GET YR CHOC-TOPS OUT: Here’s All The Hot Flicks Hitting Screens This Summer

The movies! Summer’s a bloody great time to go to the cinema. It’s all very well air-conditioned, meaning a solid couple of hours sitting in a reasonably comfy chair away from the blistering heat outside. Choc-tops are deadset grouse. And thanks to the American release cycle, it means there’s a crapload of really good stuff hitting screens throughout our warmer months.
The timing of the US awards season often sees studios release their prestige/award-bait flicks at the end of the year. As well as the traditional Boxing Day blockbusters and other assorted fare that for one reason or another couldn’t slot a release at any other point in the year. And that means a solid summer of really good viewing for all.
But what’s on the cards for us this season? We’ve gone ahead and compiled a cream-of-the-crop look at this summer’s upcoming movie schedule.
You’re gonna want to start scraping some change together for that extra-large popcorn, because there are some belters in here.


Release Date: 22nd December, 2016
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick
It’s been out in the US for about a month already, and in that has accumulated a more than impressive 94% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critical reception in the States has already compared the coming-of-age yarn to iconic classics of the genre like ‘Juno,’ ‘Mean Girls,’ ‘Clueless,’ and all of the late, great John Hughes‘ filmography. If you’re in the market for a solid tale of growing up and figuring stuff out, this is the one for you.

Release Date: 26th December, 2016
Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

By the end of the summer, there’s a fair chance a good number of you are gonna have a new all-time favourite movie. The hyper-colourful looking romantic comedy drama musical is already receiving widespread praise for its old-style charm and escapist storytelling. It’s nominated for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the upcoming Golden GlobesRyan Gosling and Emma Stone also picked up GG noms for Best Actor and Best Actress in the musical or comedy category. Want more? It’s also contesting Best DirectorBest ScreenplayBest Original Score, and Best Original Song. Yeah, this one’s gonna be good.

Release Date: 12th January, 2017
Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Noah Oppenheim
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt

It’s a tight race in the Best Actress stakes this awards season, but Natalie Portman is well and truly at the head of the pack for this effort. A quiet, brooding portrayal of one of the most fascinating women in American history, ‘Jackie‘ looks very much like the Natalie Portman show, as the astonishingly gifted actor chases her second Best Actress Academy Award. The trailer’s got a very gentle sinisterness to it that’s intriguing as all hell, and the larger-than-life story of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis is forever riveting material. Will be a beaut.

Release Date: 9th February, 2017
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: John Hodge
Cast: Ewen McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle

Given how much of a cult icon the original is, the sequel’s been curiously quiet on the marketing front. But it is happening, and for the time being it’s scheduled to hit cinemas in February, which is bonkers. If you’re into the first one, choose life and choose to approach this one with cautious optimism. One of those ones that could go either way.

Release Date: 23rd December, 2016
Director: John Hamburg
Writer: John Hamburg & Ian Helfer
Cast: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Keegan Michael-Key
It hasn’t exactly fared super well in the US since it came out over there, but director and writer John Hamburg’s track record is pretty impeccable. Previously he wrote films like ‘Along Came Polly,’ ‘Zoolander,’ ‘Meet The Parents,’ and the last time he stepped into the director’s chair was for a little effort called ‘I Love You, Man.’ Worth a go based on that, and the cast, alone.

Release Date: 26th December, 2016
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan

Another one that’s copped mixed reviews, ‘Allied‘ follows Pitt and Cotillard across the battlefields of World War II as doomed lovers and high-profile fighters. Significant for being the first time Robert Zemeckis has directed and produced a film since 2012’s ‘Flight,’ and for being the film that sparked all those nasty rumours pertaining to the root cause of the fabled Brangelina split.


Release Date: 26th December, 2016
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Writer: Jared Bush
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Jermaine Clement, Nichole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

Got a kid/younger sibling? Take ’em to this. It’s already copped widespread critical acclaim not only for its apparently dazzling animation, but for the timeliness of the story and the depth and warmth of the characters, with a lot of pundits rating it the finest animated feature of the year. Plus, The Rock lends his voice to it. The Rock, you guys.


Release Date: 26th December, 2016
Director: Kriv Stenders
Writer: Daniel Taplitz
Cast: Jason Isaacs, Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Justine Clarke
Hahahahaha yep, cool, not gonna bawl my bloody eyes out at this one or anything. The prequel to the OG yarn about a REALLY GOOD BOY follows the origin stories of said REALLY GOOD BOY and oh god this is gonna rip my heart out of my arse at some point, isn’t it. GOOD DOG VERY GOOD THE ONE TRUE GOOD BOY™.

