Summer 2024 movie preview: 15 films to watch (or avoid) (2024)

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5 Exciting Movies5 Baffling Movies5 Movies That Look Awful But Will Probably Make Bank

Films releases have been, let’s say, uneven in 2024: we’re finally seeing premieres for movies delayed by COVID, the writers’ strike, and the actors’ strike, in addition to whatever else the studios originally had on their schedules for this year. The release calendar is finally filling out after the drought of the past few years, but the deluge of films can be a bit overwhelming. So, for our summer movie guide this year, we’ve split our picks into two articles. Today, this article that you’re reading right now, is a collection of joys and oddities: films we’re actually looking forward to, and films we can’t stop looking at (derogatory). Tomorrow, we’ll publish a guide with 26 more movies that’ll be arriving this summer. For now, here are 15 films to watch, or avoid, in the next few months.

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Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Sava Jeffries on Percy Jackson And The Olympians

5 movies we actually want to see

I Saw The TV Glow (May 3)

Cast: Justice Smith, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Lindsey Jordan, Fred Durst, Danielle Deadwyler

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May 2024 film preview: Light month brings a few heavy hitters

Salem’s Lot remake has risen from its grave, but now it’ll get buried on Max instead

Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Sava Jeffries on "Percy Jackson And The Olympians"

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Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Sava Jeffries on Percy Jackson And The Olympians

Director: Jane Schoenbrun

With their sophom*ore feature, I Saw The TV Glow, director Jane Schoenbrun continues to establish themself as one of the most singular and intriguing voices in horror—and honestly film in general—right now. In a story that will likely strike close to home for a lot of people who’ve found their way to this site in particular, Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine star as two friends who sink deeper and deeper into their obsession with a niche television series as the lines between fiction and reality become increasingly hard to grasp. Tonally, the film feels a bit like the visual manifestation of a Phoebe Bridgers song, which is convenient because the singer actually pops up on screen about halfway through. She’s joined on its absolute banger of a soundtrack by Caroline Polachek, Jay Som, King Woman, Bartees Strange, and more. [Emma Keates]

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Babes (May 17)

Cast: Ilana Glazer, Michelle Buteau, John Carroll Lynch, Hasan Minhaj, Stephan James, Oliver Platt, Kenny and Keith Lucas, Sandra Bernhard

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Director: Pamela Adlon

There’s a certain type of film that has the cadence of a rom-com, hits all the same beats, and has the same kind of love at its heart, despite not having any romance: the friend-com, as The A.V. Club’s Katie Rife once described it. Babes is shaping up to be the next great friend-com, promising to do for pregnancy what Bridesmaids did for weddings. Ilana Glazer, who co-wrote the film, is a hilarious charisma bomb, and she’s matched for energy here by on-screen bestie (and real-life pal) Michelle Buteau. Plus, it’s the feature film debut for director Pamela Adlon, who cut her teeth on her own Peabody Award-winning series Better Things. Those are all exciting ingredients on paper, and the trailer just enhances our excitement to see it on the big screen in May. [Mary Kate Carr]

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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (May 24)

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Lachy Hulme, Nathan Jones, Angus Sampson, John Howard, Charlee Fraser

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Director: George Miller

Listen, I’m as prejudiced against prequels, sequels and over-franchising in general as the next curmudgeon shouting at clouds outside the repertory theater. But this is George Miller we’re talking about. If his previous work didn’t exist at all, Mad Max: Fury Road automatically buys its maker a lifetime of goodwill, no matter what project he wanted to pursue next. That’s how I’m approaching Furiosa, a movie that seems (at least on the surface) to be little more than an origin story for Charlize Theron’s Imperator. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that a ton of below-the-line talent is coming back from Fury Road. The editor, production designer, costume designer, makeup designer, composer, and sound mixer are all back on board this madcap Twisted Metal road race across Hell’s desert. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that Furiosa will kick ass. Also, Anya Taylor-Joy has never missed, ever. Not even in Playmobil: The Movie, a real movie she was actually in! [Jacob Oller]

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Kinds Of Kindness (June 21)

Cast: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Hong Chau, Jesse Plemmons, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, Hunter Schafer

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Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

To say that Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos are on a hot streak is one hell of an understatement. Hardly three months after Stone won her second Oscar for her role in Poor Things, the actor is already back with another film from the same director. Described as an “anthological fable of free will,” Kinds Of Kindness is actually three different stories compiled into one picture. At two hours and 44 minutes, it’s Lanthimos’ longest film to date—that’s certainly not a win for everyone, but if you, like me, can’t wait to see what this weird Greek mind is going to do to a murderer’s row of talent, it’s cause for a parade. Stone seems to have really found her niche since her La La Land Oscar win, steering into surreal, off-beat works with Lanthimos and Nathan Fielder. Hopefully she’s empowered to be weirder than ever before. [Drew Gillis]

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MaXXXine (July 5)

Cast: Mia Goth, Giancarlo Esposito, Moses Sumney, Halsey, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Monaghan, Lily Collins, Bobby Cannavale, Kevin Bacon

