We love movies. All of 'em. For us to be with it, all it has to be is a movie - and we love Big Summer Blockbusters as much as anyone on this planet. Sure, our enthusiasm for spandex-and-leather-clad alien fighters might not come across clearly in our relentlessly negative, tasteless and snooty annual summer movie previews, but rest assured: all that follows comes from a place of true love, the kind of true love between a human being and a blockbuster that can only be consumated in a darkened theater on a sweaty summer night.

In this massive two-part preview, Pink Smoke co-founders John Cribbs and Christopher Funderburg are joined by Pinnland Empire head honcho and Pink Smoke third mic Marcus Pinn.

Descriptions stolen from IMDb and repurposed when necessary.



Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan and every friggin' actor ever cast in a Marvel movie apparently including Laura Elena Harring, Lou Gossett Jr. & Michael Chiklis.
Plot: Political interference in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.

Funderburg: I never went as bananas over superhero movies as the rest of comic book crazed America, but despite that I (like the rest of comic book crazed America) have developed a deep, even sentimental, fondness for ol’ Cap. My sincere and fondly held cynicisms are no match for his earnest goodness - and Chris Evans, hubba-hubba amirite? I was on the Chris Evans tip years before anyone else and this is the payoff. Anyhoo, I’m just not sure I’m ready for a world where Captain America represents anything less than all that is good and decent in humanity, our noblest and most sincere intentions personified. This movie is definitely going to be great, though, right? Can someone else just see it and reassure me it won’t muck with my fragile emotional state?

Pinn: I will absolutely see this and report back to you because I'm very excited about it. Of all the films/storylines in the Marvel Comic Universe, Captain America has yet to disappoint (in my opinion at least). I'm also not a hardcore comic book fan so I never have high expectations, or find myself getting bent out of shape when a plot point from a graphic novel is ignored or left out. It takes a lot for a comic book-based movie to truly suck in my eyes (*COUGH* Fantastic Four reboot *COUGH*).

Cribbs: I'd like for this to be a Ken Burns type take on the Civil War, with the various Marvel heroes shrouded in shadow solemnly narrating the harrowing tales of their most hellacious battles. (The comparison may seem extraneous, but I was just talking to my mom about this movie and she honestly thought the plot involved superheroes traveling back in time to fight in the Civil War.) I enjoyed both previous Cap movies, and I'll see anything with Spider-Man in it, so while rationally I should be burned out on the "MCU", it's pretty much a guarantee I'll be purchasing a ticket to the movie and possibly a tie-in Burger King glass (but only if Moon Knight's on it... Moon Knight's going to be in this movie, right?)

Funderburg: Moms should be in charge of writing the plots for 80% of all superhero films made. Imagine how much better Batman V Superman: Marthas' Boys would have been if Zack Snyder’s mom had written it!


Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Nick Robinson, Common, Cary Elwes, Devon Bostick, Morgan Saylor, Susan Misner, Ricardo Chavira
Plot:Charlie is a troublesome 18-year-old who breaks out of a youth drug treatment clinic, but when he returns home to Los Angeles, he's given an intervention by his parents and forced to go to an adult rehab. There, he meets a beautiful but troubled girl, Eva, and is forced to battle with drugs, elusive love and divided parents.

Cribbs: I was just thinking about Rob Reiner recently. How he made This Is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery... some super-legit shit. And how nothing he's done in the last 20 years has been anything even slightly of note. Ghosts of Mississipi. The Story of Us. Alex & Emma. Rumor Has It. The Bucket List. Can you even tell me what his last three movies were? They're not even worthy of a Wal Mart bargin bin, and I think this one is destined to join them in obscurity. I guess after you make some of the most beloved movies of any given generation you're allowed to just keep making them, no matter what they are.

Pinn: I was not thinking about Rob Reiner (with the exception of his appearance in Wolf Of Wall Street) until I saw this trailer. This looks like one of those early 2000's indie/Sundance movies I used to blindly rent at Blockbuster when I was in college (seriously, was I the only one reminded of Igby Goes Down when watching this trailer??)

Funderburg: “Being Charlie?” More like “Being Some Boring Shit Christopher Funderburg is Not Going to See.” I am surprised they’re rebooting It’s Kind of a Funny Story so soon, though.


Directors: Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist
Stars: Kevin de Paula, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rodrigo Santoro, Diego Boneta, Colm Meaney
Plot:The life story of the Brazilian football legend Pele.

Cribbs: The subtitle should be "Curse of the Black Pearl." 'Cause that's his nickname, right? I mean how am I not going to refer to this biopic as "Pele: Secret of the Lost Legend?" It's even got Vincent D'Onofrio, who was just running around with dinosaurs last summer. And you know he's going to be the same sort of sketchy government asshole, only this time he's plotting to exploit the mighty leg of Pele to kick bombs at terrorists (you know, Bomberman style) instead of training raptors for black ops. And the preview really does make ol' Black Pearl look like a superhero, pulling off Matrix-style flips and using his foot to pulverize tangerines. Exciting stuff, but personally I'm going to wait for Stallone to write a stripped-down, gritty, late sequel to Victory! called "Fernandez" where the son of Pele's character (Kevin de Paula) takes up the socks and births a legend out of himself.

Funderburg: I’m against soccer. It’s kind of a controversial opinion these days, especially with my unyielding love for meat-headed, brutal, corrupt NFL Football standing in stark contrast to the beautiful game. But somehow young white people who love brunch have managed to get into the one sport in the world that’s more morally objectionable than football, where the governing bodies are more corrupt, the fans are more unrepentantly racist, the crowds more drunkenly violent, the game itself dominated by a few squads and completely lacking in parity, the commercialism even more grotesque (if the Eagles put a corporate logo on their jerseys I’m burning the Linc down) - it’s this Euro-jocking fake continentalism in honor of something really repulsive. Pele was pretty cool, though. And you know what? Pique is married to Shakira and that’s legit. Maybe someday I’ll give soccer a fair shake. However, this movie will not benefit from my potential future softened attitude - I always preferred Maradonna anyway. Gimme the story of a loud-mouth asshole who cheated during his most famous play and I’m there. Anyway, now I wish I was playing Super Bomberman.

Pinn: Is Vincent D'Onofrio supposed to be doing a Cuban accent? I thought this story took place in Brazil (also, they couldn’t find a Brazilian, or at least a Latin-American actor to play his part?). Even though I probably won’t see this, I'm just glad a biopic on an important black figure thatisn’t Muhammad Ali and/or Martin Luther King got green lit (although it does look like there are shades of racial tension explored in the film so perhaps if IFC lets this play in the theater longer than six days maybe I'll check it out).

MAY 13

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, LaKeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage
Plot:CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.

Pinn: No. Just, No. Look... I know this is a "relevant" story and I'm sure there will be some nuggets of knowledge & importance sprinkled throughout the course of the film but I just can’t stand Oliver Stone anymore. With the exception of his last film, I think it’s pretty obvious what he does and I'm honestly a little surprised he isn’t called on his shit more often. He just takes whatever controversial and/or worldly topic is "hot" at the moment and puts his jump-cutty Oliver Stone tinge on it. I'm willing to bet he hates Kathryn Bigelow for making a Bin Liden film before he got the chance. Needless to say I'm passing on this.

Cribbs: I re-watched almost all of Ollie Stone's movies 2 summers back, and had a fun time. I still think he's inherently ridiculous and couldn't honestly call myself a fan, but even his absolute worst movies employ a unique blend of hackiness and pretension that's fascinating to behold. You gotta respect his decision to do Natural Born Killers the way he did, even while scoffing at its reprehensible morals and chuckling over its pre-school satire. And I genuinely liked Savages, thought it was better than Sicario, although I'm apparently in the minority on that one. But speaking of morals, ol' Ollie couldn't have picked a more divisive subject than hero/traitor Ed Snowden; since he specializes in stories about Americans who become disillusioned with their role in the government (Salvador, Platoon) this should be right up his alley. Hopefully not so up his alley that he's drawing from the same ol' well: I see from the trailer he's utilizing the ol' "words projected on an upside down American flag" that popped up in the preview for Natural Born Killers over 20 years ago.

Funderburg: Savages is so much better than Sicario. So. much. better. There’s no comparison. I agree that Stone has his charms even if I think people who genuinely esteem his work are borderline insane. So I guess he’s the best possible person to handle this one - it’s a story that I just can’t get excited about, as far as a movie is concerned. I already saw the Poitras documentary and it’s hard to imagine what this one will add… unless it’s aggressive Robert Richardson top-lighting, subliminal cuts to alligators devouring antelopes and fanciful flashbacks to secret Roman-themed gay orgies being held by cabals of high level government officials.


Director: Greg McLean
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz, Lucy Fry, Ming-Na Wen
Plot:A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation with a supernatural presence in tow.

Funderburg: Greg McLean: I’m with it. Kevin Bacon and Radha Mitchell are also as underrated as two gorgeous, universally-liked, internationally known movie stars can be. I mean, the plot sounds like nothing, but so do the plots for the Wolf Creek movies and most horror films reduced to a single sentence probably sound pretty dumb. I mean, “A monster made out of money escapes from its subterranean prison and goes on a rampage” sounds awful but we all know better. I’m more excited for McLean’s team-up with James Gunn (The Belko Experiment) but I’ll watch The Darkness. Ooooooh man, will I.

Pinn: Ever since Super (2010) I've looked at Kevin Bacon in a much more likable/lovable light, so the fact that he's in this is a plus. Sure, this is just another "creepy kid horror movie" but ever since my emergence in to the world of straight-to-Netflix horror movies (which is what The Darkness looks like) I think I'd be on board. Although at the end of the day I'll probably never get around to watching this. Actually, I’ll probably just watch Super about five more times before I even think about watching this.