Release Date: 26th December, 2016
Director: Garth Jennings
Writer: Garth Jennings
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Nick Kroll
If Matthew McConaughey putting on a surprisingly ok Australian accent to play the role of a koala while two pigs played by Reese Witherspoon and Nick Kroll sing Bananarama tunes sounds like a good time, you’re probably gonna have a ball with this one. Light and fluffy.

Release Date: 1st January, 2017
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writer: Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson

Films based on video games, oy vey. Generally speaking, they’re not very good. But in this case, whoever’s in charge of marketing is at least partway keen on their chances of success, because advertising for this shit has been everywhere. Of all the video game adaptations that’ve made it to the big screen, this one’s easily got one of – if not the – richest and most movie-friendly mythologies underpinning it, so take of that what you will. Fassbender really needs to be in everything.


Release Date: 1st January, 2017
Director: Morten Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Cast: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Lawrence Fishburne, Andy Garcia
Reportedly extremely creepy plot twist aside (Google that one if you dare), the promo machine for this one has been in utter overdrive, with stars Pratt and Lawrence appearing flippin’ everywhere all over the globe as the promotional trail rolls on. Initial previews of the space drama looked reasonably promising/sufficiently terrifying. But whether or not the final product is enough to overcome the reported plot malarky is yet to be seen.

Release Date: 19th January, 2017
Director: Garth Davis
Writer: Luke Davies
Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham

Wanna get firmly behind a stunning-looking you beaut Australian film this summer? This is the one. Written by the author of the excellent ‘Candy‘ and directed by the bloke who helmed multiple episodes of ‘Top of the Lake,’ ‘Lion‘ follows the story of a young man adopted by an Australian family who searches for his past using Google Earth. It scored a nomination for Best Picture – Drama at the upcoming Golden Globes, with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman picking up noms for acting gongs as well. Looks the absolute goods.


Release Date: 19th January, 2017
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: F. Scott Frazier, Chad St. John
Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Ruby Rose, Deepika Padukone

Speaking of award-worthy fare, here’s another one that Vin Diesel will more than likely insist should take out the Best Picture Academy Award. 15 years after the original xXx, Diesel returns as Xander Cage to combine extreme athleticism with rogue cop behaviour in order track down Item X from Bad Dude Y. Quite obviously you’re not gonna have to think too hard about this one, but it’s clearly the truest popcorn flick of the season. Will be worth it purely to see how they retcon the universe’s history and explain how Cage wasn’t actually dead after all. Strap yrselves in.


Release Date: 26th January, 2017
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller

Affleck’s first time in the director’s chair since ‘Argo‘ in 2012, and his first time writing a film since ‘The Town‘ in 2010. That alone should be enough to give this one a burl; his track record is pretty great. Add to that the fact that he’s sort-of going back to Boston by playing the prodigal son of a Bostonian police captain who turns notorious bootlegger and gangster in the swampy marshes of Florida. How do you like dem apples?


Release Date: 26th January, 2017
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Speaking of Afflecks and Bostonian accents, Casey is shipping back up to Boston for the already widely praised ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ which for the moment is looming as the favourite to pick up the Best Picture – Drama gong at more than its fair share of award ceremonies. It’s one of those ones that’s already got its own dedicated Wikipedia page for “Accolades Received By…” It looks stunning, reportedly contains tour de force acting performances, and it has Michelle Williams in it who is forever. K-E-E-N.


Release Date: 26th January, 2017
Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer: Barry Jenkins
Cast: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders

Another one that will feature heavily come awards time, ‘Moonlight‘ was the toast of the Telluride Film Festival this past September. Based on an early drama project by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, it’s a wise-beyond-its-years three-act journey through life, hardship, growth, decay, and sexuality set against the unforgiving backdrop of lower class Atlanta. It’s copped particular praise for the performances of its cast, as well as the deftly handled cinematography. Another one of those “must watch” ones.


Release Date: 26th January, 2017
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W. S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose
One that absolutely will not feature in awards season, but will instead feature plenty of jump-scares and oodles of gore, the sixth and final ‘Resident Evil‘ film (in this version of the franchise at least) is heading our way to kick ass, chew bubblegum, and scare the absolute bejeezus out of you. Milla Jovovich steps back into the role of Alice as she mounts one last assault on Raccoon City. Bring spare pants.

Release Date: 2nd February, 2017
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan
There’s no such thing as “too much Boston,” and as such we’ve got this hyper-USA lookin’ tale of a cop on the trail of the Boston Bombing suspects in the aftermath of the attack. Solid cast, many emotional Americans, Trent Reznor filling the soundtrack. It’s the ultimate good (the USA, babey) triumphing over evil (all terrorism) tale. Early reviews have been positive. Keep a cautious eye out for it.


Release Date: 9th February, 2017
Director: James Foley
Writer: Niall Leonard
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger
Because Carol from HR gets horny sometimes too.

Photo: La La Land/Summit Entertainment.