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Director: Ti West

There’s been a gaping void of unforgettable horror trilogies in Hollywood in recent years. Thankfully, Ti West is filling the gap with MaXXXine, a follow-up to X and Pearl. And based on the trailer alone, it promises to be f*cking chilling conclusion (unless there are more films in the pipeline…). The most rewarding part of this trilogy is how all the movies are set in the same world, yet have a distinctive tone, setting, and palette. MaXXXine feels like it’s the aesthetic of Showgirls, with the footage referencing Psycho and genre queens like Jamie Lee Curtis and Brooke Shields. Mia Goth is proving to be an iconic screen queen in her own right, so hopefully, this film will cement it further. [Saloni Gajjar]

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5 movies we can’t believe are actually a thing

Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story (May 3)

Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Mellisa McCarthy, Rachel Harris, Christian Slater, Jim Gaffigan, Hugh Grant, Sarah Cooper, Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day, Drew Tarver, Patrick Warburton, Amy Schumer, Max Greenfield, Cedrick The Entertainer, and Andy Daly as Larry, the Quaker Oats Guy

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Director: Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld’s projects are few and far between. He finds a lane, such as a sitcom, getting coffee with comedians in cars, or stand-up comedy, and stays there...except for movies. There, his choices make so little sense that there must be something to them—even 2007’s Bee Movie had some staying power—and his directorial debut for Netflix appears to be no exception. Seinfeld wrote, directed, and starred in Unfrosted, a star-studded comedy about the creation of the Pop-Tart. While a movie loosely based on one of Seinfeld’s most picked-over bits doesn’t sound that fresh, Unfrosted at least has a distinct visual aesthetic going for it and is an unashamedly goofy comedy. After all, a parody of the heroic sneaker executives turning their billion-dollar business into a $10 billion business is in order. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Back To Black (May 17)

Cast: Marisa Abela, Eddie Marsan, Lesley Manville, Juliet Cowan, Harley Bird, Jack O’Connell

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Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Every new detail of Back To Black has a way of making me say “Oh, brother.” Let’s start with the musician biopic, a trend that has gotten only more prestigious after Bohemian Rhapsody brought Rami Malek an Oscar. It’s been a runaway train since then, but given the relative recency of Amy Winehouse’s death and her relative youth when she died, there is a different rubbernecking quality to this one. Beyond that, Winehouse’s family and estate is apparently happy with the finished product—not a problem on its face, were it not for the fact that her father Mitch Winehouse decried the 2015 documentary Amy, which pointed a finger at his involvement in her death. Even so, maybe it’s worth giving it the benefit of the doubt. Oh, what’s that? They’re not having Marisa Abela lip sync, but rather do her own singing? Oh, brother. [Drew Gillis]

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The Crow (June 7)

Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Danny Huston, FKA twigs

Director: Rupert Sanders

After dying a straight-to-DVD death in the mid-2000s, The Crow flies again. With Bill Skarsgård stepping into the late Brandon Lee’s combat boots, the 2024 remake eschews the white facepaint and the iconic soundtrack. In its stead comes a Jokerfied Crow with a zoomer edge, with Eric Draven still rising from the dead to avenge his and his girlfriend’s death. In development since 2008, The Crow brings a tinge of the gothic to our decaying superhero landscape. Frankly, we can’t believe director Rupert Sanders finally got this one over the finish line. That, in and of itself, is a minor miracle. The jury’s still out on whether it was all worth it. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Horizon: An American Saga (June 28)

Cast: Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jeff Fahey, Will Patton, Tatanka Means, Owen Crow Shoe, Ella Hunt, Jamie Campbell Bower

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Director: Kevin Costner

No one cashes in their chips like Kevin Costner. Following a rocky directing career, which includes an Oscar for Dances With Wolves and a short stint in directors’ jail for The Postman, the epic Horizon: An American Saga - Chapter 1 becomes Costner’s first film in over 20 years. Costner’s been trying to get Horizon since before both, and with the clout he earned from five seasons of Yellowstone, he finally got another at-bat. This may be two massive movies filmed simultaneously and released less than two months apart, but most of its success lies with Chapter 1, because if audiences don’t like that one, they probably won’t sign up for the second. It’s a gamble only Costner would make. We’ll see if it pays off. [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Kraven The Hunter (August 30)

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Russell Crowe, Ariana DeBose, Fred Hechinger, Christopher Abbott, Alessandro Nivola,

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Director: J.C. Chandor

One glance at the track record of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe will tell you all you need to know about how Kraven The Hunter will turn out. Sure, people enjoy hate-watching Venom movies (and if you put Riz Ahmed in one of them, I have no choice but to remain seated). Meanwhile, Morbius and Madame Web are perfect fodder for jokes and other online discussions that have nothing to do with the quality of the film or the performances. I expect Kraven The Hunter won’t be any different, no matter how handsome Aaron Taylor-Johnson looks in the poster or trailer. Who knows? Maybe this film will be the exception to the rule, but if not, I look forward to the endless meme supply it’ll bring us. [Saloni Gajjar]