Cribbs: It's hard for me to get excited based on such a generic title. How am I supposed to differentiate this horror movie from the Jaume Balaguero horror movie from 2002? Or Darkness Falls from 2003? The Mario Bello-Sean Bean joint The Dark from last year? Even non-horror movies like Agnieszka Holland's In Darkness or Star Trek: Into Darkness are more likely to stick my memory than just "The Darkness." But I'm intrigued by the reunion of Rogue-sters McLean and Mitchell, two of my favorite Australians, and I'm always up for the director straying from the relative safety of his Wolf Creek franchise. However, no sign of John Jarratt in the cast. Instead we are apparently getting... Paul Reiser? Uh oh.


Director: Jodie Foster
Stars: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell
Plot:A financial TV host and his producer are put in an explosive situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

Cribbs: From the director of Little Man Tate... ah, I already made fun of Jodie Foster the Director five years ago when The Pink Smoke commented on the impending summer release of The Beaver. Truth is, she's a competent enough filmmaker - the movies she's made are better than Clooney's, that's for sure. But her choice of projects could not be more milquetoast, Jim Cramer having seemingly disappeared from the public consciousness in the years since his embarrassing fall from grace. There's certainly no way to do his reputation any damage that he hasn't already done. At best this will be Cadillac Man-interrupting-Boiler Room, with Jack O'Connell reminding us that he's no Tom Hardy. Foster's next flick should be a little edgier, like a biopic of James Hinkley.

Funderburg: You’re making me follow that Hinkley bit? I can’t go on stage after that. I can only throw out that the title is hilarious. This might be the worst title of all time. It’s certainly the dumbest title ever given to an earnest, major studio release. The $ for an “S” is what makes it. But by the time this piece is published, Twitter will have made all the "$" in "Money Mon$ter" jokes there are to make and it won't even be fun to point it out.

Pinn: As a fan of Taxi Driver I'd be first in line to buy a ticket for a Jodie Foster-directed biopic on John Hinkley. And wouldn’t it be cool if she played herself in a kind of Muhammad Ali meets Martin Short in Clifford-style performance? But that's never going to happen just like I'm never going to see Money Monster. It just doesn’t interest me.


Director: Rodrigo García
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Susan Gray, Ciaran Hinds, Tye Sheridan, Ayelet Zurer
Plot: An imagined chapter from Jesus' forty days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis.

Funderburg: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ son has heretofore specialized in bland, multi-character nothings overstuffed with famous Hollywood Superstars, movies like Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her and Nine Lives. He also made Albert Knobbs so I guess his whole deal, his whole “schtick,” is being bland beyond bland. I’m sure this movie will be less memorable than any other movie ever made about Jesus. I’m just glad he’s left his father’s novels alone. Somebody still needs to adapt No One Writes the Colonel. It’s the great fighting-cock story of all time! Anyhoo, Lubezski shot this and he's still great despite dedicating his talents almost exclusively to films I'm underwhelmed by. What I think it is (and I don't know if this is a best or a worst case scenario) is that we're looking at another Kundun here.

Pinn: So the Revenant style spin-offs have begun, huh? Look...I know this obviously takes place in a completely different time than and it's about completely different subject matter, but I have no interest in these God movies. I'm also pretty ignorant when it comes to the bible so I'd be lost anyway.

Funderburg: The bible’s pretty good, you should check it out sometime. It’ll be too late to do so when you’re burning in hell. But in a delicious irony, you’ll be there with an eternity to fill and will have more than enough time to read it then! Ah, who knows, I bet they make you read Tom Robbins all day down there.

Cribbs: I know this is a Jesus movie, but it's about a ragged, bearded Ewan McGregor walking around in the desert while being tempted by evil. How am I not supposed to consider this one of the Star Wars spin-off movies, set on Tatooine between the prequels and the original trilogy? It might seem sound to go after some of that sweet Christian money, but send the Special Edition team in there to insert some banthas in the background and a Jawa or two and you've got yourself an instant universal blockbuster.


Director: Whit Stillman
Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Stephen Fry
Plot: Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica -- and herself too, naturally.

Pinn: I'm absolutely on board (I will admit that had I not known the director of this I'd probably blow it off). Ever since seeing Damsels In Distress (which I saw with you guys actually) something clicked in me and I realized I never gave Whit Stillman a fair shot (for years I was pretty outspoken with how much I disliked his movies). In the last five years I've revisited all of his work many times over and I'm a casual fan. This looks charming & light.

Cribbs: Last Days of Disco - Austenized! (And released the same day as another movie with "Last Days" in the title, weird.) A Whit Stillman-Jane Austen joint has been inevitable ever since Tom Townsend deemed Austen's work "ridiculous from today's perspective" in Metropolitan and become more inescapable with each subsequent film. I'm fine with it, I'll see anything by Stillman and might even read the damn book beforehand. I just wish the rest of the Disco cast was joining Beckinsale and Sevigny. Where's the part for Chris Eigeman? Are there no cynical dandies in the world of Jane Austen? I'm no expert, but isn't the world of Jane Austen populated entirely by flighty free spirits, reserved socialites and cynical dandies?

Funderburg: That final line of your description, John, has made me more excited for this film (and the work of Jane Austen!) than I ever felt possible. I also secretly adore Kate Beckinsale. It’s my darkest secret.


Director: Scot Armstrong
Stars: T. J. Miller, Adam Pally, Thomas Middleditch, Alison Brie, Shannon Woodward, Krysten Ritter
Plot: A pair of friends embark on a mission to reunite their pal with the woman he was going to marry.

Cribbs: The red band trailer features a mule puking, which I'm guessing sets the tone for this thing. Armstrong is Todd Phillips' co-writer, and the premise is Hangover-south-of-the-border, but since the Bradley Cooper-led trio has been replaced by Miller and the delightful Middleditch, both from Silicon Valley (I need to check that out sometime) and the cameraman with the Tony Stark tattoo from Iron Man 3, it might be more tolerable those movies. Maybe.

Pinn: Maybe indeed. I'm sorry to be the super negative one here but it feels like I've grown numb to most traditional/mainstream comedies. I dunno... Barfing, naked dudes, sluts, lots of lines of dialogue that involve phrases like; "Holy Cuntfuck!" - I get it. And the fact that Armstrong clearly has no problem completely redoing The Hangover (a series I’m already lukewarm towards to begin with), I couldn’t care less about this (I will say that I hear nothing but good things about Middleditch & Miller so maybe there's hope).

Funderburg:: The mule-puking is probably just an attempt to one-up the mule snorting coke in Bachelor Party. This is a pretty dynamite cast - I’ve been on the Middleditch tip since Fun Size and this is the payoff. He and Miller are a great duo and I guess they were determined to get as many hip booze-spokespeople in there as they could so they added the charming Alison Brie into the mix as well. This might be too high-brow, too “good” of a fart-swilling bro comedy for me to enjoy it… or it might be the best fart-swilling bro comedy of the year. Both are in play, hombrecitos. Both are in play. (Silicon Valley is enjoyable. It’s kinda like what Extract seemed to want to be. And the performances, it’s fucking crazy how brilliant they are – there’s a good dozen actors who are amazing, just doing top shelf work week-in week-out.)


Director: Terence Davies
Stars: Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie
Plot: The daughter of a Scottish farmer comes of age in the early 1900s.

Funderburg: People love Terence Davies and I don’t get it. I’m way past the point of trying, too.

Pinn: Again - I'll probably only see this period piece based on the director's name (I don’t know anything about the book it’s based on tho). Like Whit Stillman, I'm a casual Davies fan so I’ll probably make time to see this.

Cribbs: It ain't summer unless Terence Davies throws his hat into the mix! This is really just Neighbors 2 with Irish accents and many more shots of people walking through fields of barley under a majestically blue sky. Surprisingly, the book it's based on is kind of a bummer. Get a sense of humor, Terence Davies.

MAY 20

Directors: Clay Kaytis & Fergal Reilly
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage
Plot: Find out why the birds are so angry. When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to three unlikely outcasts - Red, Chuck and Bomb - to figure out what the pigs are up to.

Funderburg: Am I out of touch? This movie’s like four years too late, right? We’ve all learned our lessons about getting even mildly excited for a film because it has an interesting voice cast and also learned our lessons about getting excited for a movie just because it has Danny McBride in it. What I’m saying is: who cares? Seriously: my 6 year-old son does not care. I do not care. My dad does not care. I guarantee you that Sean Penn, even though he’s in the movie, does not care. For who? For what?

Pinn: Chris, your son caring about this movie was the only thing that was going to get me excited about seeing this. But since he doesn’t care, and I assume he doesn’t want to see it (I was looking forward to seeing it with you guys) and I don’t have any kids myself, Angry Birds means nothing to me.

Cribbs: There are plenty of movies - the ones that don't get dropped from theatrical distribution by Paramount - that I get excited to go see with my daughter. Then there are those like Angry Birds. Movies which, while I don't actively try to keep my 6-year-old away from the publicity, I certainly make no plans to take her to the mall the day they come out. In 2015, there were a lot more titles in the former category - The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie - than the latter (I wasn't nuts about the idea of Minions but we still went to see it). This year, there are a lot more that I just don't relish the idea of taking my kid to see: Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Secret Life of Pets... and Angry Birds. She's certainly played Angry Birds on her grandma's iPad, but does that necessarily mean she'd enjoy an Angry Birds adventure? I've already tried to get her excited about another adaptation of an old video game, Ratchet & Clank, but she doesn't seem interested. Maybe I won't have to worry about it?

