(USA) A remake of the masterful 1959 historical epic that nobody asked for, the 2016 version starring Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Morgan Freeman brings 3D digital technology to the Biblical age and features a Jewish prince who spends his time sometimes epically chariot-racing and mostly pandering to Christian viewers.
(UK/Canada/USA) Steven Spielberg brings the beloved Roald Dahl novel about a bullied gentle giant to the big screen: Young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is snatched from her bed into a land where roam behemoth troglodytes hungry for “human beans.” It’s a cinematic feast for the eyes, and a rollicking romp into the Giant Country of our childhoods. PPPP Call of Heroes
(Hong Kong) Sean Lau heads this explosive new period action film by Benny Chan, along with Louis Koo and Eddie Peng. Set after the collapse of the Qing dynasty when warlords ruled, a group of villagers bands together to overthrow an invading tyrant.
(USA) The much-anticipated sequel to 2003’s smash hit “Finding Nemo” focuses on the lovable amnesiac Pacific blue tang played by Ellen Degeneres, who goes on an adventure to look for her long-lost parents. A feel-good film with more than a few teaching moments, “Finding Dory” hits all the right emotional notes with plenty of heart. PPPP
(UK/USA) “Genius” takes audiences back to the Roaring 20s, and all the heavy hitters make an appearance: Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and the man who cleaned up their greatest works, Max Perkins (Colin Firth). His next biggest project? “Look Homeward, Angel” by the exceedingly promising (if not slightly long-winded) Thomas Wolfe.
(USA) The highly anticipated gender-swapped reboot of Ghostbusters finally lands in cinemas, this time starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Balancing gloriously unsubtle cameos and gratuitous protonic unleashing with strong well-rounded characters and hilarious banter, the Ghostbusters are back—and they ain’t afraid of no ghosts. PPPPP
(UK/Belgium) An adaptation of J.G Ballard’s slightly apocalyptic novel about a luxury highrise filled with affluent residents with no reason to leave, as everything descends into chaos. We follow the insanity through protagonist Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) as he oscillates between rational and disturbed. A darkly comic class-war parable that’s compelling but doesn’t feel wholly original and is let down by some abrupt tonal shifts. PPPP A Hologram for the King
(UK/USA/France) Tom Hanks is a postrecession salesman peddling holographic tech to a pre-Arab Spring government. Hanks just about manages to hold up this lackluster shamble through the desert, which may have been intended as a rumination on the pressures of old age and responsibility—but turns out to be a succession of shots of our protagonist looking glum in a series of different rooms. PP
(USA) Matt Damon’s Bourne is back, and he’s getting closer to finding out the truth of his past while having to evade the CIA in this new post-Snowden era. Like a fine wine, Matt Damon has aged well, but we can’t say the same about the shaky-cam directing style and disorienting car chases. PPP
(Hong Kong) Based on the popular TVB crime thriller, this cops and robbers drama follows undercover agents deep in a triad network, re-emerging into the world of high finance and high level drug deals. Stars Charmaine Sheh and Francis Ng, both from TVB’s phenomenally popular show “Triumph in the Skies.”
(USA) A good old-fashioned ghost story that hinges on a creature you can only see when the lights are, erm, out. “Lights Out” links unusual and violent sightings with a woman’s (Maria Bello, “Prisoners”) past experiences in a mental institution and the strange friend she met there.
McDull, Rise of the Rice Cooker
(Hong Kong) When a mysterious alien obliterates the superhero representative sent by earth to meet him, who can the world turn to? A humble pig from an even humbler fishing village designs a super robot out of a rice cooker, and, with the support of his community, surprises the powers that be. McGyver? Think again: Must be McDull!
(Hong Kong) A film sequel to the HKTV show of the same name, “The Menu” revolves around a group of newspaper journalists who have to figure out what to do when a bomb is detonated in the middle of a television studio by a man avenging the grisly murder of his daughter.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
(USA) As the title suggests, this Zac Efron/ Anna Kendrick vehicle centers around two rowdy brothers (Efron and Adam DeVine from “Pitch Perfect”) who are coerced into finding nice, respectable dates for their sister’s wedding. Instead, they get hardpartying Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza.
(USA) In this ultimate summer popcorn thriller, Blake Lively spends most of the movie stranded on a coral reef a mere
200 meters from shore, and the only thing between her and safety is a great white shark. But how does she know that the shark wasn’t just going in for a hug?
Star Trek Beyond
(USA) The third installment of the rebooted Star Trek series marks one of the last appearances of Anton Yelchin (RIP) as Chekov; opens on the 50th anniversary of the beloved franchise; and stars Idris Elba as a predatory new villain. Doesn’t quite top its predecessors, but it’s a rollicking good summer ride with plenty of dat lens flare. PPP
(USA) In a world of superheroes and supervillains, a ragtag group of incarcerated evildoers are called on by the government to defeat an even super-er mystery villain. Despite an A-list cast—Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis and Jared Leto—the movie doesn’t add anything new to an already saturated genre. PPP
(Germany) See review, opposite.