Posted Tue May 31, 2016 at 11:30 AM PDT by Matthew Hartman
The days are longer, sunnier, warmer, it can mean only one thing, Summer is here! While this time of year is great for backyard barbecues, baseball games, and camping, Summer is the best time of year for big time movie-going fun! From the latest and greatest science fiction action adventure blockbusters to hilarious breakout comedies, the summer season has something for everyone. With so many movies coming out during this three month stretch from June through August, it can be tough to keep track of the action, fortunately, High-Def Digest is here to help. We'll let you know what's coming when, and if you're not going to be able to make it to the show, we'll toss some home video recommends your way so you get the most out of this summer season!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows
Well, considering the bank that the 2014 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' reboot brought in, it's little surprise that Paramount and producer Michael Bay are rolling the dice a second time with everyone's heroes in a half shell. This time, fans will finally be treated to favorite baddies, Krang, BeeBop, and Rocksteady as well as Baxter Stockman played by Tyler Perry. We'll try to look at Megan Fox's return as a positive for series continuity.
Not your cup of radioactive ooze? Well, it's a good thing the original 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze' are out on Blu-ray! These classics never age and show how amazing practical effects can be.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Judging from the trailers alone, this Andy Samberg-fronted comedy should prove to be a huge draw. Hopefully, the comedic satire is razor sharp, as the flick looks to skewer boy band has-beens. Will it be a hit? Tough to say, but with a cast featuring the comedic talents of Samberg, Bill Hader, and Will Arnett, it should prove to be a contender during this early summer.
Can't make it for this one? Give 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story' to get your music satire fix. This one may draw from a lot of obscure musicians, but if you know your tunes and a bit of history, you should be on the floor laughing.
Me Before You
It isn't summer without a little tear-jerker romantic drama. Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin star as unlikely lovers. He's paralyzed, she's a lively young caretaker hired to help him. Love ensues. It's hard not to draw a bit of an unfortunate comparison to 2014's 'The Theory of Everything' which featured two fantastic performances from Eddy Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
If this one is a dud, you'd be right to pick up a copy of 'The Theory of Everything.' Sure there is a lot more math in this one but it has a lot of heart, and again, the performances alone are worth the price of admission.
Director Duncan Jones leaps to the big-budget big leagues with this adaptation of the famous Blizzard strategy game series. Will it sink or swim? Tough call. Video game adaptations are notorious for their dismal qualities, but this is a massive film with a huge budget and some incredible special effects work. If Jones can bring this one home, it could well be the hit of the season and spawn a whole new franchise!
If 'Warcraft' isn't a blip on your movie-going radar, you should really just go and grab a copy of Duncan Jones' previous flicks 'Moon' and 'Source Code.' They're completely unrelated to 'Warcraft' but they are so darn good it's baffling that there are people out there who haven't seen either of them.
Now You See Me 2
Did you see 'Now You See Me' when it came out in 2013? Did you enjoy it? Then you're probably getting excited to see 'Now You See Me 2.' The cast is back, the heist is bigger, and the fun looks to be dialed up to 11. Sure the plot may sound a bit like 'Ocean's 12' but who cares? As long as the flick delivers the fun, fans should be pleased.
Need another magician/heist flick? Give 2006's Edward Norton starring magician mystery thriller 'The Illusionist' a try. It's got plot twists at every turn, fine performances from Norton and Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell, and Jessica Biel, not to mention a hypnotically beautiful score from Phillip Glass.
The Conjuring 2
Considering 'The Conjuring' was a runaway success, it's no surprise that horror maestro James Wan is giving fans another case from the infamous files of ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. Will it be any good? After the misguided 'Annabelle' spinoff, we can only hope that this franchise wasn't more than just a flash in the pan and actually has some more scares to offer.
'The Conjuring 2' not your flavor of spook show? Give the 1982 classic 'Poltergeist' another look. This is a movie that just doesn't age for me and I can't get enough of the haunted house shenanigans - even if it was followed by two inferior sequels.
'Finding Nemo' has long been the quality benchmark for Pixar. While they've made plenty of great movies ever since movie-goers ate this film up making it a gigantic hit in 2003. 13 years later, we're finally getting the long-gestating sequel. With the primary cast coming back joined by newcomers like Idris Elba, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader and Diane Keaton, parents and their little ones should be flocking to see this one. Expect it to easily carry the weekend frame and then some.
If you're not at the very least curious to see 'Finding Dory,' I honestly don't know what to tell you. Maybe pick up the amazing 3D Blu-ray release of 'Finding Nemo?' It's such a wonderful, heartfelt story, even the toughest cinema cynics have a hard time holding back the tears.