Funderburg: Kung Fu Panda 3 was worth your time. It was basically nothing more than a series of the series’ excellent “Jackie Chan meets mystical wuxia pian” sequences. There are a couple fight scenes in the spirit realm that recall - and surpass - Tsui Hark’s classic Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain. Kung Fu Panda 3 is probably not as good as Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain, tho.


Director: Rebecca Miller
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore
Plot: Maggie's plan to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with John, a married man, destroying his volatile marriage to the brilliant Georgette.

Cribbs: John's Plan is to not see this movie. I can't remember what ignited my imaginary, unreasonable, one-sided rivalry with Rebecca Miller, but I nevertheless refuse to let it die. And I interpret the casting of Greta Gerwig and Maya Rudolph as her way of expressing the same.

Funderburg: Is this a sequel to the Schwarzenegger film? Anytime you put "Maggie" in your title, I’m gonna picture Ewan Bremer barking out “Maggie!” in the foreboding darkness of a London night. And then I’ll dream about sporran-clad, caber-tossing haggis galloping over porridge-covered glens. If you’ll allow me to analyze the situation, to think about it soberly, I believe what ignited your rivalry with Rebecca Miller is that she sucks. It’s an open question whether Arthur Miller’s daughter or Gabriel Gracia Marquez’s son is the more undeserving beneficiary of a towering literary legacy. Apologies to Maya Rudolph (who is a delight), Ethan Hawke (who I am cool with now), Wallace Shawn (who, like O’Doyle, rules) and Julianne Moore (who is still one of my favorite and among the all-time greats.)

Pinn: American independent film is still trying to sell us on Greta Gerwig, huh? Actually it's more like they're trying to shove her down our throats. ENOUGH! With the exception of Damsels In Distress I swear to god every Greta Gerwig movie has been the same "awkward" girl bullshit. ...You know what? Let me not go on a negative hateful rant. This is totally a movie for park slope parents to see on a date night. Not my demographic so I'll just pass. I don’t need to dump on this movie too hard. But if there's another one of these Greta Gerwig movies this time next year I swear to god I'm going to go off.

Funderburg: You know in my fragile heart I’d never root for a movie to stink, but I feel like it would be a fine thing for you to go all Piper’s Pit on Gerwig’s Hulkster.


Director: Nicholas Stoller
Stars: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow, Cameron Dallas
Plot: After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy.

Funderburg: I never saw the first one and that was a disappointment to me. I disappointed myself. I enjoy fart-swilling bro comedy as much as - no, more than the next pretentious intellectual who writes 5,000 words on the subject of Fassbinder’s Nora Helmer. And I actually “heard good things” about Part 1. I let America down. It won’t happen again. Is it too late to make a Dan Aykroyd joke? They probably all got made when the first one came out.

Pinn: I feel like the combination of this piece combined with 90% of the content on my own site will give people the idea I have no sense of humor and/or I'm a pretentious fuck. I swear I like to laugh. I love Pootie Tang, Grandma's Boy, Hot Tub Time Machine, Beerfest and more (speaking of Beerfest & Broken Lizard, what's the status on Super Troopers 2 dammit?!) but this doesn’t look funny to me! It's like, again, I get it - loud crashes, crude & totally unexpected crazy shocking humor, etc. I get it. I also haven’t seen part 1 so I'm already behind. I'm out, guys.

Cribbs: I only recently saw the 1981 John G. Avildsen film (based on Stu Steimer's endorsement), and it's one of my new favorite movies. I now have a respect for Cathy Moriarty that sure as hell didn't come from White of the Eye, Matinee or even The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag. Nothing But Trouble also makes a lot more sense to me now: Dan Aykroyd was obviously like, "This is going to be the same surreal, grotesque humor as Neighbors. Except with Digital Underground."
As for this here movie, it seems to be following the 21/22 Jump Street formula of very little variation from the previous film, which is probably the right way to go. Chloe Grace Moretz won some brownie points with me thanks to Clouds of Sils Maria, and while it's hard to say how those will translate into an appreciation of her as a drunken party girl at war with Rogen, Byrne & Efron, it at least provides credit where there never was any before. In other words, she's the Cathy Moriarty of 2016.


Director: Paul Borghese
Stars: William DeMeo, Alec Baldwin, Michael Madsen, Danny Glover, Shannen Doherty, Annabella Sciorra, Lillo Brancato, Mike Tyson
Plot: A young boxer is taken under the wing of a mob boss after his mother dies and his father is run out of town for being an abusive alcoholic.

Pinn: Creed raised the bar pretty high for boxing movies and judging from the trailer for this I'm willing to bet it won’t even come close to being half as good.

Cribbs: This director and this star already made a Brooklyn-based crime movie in 2013 called Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn, a film that must have impressed enough people to get them money to make another one but that didn't impress the public enough that I've ever fucking heard of it until now. That film featured Cathy Moriarty, whose connection to the 2016 Summer Movies has been strange and unexpected indeed.

Funderburg: There are these movies where Alec Baldwin is in ‘em and you see a still where Michael Madsen looks like a cigarette butt somebody fished out of a urinal & yelled “action!” at and the description sounds like generic nothing, but I still watch it because all it has to be is be a movie for me to be interested. This cast screams Direct-to-Video in 1997 which seems appropriate for a summer such as this.


Director: Shane Black
Stars: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Kim Basinger
Plot: A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.

Cribbs: I doubt that I will ever again in my life be as excited for a movie as I was for Fury Road this time last year. However, I am pretty goddamn excited for this movie and if I only saw one flick this entire summer, this would be it hands down. Because I love me some Shane Black, and "private eye," "1970s Los Angeles" and "fading porn star" are the kind of things I like to hear associated with his latest project. What I'd really like though is for everyone to get off this Shane Black narrative: the Wunderkind who lucked his way into $4 million paychecks for hack action movie scripts only to come crashing down when they went out of fashion in the mid-90's but fortunately he's friends with Robert Downey, Jr. so he got to direct Iron Man 3. Black is not nor ever has been Joe Eszterhas, he's always had a very fun and original writing style that manages to survive even when the movies get run through the studio wringer so many times they only faintly resemble the original screenplay. The times when Black's voice comes out more or less intact - The Long Kiss Goodnight, Black's own Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3 (my personal favorite of the Marvel movies, rivaled only by Raimi's Spider-Mans) - are reasons to rejoice. Which is why I'm rejoicing over The Nice Guys. 'Nuff said.

Funderburg: Movie of the summer. Period. If you’re not for Shane Black then I’m against you. Over and out.

Pinn: Yes! I can’t wait. This will be one of the few movies that my significant other and I will equally enjoy (sorry for dragging you to see Chantal Akerman's No Home Movie, babe. You're a trooper). I think this is also good for Ryan Gosling because the whole sensitive guy thing has worn thin. I can’t wait to see him play an idiot.

MAY 27

Director: Bryan Singer
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till
Plot: With the emergence of the world's first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

Funderburg:They’re still making these things? They’re going to stop at some point, aren’t they? Or are we just going to be getting X-Men movies for decades the way they used to make buddy cop movies, just keep churning them out in perpetuity beyond reason or purpose? I guess it'll just become like comic books themselves where you try to pick up a new issue and suddenly Cyclops is a black guy and due to a time reversal the Pizzapocalypse never happened. This movie is full of foxy folks, though. Stone. cold. foxes. Michael Fassbinder? Hubba hubba. Oscar Isaac? Hubba hubba. Rose Byrne? Hubba hubba hubba. Olivia Munn? Hubba hubba. Nicholas Hoult? Hubba and hubba. I don’t even know who Sophie Turner is, but with a name like that? Gimme a break. And that’s just a partial list. Full. of. foxy. folks: case closed.

Pinn: Unfortunately I don’t think they're going to stop making these things. New Cast. New Blood. We have decades of future X-Men movies to look forward to. I've fallen off with these movies myself so I have no idea what's going on in the alternate/not-so popular other Marvel Comic universe. I do know Apocalypse is supposed to be the ultimate bad ass and casting 4'11 Oscar Isaacs dressed up in a homemade cosplay outfit will not get that bad-assery across.

Cribbs: Sophie Turner is apparently an actress on Game of Thrones, another one of those TV actors stealing roles from film vets who is not on par with the rest of the leading cast in terms of looks (especially considering she's playing young Famke Janssen). But other than that Chris you're absolutely right, leave it to Bryan Singer to properly populate SeX-Men with the prettiest damn bunch of hotties you could ever shake a checkbook at. Fox's X-Men franchise has made a mess of its continuity, but it has perfected the art of prequelizing. Halle Berry looking a little long in the tooth? Just cast a younger, hotter actor to play Storm. Rebecca Romijn no longer a draw? Have we got a plucky young Oscar-winning, franchise-carrying starlet for you! Ian McKellan's pretty seXy, but howzabout turning him into an even seXier Michael Fassbender? If you think the next plan for the series isn't the X-Babies trilogy, where all the characters meet again for the first time on their first day at Xavier's School for Gifted Kindergarteners, you underestimate the eager executives in the Fox boardroom. (And then, of course, X-Babies: Origins.)

Funderburg: X-Babies: Origins? I’d watch a movie about mutant sperm. When James Gunn (Slither, Tromeo & Juliet) gets bored with Guardians of the Galaxy give him a buzz, you spineless Hollywood suits!


