by Jeremy Goeckner, Editor-In-Chief

The Summer movie season is once again upon us. This is traditionally the time of year when the studios take their big swings for huge box office numbers and give us the most action-packed and epic movies of the year. This Summer looks to be no different and we've decided to preview the biggest releases coming your way!

There are many crazy things that the Summer of 2017 can bring our way, including a condensing of 7-book series into one film and the first time two major studios have joined iconic characters together to merge universes. It should be a fun Summer!

May 05 | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - As if you need a reason to watch this. The 15th entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe promises to be one of its most ambitious and out there yet. The star-studded cast and the genius writer-director James Gunn are back to take us on another galactic adventure as the Guardians attempt to save the galaxy while deciphering the secret of Peter Quill’s parentage. This film adds Kurt Russell, Pom Klementief and Sylvester Stallone to the already STACKED MCU roster of actors. 


May 12 | King Arthur Legend of the Sword - Director Guy Ritchie brings his usual flair to this well-known legend while trying to revive the historical epic film. It has a tall task as those types of films have been trending downward at the Box office for going on almost 3 years now. Still, the movie boasts an impressive cast led by Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law and seems to be bringing more than just the typical legend to the table in trying to reimagine it completely.


May 19 | Alien Covenant - Ridley Scott returned to the franchise that launched him into superstardom with 2012’s "Prometheus". While critics were generally split on the verdict of that film, all were very glad that Scott had come back to the greatly struggling franchise to try and revive some of its past glory. But while "Prometheus" was trying to be the serious and distant cousin of "Alien", Scott has done away with trying to create something markedly different and returns to his sci-fi horror roots with "Covenant". The cast is stacked and the trailers have been scary. Let’s do this!


May 26 | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - The Pirates franchise has been one of the most puzzling in film history. Most critics agree the films have diminished in quality the further along they’ve gone. And yet, the money has been right at one billion dollars worldwide for each of the last three films. So here we go with the fifth adventure of our favorite pirate captain as Jack and his allies try to outrun the vengeful ghost of Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) as he tries to wipe all pirates from the seas. We’re optimistic this film can rescue the franchise quality-wise. Please don’t let us down.


May 26 | Baywatch - Dwayne Johnson is simply a life-force all his own. Sure, this was an astoundingly popular television series and the comedy style portrayed in the trailers seems to match up with what we’ve seen from many of the better comedies of the last few years. But add in “The Rock” and it just seems to add an air of credibility and fun that just isn’t there without him. Hence, this film can either be the next great semi-raunch comedy or the next unbearable schlock-fest. I’m betting for the latter, if you smell what The Rock is cookin.


June 02 | Wonder Woman - To say the least, the DC Extended Universe has gotten off to a rough start. “Batman v. Superman” wasn’t warmly received and “Suicide Squad”, despite making a lot of money, didn’t move the needle much more in the right direction. Hence there are quite a few hopes riding on the next entry in the universe. Early buzz on the screenings have described a stark improvement and it appears this is the film that will finally unite the fan-base behind the DCEU. While I’m still skeptical of Gal Godot's acting ability, this film is loaded with talent behind and in front of the camera. I’m expecting good things.


June 09 | The Mummy - This film is the first of the proposed Universal Movie Monster Universe and man oh man are the studio execs at Universal swinging big with their cinematic universe. They went out and got Tom Cruise to headline this first entry and have already added Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man and Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s Monster. Fast-rising star Sofia Boutella takes the titular role and the trailers promise an interesting blend of action/adventure & horror filmmaking.


June 09 | It Comes At Night - Call this one an honorable mention for me. This film isn’t going to light the box office on fire but the trailers for this claustrophobic horror film appear to promise a unique experience in the ways of horror films. This film also comes from studio A24 which has been literally on fire for the last two years. Joel Edgerton leads this cast into a crazy and creepy world.


June 16 | Cars 3 - Let’s all be honest shall we? The Cars franchise are by far the worst films Pixar has produced that isn’t named “Brave”. The first one isn’t terrible but the second is the kind of bad that taints all those that came before it. Yet for some reason, Pixar refuses to give up on the franchise. Hence we get this 3rd installment. So why should there be optimism? Well the marketing campaign has been very scant with details of the film and seems to promise a far more serious foray into this world. Still, it’s talking cars. How serious can we get?


June 16 | Rough Night - Yes, on the surface it looks like a female-based remake of 1998’s “Very Bad Things”. But on closer inspection… that’s exactly what it is. But hey, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing (see what I did there?). This film follows a bachelorette party that gets turned upside down when the ladies accidentally kill a male stripper. It has a stellar cast lead by Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon and Jillian Bell. Put those five ladies together and I guarantee you are going to laugh no matter the circumstance.


June 23 | Transformers: The Last Knight - Oh Michael Bay. Why must you continue to put us through this? The first “Transformers” film wasn’t perfect but it did constitute what I would call a solid start. And then they just keep getting worse and worse and worse. So when Paramount decided to make a writers room with the likes of Steven Spielberg and Steven DeKnight to try and course-correct, we emerge with Michael Bay once again and another film that looks very stylish and exciting on the trailers but doesn’t inspire any renewed confidence at all. Maybe this will finally be the one to get the franchise back on track, but color me not optimistic.