If there is going to be a test for Dwayne Johnson's ability to open a movie, it's 'Central Intelligence.' 'San Andreas' was a great time, and Johnson has been a welcome addition to the Speedy and Angry franchise, but this action/comedy starring Kevin Hart could be a big hit or a big dud. Hopefully, it's a hit because I can't help but love the trailers.
Not game for 'Central Intelligence?' Have you seen the original 'Bad Boys?' Not sure how you could have missed that one, but stranger things have happened. The new 4k Blu-ray transfer is fantastic and it's a fast, fun, and hilarious piece of action comedy filmmaking.
Independence Day: Resurgence
'Independence Day' was a summer phenomenon way back in 1996. I have fond memories going to see it no less than four times in the theater. But can lightning strike twice? Considering returning cast members Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Bill Pullman, and Brent Spiner signed up for another round, one can hope that newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Miaka Monroe, and Joey King bring some flavor to this long-awaited sequel. It'll also help if original creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin cooked up something exciting for this outing.
If you're not big on catching the new 'Independence Day: Resurgence' give the Blu-ray of Steven Spielberg's 2005 'War of the Worlds' a look. Sure, the ending is a bit off, but the rest of the film is a tension-filled rollercoaster ride of a summer movie flick!
It wouldn't be summer without a shark movie. Thankfully this one isn't appearing on the SyFy Channel, so there is some hope that it could end up being a tense and horrific thrill ride. At least the trailer appears to be trying very heard to convey that creepy sense of dread as Blake Lively is stuck on a rock in the middle of the ocean as a shark circles around her!
Not interested in Blake Lively potentially being eaten by sharks? Well, the good news is all three 'Jaws' sequels, 'Jaws 2,' 'Jaws 3-D,' and 'Jaws: The Revenge' will be making their debut on Blu-ray June 14th! No better time for a full franchise marathon!
Free State of Jones
In a smart bit of dramatic counter programming to all of the worldwide destruction, this Gary Ross directed Civil War epic starring Matthew "Alright, Alright" McConaughey and Keri Russell about a Mississippi farmer who leads a band of rebels against the Confederate army should fit the bill. The trailer looks amazing, McConaughey is killing it with his recent output and this one should be no different. Let's hope Director Gary Ross remembered his tripod. That's some 'Hunger Games' humor for you!
Not too keen on this one? Take a look at the recent remastered release of 'The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.' Sure, it may not exactly be a Civil War flick, but it's a damn fine flick and one of Director Sergio Leone's best films.
No, this does not refer to the infamous super-weapon from 'Doom' but Roald Dahl's children's classic. Steven Spielberg looks to have brought the kid's favorite to life as a special effects tour de force. With voice work by Mark Rylance, Jermaine Clement, and starring Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, we can only hope that this film is as good as it looks. Spielberg has been a bit hit or miss of late, so maybe a kid's story is just what he needs to get the energy back for the upcoming fifth 'Indiana Jones' movie.
If 'The BFG' isn't to your liking, but you still want a Roald Dahl fix? It's time for you to pick up the Criterion Collection release of Wes Anderson's adorable stop-motion animated 'Fantastic Mr. Fox.' It's a kids classic that is fun for adults!
The Purge: Election Year
Perhaps one of the more unlikely franchises to become an annual holiday feature of the summer movie season, 'The Purge' has shown some surprising legs at the box office. Will this third outing be any different? Frank Grillo is a welcome sight to return to the show, but the overly political bent from the trailer could well put off a lot of franchise fans who view these movies as a simple showcase of terror, blood, guts, murder, and mayhem.
'The Purge' not your brand of horror suspense entertainment? Take a look at John Carpenter's 'Assault on Precinct 13' from Scream Factory. It's a solid thriller from one of the best genre directors in the business and the film rarely stops long enough to let you catch your breath.
The Legend of Tarzan
With Director David Yates and starring Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Christoph Waltz, the pedigree for a great movie is there, but will this latest attempt at adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs swing on to box office glory or will it smash into the first tree? Aside from the 1999 Disney fronted 'Tarzan,' the works of Burroughs have had a tough time at the box office. 'John Carter' was an unfortunate dud so there is a lot of hope riding on this new 'Tarzan' to work.
Not into a muscly guy swinging at the end of vines saving a strong-willed damsel in peril from a band of bad guys? Now is the right time to snap up the beautiful Blu-ray of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' The first and best Indiana Jones adventure manages to capture all of the heart and magic of a Burroughs adventure without trying to be a true adaptation.
