There are so many reasons to love summer, right? The laid-back pace, flip-flops and shorts, trips to the beach or pool, snowballs and watermelon. But as a rabid fan of the silver screen, it’s the summer movies I love most. I’m raising a kid who shares my affinity, so we spend lots and lots of time in darkened theaters this time of year!
We’ve had some lackluster summers over the past few years, but this year, there are a lot of releases to get excited about. Even if you and your kids aren’t enormous movie fans, on those oppressively hot days — or rainy days when outdoor activities are not an option — catching a summer flick is an excellent fall-back plan. Below is an overview of some of the most anticipated movies. We’ve also included info on some cool discount kids’ summer movie deals from Regal Covington and The Grand Theatres on both shores, and the Dinner & a ZOOvie series at Audubon Zoo.
It’s tough to gauge movies just by their ratings these days, so be sure to click on the links to watch trailers or read more in-depth synopses, or consider checking in with parental review sites, like Common Sense Media or Kids In Mind. Fandango is a good site to check for movie times in New Orleans and the surrounding areas, or just check in with your favorite theater. Then, grab some overpriced treats, and sit back and enjoy the mercifully air-conditioned show!
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) slips back through the mirror and finds herself united with her friends the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledee, and Tweedledum in Underland. When they tell her that the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the death of his family, she steals the Chronosphere from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) to travel into the past, where she meets the younger Hatter and the evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter). It’s certainly not getting great reviews, but the cast and visual effects look so cool, it still may be worth a shot!
When the original mutant, ApocaIypse, awakens from a long hibernation, he recruits a bunch of mutants to help him destroy civilization and rebuild a better one. Naturally, the X-Men have to try to stop him. It’s not the best installment of the X-Men series, but it’s still fun to watch, thanks to the cool special effects and a cast that includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac, and Jennifer Lawrence.
You either like these silly movies, or you don’t. The last TMNT was not exactly great, but honestly, you can’t overthink them! In this installment, the turtles spring into action to battle new and old foes, and to save New York and the whole world from an alien invasion. Mayhem and martial arts ensue. Megan Fox is back to star as April, and other stars include Will Arnett, Laura Linney, and Fred Armisen.
As the peaceful realm of Azeroth braces for a brutal race of invaders, a portal opens a passage between two worlds, setting two heroes on a collision course that will decide the fate of both worlds. Based on the popular video game of the same name, this movie promises massive armies, monsters, sword fights, and thundering, rumbling sounds to accompany all the action and visual effects. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea (including mine), but it’ll certainly appeal to the video game fanatics, and it’s something to do on a super hot or rainy day!
Ellen DeGeneres is back as Dory in this much anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo. The forgetful fish enlists the help of Nemo and Marlin (Albert Brooks) to help her find her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). Spoiler alert: Dory does, indeed, reunite with her loved ones, and everyone learns important lessons about family. I’m not sure why it was given a PG rating, while Finding Nemo was rated G, but it seems unlikely that it contains anything too inappropriate.
It’s been twenty years since that original invasion, and the aliens are returning with even more force. Faced with annihilation, the nations of Earth and a handful of brave men and women must use recovered extraterrestrial technology and good ol’ ingenuity to save the planet. It’s sort of a bummer that Will Smith won’t be back (he was allegedly too expensive), but at least Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, and Vivica Fox are returning. It should be exciting!
This enigmatic sounding movie is based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, about a ten-year-old girl and a “big, friendly giant.” The publisher’s description of the book reads: “When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!” I have no idea what that means, but the trailers look fun, and it’s brought to us by the team who gave us E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (director Steven Spielberg and writer Melissa Mathison). I have high hopes for this one.
This version of the classic tale takes place many years after Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) has left Africa and become a civilized gentleman in London. He goes back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary, only to discover he’s being used as a pawn in a Belgian captain’s (Christoph Waltz) deadly plot. Other stars include Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, and Djimon Hounsou. The trailers for this action-adventure look super cool, which makes sense, considering it was directed by David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies.
It seems like we’ve been watching previews of this movie forever! It’s an animated comedy about the hilarious lives pets lead after their owners leave the house. Maybe you’ve seen the French poodle head-banging to thrash metal music? Quite funny. It’s made by the team who made the Despicable Me movies, and it stars lots of comedians and funny actors, including Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, and Albert Brooks. Lots of cuteness potential — if they didn’t show us all the best parts already!
Who you gonna call to do a remake of Ghostbusters 30 years after its original release? A bunch of funny women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones) plus, hottie Chris Hemsworth! I adore all of these actresses, so here’s hoping it’s well-written and directed. Not just because Ghostbusters is so iconic, but because we need to encourage lots more roles for women!
Although the talk on the internet regarding this movie doesn’t sound very encouraging, it certainly won’t stop hardcore Trekkies from seeing it. In this installment, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew is stranded on a remote planet and facing an alien threat. Yep, sounds like a typical Star Trek premise. The trailer doesn’t look great, but there’s Beastie Boys music involved, and the cast is cool, so maybe it’ll surprise everyone.
In case you’re counting, this is Ice Age 5. Holy smokes. I usually quit watching sequels somewhere around three, but the fact that the entire original cast is back seems like a good sign. In this installment, Scrat the squirrel chases that elusive acorn into space where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that threaten the Ice Age world. Naturally, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd set off on a new adventure to save themselves, all the while encountering some new, colorful characters. I’m not totally sold, but I’m guessing late July heat will send us scurrying to the theater, nonetheless!
What a great excuse for a mom’s night out! Mila Kunis stars as a young mother who seems to have it all, but suddenly snaps when she realizes she’s overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted. She and two other stressed-out moms (Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn) decide to take a break from their responsibilities to have a little fun, and wind up having a showdown with the perfect-mom clique, headed up by a snooty queen bee (Christina Applegate). It looks silly and ridiculous — sort of like The Hangover for us maternal types. Fun!
In this edgy (the title sort of gives that away), comic book-based movie, a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute a dangerous black ops missions to save the world. I have to admit, I might be as excited, if not moreso, about this movie than my son is! After having to break it to him when Deadpool received an R rating, it was nice to tell him that this one got a PG-13. The cast includes Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Viola Davis, and Scott Eastwood, among others. If it’s half as cool as the trailers, we’re in for a treat!
SPECIAL SUMMER MOVIE DEALS
If you’re looking for discount movies, both Regal Covington Stadium 14 and The Grand Theatres in Kenner and Slidell are doing their annual summer movie deals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am. They’re not new releases, but they’re good, kid-friendly, and did I mention the discounts? Click here for the full schedule of The Grand’s Summer Kids’ Flicks series, in which $4 gets you admission, plus popcorn and soda. Click here for Regal Cinema’s Summer Movies Express $1 movie schedule.
Audubon Zoo’s annual Dinner & a ZOOvie series is back on Fridays this summer, from June 10-August 19. Its expanded movie lineup will include such blockbusters as Inside Out on June 10, Star Wars: The Force Awakens on June 17, Avengers: Age of Ultron on June 24, and Jurassic World on July 8. Visitors are invited to bring chairs and blankets, as well as dinner, or you can dine at one of the food trucks that will be onsite. Gates open at 6pm. Cool Zoo/Gator Run will be open from 6-8pm, and movie will start at 8pm. Movie admission is $6 per person (under two years of age free). Add Cool Zoo/Gator Run admission for an additional $6 per person. Go here for more details and a complete movie schedule.