the lesser experienced Awkwafina and Rihanna. It’s a dynamic, diverse and exciting ensemble, one who should give heist target Anne Hathaway more than she can handle. Whilst the heist-movie traditionally takes the expected route, it’s the characters who can make or break it. The cast director Gary Ross has assembled could be locked in a room together for two hours to improvise and it would likely be great to watch. Each brings something different to the table, combined with the slick and cool style of the Ocean’s movies (something that Ross will be under pressure to deliver), Ocean’s 8 looks set to be a rousing, crowd-pleasing crime caper, mixing the thrills and wit that we all pine for from our summer movies.
Tag, dir. by Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner.
Release date: June 29th.
It’s been said a thousand times, so I might as well say it again: comedy is hard to do. What one finds funny, another could find to be juvenile and dumb. What another finds to be witty and intelligent, one could find to be boring and unfunny. It’s a hard line to tread, and many movies each year fail trying to walk this margin. 2018, however, has given us some bright spots. By most accounts, minor hits Game Night and Blockers are laugh out loud, smart, endearing comedies that managed to please both critics and audiences, so perhaps mainstream comedy is on an upward swing. Enter Tag: the next studio comedy that hopes to hit the sweet spot of comedy, satisfying all comers in the process. One thing is for certain, the concept is certainly there. Tag tells the story of a group of friends who organise an annual game of tag, which they play across the country. It’s a simple premise, one that allows for some great, for lack of a better term, comedy set pieces and great character dynamics. And like Ocean’s 8 before it, Tag has assembled a formidable ensemble; Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner. Some of the strongest comedic talents of the past decade, some of the strongest actors period of the past decade. Lets hope that the script matches them, and that Tag is as unique and hilarious as it looks.
EDITOR’S PICK: Hereditary, dir. by Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd.
Release date: June 15th.
I fortunately get to write this part with the benefit of hindsight, having seen Hereditary recently as the London Sundance Film Festival (keep your eyes peeled for my review to be posted on The Edge soon!). Even if I hadn’t seen it, the film would still likely be the top pick for June, based on its marketing and early buzz coming out of the Sundance Film Festival back in January. But now, having experienced Hereditary on the big screen, I cannot recommend this film enough. The aim of a horror movie is to scare, Hereditary, the directorial debut of Ari Aster, is downright emotionally and mentally affecting. I can’t really give a synopsis for this movie accurately enough without spoiling it, the events set in motion pretty quickly and, from there, Hereditary never lets up. Nor do I want to delve too much into what makes the performances of Toni Collette and Alex Wolff so damn good and, at least in my opinion, awards worthy come the season, or the way the movie subverts expectations whilst still disturbing its audience, or to draw comparisons to other horror film to give you an idea as to what to expect. We’re in the midst of a horror cinema renaissance, Hereditary looks at films like It and Get Out, gives them a wedgie, pushes them down the stairs and then farts on them for good measure. Simply put, Hereditary is a modern horror masterpiece.