The Secret Life of Pets
Featuring the voices of Louis C.K., Lake Bell, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper and Jenny Slate, this pet-focused comedy from the minds behind the 'Despicable Me' franchise certainly looks to be a charming adventure for the entire family to enjoy. After all, who doesn't like anthropomorphized pets who have to deal with human-like issues? It should be a delight for kids of all ages as well as the parental units assigned to their care.
If 'The Secret Life of Pets' doesn't appeal - then it's time to get on the 'Zootopia' Bandwagon. Due on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D this June 7th, 'Zootopia' was a massive hit in theaters, and for good reason. It has tons of heart, humor, and is quite simply one of the best movies to come out of Disney Animation in quite a long time.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
With a cast like Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Zac Efron and Adam DeVine, this raunchy comedy could be a breakout comedic hit. It features a cast of popular young actors and a relatable scenario. But will it reach 'Hangover' box office numbers? If there is one thing 'Neighbors' taught us in 2014 and it's recent sequel is not to underestimate the potential of any comedy. It could be huge, or fall off a cliff.
If you're looking for something of a different style but still more adult natured, set your sights on the original 'Death at a Funeral.' It's funny, smart, sophisticated, and yet features plenty of gross-out humor to double you over in fits of hysterical laughter.
This is gonna be a tough one. The buzz for Paul Feig's franchise reboot starring the incredibly funny and talented female cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones with Chris Hemsworth has a lot riding on it and working against it. Fans are vocal with their disapproval of even touching the beloved franchise, while other fans are supportive and hopeful. 'Spy' proved that Feig can manage action and comedy well, so hopefully he's got some tricks up his sleeve that hasn't yet been revealed in the trailers.
Considering the divisive nature of this movie, it may be a good idea to just pop in the original film, and the 4k transfers for the 'Ghostbusters/Ghostbusters 2' two pack are gorgeous! If you're on the UHD Blu-ray bandwagon, you'll be able to grab the UHD release of the original 'Ghostbusters' this time around too!
Bryan Cranston. That's pretty much all you need to say at this point to market any movie. Sure the plot about a customs official who links a money-laundering scheme that's connected to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar sounds tantalizing enough, but it's Cranston who will be the big draw. While it's doubtful that it'll overtake 'Ghostbusters' for the weekend frame, this one will likely have some legs on it as the field is clear of smart drama/thrillers like this one.
Can't make it to 'The Infiltrator' but still want a Cranston fix? You're gonna need to grab yourself a copy of 'Trumbo.' Brian Cranston was fantastic in this biopic about one of the greatest screenwriters Hollywood ever screwed over.
Star Trek Beyond
After the fan-dividing 'Star Trek: Into Darkness,' 'Beyond' has a lot of making up to do with fans and casual movie-goers alike. Hopefully, the presence of Director Justin Lin and Simon Pegg serving as co-screenwriter will breath new life into this franchise. The first trailer had people worried that it would be nothing but an action/comedy romp, but the new trailer that was just released appears to have put a lot of concerns to rest about the film. Fingers crossed it can recapture the sense of wonder and excitement that is expected from a Star Trek film.
If you're not game for 'Star Trek Beyond,' the good news is the Director's Cut of 'Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan' is getting an upgrade on June 7th! Sadly the rest of the films aren't getting the same treatment yet, but one can hope that if this sells well, Paramount will consider going back and giving the other films the proper treatment they've long deserved.
Have you seen the trailer for this? No? What the heck is wrong with you?! Stop reading this for just a few moments and give it a look. You know what, here, I'm just going to embed the trailer here. If you're not even slightly creeped out by this flick, or at the very least intrigued by it, I don't know what to do for you. Featuring Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello, 'Lights Out' is also produced by 'Conjuring 2' Director James Wan and could provide the horror maestro a one/two punch of terror for the summer season!
Good creepy horror is tough to find. If this little freaky film isn't to your liking, have you tried 'The Witch' yet? It's proved divisive with horror fans, but I encourage everyone to give it a look. It's a solid thriller with great acting and depending on your own spiritual proclivities, you could be scared out of your wits!
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Considering the show first aired in England in 1992, it's incredible to think that fans would ever get a raucous comedy about everyone's favorite socialite lushes Edina and Patsy played by Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. With a supporting cast that includes Jon Hamm, Cara Delevingne, Rebel Wilson, and Joan Collins, this could well be the movie event fans of the show have been waiting decades for. Or it could end up like the unfortunate 'Mr. Bean's Holiday' and miss the mark of fan expectation entirely.
