These Movies Offer An Air-Conditioned Escape From Summer Heat

May 28, 2018
Originally published on June 4, 2018 8:57 am
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer except in Hollywood. These days, the first summer blockbusters arrive in April. Still, with schools getting out, things are about to get busier at your movie theater. Here is NPR critic Bob Mondello to tell us what's in store in his annual summer movie preview.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Hollywood had one of its biggest summers ever in 2015. And a look at the top attractions tells you why. There was an "Avengers" flick, a "Mission Impossible" sequel, Marvel's "Ant-Man" and that year's biggest smash, "Jurassic World." Well, guess what? It's three years later. The latest "Avengers" movie, "Infinity War," is already open and, coming soon, another "Mission Impossible" sequel, another "Ant-Man" movie and a return to the planet's most disaster-prone amusement park.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM")

BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD: (As Claire Dearing) Something's coming.

JUSTICE SMITH: (As Franklin) It's the T. rex. It's the T. rex.

HOWARD: (As Claire Dearing) Stop. It's not a T. rex.

MONDELLO: They built Jurassic World on a volcanic island.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM")

MONDELLO: And the volcano erupts in "Fallen Kingdom," prompting a question that will occur to quite a few of the heroes in this summer's blockbuster.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM")

SMITH: (As Franklin) Am I dead?

CHRIS PRATT: (As Owen Grady) Not yet, kid.

MONDELLO: Also not dead yet - Tom Cruise taking on impossible mission "Fallout."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT")

REBECCA FERGUSON: (As Ilsa Faust) What the hell is he doing?

SIMON PEGG: (As Benji Dunn) I find it best not to look.

MONDELLO: What he's doing is surviving his own bosses trying to kill him, something Paul Rudd can probably empathize with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's put at a bit of a disadvantage in "Ant-Man And The Wasp."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANT-MAN AND THE WASP")

PAUL RUDD: (As Ant-Man) Hold on. You gave her wings?

MICHAEL DOUGLAS: (As Dr. Hank Pym) And blasters.

RUDD: (As Ant-Man) So I take it you didn't have that tech available for me.

DOUGLAS: (As Dr. Hank Pym) No, I did.

MONDELLO: Ant-Man wasn't with the rest of the Marvel team in "Infinity War." Maybe we'll find out why. The reason the Incredibles haven't been around is that in the Pixar universe...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INCREDIBLES 2")

HOLLY HUNTER: (As Helen Parr) Superheroes are illegal.

HUCK MILNER: (As Dashiell Parr) We want to fight bad guys.

ELI FUCILE: (As Jack-Jack Parr, unintelligible).

MILNER: (As Dashiell Parr) It defines who I am.

CRAIG T NELSON: (As Bob Parr) We're not saying you have - what?

MILNER: (As Dashiell Parr) Someone on TV said it.

MONDELLO: In "Incredibles 2," mom gets an offer.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INCREDIBLES 2")

BOB ODENKIRK: (As Winston Deavor) We need Elastigirl.

HUNTER: (As Helen Parr) Bye, sweetie.

MONDELLO: And Dad...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INCREDIBLES 2")

NELSON: (As Bob Parr) I'll watch the kids, no problem.

MONDELLO: Trickier when the kids all have superpowers. And they're not the only animated kids being unleashed on the movies.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES")

SCOTT MENVILLE: (As Robin) The Teen Titans.

GREG CIPES: (As Beast Boy) No one wants to see us, fool.

MONDELLO: Also a more-than-hundred-year-old kid named Dracula whose daughter decides he needs a vacation from running the Hotel Transylvania.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION")

ADAM SANDLER: (As Dracula) Where are we going? A cruise?

SELENA GOMEZ: (As Mavis) Surprise.

SANDLER: (As Dracula) Oh, no, no, no, no.

MONDELLO: That last line is popular with dads who could use a vacation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SKYSCRAPER")

DWAYNE JOHNSON: (As Will Sawyer) No, no, no, no, no.

MONDELLO: This one's Dwayne Johnson, who in "Skyscraper" is providing security to the tallest building in the world while trying to save his daughter, who is of course in that building. John Cho, meanwhile, is trying to save his daughter in "Searching."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SEARCHING")

MICHELLE LA: (As Margot) Hey, Dad.