Director: Steven Brill
Stars: Adam Sandler, David Spade, Paula Patton, Nick Swardson, Luis Guzman, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Chiklis, Sean Astin, Renee Taylor
Plot: Two down-on-their-luck guys decide to fake their own deaths and start over with new identities, only to find the people they're pretending to be are in even deeper trouble.

Pinn: I don’t want to be the angry Adam Sandler-hating nerd here. His movies do suck but he's part of the creative team behind Grandma's Boy so I'm always going to keep some form of hope alive that he'll return to the Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore Sandler that I love and miss so much. I stay up pretty late on the weekends watching vines & worldstar hip-hop video clips so I'm sure I can find time to stream this at some point when I have nothing to do on a sleepless weekend night. Plus David Spade is the lead instead of Sandler so that's even more of a selling point for me.

Cribbs: I don't need to be talked into staying at home watching Netflix instead of driving to the mall to see the new X-Men opening weekend: I'm a lazy person by nature. The question is, am I going to spend my precious couple of Netflix viewing hours re-watching Creep Van, or give this new Happy Madison production a shot? I must confess, I barely made it through 10 minutes of The Ridiculous 6. This one seems to fall into the reliable Adam Sandler blue collar fantasy in which a character's just some regular schnook who somehow falls ass-backwards into money, cars and exotic locations. Which is fine, I wouldn't expect any major divergence from that theme, and look forward to the scene where David Spade gets talked into a threesome involving Luis Guzman.

Funderburg: There’s a funny thing about life (which, truthfully is not a very long time and does not mean forever) where no one is really what you expect them to be. I heard David Spade on a few podcasts recently and he’s an incredibly fascinating guy with a life and upbringing that constantly surprised me. I think the reason people hate movies like this isn't that it’s actually qualitatively worse than The Search Party or Tina Fey & Amy Poehler in The Sister Party, but they have a fixed idea in their mind of who a guy like David Spade is and what he stands for, so they hate the movie as a proxy for the people they hate in their own life (or even more likely, as a proxy for their perceived opponents in a pyrrhic cultural war.) I was having a conversation recently where a friend was insisting that there’s a qualitative difference between Melissa McCarthy and Kevin James because McCarthy only falls down three times in Spy but Kevin James falls down six times in Here Comes the Boom – therefore, McCarthy is explicitly doing something different than James, appealing to an entirely different aesthetic in humor. But really the differences between James and McCarthy are miniscule and centerless, tinged by a political rather than an aesthetic position. It’s why “dude, it’s just some bro comedy” is an insult and why Hollywood Tastemakers are banking on adding a classy element like Rose Byrne their fart-swilling bro comedy will help expand its audience and realign it along a political/cultural spectrum. To get to my point, if David Spade had positioned his star persona more in line with his true self, his movies would be received in an entirely different way without having to change a single thing about them. The yearning for family and hatred of impoverished living that so many took as insincere pandering in Joe Dirt would take on an entirely different meaning for audiences. Instead, you get people counting how many times he gets hit in the balls in a movie as opposed to Amy Poehler (who only takes two crotch shots Sisters) like they’re discussing the difference between Robert Bresson and Dan Aykroyd.


Director: James Bobin
Stars: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall
Plot: Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

Cribbs: The Mad Hatter is barely in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, so I'm guessing this isn't going to be a very faithful rendering. And who is "Time," the character Cohen is playing? The preview, a Mark Ryden nightmare predictably set to Jefferson Airplane, shows Alice escaping a mental hospital like the beginning of Return to Oz so maybe the clock-based "Time" is a Tik-Tok surrogate? I never saw the first one of these, so I have no idea how close they stick to the source material, although I imagine it's difficult to turn a book obsessed with chess moves and portmanteau words into a franchise fantasy film intended for kids running around wearing Minions shirts. I don't know man - we got Bobin instead of Burton, and Bobin redeemed himself hugely with Muppets Most Wanted. Timothy Spall is in it, it's the last thing Alan Rickman did... I feel like I could persuaded into seeing this shit if the X-Men screening was sold out and a buddy offered to pay for me.

Funderburg: My 6 year-old son is super excited because he thinks this is a sequel to Jan Svankmajer’s film. True story. Cribbs, I’ll pay for you and Parker to see this movie, if you want. Might as well.

Pinn: Well if he’s excited about this then so am I. Let me know if/when you guys go see it.

Funderburg: The three musketeers hitting up Kip’s Bay for Through the Looking Glass! (Parker is D’Artagnan.)


Director: Mario Van Peebles
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, Thomas Jane, Matt Lanter, Brian Presley, Cody Walker
Plot: The harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. As they awaited rescue, they endured extreme thirst, hunger, and relentless shark attacks.

Funderburg: Have all of the Jaws: Origins jokes been made already? They have? Well then how could I have a goddamned thing to say about this movie? Nice to see Mario Van Peebles back in the saddle, tho. (This is a Posse reference.)

Pinn: Not to be in anyone's financials but Mario Van Peebles has to be doing fine with all those Lost residuals (for those that don’t know he's been directing a lot of television these days). There's no way he did this for the money, right? Is he in debt? This looks like one of those movies you go to see on an elementary school field trip at a select AMC (somewhere down south or in the Midwest) at 11am on a weekday.

Cribbs: How could this be getting a theatrical release? That poster! That title! Nicolas Cage in a Naval uniform! Look, I'm not unreasonable - show me a preview of Cage punching hordes of sharks in the face and I'm in. Produce a still of Nicolas Cage shirtless, displaying a giant tattoo of an anchor on his chest while riding atop two harnessed sharks and laughing maniacally between swigs off a bottle of rum as "Freedom (Theme from Panther)" plays and I will pay double to see the movie. Yes, I had to go with Panther - Chris parenthetically beat me to a Posse reference. (Hey, did Van Peebles get this gig because he was in Jaws: The Revenge?)

Funderburg: Would you get out of everybody’s fuckin’ financials, Marcus? (Christ, always in people’s financials, that guy.)


Director: Julio Medem
Stars: Penelope Cruz, Luis Tosar, Asier Etxeandia, Alex Brendemuhl, Silvia Abascal
Plot: In the aftermath of a tragedy a woman, Magda, reacts with a surge of newfound life that engulfs her circle of family and friends.

Pinn: This looks a little too melodramatic for me. Melodramatic to the point where I'd make fun of it if I decided to watch it so I’m just going to stay away. I do hope everything works out for the couple in the end.

Cribbs: I didn't see 2lander, so I feel like I owe Penelope Cruz a solid. The trailer's in Spanish, but it makes the movie look like an unhealthy combination of depressing and saccharine (hardly surprising coming from the director of Sex and Lucia). Not my cup of tea, but if this shit ends up on Starz I'll check it out. 4 Cruz.

Funderburg: As a Cruz partisan, I saw Zooland and Zoolanderer and will be seeing this. I’ve been there since I saw Jamon, Jamon in 10th grade and will be there when she is in her “Sophia Loren in Grumpier Old Men” phase. I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere. Belle Epoque 2 tha grave. It says that shit on my family crest.



Director: Dave Green
Stars: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Alan Ritchson, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi, Laura Linney, William Fichtner
Plot: The Turtles return to save the city from a dangerous threat.

Cribbs: Michael Bay and his boyz are really trying to reel in old school Turtle fans with this one, adding Casey Jones to the mix and promoting the big screen debut of Krang, Karai, Baxter Stockman, Beebop and Rocksteady. But what's this: Fred Armisen voicing Krang? First he ruins Speedy Gonzalez, and now this? They couldn't even get Johnny Knoxville back for the sequel? Any good faith is officially withdrawn, Bay. I'm going back to ignoring this version of TMNT. (Why would you name your Turtles movie after a critically-panned Turtles video game anyway?)

Funderburg: John, have you ever seen a turtle get down? Just tell me the heroes on a half-shell interrupt a Macklemore concert this time out - throw in a new Partners in Kryme track (he’s still making superhits, right?) and I am there. That’s how you cater to nostalgia! The first remake was fine (the mountainside chase scene was actually the best of its kind since For Your Eyes Only), I’m sure this one will be fine. It’s not like the original movies are these goddamned masterpieces. Just ask Hi-Tek 3 - they know what’s up. Quick question: was this directed by David Gordon Green’s Buddy Love-esque alter-ego? I’m going to assume so.

Pinn: Tyler Perry was good in Gone Girl, but under the direction of Michael Bay? No thank you. And like so many movies on this list, this is just another movie that wasn’t made with me in mind.


Directors: Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone
Stars: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots
Plot: When his new album fails to sell records, pop/rap superstar conner4real goes into a major tailspin and watches his celebrity high life begin to collapse. He'll try anything to bounce back, anything except reuniting with his old rap group The Style Boyz.

Funderburg: I was all wrong about MacGruber, I was all wrong about Lonely Island and I’m getting ready to be all wrong about this shit. But I just can’t get excited for the concept. I just don’t care about lampooning pop music. I’m sure it’ll be really funny and then I’ll see it two years after everyone else already loves it and then what? I’ll be left alone to sup on my bitterness, to contemplate in silence my consistent wrongness, acrid and desolate. The kids these days, they’re always one step ahead.

Pinn: I feel like all the laughing I'm going to get out of this movie already happened in the trailer. Andy Samberg used to be funny to me but after Brooklyn Nine-Nine I don’t trust his brand of humor anymore (seriously, that show is not funny).

Cribbs: Just recently checked out Hot Rod, the previous movie made by these Lonely Islanders, for the first time. It's got its moments, but could really only be charitably designated as "Fine... just fine." I anticipate a similar reaction when I get around to seeing their sophomore effort; it might be a slight improvement since these dudes are music geeks and theoretically have humorous insights into pop and hip hop. But I'm not in a rush to find out if that's true.