June 30 | Despicable Me 3 - The “Despicable Me” franchise is one of the better underdog stories of the last few years of film-making. The first came out of nowhere to be a critical and financial success. The second had some diminishing quality returns but made even more money at the global box office. Then we had the disastrous “Minions” that still made $1 Billion dollars at the global box office. This 3rd entry in the main franchise promises some family development for Gru as he must team up with his brother Dru to make one last big heist.


June 30 | The House - Depending on who you ask, Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler teaming up in any movie premise would be a win-win. This film finds them trying to reclaim lost money for their daughter’s college education by opening a secret casino in their suburban home. Sounds funny enough. And if these two can tap into something more than just an overextended SNL sketch and put some family drama sprinkled in, this might be the best comedy of the Summer.


July 07 | Spider-Man: Homecoming - The grand experiment in studio cooperation that is this film will have deep ramifications for franchise cross-overs if the film is as well-received as the trailers seem to suggest. Spider-Man has already made his MCU entrance with “Captain America: Civil War” and this is our first solo adventure with the newest iteration of the wall-crawler. Tom Holland returns as Peter with Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man taking a prominent role in the film as well. Add in Michael Keaton’s return to comic book films as the villainous Vulture and the full-fledged high school movie vibe of the trailers and you see why so many people think we’ve finally gotten the proper version of this character we’ve been waiting for.


July 14 | War For The Planet of the Apes - Director of “Dawn” Matt Reeves is back to try and complete what many may consider one of the best film trilogies of all time. If the trailers are anything to go on, it’s certainly not a stretch to give it that title as the first two of the revamped “Apes” series have been wondrous achievements. This film promises more action, more intrigue of the two sides and a truly great villain by the always amazing Woody Harrelson. Andy Serkis and the special effects artists have created one of the most unique visions in film history and this epic finale to the trilogy should be one of the most highly-anticipated events of the Summer.


July 21 | Dunkirk - It’s Christopher Nolan doing a World War II drama. I mean that really should be all you need to know. But in case you do need more, the story of Dunkirk is truly one of the most harrowing tales of the entire history of the second World War. And the cast he has assembled is a who’s-who of legit acting chops. So let’s see: one of the best directors telling one of the most undertold and unique war stories with an incredible cast. If you don’t go see this you’re simply crazy.


July 21 | Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets - Luc Besson is a lot of things as a director. Some hail him as a visionary and they often reference his imaginative (albeit divisive) 1997 film “The Fifth Element”. But then with a film like “Lucy”, which split critics even more harshly, it’s hard to get a read on his standing in the film world. Most agree he has great skill and imagination and both will be put to the test with this adaptation of the famous French graphic novel. The trailers have promised a truly unique and special effects-laden spectacle that could either be the next “Avatar” or one of the biggest flops of the year. Time will tell.


July 28 | Atomic Blonde - Charlize Theron as a hot assassin on a trail of vengeance against those that wronged and set her up? Familiar premise sure but most of those films didn’t have an Academy Award-winning actress leading the charge. And aside from that, the rest of the cast being rounded out by the likes of John Goodman, James McAvoy, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard and Sofia Boutella makes for a very interesting chance for this film. And the action sequences in the trailer have looked all kinds of awesome.


July 28 | The Emoji Movie - Yeah…. About this movie. This thing has craptastic written all over it. And I mean, ALL OVER IT. I was remaining cautiously optimistic as I had the same thoughts about “The Lego Movie” before it convinced me that indeed everything WAS awesome. But the first trailer for this film spells doom to me. I didn’t laugh once and that means this is literally a film only for the kiddos to laugh at for a while. AVOID! Unless you have kids. And in that case, my God be with you.


August 04 | The Dark Tower - Stephen King movie adaptations are usually pretty hit-and-miss. For every “Pet Semetery” you have a “Thinner”. For every “Shawshank Redemption” you have a “Sleepwalkers”. But for the most part his films have been on the better side. However this one might prove to be the biggest challenge yet. The Dark Tower is actually a series of 7 books that incorporate characters from all of King’s novels for the past 25 years. There have been many attempts to bring this story to the screen including a TV series-movie combo from Ron Howard. But Sony has decided to try and condense it all into one story, for better or worse. They have a great cast and some truly great visuals from the trailer working in their favor so far.


August 11 | Annabelle: Creation - As usual the Summer season wains a little bit as the months bleed into the Fall. However this horror film sequel has the potential to be something special at the end of the season. The first "Annabelle" was an exercise in boring and unnecessary filmmaking. You took one of the scariest parts of the first “Conjuring” film and completely took the intrigue and dread away. Enter Director David Sandberg who just absolutely killed it with his feature debut of “Lights Out”. Mix in a trailer that promises truly terrifying images and you might just have the pre-Halloween hit that Blumhouse is hoping.

© 2016 by The Front Row Movie Reviews. all rights reserved.

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