Cinematic Summer 2017 Offers More than Heroes

Updated 2 years ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Ghost Story
Ghost Story

The Cinematic Summer of 2017 has started.  Studios have long ago added the first week of May as the kick off. Ironically, August now is considered a slack month where studios shift films that they do not believe can compete with the tentpoles.  And, admittedly, a portion comes from counter-programming as they target demographics not saturated with options.

Instead of headlining the blockbuster tentpole sequels , I'm recognizing the fortitude and risks taken by scheduling non franchise related films. These can be divided into chic comedy , horror and an assortment of promising dramas.

Dudes have survived Hangovers and so have bridesmaids, now,  two premises come from reunions of best friends.

 Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz reunite  for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami on June 16. Their unexpected "Rough Night" turns deadly when they accidentally kill a male stripper.

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde

Come July 21 four members of a sisterhood (Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. During this "Girl's Trip" the quartet take their own walk on extreme wild side antics.

Andrew (Neighbors, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates) Cohen direct Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler in a comedy where after blowing their daughter's college fund, they turn their basement  (known as "The House") into an illegal  casino . It opens June 30.

Solid drama will not kick in until mid July. 

Tom Hardy stars in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk concerning a pivotal Belgium, French, English and German battle. It's followed Aug. 4 by "Detroit," set during the 1967 riots and featuring Anthony Mackie. Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson topline "The Glass Castle," filmed partly in southern West Virginia. Opening Aug. 11, Castle tells of a family of artistic nomads who eventually settle in a poverty stricken, rural West Virginia setting. 

The horror genre will be sprinkled throughout the sunny months. Tom Cruise opens "The Mummy" (June 9) along with "It Comes at Night" in which a family seeks solitude in a desolate mansion near world's end. 

Others in genre, "Amitville The Awakening" (June 30), "A Ghost Story" (July 7) which leans more on fantasy romance, "Annabelle The Creation" (Aug. 11) and "Polaroid" (Aug. 25), which leans in "The Ring's" direction as a high schooler discovers a camera.


Two superhero adventures  await in June and July. Gal Godot becomes Wonder Woman as the film concentrates on her Amazon origin and turning to a central figure fighting Nazis (June 2). Nearly a month later (July 7) , another reboot: "Spider Man Homecoming" which takes place following the events of "Captain America Civil War."




The final two comic book adaptations occur in November as  "Thor: Rangnarok" has the bulked up Chris Hemsworth fighting to prevent a twilight of gods on Asgard. Finally, Wonder Woman  , Batman and Flash team for "Justice League" (Nov. 17), assuming that the suicide of Zack Snyder's son does not cause a delay. At publication, WB and Snyder both declined to alter the date. Some reshoots and other post production remain (as of late May). 




Hawn and Schumer Bring Laughs, not Wackiness, to Snatched

by Tony Rutherford


 "You could not persuade me to visit a foreign country," stated my 'she said' reviewer following the Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn mom's day comedy , "Snatched," where mom and daughter are kidnapped again and again in Ecuador and Columbia.



Neither Schumer nor Hawn have the snap snap repartee which peppered "Heat" (Melisa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock), "Sister Act" (Whoopi Goldberg), or "Legally Blonde" (Reese Witherspoon).  The 'screwball' antis of Streisand ("What's Up Doc,") and Katherine Hepburn ("Bringing Up Baby") are not goals either. However, they do have  essential sarcastic, blunt, moody, and indelicate lines accompanied by a couple of brief scenes involving Schumer about which I can't describe in print. Call it breezy and filled with enough curves for requisite smiles.

The premise has the abandoned by dudes and friends Schumer persuading her mom (Hawn) to come with her on an Ecuador vacation for which she has already paid. Mom's a solid, 'no,' and the one near me at the screening , quipped , "Someone has to stay home and rescue ..."  I'll edit that. Spoiler issue.

Once in South America, the two women meet a retired agent who had her tongue removed to prevent blurting secrets under torture. Schumer dead pans, 'couldn't they just torture until she write them down?"

Hurting and dude starved Schumer falls for a good looking guys invitation to tour off the beaten path portions of the country. She drags mom along. Of course, you know there will be a ransom demand.

"Snatched" stands solidly on recollections and insinuations to films in the action genre. One running gag has Hawn's son trying to enlist a U.S. led "A Team." Meanwhile, Hawn and Schumer fall into perils reminiscent to "Romancing the Stone."

Of course, neither 'she said' nor I can forego a footwear jab. Going back to "Jurassic World," the female lead as a supervisor wore her sensible pumps throughout jungle dino encounters. Hawn has done that too --- remember, "Sugerland Express" , for instance. "Snatched" has a millennial who just got fired opposite Hawn. She does the entire adventure in FLIP FLOPS, including fancy kung fu styled maneuvers and jungle survival.

My 'she said' laughed, "I can't keep my toe between the rubber when I'm dancing and drunk, so how can Schumer...."

The mom/daughter bonding is an anticipated cliche. But the adventure does have a good share of surprises and laughs are enjoyed, just not the  instoppable wacky kind that leaves you gasping for a breath. Hawn allows Schumer to carry the picture, which is a mistake. Goldie's character could stand for more quirks than just a divorced, overly protective, slightly dysfunctional mother.



Comments powered by Disqus