2016 Summer Movie Pool Preview | Finding Dory | Captain America: Civil War | The Secret Life of Pets

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2016 Summer Movie Pool Preview

Finding Dory
Captain America: Civil War
The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad
Jason Bourne
Star Trek Beyond
X-Men: Apocalypse
Ghostbusters
Central Intelligence
The Legend of Tarzan
Independence Day: Resurgence
The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
The Purge: Election Year
Alice Through The Looking Glass
Pete’s Dragon
Now You See Me 2
Ice Age: Collision Course
The BFG
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Warcraft
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Money Monster
The Nice Guys
Ben-Hur
Nine Lives
The Infiltrator
The Darkness
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Angry Birds
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
The chocolate bunnies have melted, the St. Patrick’s Day hangovers have passed, and the trouble you got into because of mishandling Valentine’s Day has... well, that never really goes away. Regardless, it's time for the 20th Annual Holiday Movie Pool!

Holy moly, has it really been that long since a lunchtime conversation over how well Speed 2 was going to do because Jason Patric was an “ungrade”, how Jurassic Park: Lost World was unstoppable, and how Wil Smith was in another 4th of July weekend movie called, what was it again, Men in Black? I guess not much has changed as action films still follow the Speed formula, Jurassic World was unstoppable last year, and this season Wil Smith has a 4th of August weekend movie. See, we’re still relevant!

Time to get to it, though. You’ve just got a week to get our picks in, so don't delay and tell me which films are going to have fun in the sun and which are going to get sunburned.

Is Captain America’s Civil War a bigger deal than the X-Men’s Apocalypse? Are people going to Find Dory or were they pretty happy where they left her in 2003? Can Independence Day Resurge when it’s not even opening on Independence Day?

Make your predictions, cast your votes, and take a dip in the 2016 Summer Movie Pool! It's the pool where all you have to do is guess the Top Five domestic moneymakers of the season. It's not like we're asking you to do anything hard like explaining Beyonce’s Lemonade.

In case you’re not sure what movies are all coming out this summer, you can find my quick run-down of this year's crop here!

*****

May 6

- Captain America: Civil War
As always (it seems) the Summer Movie Pool starts off with a Marvel movie destined for Top 5 greatness if not outright supremacy. Will audiences be wary of another “vs” movie after the head-scratching Batman Vs. Superman movie or are we all ready for Iron Man to get his butt kicked after he stupidly built Ultron last year and nearly destroyed the world… That, or maybe we want Josh Whedon’s butt kicked for introducing us to Little House on the Hawkeye. Speaking of which, the "sure thing" of Avengers 2 last year went extinct with the Age of Jurassic World. Is there another surprise film out there waiting to rise against the Marvel Machine?

May 13

- The Darkness
Kevin Bacon stars in a horror film about a family being haunted after visiting the Grand Canyon. Isn’t the horror story usually driving all the way to the Grand Canyon with your family in the car?

- Money Monster
It’s George Clooney and Julia Roberts in a Jodie Foster directed film! Wait, what year are we in again? I mean, if Josh Hartnett and Kate Hudson in a McG movie would seem past due, what’s this? Here, George plays a financial cable show host being held hostage on-air by someone who lost their savings after taking the host’s advice. Even this premise sounds like it already has its AARP card.

May 20

- Angry Birds
The best thing about this film is it means we’re that much closer to Free Cell: The Movie. “Oh, I see you red seven and red nine hiding five cards up in column six behind two black eights, but I will pull you down… Oh yes, I will pull you down!” Well, while a movie version of my favorite app might not be your cup of tea, at least we can all agree that making a movie based on a game that doesn’t have a plot is always a great idea. I’m just excited to see where this goes next. The collective gasp that’ll be heard when a blank tile is placed on a Triple Letter space in Words With Friends: The Movie will be a moment never forgotten.

- Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
After Seth Rogan’s last few ventures, it was time to go back to the well and it was either this or The Guilt Trip 2: Guilt Harder. Here’s thinking he chose wisely. Seth reunites with Rose Byrne (always a good idea), Zac Efron (seriously, how did Corbin Bleu not become the breakout star from High School Musical?! He was like destined to play Justin Guarini in the From Justin To Kelly remake we’ve all been clamoring for), Dave Franco (all the Franco, none of the baggage), and bringing Chloë Grace Moretz which is probably key. Chloë’s was the last person to pull a good performance out of Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass. If she can do the same with Seth here, she’s the new Miracle Worker. Anne Sullivan, you’re out!

