Summer Times: 2022 Summer Movies Guide

By Jeffrey Sanzel

A a year ago, studios wondered if there would be a “return to normal”. Summer 2021 rode a mix of theater attendance and residual streaming. Delays in various releases continued throughout the fall, winter, and spring. This summer, the options seem to reflect the pre-pandemic era.

Elvis

Elvis is one of the most anticipated films. Directed by Baz Luhrman (from a script by Luhrman and others), the biopic focuses on Presley (Austin Butler) from his early career to his iconic rise. Much of the story tells of her complex relationship with Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Lurhman is known for his non-traditional approaches (as evidenced by his Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, and The Great Gatsby), so his take will most likely reflect his unique style. Rated PG-13 Release date June 24

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru offers a sequel to a spin-off. Minions (2015) followed Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). The second film follows Despicable Me 3 (2017). For fans of the franchise, the story picks up after the events of Minions, with twelve-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) striving to join the villains known as the Vicious 6. Rated PG Release date July 1

Thor: Love and Thunder

For those looking for the most traditional summer dishes, there is Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8), the sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to battle Gorr the Butcher God, who is intent on making the gods disappear. Taika Waititi directs Chris Hemsworth in the title role. The film also stars Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. Rated PG-13 Release date July 8

Where the Crawdads sing

Delia Owens’ 2018 Bestseller Where the Crawdads sing hits the big screen with Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, a self-raised North Carolina swamp girl who becomes the prime suspect in a murky murder case. One of the most popular novels of the past decade, this tale of secrets hidden and revealed is one of the most serious offerings. Not rated yet Release date July 15

The gray man

For those looking for action thrillers, The gray man offers the CIA’s most skilled mercenary (Ryan Gosling), uncovering dark and incriminating secrets about the organization. Chris Evans plays a psychopathic former colleague assigned to hunt him down. Produced and directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, The Gray hopes to be the first of a franchise based on the Gray Man novels by Mark Greaney. Rated PG-13 Release date July 15

Nope

One of the most intriguing versions is Nope (22nd of July). Residents of a remote California town, including ranchers James and Jill Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer), witness a mysterious and anomalous event. This sci-fi horror film is written, directed and produced by Jordan Peele, whose brilliant and distinctive style always informs his work, including the highly effective get out and We. Rated R Release date July 22

Marcel the shod shell

Equally interesting is Marcel the shod shella live-action/stop-motion animated mockumentary that follows the title character (voiced by Jenny Slate) as she embarks on a journey to reunite with her family. Rated PG Release date July 24

The black phone

No summer is complete without the usual dose of horror. The black phone (June 24) reunites Ethan Hawke with Scott Derrickson, his manager since Claim (2012). Here, a kidnapped boy trapped in a basement realizes he can communicate with this kidnapper’s previous victims. Rated R Release date July 24

High-speed train

High-speed train is an action-comedy/thriller hybrid based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle. Brad Pitt directs an overall cast as a killer trained Ladybug (Pitt), who wants to abandon life but is retained by his master (Sandra Bullock). On a train from Tokyo to Kyoto, competing assassins discover they are looking for the same briefcase. (There was some backlash over the film’s casting, with two of the novel’s main characters becoming non-Asian.) Rated R Release date July 29

DC League of Super Pets

The family DC League of Super Pets is an animated adventure with Superman’s dog, Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), organizing shelter pets that have special powers to free the Justice League, which mastermind Lex Luthor has captured. Rated PG Release date July 29

Body Body Body

The satirical slasher Bodies Bodies Bodies (August 5) sees a group of friends gather for a house party to play a murder mystery game, only to find that an actual murder has taken place, and they now have to play the game for real. Rated R Release date August 5

Samaritan

In Samaritan, a young boy (Javon Walton) realizes that a famous superhero, thought to be missing, may still be around. The film also stars Sylvester Stallone. Note PG-13 Release date August 26

3000 years of nostalgia

There is a surprising dearth of fantasy, with Three thousand years of nostalgia being one of the few. Adaptation and staging of the short story by AS Byatt The Djinn in the eye of the nightingale, George Miller returns after a seven-year hiatus. The epic romantic fantasy tells of a woman (Tilda Swinton) who meets a djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for her freedom. Rated R Release date August 31

Obviously, this summer welcomes a variety of choices for all movie buffs.

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement.