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Summer Movie Preview 2018: From ‘Infinity War’ to ‘BlacKkKlansman’

From superhero epics to a stranger-than-fiction KKK drama – your complete guide to the season’s blockbusters and big-name movies

Summer Movie 2018

Your complete Summer Movie 2018 Preview guide – from 'Avengers: Infinity War,' to 'BlacKkKlansmen,' blockbusters to big-name dramas and comedies.

Digging for summer-movie gold – that’s what it’s all about, folks. Striking it rich. Hollywood suits spend most of the year digging themselves out of the financial hole left by those “serious” films that win awards and court prestige. But in summer, the gloves are off: It’s sequels, prequels, retreads and anything else safe the non-creatives can come up with to hit the cash jackpots to keep them warm all winter. 

What about audiences? Mostly, we play along, indulging in the box-office game of ranking movies like sweepstake winners. Forget the real calendar that says summer starts on June 21st; with Marvel/Disney releasing the record-breaking Avengers: Infinity War on April 27th, Hollywood now insists the season begins when sure things parade into the multiplex. 

There are over 130 movies opening between now and Labor Day. Are any of them decent or better? Will even a handful of them matter by the time the season ends? Can quality still sneak in while the money counters aren’t looking? In this oh-so-selective summer preview, we’ll focus on 30 movies that might at least have something to recommend them. 

And we’re off!

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‘The Meg’ (Aug. 10)

A giant, 75-foot-long prehistoric shark – known by experts in such things as Megalodon – takes on Jason Statham, the British actor whose cold stare is shark repellant personified. It’s Jaws supersized, and The Transporter star is the expert deep-sea rescue diver charged with saving the crew of a submersible trapped under the Pacific. Meanwhile, the toothy apex predator is closing in. This movie sounds like the very definition of the term guilty pleasure. 

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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (Aug. 17)

Already shaping up as the comedy to see this summer, this take on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel investigates the fun possibilities that ensue when New Yorker Rachel (Fresh Off the Boat‘s Constance Wu) joins her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) on a trip to Singapore. It’s all fun and games until Rachel finds that her man is from a family of super-wealthy eccentrics ready to make life hell for this stranger. With Awkwafina, aka rapper comic Nora Lum, stealing scenes as Rachel’s best friend, expect director Jon M. Chu’s fractured farce to be crazy rich with laughs.

‘Papillon’ (Aug. 24)

Prison breakout movies are a dime a dozen – but Henri Charrière’s acclaimed memoir about the “butterfly” prisoner who makes a daring attempt to escape from Devil’s Island has always been one-of-a kind. Steve McQueen starred as Charriere in a 1973 film version with Dustin Hoffman as his fellow convict Louis Dega. Now, we get Charlie Hunnam as Big Papi and Mr. Robot‘s Rami Malek in the role of Dega. Director Michael Noer knows his duty is to provide a Shawshank-like escape thriller, but he insists that the core of the film resides with “two men who develop a relationship in pain.” Any similarities to the movie’s Thirties-set penal colony and current penitentiary horror stories are, of course, not coincidental, and the result is a summer movie with a conscience. Let’s hope it’s a trend. 

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