Not an AbFab fan but still got a hankering for some British humor? How long has it been since you've seen 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail?' The movie just celebrated its 40th Anniversary and it's still sharp, witty, and hilarious as it was when it first hit theaters.
Just when you thought the Bourne Franchise was over, the filmmakers found another adventure to throw the tough as nails Matt Damon into. What more truths can our titular hero learn about his shady past? I have no idea but it should be a wild and fun ride just the same. And with Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones joining the show, along with Paul Greengrass returning to direct, the flick should provide a solid adrenalin as we enter the home stretch of summer.
If Jason Bourne isn't your idea of action, adventure, and suspense but still want something character-driven and stylish? Pick up 'Sicario' on Blu-ray. While not quite a spy flick, it delivers the goods and proves to be a great thinking-persons action movie.
Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hann, Christina Applegate and Jada Pinket Smith, this comedy about mothers who get a break from their families and go out on a tear could well prove to be a piece of smart counter-programming to all of the action-packed macho movies of the summer. With a great cast, barring this film turning out to be a complete disaster, it should have some staying power and could well be a sleeper hit and will hopefully be a better female-focused comedy than 'How To Be Single.'
Can't make it to 'Bad Moms' in the theater? 2011 'Bridesmaids' still holds up very well and proves to be a great Blu-ray to add to any collection that may be a bit comedy starved.
Kevin Smith is back with another horror/comedy with a decidedly Canadian flavor. Starring his daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Johnny Depp's daughter Lily Rose play best friends who have to deal with a supernatural monster with the help of a legendary manhunter - also played by Johnny Depp. It could be a blast or it could be a washout. The early buzz has been a bit mixed, but if 'Tusk' was your thing, maybe you'll have something to like with 'Yoga Hosers.'
If 'Yoga Hosers' isn't your idea of horror/comedy gold, then it's time to take the plunge and get yourself a copy of 'Tucker and Dale VS Evil.' Honestly, the less said about this one the better, it's too funny to spoil with plot details!
Given the aggressive marketing campaign and the fact that fans are finally going to get to see some key members of Batman's Rogues Gallery on screen, this flick should prove to be a massive hit. Also, we get a new Joker to enjoy as well as another glimpse of Ben Affleck's take on Batman! After the divided reaction to this year's 'Batman V Superman', Warner Bros has a lot riding on this one. So fingers crossed it delivers the fun and excitement that the trailers promise.
Honestly, there hasn't been a comic book film to date that focuses on the villains in such a way as 'Suicide Squad.' That said, if you're not going to make it to this one, 'Deadpool' should provide the comedy action with an adult flavor that you're looking for!
Michael Keaton. McDonalds. Shady business deals. Sounds like an early contender for Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars! Keaton has been on a roll the last few years, and the story behind the massive and dramatic expansion of the world's most famous hamburger franchise should prove to be compelling entertainment for those none-too-keen on more comic book hijinks.
'The Founder' may not be for everyone, but a good behind the scenes drama is always great, and Keaton's previous turn in 'Spotlight' is a fantastic film that should fit the bill nicely.
Talk about one of the stranger releases of the season, Kevin Spacey is a stuffy business man who is trapped in the body of his cat. No, this is not a sequel to 'A Talking Cat' with Eric Roberts. This is a real movie with a real budget and a cast featuring Christopher Walken, Jennifer Garner, and Robbie Amell. This one is almost too bizarre to avoid seeing in theaters.
If you're after some better pet-friendly movies for your entertainment dollar, you can always pull out that old chestnut 'Milo and Otis.' Sure it's an oldie, but it's still a goodie and most kids in your house should find it extremely charming!
An adult animated movie featuring the voices of Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and James Franco about a sausage link with an existential crisis. This could either be really good… or just really bad. The trailer certainly promises some raunchy good fun, but whether or not this one finds an audience in its theatrical outing is up in the air.
Need some adult-friendly animated comedy, how recently have you watched 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' and did you actually pay attention to it? That movie gets away with a lot of stuff for a kid's flick!
Florence Foster Jenkins
Hello, Meryl Streep, this is Oscar calling, we have another nomination reserved with your name on it. This comedy about a real-life heiress who tried her hand at opera even though she couldn't sing should be a hit with the over 30 crowd. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film should play well to adult audiences and could well be another early contender come Oscar season. It should also be comedy gold, seriously, find some of Jenkins' recordings on YouTube and try not to laugh at least a little bit!
Can't make it for a showing of 'Florence Foster Jenkins' but still want a Meryl fix? Well, then you should probably give 'Julie & Julia' another go. Meryl is fantastic in the film and it proves to be a wonderful final film for writer and director Nora Ephron.
