After grinding to a halt in the COVID-19 pandemic, the movie industry has begun to cautiously re-oil the gears, cranking out some of its most promising summer blockbusters as theaters roll back their curtains and slowly reopen.
Festival favorites, such as “The Sparks Brothers,” are primed for mainstream release, and we’ll eagerly welcome some highly anticipated action flicks, such as Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow.” This summer shapes up as a season of options: variety in the movies to choose and variety in the ways to watch them. Though release dates shuffle and are subject to change, here are some exciting movies slated for the summer.
“In the Heights”
Lin-Manuel Miranda gained name recognition for his multihyphenate work in the Tony Award-sweeping musical “Hamilton,” but it’s a different Miranda musical that gets to shine in cinemas this summer. “In the Heights,” based on the stage show by Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, follows a tight-knit community in Washington Heights and a charismatic bodega owner named Usnavi (Anthony Ramos). Directed by Jon M. Chu, “In the Heights” is a sure hit with catchy songs and close-knit community ties.
“Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
In 1969, the Harlem Cultural Festival welcomed thousands of people to a lively celebration of Black history and culture. The critically acclaimed documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” explores this historic moment and its enduring reverberations in the present. Director Questlove, also known as Ahmir Khalib Thompson, premiered his directorial debut at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award and the Grand Jury prize. The film is set to arrive in theaters and stream on Hulu in early July.
“The Green Knight”
If you weren’t already sweating, A24 turns up the heat with “The Green Knight,” a fantastical adaptation of Arthurian lore starring Dev Patel. The film adapts 14th-century tale “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and chronicles the life of Sir Gawain (Patel), King Arthur’s bold nephew, and his perilous journey to confront the titular knight. Director David Lowery breathes new life into this classic medieval tale rich with monsters, romance and knights of the round table.
As a decade, the 2010s were no stranger to the biopic, practically running the genre into the ground with frustratingly simple and cliche portraits of cultural titans. This summer, however, stands to pave a new, promising path with the film “Respect.” The film, obviously, pays homage to the incomparable Aretha Franklin, who will be played by Jennifer Hudson. Tracking her rise to fame, “Respect” enlists noteworthy co-stars, including Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. The Queen of Soul left a mighty impression on the cultural landscape, and while this star-studded cast seems up to the challenge, let’s say a little prayer that “Respect” doesn’t disappoint.
In “Cryptozoo,” director-writer Dash Shaw turns to animation to catalyze his captivating critique of capitalism. Actors Lake Bell, Grace Zabriskie, Zoe Kazan and Michael Cera lend their voices to populate the film’s lysergic world of cryptozookeepers. After premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, “Cryptozoo” is sure to enthrall viewers with its wild, wonderful, almost overstimulating, story when it hits theaters in late August.
Whether you watch them for a night in or for a night out, these movies are ripe and ready for entertainment. Pop some popcorn, snuggle up in your seat and get ready for an epic summer of cinema.
Contact Maya Thompson at [email protected].