- The Nice Guys
Uh, there has to be some knowing “wink wink, nudge nudge” about having two actors with the off-screen reputation of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in a movie called “The Nice Guys,” right? If writer/director Shane Black can bring in some of the off-beat fun he had with Robert Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, this should at least be an enjoyable ride. Then again, if this premise of two kitchy private detectives in the 70’s isn’t already in the off-beat fun category, we’ve got bigger problems.

May 27

- Alice Through The Looking Glass
I’m not really sure why we’re getting the second Alice book as a sequel when we didn’t even really get the first book in the last film. The first Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland was built on the premise that Alice had already been in Wonderland before and then they all kept going out of their way to call it Underland just to make it more confusing. Shouldn’t we get the prequel when she went down the rabbit’s hole for the first time instead of a sequel to a book that was never adapted in the first place? I feel like I’m the one who’s been smoking the caterpillar’s pipe trying to keep up with this.

- X-Men: Apocalypse
The newest X-Men films can be summed-up by my 12 year-old after he saw this trailer: “Why is Mystique an X-Men?” My response: “Because when Jennifer Lawrence is locked into a contract, you put her onscreen as much as possible.” If X-Men fans are annoyed about how they keep forcing Wolverine into every movie (I mean, is the Canada Tourist Board subsidizing the making of each film? How can we make a super-hero movie without a Canadian!), letting arch-enemy Magneto’s #2 Mystique just run around the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters like she’s got a hall pass is a close second.

June 3

- Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Apparently not content to enjoy his success with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Adam Samberg feels compelled to make the mockumentary of conner4real, a rap/pop superstar now feeling the weight of the world after his latest album tanks. Wait, is this a mockumentary about conner4real or a documentary about Macklemore?

- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
It was interesting at the critical beating the first TMNT movie took two years ago. Sure, if you’re comparing it to Citizen Kane, Psycho, or Viva Knievel, it’s going to pale in comparison. However, compared to the 90’s Turtle films, it’s like the soft-serve yogurt at Souplantation. Are you really going to complain about them not using Madagascar Vanilla Beans? The movie’s about mutated underage amphibians with martial arts skills. This is not the stuff Miramax was made for and they probably want it that way.

June 10

- The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
I’m not making the same mistake I made in 2013 where I didn’t even list The Conjuring on my Preview List. Sure, it didn’t end up making the Top Five that season anyway, but it became one of the highest grossing horror films of all-time and it deserves its props. Now let me duck behind you so I can hide if they pull-off another hand clap jumpy scene.

- Now You See Me 2
The first film was a surprise hit in 2013, kind of like The Italian Job in 2003. No one thought much when it came out and it became a fun summer alternative to the usual blockbuster noise. What happens when you actually expect a film to be that kind of hit again? That’s the trick every sequel tries to pull off and usually the audience can spot the card hiding in the magician’s sleeve.

- Warcraft
The smash video game series makes its way to the big screen as the world of orcs and humans battle over who will rule the land. Universal has paid a pretty penny to try and bring this digital world to life. I’ve never played the game myself (I’ll just assume it had too many buttons for me), yet there is one thing I’ve always noticed about movies based on video games… most people prefered playing them to watching them.

June 17

- Central Intelligence
Kevin Hart is starting to enter Michael Caine/Samuel L. Jackson territory where’s it’s like people aren’t allowed to make films anymore unless he’s in them. This time he’s bringing his oddball pairing (how come he’s never paired-up with someone who’s like Kevin Hart?) with The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, who’s the super CIA agent that drags nerdy accountant Hart into his ring of international espionage. Did I just say “accountant” and The Rock in the same sentence? Date night for the Neuenburgs, coming up!

- Finding Dory
I still remember warning my almost three year-old son before watching Finding Nemo that Nemo was going to get lost, but not to worry because his dad was going to find him in the end (then muttering under my breath that Pixar better not screw with me here and give me a dark ending). That kid’s now a freshman in high school and they’re just making the sequel. Look, if it’s good, we’re all happy. If this is Cars 2/Monsters U territory, just stop wasting your time, Pixar, and focus on making great original films like Inside Out and we’ll all pretend The Good Dinosaur never happened. The Good what? That’s right, completely forgotten.