After the amazing success of 'Zootopia,' 'Jungle Book,' and Marvel's 'Captain America: Civil War,' Disney is killing it at the box office so while the pressure is off of this one to perform well, expectations are still high for this Mouse House produced remake. With updated effects and a cast that features Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban, 'Pete's Dragon' may seem like an unnecessary remake, but it should bring people into the theater during the late summer heat.
If this new 'Pete's Dragon' isn't your show, the original 'Pete's Dragon' is just as charming as it ever was and it's a fantastic Blu-ray release!
Another year, another Woody Allen movie makes its way to cinema screens. While the news from Cannes this year was generally positive, this latest effort from the prolific filmmaker appears to hit on a number of familiar themes and story beats already found in several of his previous films.
Kubo and the Two Strings
When it comes to quality stop motion animation, Laika is a premier animation studio who consistently produces some fantastic fills. This story of a young girl on a quest to reclaim her father's magical armor and put an end to an age-old vendetta features the voice talents of Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron and should be a hit with critics and fans alike.
Can't make it to 'Kubu and the Two Strings?' Laika's 'The Box Trolls' was a delightful romp and should entertain kids and parents alike!
While remakes are certainly an inevitability with Hollywood, this is a story that probably should have been left well enough alone after Chuck Heston in 1959. Even though that movie in of itself was a remake of a 1925 silent film, the Heston film pretty much put the story to rest as 2014's 'Exodus' proved with 'The Ten Commandments.' Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell should provide some fun, but Timur Bekmambetov's penchant for style over substance puts this one on shaky ground for a late summer blockbuster.
As previously mentioned, the 1959 'Ben-Hur' is an incredible film that was a visual feast of the ages and makes for a drop-dead gorgeous Blu-ray! If the remake doesn't tease your interests, there's no better time to revisit this classic.
Southside With You
This has to be something of a first, a movie about the current sitting President Barack Obama and how he met his wife Michelle and their apparently amazing first date in 1989. The cast looks good, the story sounds cute enough, but will it win over audiences? Tough to call. We'll just have to see how it all turns out and hope there is at least something to this movie other than it being about the early life of the President.
If you're in the mood for a Presidential romantic comedy, 1993's 'Dave' starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, and Frank Langella still holds up 23 years later.
Could 'War Dogs' be this year's 'Argo?' This is the true story of how two men played by Miles Teller and Jonah Hill won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm American Afghan allies. This could sink or swim depending entirely on its execution. Todd Phillips delivered three 'Hangovers' which may have given audiences a permanent headache for this type of humor.
If you're not game for this type of political comedy, maybe it's time to give 2005's 'Lord of War' another look. It's an amazing bit of biting satire and also might help you remember that Nicolas Cage was once in good movies.
"Resurrection" is never a good subtitle for any franchise and this action flick just looks like an unnecessary sequel to an already unnecessary remake of a Charles Bronson classic. While Statham is back in action and that can be a good time, he may not be enough to entice audiences back into theaters during this late summer frame.
If you've got an itch for Jason Statham, hop back in the driver's seat and give 'Furious 7' another spin. It's a fun flick that features Statham in the rare villain role who can The Rock a serious beating. Plus there's fast cars and a lot of explosions that may be exactly what you need for some end of summer fun.
This one could be the surprise horror hit of the summer season as it features Director Fede Alvarez with this tense thriller about two teens trapped in a blind man's house who just murdered their friend. The premise may be slim, but I'm all in for seeing Stephen Lang going full-tilt crazy!
If you're after something with a little more humor with your horror but still want the evil house setting, how long has it been since you gave Wes Craven's 'The People Under the Stairs' a look? Scream Factory did a great with the Blu-ray.
Hands of Stone
De Niro in a boxing movie is something to see unless you're talking about 'Grudge Match,' but this biopic of famed boxer Roberto Duran played by Edgar Ramirez and De Niro playing legendary trainer Ray Arcel could be a big winner. Hopefully, this one doesn't get knocked out in the first round as the pedigree involved makes it an enticing watch.
Still need a De Niro/Boxing fix, well, it doesn't get any better than 'Raging Bull.' the Blu-ray is gorgeous and it stands as one of the greatest films ever made, not to mention one directed by Martin Scorsese.
And as August drifts into September and the kids go back to school. the Summer Movie Season comes to a close. We can only hope that this deluge of flicks is worth the price of admission, let alone worth adding to our personal Blu-ray collections. We hope this Summer Movie Guide for 2016 has been helpful, fun, and informative. Catch you next summer!
The latest news on all things 4K Ultra HD, blu-ray and Gear.