A feast of summer movies to excite fans

This summer, movie theater owners are betting that the pandemic will finally be behind them. The receipts for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” suggest that this might be the case. According to Variety, theaters will also add a $1 or $2 “surcharge” to “most requested tickets” this summer, presumably to hasten their return to fiscal health, but woe to families who visit multiplexes.

First is the IMAX-filmed “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount, May 27), which completed principal photography in 2019 and opens this week. Tom Cruise returns as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Miles Teller plays Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards). Jennifer Connelly is Maverick’s new love interest. Among the other blockbuster certainties opening this summer are “Jurassic World Dominion” (Universal, June 10), bringing back Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and those dinosaurs under director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”). holy hodgepodge, “Thor: Love and Thunder” (Disney, July 8) mixes characters from those “Thor” movies and Norse mythology with most of the cast from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, as well as the main Olympian god Zeus (Russell Crowe).

This summer will also feature the usual family releases. Boston-born Chris Evans, the big-screen Captain America, takes on the voice of Pixar’s character Buzz Lightyear in the computer-animated sci-fi action film. “Light-year” (Disney, June 17), a film that also features the voices of Keke Palmer and James Brolin. “Lightyear” tells the story of young Buzz Lightyear’s attempts to find his way back to Earth after being marooned with his crew on a hostile planet. In “Minions: The Rise of Gru” (Universal, July 1), 12-year-old Gru (voice of Concord-born Steven Carell) yearns, with the help of his loyal Minions, to become the world’s greatest supervillain. Gru is aided and fought by characters voiced by Michelle Yeoh, Taraji P. Hensen, Lucy Lawless, Jean-Claude Van Damme, RZA, and Julie Andrews. In the computer-animated superhero action movie “DC League of Super-Pets” (Warner Bros., July 29), Superman (voice of John Krasinski) and the Justice League are kidnapped by Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), and Superman’s superdog, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), assembles a superhero gang of rescued pets. They include a bloodhound named Ace (Kevin Hart), PB the pig (Vanessa Bayer), Merton the lightning-fast turtle (Natasha Lyonne), and Chip the electrified squirrel (Diego Luna).

What would the summer movie season be without alternative programming? by David Cronenberg “Crimes of the Future” (Neon, June 3), a body horror effort from the master of such films that premiered this week at Cannes. The film stars Cronenberg’s favorite Viggo Mortensen (“A History of Violence”) as Saul Tenser, a man capable of growing new organs in his own body. He and his partner Caprice (Lea Seydoux, “No Time to Die”) have turned the removal and display of such organs into a futuristic art form. In Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror movie “Nope” (Universal, July 22), Daniel Kaluuya (“Peele’s Get Out”), Keke Palmer, Steven Yuen and others in an isolated town witness unexplained happenings in the heavens. The plot of the film has been kept mostly under wraps. But the trailer looks like some kind of alien abduction movie.

Which movie season is complete with a biopic on the big screen? This summer we have the King himself, “Elvis” (Warner Bros. June 24) from director Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”) with Austin Butler (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) as Presley and the great Tom Hanks as the King’s legendary manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film also features Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”) as country singing pioneer Jimmie Rodgers. With a cast that includes Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz and Joey King, “Bullet train” (Sony, August 5) Track down five assassins boarding a fast-moving bullet train to learn what their tasks are from their controllers.

In the action thriller “The Gray Man” (Netflix, July 22), from “Avengers” directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Ryan Gosling stars as Court Gentry aka Sierra Six, the CIA black ops operator created by Tom’s collaborator and novelist. Clancy, Mark Greaney. Netflix hopes this will launch another franchise for Russians from Netflix’s hit “Extraction” movies. The cast also features Chris Evans, Anya de Armas and Rege-Jean Page. Let’s hope that these movies will bring our movie theaters back to life.

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