Top 20 SUMMER MOVIES that Totally Worth your Time
After a long pandemic strike, Hollywood is ready to roar and deliver all the thrills, chills, and feels we’ve been missing for the past 12 months. The 2021 lineup features big stars in mega franchises, some of which were pushed back by the pandemic. But if you're not into big blockbusters, there are emotional musicals, romantic love stories, dramas, and all other kinds, too!
Release Date: May 28
Platform: Theaters & Disney Plus Premier Access
Starring: Emma Stone stars as the title character, with Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Mark Strong in supporting roles.
We're not sure how much Cruella will rewrite the history of the titular 101 Dalmatians villain, but the Emma Stone-led film is giving us Maleficent vibes. Yes, Disney's finally telling the backstory of one of its classic baddies and making her slightly relatable. (Or as relatable as someone who ends up trying to turn adorable puppies into a fur coat can be.) Before Cruella de Vil turned to a life of dognapping, she was an aspiring and mistreated fashion designer, and this movie will show how she got so rotten.
|Photo: Game 4V|
2. Black Widow
Release Date: July 9
Platform: Theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone, William Hunt, O-T Fagbenle.
Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow follows Natasha Romanoff as she travels to Budapest and confronts her past while also dealing with some classic Marvel villains, like Taskmaster. Natasha teams up with some people from her past — like Yelena Belova — as we learn more about the events that led to her becoming an important member of the Avengers.
3. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Release Date: June 4
Platform: Theaters and HBO Max
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard.
The summer scaries are in full effect in the third movie in the main Conjuring franchise, which brings back Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Like the two previous films, The Devil Made Me Do It is based on a true story; this time, it’s the 1980s case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who stabbed his landlord to death and claimed he was possessed by demonic forces.
4. The Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 6
Platform: Theaters and HBO Max
Starring: Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, Joaquín Cosío, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Nathan Fillion.
Directed and written by James Gunn, everyone's favorite misfits and villains are back in The Suicide Squad. Some of the biggest and best criminals will do anything to get out of prison, even if that means signing up for the super-secret Task Force X. With characters like Harley Quinn, Bloodsport, Peacemaker, King Shark, and more, The Suicide Squad is filled to the brim with some of the best DC Comics villains, who are sure to take us on one heck of a ride.
5. Fast & Furious 9
Release Date: June 25
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron.
It’s all about family, as Dom Toretto faces off against his long-lost brother (John Cena), who’s out for revenge and working for Cipher (Charlize Theron), the heavy from the previous F&F installment. F9: Fast & Furious 9 also sees the return of fan-favorite Han (Sung Kang), who was presumed dead after his car blew up way back in “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.” We’ll be watching just to see how he escaped. The movie’s release has been pushed back twice; most recently, it was scheduled for release on Memorial Day.
6. Fear Street trilogy
Release Date: July 7
Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Maya Hawke, Darrell Britt-Gibson
R.L. Stine’s popular Fear Street books scared you as a kid; now, Netflix’s three film adaptations are here to frighten you as a grown-up. The trilogy chronicles a string of murders across 300 years in the town of Shadyside. Fear Street Part One: 1994 drops July 2, while Part Two: 1978 follows July 8, and Part Three: 1666 wraps up the scary saga on July 16. The Fear Street movies really are for adults, since they’re rated R. And since they’re streaming on Netflix, you can easily cower under the covers.
|Photo: Screen Crash|
Release Date: June 4
Starring: Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos González, Michael Rooker, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, and Gloria Estefan.
Call this the summer of Lin-Manuel Miranda. His musical In the Heights is hitting theaters (more on that below) and he voices the lead character and wrote the songs for Vivo. The titular kinkajou plays for crowds in Havana with his beloved owner Andrés, who shares Vivo’s passion for music. Then, tragedy strikes and Vivo undertakes the mission of delivering a love song to the famous Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), across the sea in Miami. According to Tom Guide, Vivo is a not-to-be-missed "family-friendly animated outings".
8. In the Heights
Release Date: June 11
Platform: Theaters and HBO Max
Starring: Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, Jimmy Smits.
Directed by Jon M. Chu and based on Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights tells the story of Usnavi, who saves every penny from his job in hopes of having a better life someday. Set in the vibrant and tight-knit community of Washington Heights, In the Heights is about what happens when you dare to make your dreams a reality.
|Photo: Paramount Picture|
9. A Quiet Place Part II
Release Date: May 28
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski.