Funderburg: Hot Rod was one of my first and most painful lessons in the “don’t get excited just because Danny McBride is in it” rule. Anyway, don't we all need to acknowledge that The Style Boyz is a pretty perfect/hilarious name for a fake rap group?


Director: Thea Sharrock
Stars: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Brendan Coyle, Matthew Lewis, Jenna Coleman
Plot: A girl in a small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of.

Pinn: It’s times like this that make me thankful I’m in a relationship with a women that isnt in to these kinds of stupid movies (I know some romcoms are absolutely suitable for both men & women but this one in particular looks like it’s geared strictly towards single women who work in office cubicles). The only plus upside this movie has going for it is Emilia Clarke’s face (she’s very cute in my opinion) but that won’t be enough to get me to see it.

Cribbs: Based on a book by a romance novelist who calls herself JoJo. If that doesn't tell you what you need to know, then you should be pleasantly surprised by this movie. Emilia Clarke was awful, really truly awful, in the last Terminator flick - I wouldn't be surprised to hear that performance caused Linda Hamilton to roll over in her grave. So even if you can stomach what is an unabashed "chick flick" about a gal goin' all googly for a gimp (who used to be a preppy asshole but now he's a dying sweetheart!), the acting might be a dealbreaker for you. Or not. I don't know you personally.

Funderburg: Yeah, I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I was astounded by how awful Clarke was in Terminator: Sega Genisystem. She’s got no charisma or presence and got blown off the screen by a half-assing-it Schwarzenegger and lost amidst the chaotic special effects. She couldn’t even hold her own opposite Jai Courtney which speaks for itself (although, I don’t think he's nearly as bad as he’s made out to be by all the clever little boys on the internet.) I personally am just going to wait until they start adapting K-Ci’s novels. They should start with his breakthrough masterpiece The Dyin' Sweetheart.


Director: Stacy Title
Stars: Doug Jones, Douglas Smith, Michael Tucco, Cressida Bonas, Lucien Laviscount
Plot: Three Wisconsin college students come up against the sinister titular "Bye Bye Man," who may be responsible for possessing various people and causing them to commit killing sprees throughout recent history.

Cribbs: The name of the short story this movie is based on is "Bridge to Body Island." Why would you change that?? I guess if you've got an ace in your deck like "Bye Bye Man" you gotta play it. But just so the producers know, I'm walking into this thing expecting the delightful tale of a divorced dad played by Matthew Modine, Randy Quaid or Paul Reiser.

How are these three names relevant to the Summer of 2016? Easy: Randy Quaid was killed off in the first Independence Day, so they didn't have to worry about explaining the non-casting of that maniac. Paul Reiser is in The Darkness, purportedly. And Matthew Modine's name can be humorously inserted into the music from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song: "Matthew Modine wears a girdle... Matthew Modine wears a girdle..." (He's a very skinny dude, I doubt he does. Good song tho.)

Funderburg: “Modine on the half shell! Girdle power!” Your story checks out, John. So anyhoo, is this some kind of a Slenderman thing? Like those two girls who tried to kill their friend on his behalf? Why not just call it the Slenderman? Are they worried about getting sued or do they just think it would be in poor taste to exploit some real-life attempted murders?

Some quick rankings:
The Glimmer Man
The Weather Man
The Thin Man
The Third Man
Who’s the Man?
The Marrying Man
The Wolf Man
The Encino Man
The Winnebago Man
The Bye Bye Man

I’ll let you decide which direction of preference that list runs.

Pinn: And I would watch every movie on your aforementioned list before I took the time to go out and see a movie called Bye Bye Man. What’s crazy is that there’s a demographic for these types of movies. I’m out.


Director: Michael Grandage
Stars: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney
Plot: A chronicle of Max Perkins and his time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.

Funderburg: This movie seems to have the same bizarre idea in its head that HBO’s Vinyl did: there’s this amazing explosion in the arts, an unprecedented mix of volatile personalities, flamboyant iconoclasts & true geniuses all coming together at once - and whose eyes would it better to see this world through than some dickhead in a suit! Finally, we get the true tales of what it was like to work in a boring office someplace with a bunch of interesting people who were rarely around and probably loathed our main character anyway! I hopped over to wikipedia to read about this dude Max Perkins and there’s literally not a single sentence in his entire entry that makes him sound even mildly interesting. He ”induced Wolfe to cut 90,000 words from his first novel, [the long forgotten piece of shit] Look Homeward, Angel.” Wow, can’t wait for that scene. That’ll be fucking riveting. The movie producers come along and they say “Jude, my esteemed colleague, how would you like to play Thomas Wolfe?” And that’s how they get ya. I bet Michael Grandage (who is a very respected theatre impresario in England) is Max Perkin’s cousin’s nephew or some shit.

Pinn: Ha. Are we really getting a movie about the drama surrounding the editing of books? That doesn’t sound interesting in the least bit. How long could this movie possibly be? 45 minutes at most? Next we’ll be getting a modern-day office drama about company employees trying to cut back on paper usage. What I find most embarrassing about this is there are people out there who think Genius will be an Oscar contender when in fact it’ll be forgotten about in less than two weeks.

Cribbs: I think the trailer is the whole movie. Seriously, go watch it. At the very least, it suggests that 90% of the film takes place in a drab office. You can't go from having a berkseker Colin Firth butchering dozens of crazies in a church to him sitting behind a desk crossing out paragraphs with a marker. Even odds that Firth's King's Speech sibling Guy Pearce plays F. Scott Fitzgerald exactly the same way he played Harry Houdini in [the long forgotten piece of shit] Death Defying Acts.

Funderburg: I’d like to emphasize that none of this is Colin Firth’s fault. Firth remains the sweetest and most gentlemanly celebrity I have ever met. He was inhumanly delightful and gracious - signing posters, shaking hands and posing for photos for hours after a screening. True story: he just barely edges Ron Eldard in that regard (Eldard brought cookies for the entire audience at his Q&A after House of Sand and Fog!)


Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Sanaa Lathan, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Plot: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

Pinn: I never saw the first one but judging from the trailer it certainly looks like you’ll be getting more bang for your buck, right (apparently Jesse Eisneberg’s character has Matrix powers?). This is a movie magician heist movie. Nothing about it sounds fun or interesting to me.

Cribbs: I give props to the producers for restraining themselves from naming this movie Now You See Me, Too. That said, it's a movie about magicians so no thanks. "What if I told you it was directed by the man behind G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Jem and the Holograms and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never?" I'd say you guys enjoy the movie while I stay at home and wonder how people tell Lizzy Caplan apart from Kat Dennings.

Funderburg: I liked the first one. Now you will see me see this one, too. I’m genuinely surprised you guys aren’t more keyed in on this sweet baby – the first one was perfectly enjoyable. Every summer needs an Ocean’s Eleven, so why not Ocean’s Eleven with magicians?


Director: James Wan
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Franka Potente, Frances O'Connor, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis
Plot: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.

Cribbs: As with every project James Wan's ever been involved with - Saw, Insidious 1 & 2, Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Furious 7 - when it comes to The Conjuring, I'm equally surprised to hear that there are people who love it and that there are people who hate it. Wan's got the corner on B/B- entertainment that's perfectly fun and entertaining for exactly the amount of time the movie is running, and is then instantly dismissable. There's nothing to love or hate about any them - they're all just perfectly watchable. Wan may be the most serviceable director in Hollywood: you know exactly what you're going to get, you know it's not gonna rock you're world, but you get excited for it anyway. That's how I feel about Conjuring 2. Plus I'm always up for anything with my girl Vera. And Franka! She hasn't been in a movie since 2010, y'all.

Funderburg: I am a Vera Farmiga partisan. If you made me pick the greatest working actress in the world, I would vacillate between Farmiga, Isabelle Huppert and Maggie Chung. (Apologies to Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gong Li, Juilanne Moore, Maria Onetta, Aggeliki Papoulia, Juliette Binoche and any of the other devastatingly talented and luminous actresses that didn’t spring immediately to mind.) And Farmiga hasn’t been in much recently that I’ve been excited for, so it’s nice that these movies are pretty good. Throw in Franka and Thewlis (and Lily Taylor in the first one) and it’s like Wan is determined to give consistently underutilized actors a chance to be in a good, popular movie for once. I wish the Conjuring films didn’t venerate on a pair of real life shitheel con artists, but what are you gonna do?

Pinn: I couldn’t have said it better, John. James Wan makes the kind of mindless entertaining films I really dig even though I always confuse these movies with the Insidious franchise (and yes, seeing Franka Pontente & Vera Farmiga together on screen is an added bonus).


Director: Duncan Jones
Stars: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu, Clancy Brown, Callum Keith Rennie
Plot: The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home. Got it? It's pretty compelling stuff, amirite?

Funderburg: Cribbs, we were just discussing this and how it’s pretty surprising that Duncan Jones is the director. Neither you nor I were the kind of Moon or Source Code enthusiasts that got really worked up for those movies, but they’re both definitely interesting films and Jones doing something like this is a bit of a stunner. A stone cold one, as a matter of fact. Is there a chance this movie is interesting? I just find that so hard to believe. Also, isn’t this concept even more outdated than Angry Birds? Do people still even play this computer game? I feel like the South Park parody came out when George W. Bush was still in office. (Also, Clancy Brown and Callum Keith Rennie - sorry, but I’m still not getting excited for voiceover acting.)