JOHN CHO: (As David Kim) Hey, sweetheart. Where are you?

LA: (As Margot) Study group. It's going to go all night.

CHO: (As David Kim) Oh, one more thing. I wanted to...

LA: (As Margot) Bye, Dad.

MONDELLO: "Searching" is a thriller with a gimmick - every shot onscreen is of a screen.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SEARCHING")

DEBRA MESSING: (As Detective Rosemary Vick) We'll handle the ground investigation.

MONDELLO: Other thrillers include "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" with Benicio Del Toro kidnapping a drug lord's daughter. "Ant-Man's" Paul Rudd plays a real-life baseball player turned assassin in "The Catcher Was A Spy." And an entire generation is endangered...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DARKEST MINDS")

AMANDLA STENBERG: (As Ruby) Soon there wouldn't be any kids anywhere.

MONDELLO: ...In "The Darkest Minds."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DARKEST MINDS")

STENBERG: (As Ruby) The government wasn't afraid of what happened to the ones that didn't make it. They were afraid of us because the ones that survived changed.

MONDELLO: Sound a little dark? Well, there'll be plenty of laughs this summer, too. The comedy "Tag," for instance, features adults who have not put away childish things.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TAG")

ED HELMS: (As Hoagie) Our group of friends has been playing the same game of tag for 30 years.

Synchronize your watches.

JON HAMM: (As Callahan) I don't know how to do that.

JAKE JOHNSON: (As Randy) I don't wear a watch.

HANNIBAL BURESS: (As Sable) Time is a construct.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) So who's it?

MONDELLO: Detective Melissa McCarthy is investigating puppet homicides in the R-rated "Happytime Murders," which is being sued for its advertising slogan no Sesame, all street.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Puppet Prostitute #1) Hey, handsome.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Puppet Prostitute #2) You looking for some rotten cotton?

MELISSA MCCARTHY: (As Connie Edwards) I'm a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Puppet Prostitute #1) That's OK.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Puppet Prostitute #2) Yeah, that's even better.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Puppet Prostitute #1) We've got a good time for you.

MONDELLO: In "The Spy Who Dumped Me," friends cope with the aftermath of a romantic breakup.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME")

MILA KUNIS: (As Audrey) But he dumped me.

SAM HEUGHAN: (As Sebastian) Drew is CIA.

KUNIS: (As Audrey) I'm sorry, what?

JUSTIN THEROUX: (As Drew Thayer) Some bad people are after me. Now they're after you.

MONDELLO: And a Chinese-American professor discovers that her fiance is Singapore's most eligible bachelor in "Crazy Rich Asians."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CRAZY RICH ASIANS")

CONSTANCE WU: (As Rachel Chu) You know, you really should have told me that you're like the Prince William of Asia.

HENRY GOLDING: (As Nick Young) That's ridiculous. Much more of a Harry.

WU: (As Rachel Chu, laughter).

MONDELLO: Comedies making a satirical point include the Sundance hit "Sorry To Bother You" in which an African-American telemarketer hits pay dirt when a co-worker gives him a bit of advice.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SORRY TO BOTHER YOU")

DANNY GLOVER: (As Langston) You want to make some money here? Use your white voice.

LAKEITH STANFIELD: (As Cassius Green) My white voice?

(SOUNDBITE OF DIAL TONE)

DAVID CROSS: (As Cassius Green) As always, we'll be getting that out to you right away.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) You're doing so good with the voice thing.

CROSS: (As Cassius Green) Holla (ph), holla, holla, holla, holla.

MONDELLO: Spike Lee tells a true story that's more serious but has a similar starting point. In the 1970s, African-American detective Ron Stallworth made a series of phone calls from the Colorado Springs Police Department. Before long, he'd become a black Klansman.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLACKKKLANSMAN")

TOPHER GRACE: (As David Duke) This is David Duke.

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: (As Ron Stallworth) Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan - that David Duke?

GRACE: (As David Duke) Last time I checked. What can I do for?

WASHINGTON: (As Ron Stallworth) Well, since you asked, I hate blacks. I hate Jews, Mexicans and Irish.