June 24

- Independence Day: Resurgence
It’s awesome how Jurassic World blew-off bringing any of the old cast back for their new film because they didn’t need to. When you’re making Independence Day 2, you bring back every person who hasn’t made a movie in 20 years that you can! They even threw in 90’s TV Icon Sela Ward who I just assumed was in the first one at some point, because, you know, 90’s. All we need now is a soundtrack with Garbage, the Gin Blossoms, Hootie, and Alanis and this would be a resurgence we can all get behind.

July 1

- The BFG
I always look twice when I see this title as I keep thinking it’s BFD which apparently is very different than BFG (which stands for Big Friendly Giant) and is a children’s story written by Roald Dahl. Steven Spielberg is directing, Disney is releasing, and obviously it is a BFD enough to make Independence Day 2 not open over Independence Day weekend... Now that’s saying something!

- The Legend of Tarzan
Wait, this isn’t the one with Phil Collins music and Rosie O’Donnell’s voice? I’m so disappointed. This time everyone’s favorite True Blood vampire Alexander Skarsgård is playing the Lord of the Jungle as he returns back to Africa after his first few years of civilized life in England (which I guess means drinking tea, watching Neighbors, loving Kylie Minogue, and being a soccer hooligan). At some point bad things happen and he has to take his shirt off or this wouldn’t be a Tarzan movie or something you’d cast Alexander Skarsgård in.

- The Purge: Election Year
Unless they’re purging the candidates that are running this year, I think I’ll do my own filibuster.


July 8

- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Ever since the success of Wedding Crashers, studios keep trying to insert their bawdy adult comedies into the summer season. Sometimes it works, as in The Hangover movies, and sometimes it stars Ryan Reynolds and Justin Bateman (take a bow, The Change Up). While this millennial cast list of Zac Efron and Adam DeVine doesn’t seem to have the star power this old geezer would think it needs, since it reunites two actresses from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), more power to ‘em!

- The Secret Life of Pets
After taking last summer off in the plot department with Minions, Universal’s Illumination Animation studio is back with their first non-Despicable project since The Lorax. Here there have a comedic voice cast of thousands playing pets in New York City having an adventure that all of their owners are completely oblivious to. See, that’s what makes it a “secret.” All those dogs that live in handbags being carried around by Manhattan’s elite? Totally known. We want to see how the other 99% live.

July 15

- The Infiltrator
It takes a bold move to place a drama about 80’s Mexican drug lords and undercover DEA agents working as accountants in the middle of the summer. Sure, Bryan Cranston is a big name thanks to Breaking Bad, yet this feels like a fall film and it’s opening against something made to be a summer film. Regardless, you had my wife at “accountant” and sneaky, DEA, money-laundering stuff was just extra-bonus material. Guess I’ll have to wait until the 16th to see Ghostbusters.

- Ghostbusters
The good thing about this version of the Ghostbusters movie is that it can’t take anything away from the 1984 original… because Ghostbuster 2 already did that in 1989. This 21st Century version just needs to worry about not embarrassing itself. Kristen Wiig as Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy as Dan Aykroyd seems about right. Just give us Nicki Minaj sampling the “Who Ya Gonna Call” theme, someone getting slimed, and if they can work in a “It’s true, this man has no dick, but she does” line, we’ll all be fine.

July 22

- Ice Age: Collision Course
I’m beginning to think the actual Ice Age didn’t even last as long as this series. 14 years of anything, let alone employing John Leguizamo, is not always a good thing. Taylor Swift was 12 when the first film came out and only six-foot three then. Interestingly enough, the comedic stylings or Ray Ramano almost seem more fitting to an extinct wooly mammoth than an actual human being now.

- Star Trek Beyond
A.K.A., can Star Trek get beyond not having J.J. Abrams at the helm anymore? While Star Trek into Darkness didn’t do poorly at all, it had the stigma of not being as big as it should’ve been and that leaves us in a funky place now... and that’s literally at the end of July when the other two rebooted Treks have been in May. Is that a sign that expectations are lower? The original Star Trek cast only made it through three seasons on TV. Unless the new film can hit Warp Factor 11 here, this current cast may not make it past three films.