Pinn: This is a double whammy for me. Not only is Duncan Jones wasting his time & talent (I wasn’t crazy about Moon either, but I did like Source Code), but Ben Foster’s talent is wasted here as well. I don’t know if you guys know this about me but I’m a big Ben Foster fan (apologist?) and his recent career choices (like Warcraft) are slowly making it more difficult for me to defend him. Hopefully this movie was done for a paycheck and we’ll see Jones & Foster collaborate on something better in the near future.

Cribbs: Yeah, Duncan Jones seemed to be heading somewhere good in his career and this feels like a huge step in the wrong direction. Sam Raimi was initially attached to this, so at least Raimi’s time wasn't wasted. I don't know, maybe there's a way to squeeze a moment as moving as Sam Rockwell contacting his daughter on Earth, or Jake Gyllenhaal calling his father to say goodbye, into a C-grade Lord of the Rings but I doubt it would be quite as poignant. And it's hard to imagine people drawn into the allure of spending your free time as an avatar harvesting phony crops or what-have-you would necessarily be interested in a movie version of their beloved game... then again, I'm the wrong person to ask.


Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Yo-Yo Ma
Plot: Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and other international artists of The Silk Road Project discuss their philosophies on music and culture.

Pinn: This movie is clearly designed to get older retired people out of the house on a random weekday afternoon so I’m not going to be a dick about this one.

Cribbs: Ragtag squad of cellists come together, you never know what to expect. Unless you know to expect lots of instrument playing, in which case you'd be correct.

Funderburg: Just once when a film follows a famous artist who’s gotten really rich doing their art, I’d like for them to pull a Hermann Broch when discussing their “philosophy on music and culture” and be all like “Art is nothing but mendacity and vanity. [holds up cello] Look at this stupid fucking thing. I wasted my life.” I guess that’s kinda what Crumb was like and also why it’s a delight.


Director: Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane
Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Ed O'Neill, Willem Dafoe, Vicki Lewis, Idris Elba, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader
Plot: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Pinn: I'm sure this movie will be a success but I don't have kids so I highly doubt I'll be seeing this one.

Cribbs: Dory was a great supporting character, but I don’t know about her carrying her own movie. This appears to have the same problem as the Kung Fu Panda sequels: I don’t really want to meet members of the original character’s extended family, especially if it gives “finding” an existential connotation. The first movie had a good message about family: you push those close to you away by loving them too much. “Everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way” sounds like some shitty Full House episode.

Funderburg: As opposed to a really good Full House episode? It’s strange, now that I have a kid, the emotional and philosophical disingenuity of Pixar bugs me a lot more than it used to. Ultimately, their films over and over torture kids with the threat of being discarded and irrelevant, adrift without a family, only to reassure everyone “just kidding, you’re all super.” The flipside reading is their frequent Randian message (which has been critiqued in plenty of Written Pieces to Be Thought Upon) that exceptional beings are entitled to live exceptional existences, especially at the expense of average schmoes. Anyhoo, as someone who moved around a lot as a kid, the ending of Inside Out drove me crazy: no, if you make your family miserable enough by refusing to accept change, you don’t get to move back to Minnesota and play youth hockey. (Positive message alert! Girlz can love hockey, too!!!) Pixar just bugs me. I’m not buying what they’re selling. Ok, ok: I’m buying Wall-E. And Ratatouille. And Finding Nemo. And A Bug’s Life. Jesus Christ, what do you want me to say? That Pixar is great? Of course they’re great! But are they right? No, they’re fucking liars.


Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul
Plot: After he reunites with an old pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.

Funderburg: Kevin Hart has quickly become the kind of cultural punching bag who has everything he does dismissed out of hand by critics and “smart” audiences. I’ll watch Dwayne Johnson (who is a delight), Amy Ryan (who is a delight) and Aaron Paul (who has his charms) in a goofball espionage comedy. It’ll be at least as good as some crap you morons are probably excited for. (I don’t mean you guys, John and Marcus - the morons in this sentence are our stupid fucking readers, whom I despise. Just kidding, I like our readers, too. The morons of that sentence exist only in some theoretical space.)

Pinn: Dammit! Why did The Rock have to get paired with fuckin Kevin Hart? Why not Donald Glover, Hannibal Burress or Chapelle? How about maybe anyone BUT Kevin Hart? Like any normal person I have a total (hetero) crush on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (he's the 2nd best modern wrestler-turned actor after Batista in my opinion). I've followed his wrestling career since day one, he seems like a genuinely nice guy, and, judging by the trailer for this (and his performance in the awful Pain & Gain) he's becoming quite the comedic actor. He's becoming such a solid comedic actor that he doesn't even need Kevin Hart. Nobody does.Scratch what I said earlier. The Rock's onscreen buddy should be more straight-laced so he can carry the brunt of all the laughs. If I have absolutely nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon I might see this. But I already know that lawn ornament jockey you all refer to as Kevin Hart is gonna ruin it for me.

Cribbs: The plot seems exceptionally similar to that of The Do-Over: old high school buddies reunite, one of them is a globe-trotting CIA agent whose crazy life reinvigorates the dull existence of the other. The difference, based on the preview, is that this one opens with a grotesque blubber monster with The Rock’s face digitally placed on top of it. I have nothing against this movie and its Frankenstein CG creations, however I stand firm on my promise to never see another Dwayne Johnson movie until he starts going by "The Rock" again. I didn’t see San Andreas, and that offered up Carla Gugino AND Alexandra Daddario. Apologies to Kevin Hart, but he is no Alexandra Daddario.


Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell, Brendan Gleeson
Plot: As civil war divides the nation, a poor farmer from Mississippi leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army.

Pinn: So what are we doing here? A rockin' Rollin' confederate antihero thing? I have nothing to say about this. It looks terrible.

Cribbs: “Rebels AGAINST the Confederate Army?” I’m already confused. And what’s this got to do with Captain America? Ok – so this is a story about a Southern gentleman who decides to secede from his government and form his own independent nation. Except the government is the Confederacy of course, because otherwise… well, he’d just be the Confederacy, wouldn’t he? Oh shit, they didn’t see that coming! How could the South have known that rebelling against the United States would inspire its own people to rebel against THEM? Since this is basically a Braveheart type history lesson (and even co-stars Brendan Gleeson), of course McC teams up with a rag tag squad of slaves (because, freedom!), and springs traps on top of traps that involve him popping out of a coffin with guns a’blazin’. Never mind that this is essentially the tale of the very first militia, those crazy rednecks who put up fences, declare their farm “Jebtopia” and send formal secession papers to the White House written in crayon. So this will be something like Mel Gibson’s The Patriot meets Steven Seagal’s The Patriot.

Funderburg: I hope they defeat the Confederacy! Those guys are dicks. I want to be on the record: I do not support the Confederacy. I support any free state movements dedicated to egalitarianism, especially those that are fighting the Confederacy - provided these free state movements are not additionally quasi-religious death cults. In that case, I am divided on the issue: I support their fight against the Confederacy, but not their death cult-ery. I mean, I guess in some instances, I can even get behind a death cult. I’d prefer if it were a suicide cult, for starters. And comprised exclusively of adults of sound body and mine making fully informed decisions on the subject of ingesting arsenic laced PCP in order to harness the supernatural power of transdimensional demons as part of a larger plan to defeat the Confederacy. Is that what this movie’s about? Because I’m in.


Directors: Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Stars: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Plot: A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. According to the tittering "journalists" who covered it at Sundance, the corpse also farts quite a lot.

Funderburg: In general, I’d prefer if movies were weird and starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Who’s to say if they should also star Daniel Radcliffe and be directed by two men both named Daniel? That’s not my call.

Pinn: I guess I respect Daniel Radcliffe for trying his best to distance himself from the harry potter franchise now that he's and adult but this movie looks like an inside joke from a drunken hang out that just went too far.

Cribbs: I think the pitch went something like, “What if, instead of a volleyball, Tom Hanks in Castaway befriended the corpse from Weekend at Bernie’s?” And then an exec said, “Only if we can get that twitchy motherfucker from There Will Be Blood to cart around a farting Harry Potter.” I don’t really know how these kind of meetings go. This plot sounds like something Marco Ferreri could have made magical. Interestingly, the two directors are credited as “Daniels” on the trailer. Unfortunately this led me to hope that Lee Daniels helmed this flick, which would have been an instant sell. Otherwise, I can only commit to maybe catching 5 random minutes of the movie when it ends up on IFC Channel before throwing on my dvd of The Paperboy.

Funderburg: I wish I was in that pitch meeting! Just kidding, it probably went more like “We directed a L’il John video and understand Youth Culture. We understand that you money-men are bewildered by our shirt styles and enthusiastic sense of irony, therefore you will give us money for something that sounds ludicrous. Additionally we have had success on youtube/vimeo/filefarter and you are bewildered by the internet even though the internet matters more to you money-men than your own children, children who have very few subscribers to their unboxing channels. You money-men will not be able to resist us as we seem very excited to tell you about an idea that sounds bad; excited because it sounds bad – if there’s only one thing that’s eternally true in the harsh realm of Youth Culture it’s that bad is good in the sense that sick is sweet and cool is hot right now. It’s so dumb, you’ll love it.” “Greenlight these young men’s project. For they have directed grotesque Mountain Dew commercials and who could be more qualified to make a farting corpse movie than those young men who so have their fingers on Youth’s pulse? No one, that’s who.”


Directors: David Farrier & Dylan Reeve
Stars: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve
Plot: Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction.