MONDELLO: "BlacKkKlansman" won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Fest, and it's one of the summer's many true-life stories. Others include "Gotti," in which John Travolta plays mob boss John Gotti, "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot" with Joaquin Phoenix playing quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan and the celebrity documentary "Whitney" about singer Whitney Houston.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "WHITNEY")

WHITNEY HOUSTON: (Singing) Show me how.

People think it's so damn easy.

MONDELLO: Another documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" is about the man who said that neighborly phrase for years on TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?")

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Mr. Rogers?

FRED ROGERS: (As Mr. Rogers) Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I want to tell you something.

ROGERS: (As Mr. Rogers) What would you like to tell me?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I like you.

ROGERS: (As Mr. Rogers) And I like you, my dear. Thank you very much for telling me that.

MONDELLO: Kids feature in a very different way in another documentary "Far From The Tree," a fascinating look at how families cope when children are not what their parents expect, which is the very situation Jim Parsons and Claire Danes face in a fictional context in "A Kid Like Jake" when they realize their 4-year-old may not have a traditional gender identity.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A KID LIKE JAKE")

JIM PARSONS: (As Greg Wheeler) He asked why boys can't wear skirts.

CLAIRE DANES: (As Alex Wheeler) I don't want to send him off to kindergarten labeled. What if he starts thinking there's something wrong with him?

MONDELLO: "A Kid Like Jake" kicks off a virtual festival of LGBT films this summer, including the high school coming-out comedy "Alex Strangelove," the conversion therapy drama "The Miseducation Of Cameron Post" and the music dramedy "Hearts Beat Loud" about a dad who wants to form a band with his lesbian daughter.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HEARTS BEAT LOUD")

NICK OFFERMAN: (As Frank Fisher) When jam sesh (ph) time arrives, we have to put aside childish things like homework and med school.

KIERSEY CLEMONS: (As Sam Fisher) Please don't...

MONDELLO: In two films that have been popular at film fests, straight daughters also have dad troubles suburban-style in "Eighth Grade"...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EIGHTH GRADE")

JOSH HAMILTON: (As Mark) I think you're so cool. Maybe you just need to put yourself out there a little.

ELSIE FISHER: (As Kayla) I'm going to stop eating with you if you keep...

MONDELLO: ...And survivalist-style in "Leave No Trace."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "LEAVE NO TRACE")

DANA MILLICAN: (As Jean Bauer) Do you feel safe living with your dad?

THOMASIN MCKENZIE: (As Tom) We didn't need to be rescued.

MONDELLO: And if those pictures seem less escapist than you had in mind, rest assured that summer wouldn't be summer without sequels and remakes you had no idea you wanted to see, among them "Equalizer 2" with Denzel Washington in a lethal mood.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE EQUALIZER 2")

DENZEL WASHINGTON: (As Robert McCall) So I'm going to kill each and every one of them. And the only disappointment is that I only get to do it once.

MONDELLO: A rethink of the '70s blaxploitation flick "Superfly" about drug dealers moves the action from Harlem to Atlanta.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SUPERFLY")

TREVOR JACKSON: (As Youngblood Priest) I gave people jobs when there were no jobs. Now I got operations all over the city. Isn't that what the American dream's all about?

MONDELLO: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Mindy Kaling have a different American dream - to give the heist film a gender makeover in "Ocean's 8."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "OCEAN'S 8")

SANDRA BULLOCK: (As Debbie Ocean) In 3 1/2 weeks, the Met will be hosting its annual ball, and we are going to rob it.

MINDY KALING: (As Amita) Can't we just go to this? Do we have to steal stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS #1: (As characters) Yes.

MONDELLO: And stealing focus will be Cher's job when she joins the ABBA crowd for the season's almost inevitable musical "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN")

AMANDA SEYFRIED: (As Sophie) Grandma, you weren't invited.

CHER: (As Ruby Sheridan) That's the best kind of party, little girl.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS #2: (As characters, singing) Whoa, mama mia.

PANOS MOUZOURAKIS: (As Lazaros) You're about to become a great-grandmother.

CHER: (As Ruby Sheridan) Great-grandmother. I'm leaving that out of the bio.

MONDELLO: Blockbuster season, here we go again. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS #2: (As characters, singing) How can I resist you? Mama mia, does it show again? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.