Sequels and Prequels and Remakes, Oh My!

By Gire, Dann | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 14, 2017 | Go to article overview

Sequels and Prequels and Remakes, Oh My!


Gire, Dann, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic dgire@dailyherald.com

Every summer comes with a glut of what Hollywood studios judge to be commercially "safe" projects, including remakes, sequels, prequels, plus features based on TV shows, comic books, games, toys, theme park attractions and anything else promising a built-in audience to calm the nerves of jittery producers.

This summer even gives us sequels to prequels and prequels to prequels, starting with Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant" (a sequel to a prequel).

Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" is a rare sequel more interested in raising awareness than box office receipts.

As far as big-budget productions go, Christopher Nolan's sweeping historical war drama "Dunkirk" looks highly promising.

Then we've got a slate of indie films and documentaries that might just give us a better view of the world than your average formula tentpole feature.

At the top: Matthew Heineman's "City of Ghosts," a report on Syrian citizen journalists who risk their lives to document and expose abuses by the Islamic State.

If the summer movies of 2017 have a silver lining, tint it pink.

Women rock -- and roll out some big cinematic guns this season, led by Sofia Coppola directing the remake "The Beguiled," Kathryn Bigelow directing "Detroit" and Patty Jenkins heading up the comic-book-based sequel "Wonder Woman."

Raunchy female bonding movies are on the docket, as well as estrogen action figures such as Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. Charlize Theron's "Atomic Blonde" and Sofia Boutella's "The Mummy."

So, here are several high-profile movies least likely to give producers pre-release ulcers this summer. Release dates are seldom etched in stone, so check listings regularly during the next three months.

May

"Alien: Covenant" -- This sixth H.R. Giger-inspired creature feature is set 10 years after "Prometheus" and 20 years before "Alien." Michael Fassbender's android from "Prometheus" returns with an updated twin. Double the trouble. May 19.

"Baywatch" -- From "Horrible Bosses" director Seth Gordon comes this looks-to-be-wacky parody of the popular slow-motion lifeguard TV series. Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario provide the body of experience here, with "Quantico" star Priyanka Chopra as the beach baddie. May 25.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" -- Javier Bardem plays a new villain in this theme-park inspired fourth sequel. He seeks revenge on Johnny Depp's Capt. Jack Sparrow. May 26.

June

"Wonder Woman" -- Gal Gadot's Amazonian warrior teams with Chris Pine to stop a nutty German (Danny Huston) from deploying weapons of mass destruction during World War I. June 2.

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" -- Can a reboot be rebooted? Guess so. Tom Holland's Peter Parker is just 15 now, and his moldy old Aunt May is played by still-hottie Marisa Tomei. Be prepared for adolescent angst, with Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton. June 7.

"Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" -- An animated comedy in which fourth-grade rebels (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) hypnotize their principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he's the superhero of their homemade comic books. Based on the children's works by author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. June 2.

"The Mummy" -- Details are under wraps, but we know that Sofia Boutella makes a much more attractive mummy than Boris Karloff. She intends to destroy the world. Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe try to stop her. At least Cruise does. Not sure about the other guy. June 9.

"It Comes at Night" -- In another one of those dystopian worlds, a man (Christopher Abbott) possibly infected with a deadly virus is given shelter by a well-meaning family (Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr.). June 9.

"The Book of Henry" -- An 11-year-old genius (Jaeden Lieberher) springs into disturbing action when he suspects his neighbor (Maddie Ziegler) is being abused by her stepfather (Dean Norris). …

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