Pinn: I'm honestly curious about this. On one hand it does have the stench of a mumble-core movie from 2007 while on the other hand it does look like an attempt at doing something somewhat different. The tone is a little "off". I'm not quite sure what genre the director is going for which is what makes me intrigued. I doubt I'll see this in the theater but if it comes to Netflix I will absolutely set aside 90 minutes to watch it.

Cribbs: When I tried to look up the preview for this movie on YouTube, it resulted in numerous tickle fetish videos. Not sure if that's what this documentary is focused on, but it's a weird kink that I don't really understand. Tickling anyone who isn't a family member, a significant other, an intimate buddy or an Elmo doll is just invasive and creepy. If you disagree I don't judge you, but beware of filmmakers who will come looking for you to expose your secret life for their own gain. Check out the numerous Brony documentaries if you need an example of what I'm talking about.

Funderburg: John, sometimes you throw titles into this line-up that I’m not sure are actually being released in any meaningful capacity. This is one of those titles.



Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, Judd Hirsch, Angelababy, Joey King, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Patrick St. Esprit, William Fichtner
Plot: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?

Funderburg: Man, this really is the summer of “concepts way past their sell-by date.” I’ll see this and it will be fine and I’m happy they got Charlotte Gainsbourg for the “Juliette Binoche in Godzilla” role and Maika Monroe is a more interesting actress than the movie she got famous for but I don’t know - there’s some dude who just time traveled to 2016 from 2008 and is super-excited for Angry Birds and Warcraft and even he’s like “Independence Day? It seems a little weird to come out with a sequel now.”

Pinn: I'm so out of touch with Independence Day that when I heard they were making a sequel I seriously asked my friend; "Is Randy Quaid in it?" completely forgetting his character died in the first one (swear to god). Like Chris already said, this movie is way past the point of anyone giving a shit. Do people younger than millennials ever care about and/or remember the first Independence Day? Like... who felt a sequel was needed? No thank you.

Cribbs: So do the aliens return on July 4? Do they keep up with the Earth (specifically, American) calendar? Yes they do – in the preview someone says, “Let’s give ‘em some fireworks.” Are these martian assholes ironic? Goldblum apparently is, since he points out how they like to nuke landmarks. But yeah, looks like more rousing speeches, noble sacrifices and planetary destruction – a Roland Emmerich casserole (technically isn’t this like ID7 or 8? Every film he’s made has been Independence Day, just without Will Smith. Like this one!)


Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Sedona Legge, a big goddamn shark
Plot: When Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark while surfing alone, she is stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she is only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills.

Cribbs: Yes! Now here's the trapped-in-shark-infested-water movie I'm actually looking forward to this summer. Who better to play a (wo)man of courage than the dynamite Blake Lively, who rocked a two-piece in Savages and is also known for frequently traveling in pants. Sharks are my favorite “movie fear” - that is to say, I think good shark movies are thrilling, even though I'm not personally scared of real-life sharks (why should I be, am I ever near one?) The last major theatrical shark movie, Shark Night 3-D by the late David R. Ellis, was one of the biggest disappointments of recent cinema history but I’m glad that Jaume Collet-Serra took a break from his Liam Neeson thrillers to get back to his Orphan roots and deliver a new classic on par with Deep Blue Sea. (I don't really like the title - it makes me think of The Stupids. And cool poster, but - it doesn't look like she's in the shallows at all, does it?)

Funderburg: John, you know why you and I run a high-brow film criticism website together? Because we’re on the same page. Half a decade ago you and I looked at the release schedule, saw there was a movie called Shark Night 3-d coming out and got excited for it. And when we researched it further, we discovered David R. Ellis was directing it, making our excitement so substantial that when the film turned out to be mediocre, we both considered it one of the greatest disappointments of recent cinematic history. And we went through this process independently of each other, without consultation or discussion. Just as now we are both hugely excited for The Shallows because it is a dumb shark movie starring Blake Lively that could possibly be as excellent as Deep Blue Sea (the good one, not the Terrence Davies movie.) No one will ever understand me, John. Not the way you do.

Pinn: This is totally a rip-off of the middle story in Creep Show 2 combined with Open Water (2004). I'm sure she makes it to dry land by the end of the movie despite a few close calls.

Funderburg: Did you see either Open Water? Don’t be so sure about her surviving. P.S. More like Blake Lovely, amirite??


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Bella Heathcote, Desmond Harrington
Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Pinn: You guys already know I'm excited about this. Now... it definitely doesn't look like it's going to be his best work but judging from the trailer Refn seems to be revisiting his old visual style found in Fear X. A lot of the images from Neon Demon look like they come right out Refn's forgotten 2003 psychological thriller. Neon Demon also appears to be new territory as this will be Refn's first female-led movie so that should be interesting as well.

Cribbs: Lorde breaks out of THX-1138 and ends up inside V’Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and possibly transforms into Carrie as a Cenobite? Dude, I’m all for Refn’s official “crazy” period and this could very well turn out to be his Showgirls, but to be honest I’m most excited for Keanu’s role. Man of Tai Chi, Knock Knock, John friggin’ Wick – my boy is killin’ it. He’s in Ana Lily Amirpour’s new movie, too! And Key & Peele named a movie after him: is anyone cooler than Keanu right now? Furthermore, who is this Bella Heathcote and why does she look so much like Reese Witherspoon?

Funderburg: Keanu! Keanu! Keanu! Don’t forget that he made a feature-length documentary exploring differences in film formats. I like that Refn makes only excruciatingly ill-considered nonsense now. It must be intentional. Only God Forgives was my most beloved species of film: the unnecessarily artsy/fartsy movie soaked with sex and violence that I can’t defend on any level yet love with all my heart. Looks like he’s at it again! Oh you, Nickie. Keep it up. Keep making this insanely stylish idiotic garbage and I’ll keep on loving it.


Director: Taika Waititi
Stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby
Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Pinn: While this comes off like your run of the mill quirky sundance comedy/dramedy/dark comedy/whatever, it is directed by the guys responsible for what we do in the shadows, and I'll watch just about anything with Rhys Darby so count me in.

Cribbs: Killer razorbacks, talking cheeseburgers, a First Blood-style manhunt – I am with it! And is this the first movie since he hit Hollywood in which Sam Neill actually uses a New Zealand accent? Probably not, but it’s definitely the thickest one I’ve ever heard coming from him. I’ve come to Taika Waititi’s work late thanks to the excellent What We Do in the Shadows, still haven’t seen Boy and was surprised to hear he’s doing the next Thor movie. But since this is the Shadows follow-up, it’ll get seen by me.

Funderburg: He’s doing the next Thor movie? I’m with it! I’m obviously with this one as well - Shadows is great, Sam Neill is great, Rhys Darby is great. Eagle vs. Shark was bad and Boy wasn’t something I’d lose my mind over but the man has been on a steady upwards progression. I guess that means the Thor will be a masterpiece? He seems like the kind of artist who really would ask his mom for plot ideas.


Director: Noah Buschel
Stars: Paul Giamatti, Ethan Hawke, Paul Adelstein, Elizabeth Marvel
Plot: A Major League rookie pitcher loses control over his pitching and is sent down to the minor leagues, where he begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist. In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father are brought to light.

Funderburg: Some Kind of Monster meets Phenom, the beloved tennis-based sitcom. I hope there’s a dream sequence where Our Hero is pursued by by a gaggle of faceless Texas Rangers who hammer his balls. And then just as he struggles to break free, one of the Rangers turns to face him… and it’s his dad. Cut to: our hero waking up in a cold sweat, terror in his eyes. The sensible young kindergarten teacher he’s been dating (as his model wife left him for getting sent down to the minors) sits up beside him in bed and embraces him “It’s ok, honey, it’s ok - I’m here. I’m here for you.”

Pinn: I couldn't find the trailer for this but I know that baseball is the most boring sport known to man so count me out.

Cribbs: I couldn’t find a trailer for this alleged movie, but I did end up watching part of an old episode of The Incredible Hulk called “The Phenom” in which David Banner – protecting a young prospect from an unscrupulous manager - hulks out, picks up a bat and plays some ball. He also makes a chicken mascot faint and throws a guy into a pool. Not sure if this is a straight adaptation of said episode, but if so you’d think they’d get Ruffalo involved for the sake of continuity.


Director: Steven Spielbergo
Stars: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Rafe Spall
Plot: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

Pinn: Sorry guys, I got nothing. Maybe if/when I have a family I'll have more of an opinion on these kinds of movies. I wish it all the best.

Funderburg: You could just kidnap a family to see kids movies with. Kinda like Celtic Pride but for movie nerds.

Cribbs: This is the first chapter book I ever read to my daughter, so it’s got a special place in my heart even though I prefer Matilda, The Witches and The Twits. I’ve always believed that Roald Dahl was being cheeky with that acronym and have to constantly remind myself that the “F” stands for “friendly.” He was famously subversive with his children’s literature, which makes me wonder how much they’re going to play up the “giants kidnapping kids from their beds and devouring them alive” aspect in this adaptation. Even Roeg toned down The Witches. Not averse to a Spielbergization of the material, even if it looks like every generic fantasy movie of the last 15 years from the Harry Potters to Hugo.

Funderburg: I like that Mark Rylance is Spielberg's new go­to guy. I'd love it if after all these years, "He's like Rylance to that dude's Spielberg" became an intelligible phrase. As for the movie, Hollywood does a really bad job with Roald Dahl; the ones that get closest to capturing his spirit like Nicolas Roeg's The Witches and Danny DeVito's Matilda aren't necessarily the best movies made from his work. I’m curious for this one, although The BFG is among my least favorite of his stories and one that it’s fairly hard to see making a good movie – like you say, they’re frequently ghoulishly bizarre and that’s the whole show with BFG, it’s not like Oompa Loompas where you can just leave their wretched backstory out of it and get on with the chocolate factory. Whatever, I trust Spielberg when he's partnered up with his boy Rylance. Those guys are like peas and carrots ­ they're the new Key and Peele, in my opinion. (My opinion is always correct.)


