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Critic's Summer Movie Picks

The summer film season is heating up. Cool down with our favorites.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. May 31, 2017
  • Arts + Culture
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Beat the heat this summer with a wave of summer sizzlers coming soon to theaters. Surprises galore are in store for those who expect excellence in lieu of remakes, rebakes and sequels. The following should be up to the task.



This intelligent horror flick examines how fear and the will to survive can make men into monsters. When civilization is threatened by a pandemic plague, two families are forced to live together with disastrous results. “Downright petrifying” is the buzz. Starring Joel Edgerton and Christopher Abbott. Trey Edward Shults directs. June 9.



Sam Elliott finally looks like Oscar bait in this drama about an aging Western movie star haunted by his shortcomings. Most of his character’s time is spent smoking weed with an occasional gig doing commercial voice-overs. When he’s diagnosed with cancer, suddenly his professional and personal lives vastly improve. But some things can’t be fixed. Also starring Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter and Elliott’s wife, the long-absent Katharine Ross. Directed by Brett Haley. June 9.



High-speed chases, shoot-outs and super slick scoring make this a crime caper destined to draw attention. Ansel Elgort plays a getaway driver who is forced by a crime boss to pull one last heist. Surrounded by bad cats like Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm who up the amp, this looks like one adrenaline-pumping ride. It won this year’s SXSW Audience Award for director Edgar Wright. June 28.



Anonymous Syrian journalists risk their lives exposing ISIS abuses in this award winning documentary by director Matthew Heineman. The power of the media is central in presenting the impact of what is happening a world away but affecting us all. The film’s power lies in the images it projects and those who caught them. July 7.



Casey Affleck’s latest challenge is spending most of his screen time cloaked in a sheet. In this story of loss and the inevitable acceptance of it, Rooney Mara plays a grieving widow whose husband returns as a ghost. The premise may sound absurd, but director David Lowery tells the tale with a haunting grace that wowed audiences at Sundance this year. July 7.



A comedy about a stand-up comic and his girlfriend who’s in a coma. Really? Cultural differences also come into play in this humorous love story about “serious stuff.” Comedian Kumail Najiani (who also co-scripted) stars as himself along with Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. Directed by Michael Showalter. July 14.



Judging from the trailer, this film looks epic in scale. But then again, director Christopher Nolan never skimps. Telling the survival story of Allied soldiers under siege who safely crossed the English Channel (aided by civilians), Nolan relied upon firsthand accounts to get the real feel. Starring Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branaugh, just for starters — colossal victory on so many levels. July 21.



In July 1967, Detroit erupted into riot mode when an incident at the Algiers Motel led to the killing of three black men. Over the course of five days, it became one of the largest citizen uprisings in U.S. history. Tagline: “It’s Time We Knew.” Leave it to director Kathryn Bigelow to get it right. Starring John Krasinski, John Boyega and Kaitlyn Dever. Aug. 4.



A U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent finds the frozen body of a young woman on a Wyoming Native American reservation. An FBI agent is brought in to determine if it’s a murder. All is not what it appears in this intense thriller starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. Directed and written by Taylor Sheridan. Aug. 5.



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