July 29

- Bad Moms
This seems like a modern version of Mean Girls about moms! A solid cast of Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell and Jada Pinkett Smith lead the way as nice mom Mila gets pushed too far by the alpha moms (wait, wha… Jada’s one of those?! No!) and it’s time for her to retaliate with the other misfit moms at their kids school. As long as they avoid some ending celebratory dance number where the women are all in white pant suits like First Wives Club, this is all good. Man, I only saw that movie once 20 years ago and it still haunts my soul. Some things you just can’t unsee.

- Jason Bourne
And the award for laziest titling of a movie in 2016 goes to... Seriously, self-titling is what you do with your first album if you’re a music artist. When it’s your third or fourth album and you self-title, it’s a sign that you’ve given up. Sure, you could interchange any of the “conspiracy,” “supremacy,” and “ultimatum” titles from the other Bourne films and you wouldn’t have to change a thing in their actual movies. Their innocuous. Then again, maybe that’s why they went with Jason Bourne here... since Jason Bourne wasn’t even IN the last Bourne movie, they wanted folks to know Matt Damon was back. Fine, you win this time, Universal, but I’ll be back... Oh yes, I’ll be back, even if I’m played by another actor.

August 5

- Nine Lives
Kevin Spacey is one of the greatest actors of our time and after re-finding himself in House of Cards, he parlays that success into voice-acting as a CGI cat in a family-friendly film. Think The Shaggy D.A. with a feline. On the other hand, don’t think too much about it.

- Suicide Squad
The “other” DC Comics film coming out this year. Consisting of mostly lesser-known characters and villains, they’re coerced into government missions as it’s more fun than sitting in a jail cell. Wil Smith (that’s right, he’ll always be one “L” to me!) is the biggest name involved as Deadshot, though most fans are interested to see what Jared Leto does with his turn as The Joker. Will this film bring the “fun” that BvS missed or are we in for more of the same “When is something actually going to happen”-ness?

August 12

- Ben-Hur
So, if you’re remaking one of the most iconic films in movie history, is the middle of August really the time to be dropping a movie you’re claiming is just as legit? Seriously, if you’re Ben-Hur you say I don’t care what the rest of you are, I’m on Memorial Day or 4th of July or whatever major weekend I want to be. Opening August 12 only makes you look like My Cousin Vinny-Hur and then we’re talking about grits and youts and biological clocks ticking... Not the same thing.

- Pete’s Dragon
On the subject of most iconic films in movie history... I don’t know what to make of this Disney remake of their own 70’s film. Sure, I loved the first flick when I was a kid, but I also loved Remington Steele and Kajagoogoo. None of that means it was actually good. While they’ve changed the story some and it’s no longer a musical, it still remains the tale of a boy whose best friend is a dragon. I’m just amused how in 1977 we were supposed to accept that Mickey Rooney could be Helen Reddy’s dad. It’s like the live-action example of “no way that happened” as Belle and her father in Beauty and the Beast. The 2016 version of Robert Redford playing Bryce Dallas Howard’s dad is much more believable... and that’s important in a fantasy movie.

- Sausage Party
After the sweetness of 70’s nostalgia, what better film than an adult animated film brought to you by Seth Rogan and friends (you know, Jonah Hill, Franco (the usual Franco), Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, etc.). They send up the utopia of Pixar and Disney movies with their take on talking food that realizes once they get home from the store, they’re mutilated and butchered by the people that bought them, or in other words, cooked. This could be another Team America-like hit or something people only talk about in dark, quiet corners.

After this weekend, let’s just accept none of them will be making enough in the final weeks to make the Top Five. Sorry, Max Steel, good luck!


by Matt Neuenburg on 04/29/2016

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Alice Through The Looking Glass, Angry Birds, Ben-Hur, Captain America: Civil War, Central Intelligence, Finding Dory, Ghostbusters, Ice Age: Collision Course, Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Money Monster, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Nine Lives, Now You See Me 2, Pete’s Dragon, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The BFG, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, The Darkness, The Infiltrator, The Legend of Tarzan, The Nice Guys, The Purge: Election Year, The Secret Life of Pets, Warcraft, X-Men: Apocalypse
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