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5 movies that look terrible but will probably make bank

Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes (May 10)

Cast: Kevin Durand, Owen Teague, Freya Allen, William H. Macy, Peter Macon

Director: Wes Ball

Believe it or not, we’re now going on four films in the rebooted Planet Of The Apes franchise, launched back in 2011 with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. If you’ve been following along so far, you’ve seen the progression of the Apes-verse from a recognizable one not unlike our own into something that more closely resembles the Ape-dominated future of the 1968 classic. That future will become fully realized in Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes, set nearly 300 years after the previous installment, 2017's War For The Planet Of The Apes (unfortunately, this evolution hasn’t entailed the names getting any shorter). Owen Teague stars in the CGI-heavy sequel as Noa, a chimpanzee hunter who teams up with a feral human woman (Freya Allen) to challenge the ruthless bonobo leader Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand). Wes Ball, best known for the Maze Runner films, takes on the directing duties this time, working from a screenplay by Josh Friedman (War Of The Worlds). [Cindy White]

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The Garfield Movie (May 24)

Cast: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, Cecily Strong, Harvey Guillén, Brett Goldstein, Bowen Yang, Snoop Dogg

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Director: Mark Dindal

The Garfield Movie is going to take a lot of flack simply because we all have a fatal case of Chris Pratt poisoning, especially since he’s now the poster boy for “movie stars replacing actual voice actors.” Lorenzo Music gave that orange cat a hollow hatred of the world, just like Charles Martinet gave Mario a childish energy. Chris Pratt just gives his characters Chris Pratt. Sure, Bill Murray was the last Garfield we got on the big screen, but the man was tricked (and also loves a paycheck). This movie, an odd couple adventure-comedy between Garfield and his street-cat dad (Samuel L. Jackson), gives us everything we love about Garfield: High-tech factories, train chases, and some kind of species-spanning criminal plot. Classic Jim Davis! Like so many modern adaptations, this looks like it’ll take a famous character and his top Wiki bullet points, and put him into a generic caper because that’s just the kind of movie we make now. [Jacob Oller]

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Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F (July 3)

Cast: Eddie Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kevin Bacon, Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser, John Ashton, Taylour Paige, Bronson Pinchot

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Director: Mark Molloy

While the Netflix release will prevent Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F from ever turning a profit, it seems inevitable that Netflix will hail it as the most-watched movie in history, with 2.1 billion views, following the July 4 weekend. That’s pretty impressive for a film with the worst title this side of The Tortured Poet’s Department (we have to assume Axel F” is a reference to the Crazy Frog classic). Murphy, giving another one of his ‘80s classics a forgettable legacy sequel, is back as Axel F, and he’s ready to stick some bananas in tailpipes. This one will disappear into the algorithm faster than you can say “Coming 2 America.” [Matt Schimkowitz]

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Twisters (July 19)

Cast: Glen Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos, Maura Tierney, Sasha Lane, Kiernan Shipka, Brandon Perea, Katy O’Brien, David Corenswat, Nik Dodani

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Director: Lee Isaac Chung

I hope for nothing more than for Twisters to surprise me with its storytelling quality because, with Minari director Lee Isaac Chung at the helm, I don’t think the movie will be bad. But there’s no denying the movie has the makings of a perfect summer blockbuster. It’s nostalgia bait because the original Twister is so much fun and still holds up. This new cast is stacked with beloved names and breakout stars who’ll get to shine on the big screen. And not for nothing, but the trailer looks ridiculous. I hope it’s silly in the right ways, but either way, there’s no denying Twisters is going to swirl its way into a whole lotta cash. [Saloni Gajjar]

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Borderlands (August 9)

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Edgar Ramírez, Ariana Greenblatt, Bobby Lee, Florian Munteanu, Gina Gershon, Jamie Lee Curtis.

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Director: Eli Roth

I honestly feel like I’ve been covering the Borderlands movie for over a decade…and the reality is actually pretty close. The smarmy over-the-top shooter has had an adaptation in development hell since 2015, when it was announced amid the solid critical reception of the first three games in the franchise. As the movie was dropped, then picked up, then revised, then abandoned, then resurrected—much like a co-op player you’re carrying through Pandora for the first time—its in-your-face, self-aware style has become less enjoyably novel and veered towards grating. It doesn’t help that pop culture has just been saturated with a Fallout adaptation (to scratch that wasteland-roaming, funny-yet-brutal video game adaptation itch) and an onslaught of Deadpool. Under these conditions, how does Borderlands carve out a niche? It’s hard to imagine Eli Roth bringing something to the table, especially considering Deadpool filmmaker Tim Miller took over for a couple weeks of reshoots. It’ll be up to the cast then, surprisingly stacked and deeply intriguing, to make Borderlands worth the wait. [Jacob Oller]

Summer 2024 movie preview: 15 films to watch (or avoid) (2024)
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