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Summer movie preview
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2016-05-25

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A bounty of sequels, prequels, franchises, tent-poles, and still more sequels can only mean that the summer movie season is upon us.

Although a few of the releases over the next three months have some queer content, the majority do not. I have been writing these roundups for more than a decade, always tagging them "The Summer LGBT Movie Preview," highlighting the scant queer-themed ones.

But honestly, when it comes to movies, summer is the least likely time to find LGBT-themed films; those are generally reserved for release at awards time ( late fall ). And though some of these movies include queer characters or situations, to be fair, I'm dropping the "LGBT" moniker from the title of this preview. But there's still plenty here for Our People to anticipate ( X Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking-Glass, both opening this Friday, are good examples. )

June

The Conjuring 2—Those wacky ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine ( Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga ) are back for round two; this time the deadly serious duo head to London to help a single mom with four children rid their lodgings of unwanted paranormal baddies. The first round was long on atmosphere and truly frightened; here's hoping that lightning ( of the ectoplasmic variety ) strikes twice. June 10

Presenting Princess Shaw—It's the true story of bisexual YouTube sensation Samantha Montgomery aka Princess Shaw, whose original a capella songs were transformed by her discoverer, mysterious composer Kutiman, into mainstream sensations. June 10

Finding Dory—In this long-anticipated sequel to Disney's undersea animated megahit Finding Nemo, Ellen DeGeneres returns to voice the beloved, daffy fish with the memory issues as she embarks on a journey to reunite with her mother ( voiced by Diane Keaton ) and father ( voiced by Eugene Levy ). June 17

De Palma—Brian De Palma, the director who graphically combined sex and death on the screen; Hitchcock's most ambitious successor; and the filmmaker behind Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Body Double, The Untouchables, and more is profiled in this long-overdue documentary. June 17

Genius—The long-gestating screen adaptation of out writer A. Scott Berg's award winning biography detailing the "romantic friendship" between legendary editor Max Perkins ( Colin Firth ) and southern writer Thomas Wolfe ( Jude Law ). Out screenwriter John Logan wrote the script; Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, Dominic West, and Laura Linney co-star. June 17

Independence Day: Resurgence—They're baaaackkk. Twenty years after Will Smith et al kicked some alien ass, the little green men return for revenge. Although Smith isn't making the reunion, seemingly everyone else from the original is with Liam Hemsworth as this version's cocky flier pilot. Oh, and there's a gay couple in the line-up—this being a film from out writer-director Roland Emmerich. June 24

The Neon Demon—Elle Fanning plays an aspiring model in this futuristic thriller whose beauty is coveted by everyone around her in youth-obsessed Los Angeles. It sounds decidedly strange ( did I mention the cannibals? ) and kinda fabulous. June 24

July

The BFG—A young girl has a series of enchanting adventures when she meets the BFG—Big Friendly Giant ( Mark Rylance )—of the title in this children's movie for all ages from director Steven Spielberg that's based on the revered Roald Dahl book. July 1

The Legend of Tarzan—About the 20,000th film adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs jungle yarn—this time with True Blood Scandinavian hunk Alexander Skarsgard donning the loincloth. Margot Robbie is Jane, Christoph Waltz is the villain and Samuel L. Jackson also stars. July 1

Ghostbusters—A female-driven remake of the 1980s buddy comedy classic has Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon stepping in for Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis. Let's hear it for the girls! July 15

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie—Patsy and Edina, those two hard partying London-based "sweetie, sweetie, darlings" who took the world ( and just about every gay bar's TV set ) by storm in the early '90s are back in this large-screen romp. Jennifer Saunder and Joanna Lumley return as Pats and Eddy, and the wisecracks, zingers and sight gags are sure to flow faster than the "champers." The plot springs from the accidental drowning by Eddy of supermodel Kate Moss in the Thames. Comic mayhem no doubt ensues. July 22

Little Men—Out writer-director Ira Sachs follows-up his triumphant film about an aging gay couple in Love Is Strange with another New York City-set character drama. This one follows the budding friendship of two 13-year-old boys who find their friendship tested when the fallout over an inheritance becomes a sore point for their respective parents. Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle and Paulina Garcia co-star in support of newcomers Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri. July 22

Star Trek Beyond—The Star Trek movie franchise reboot returns with a third edition that looks to be pretty darn snazzy. Captain Kirk ( Chris Pine ) and his logical No. 2, Spock ( out actor Zachary Quinto ), along with the rest of the crew of the Enterprise find themselves facing a deadly alien threat when they are stranded on a hostile planet. July 22

Jason Bourne—The cunning and nearly unstoppable CIA agent is back—both the character and Matt Damon who originated the role and now returns to the franchise. Expect non-stop action because Bourne has regained his memory—and he wants revenge ( what else? ). I suggest that, not unlike Freddy and Jason and Predator and Alien, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt ( Tom Cruise's character in the Mission Impossible series ) should have a go at each other and create yet another action franchise. July 29

August

The Founder—The story of McDonald's burger chain founder Ray Croc ( Michael Keaton ) is detailed. Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, Laura Dern and Nick Offerman co-star. Aug. 5

Florence Foster Jenkins—Mighty Meryl returns with another entry in her lucky August release spot with this improbable but true story of a wealthy heiress who lets nothing get in the way of her dream of being an opera singer—not even her horrid singing voice. Hugh Grant co-stars as Streep's husband. Aug. 12

Hell or High Water—Chris Pine and Ben Foster play two brothers who decide to rob a bank when their family farm is threatened with foreclosure. Jeff Bridges plays the Texas Ranger who pursues them with a vengeance. Aug. 12.

Ben-Hur—From the trailers it doesn't look as if the infamous, jaw dropping homoerotic subtext between the Jewish hunk and the Roman hunk in William Wyler's 1959 classic is present in this new adaptation starring Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell stepping in for Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd. But we'll see. Aug. 19

Southside with You—Future U.S. President Barack Obama ( Parker Sawyers ) and lawyer Michelle Robinson ( Tika Sumpter ) go on a fateful first date in the summer of 1989 ( the date including a screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing ) in this well-timed film romance. Aug. 26


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