Directed and written by John Krasinski, A Quiet Place Part II picks up right after the events of the first movie. The Abbott family finally leaves their seemingly safe home and confronts all of the terrors of the outside world, all while trying to remain silent. With new friends come new foes, as the Abbotts quickly realized the creatures who hunt by sound aren't the only threats they must face.
10. The Tomorrow War
Release date: July 2
Platform: Amazon Prime
Starring: Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J.K. Simmons
From the teaser trailer, it looks like someone threw “Independence Day” and “Terminator” into a blender and didn’t bother to add any new ingredients. Trailers aren’t always reliable, however, and this time-traveling special effects extravaganza was directed by Chris McKay, of “Robot Chicken” and “The Lego Movie.” So we’re not giving up hope yet.
|Photo: Screen Rant|
Release date: July 30
Starring: Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, Camille Cottin, Deanna Dunagan
Summer requires at least a couple of cerebral thrillers to revive our atrophied brains. “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy keeps you guessing with this father-daughter thriller about an American oil-rigger (Matt Damon) traveling to Marseille to prove his daughter didn’t murder her lover.
|Photo: Indie Wire|
12. The Green Knight
Release Date: July 30
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, Ralph Ineson
Based on the Arthurian legend, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain, King Arthur's nephew, who suddenly embarks on a quest to confront the infamous Green Knight, a large green-skinned stranger. On his journey, Gawain is forced to confront ghosts, thieves, and more as he tries to prove himself to his family and the kingdom.
13. America: The Motion Picture
Release Date: June 18
Starring: Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, Paul Reiser
Imagine if “Drunk History” and “Archer” hooked up one night and you might just, come up with something akin to Matt Thompson’s cheeky take on the American Revolution. The animated antics stars a jacked George Washington (voice of Channing Tatum) along with Sam Adams in superhero tights, amongst others. Lafayette native Will Forte lends his voice, too.
Release Date: June 30
Starring: Channing Tatum, Simon Pegg, Judy Greer
Based on the memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, this heartwarming and funny movie tells the story of Matthew Logelin, a recently widowed father who is struggling to raise his daughter after the unexpected death of his wife.
15. Skater Girl
Release Date: June 11
Starring: Rachel Saanchita Gupta, Shafin Patel, Amy Maghera, Waheeda Rehman
Skater Girl tells the story of Prerna, a teenager living in India who is introduced to skateboarding. As she falls head-over-heels for the sport, she tries to defy the odds in hopes of competing in a national championship.
|Photo: Material Arts Action Cinema|
16. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
Release Date: June 16
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Tom Hopper, Antonio Banderas, and Morgan Freeman.
More than just a mouthful, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard looks like a perfect thought-free mix of comedy and action. In this sequel, bodyguard Michael (Ryan Reynolds) thought he was done with helping hitman Darius (Samuel L. Jackson), who was going clean to save his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek). Turns out, he's back in the thick of it again, as Darius got kidnapped, and Sonia needs him to save her man. As you might expect, banter is here in full force.
17. Army of the Dead
Release Date: May 21
Platform: Theaters and Netflix
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Samantha Win, Michael Cassidy.
Directed and written by Zack Snyder, Army of the Dead follows a group of mercenaries who decide to pull off one of the greatest heists ever attempted. Set right after a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, the group must fight to survive and hopefully come out of this journey a couple of dollars richer.
|Photo: Radio Times|
Release date: Aug. 13
Starring: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige
Hudson is poised to deliver the goods — acting and singing — as the Queen of Soul. Another promising aspect is that Liesl Tommy, who has helmed memorable stage productions at Berkeley Rep and Cal Shakes, directed this.
Release date: June 9
Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Shamier Anderson, Finn Jones, Lucius Hoyos, Gil Bellows, Barry Pepper, Jennifer Jason Leigh.
After a mysterious catastrophe wipes out all electronics and takes away humanity's ability to sleep, Jill discovers that her young daughter might be the key to saving everyone. As scientists race against the clock for a cure, Jill must decide whether to protect her children or sacrifice everything in order to save the world.
Release Date: July 23
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abbey Lee, Aaron Pierre, Kathleen Chalfant, Alexa Swinton, Nolan River, Kylie Begley, Embeth Davidtz, Eliza Scanlen, Alex Wolff, Emun Elliott, Thomasin McKenzie.
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and based on the graphic novel Sandcastle, this movie follows a family on a tropical vacation. However, nothing is as it seems, and they soon discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing holds many secrets. Namely, it causes them to age rapidly and reduces their entire lives into just one day.
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