Director: James DeMonaco
Stars: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Edwin Hodge
Plot: Two years after choosing not to kill the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlene Roan, the front runner in the next Presidential election due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.

Cribbs: Only saw the first one, and the premise is so dumb: the government allows one day of lawlessness and there's no crime for the other 364 days of the year? I mean if you want to create a scenario where chaos reigns, just make it a lawless society like Mad Max or Escape from New York, don't try to get us to believe every person on the planet is absolutely civil every day except one. Example: if we were allowed one big 24-hour orgy where everybody's gotta have sex with everybody else, will people agree not to have sex at all for the rest of the year? If you could have as much free pizza as you wanted for a single day, would you restrain yourself and not eat another single slice until that date rolled around again? It’s just one of those scenarios that thinks it’s so fucking clever when it doesn’t make sense to anyone who thinks about it longer than 10 seconds; also, creepily composed killers in masks aren’t scary. You know what is scary? The amount of money this stupid friggin’ series rakes in.

Funderburg: John, I’m allergic to wheat, eggs and most nightshades, so let me assure you: I would be able to hold out all year and then willingly commit murders to be able to eat pizza again. I would wait all year, patiently, with a zen-like focus, and then murder the hell out of some folks in order to get some sweet, sweet pizza. And then, having eaten pizza, I’d thank God, pay my taxes and sleep soundly at night for another year. But you’re right, the idea is obviously dumb and fundamentally misunderstands the nature of crime (by waaaaaaaaaay overestimating its rational elements)… but the second film was fun (and featured far fewer scary masks) and the idea is fun enough nonsense that I enjoy the series without compunction.

Pinn: Am I supposed to be like: "aw man! this is such a cool comment on the current political climate in the country. Like... this could totally happen under Trump's presidency, man". I'd have to see the second Purge in order to even get up to date and since I won't be doing that probably ever, there's no point in me watching this. Sorry.

Funderburg: I’m genuinely disappointed in you two and your shared lack of enthusiasm for this series. Twenty years from now these movies will be beloved in the way Death Wish 3 and Invasion U.S.A. are beloved.


Director: David Yates
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Christoph Waltz
Plot: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

Funderburg: I don't really follow Harry Potter, so until looking him up I didn't realize this dude had basically taken over the series and is even doing the new racist one. I was just curious if he were Peter Yates' son. (He's not.) I’m not sure I’ve actually seen any of the Harry Potter movies he’s directed (they all kind of blur together for me) and as enjoyable as most Tarzan movies turn out to be, it isn’t some ironclad concept (especially this one where he's like some Black Ops monkey­man who thought he was out but gets pulled in for one. last. job.) so I don’t really know what to think of this. It doesn’t really seem to be a “The Legend...” per se, it really seems like more of a "The Further Adventures of..." or a "...Returns" type of titling situation. Way to drop the ball, Hollywood titling impresarios.

Pinn: Thank god. We definitely needed another Tarzan adaptation. There just weren't enough. Moving on.

Cribbs: Hot off the heels of a new Jungle Book movie nobody could possibly care about is a new Tarzan movie nobody will care about. Lambert's not involved, so I'm out. For a Tarzan movie, you need either Lambert or Phil Collins. If not, what's the point?

Funderburg: You guys are goddamned negativists. I enjoyed the new Jungle Book even if it didn't realize it was a musical until 2/3rd's of the way through and then only for a few fleeting moments.


Director: Susanna White
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Naomie Harris, Jeremy Northam
Plot: A couple find themselves lured into a Russian oligarch's plans to defect are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.

Pinn: Although Damien Lewis looks like he'll give a tour de force performance, these kinds of espionage movies tend to bore me.

Cribbs: I liked what's been done with John le Carre in 21st century cinema: Tailor of Panama, Constant Gardener, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Most Wanted Man - one of those is a masterpiece, and the others are diverting if flawed entertainments. Everyone in these movies is well-dressed, has cool thick glasses and speaks all posh. As far as spy porn goes, I’ve come to prefer the aesthetics of these movies over the Bond series.

Funderburg: The Night Manager was enjoyable, too - and featured thick glasses/posh speaking. I think I like these films just because they make an effort to make an ounce of sense. Most movies these days are ludicrous - and I’m not talking on a macro-level. I mean just even on a level of “Wait - why are there so many luxury cars in this parking garage? And don’t our heroes need some kind of a key to open that garage door? And did they… did they hot-wire this $100,000 car that’s run by a computer and undoubtedly has a lo-jack?” Movies make zero effort to contain traces of logic or realism and I appreciate the le Carre films for not being like “I dunno… after he got shot in the neck and fell 200 yards off of the bridge into a river, he washed up on shore in Tahiti or something. Who cares. My only point is: Smiley is alive.” I don’t even give a shit about evil masterminds having grandiose and convoluted plots that make no sense, I just want doors on office buildings to be locked at night.


Director: Chris Renaud & Yarrow Cheney
Stars: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Steve Coogan, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks
Plot: Taking place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max's life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. They have to put their quarrels behind when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is building an army of abandoned pets determined to take revenge on all happy-owned pets and their owners.

Cribbs: Is this the project James Gunn was involved with for a long time? Whatever it is, the preview preceded the last ten movies I took my daughter to, so I’m already sick of it.

Pinn: I'm corny enough to refer to myself as a "cat parent" and I do like to jokingly imagine the funny adventures my cat gets in to when I'm not home but I don't need to watch a feature length movie about it (or a short film for that matter).

Funderburg: Marcus, you are the exception to many of my hardest rules. You refer to yourself as a “cat parent?” I’ll allow it. For you and only for you. Everyone else who does it? I hope your pets die.


Director: Roger Ross Williams
Stars: Ron Suskind, Owen Suskind
Plot: A coming of age story about an autistic boy and his family who overcame great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express love, loss, kinship and brotherhood.

Cribbs: Look, let’s not focus on any positive things that Disney is erroneously receiving credit for. I mean it’s a great story, breakthroughs in autism are always inspiring and pop culture is shockingly effective at creating bridges of communication with autistic individuals. I once knew an autistic kid whose dad taught him jingles from TV and radio, and applying those songs was the only way to get him to speak with you. And the subject of this documentary’s dad does a killer Gilbert Gottfried impression. But let’s not pretend the Disney corporation had anything to do with the connection this guy was able to make with his son. If anything, I wish he’d shown him Miyazaki movies so the guy picked up some Japanese, or learned how to fly a plane. Disney is evil, let’s not forget it – if shutting down 50 autism research facilities would gain their shareholders a .0001% stock increase, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

Funderburg: I’d go so far as to say, that if being in favor of spreading autism increased their stock value, they’d obviously start crafting a PR strategy to deal with the blowback, assembling a legal defense team and rolling it out in Africa tomorrow. Look, I understand that John and I are being pretty hard-hearted about something beautiful and touching and, hell, the film even looks pretty cool. We're just monsters, ok? What do you want us to say?

Pinn: This actually looks low-key good, but damn John you do have a point. I wish Disney had nothing to do with this.


Director: Jake Szymanski
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Adam DeVine
Plot: Two brothers place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral.

Funderburg: Man, I love Adam DeVine. This is the kind of fart-swilling bro comedy I love as much and more than any other affected intellectual. I missed Neighbors. I won't be derelict in my duties to my own soul and shrink from a potential happiness again. Also, just fyi, the ladies, the Rose Byrnes and Aubrey Plazas, they get in on the bro comedy nowadays. It's progress and I support it. Movies like Dirty Grandpa and Fart Squad only benefit from this forward-thinking egalitarianism. I know it sounds like I'm having a goof, but I'm not. I like Rose Byrne. She was in my X-Men role­call of foxy folks and everything. Zac Efron? Hubba hubba. No holy shit: have you seen that dude? I'm with it. Can you imagine the sex they have out there in Hollywood? Man... just... man, oh, man.

Pinn: Ok you know what – maybe I don't have a sense of humor (or perhaps I lost it). Clearly there's a demand for these bro-ish dick & boner movies. Is this what funny is now?

Funderburg: Yes. I mean, this movie probably won't be as hilarious/dumb as To the Wonder, but it will be close.

Cribbs: In the wake of Bill and Ted, Harold and Kumar, Bob and Ted and Carol and Alice, America is searching for its next eponymous duo to charm us all away from soul-crushing reality and reaffirm what makes life worth living. Could DeVine and Efron as Mike and Dave fill that void? (I haven’t seen Workaholics so I have to take Funderburg’s word that DeVine is up to the task.) This was written by the guys who did Neighbors, and it shares Neighbors 2’s “young ladies party as hard as the guys” approach, so like Moretz it’s up to Anna Kendrick to step up to the plate and prove she’s more than the stick-in-the-mud she typically represents in these type of ventures. Balls in your court, Kendrick… literally.


Director: Matt Ross
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, George MacKay, Steve Zahn, Missi Pyle
Plot: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

Pinn: I love Viggo just as much as the next person but this looks like a snooze fest. Sorry...

Cribbs: Those of us familiar with Do Not Adjust Your Set will be disappointed that this has nothing to do with David Janson’s mustachioed, bowler-topped superhero. I hope they at least use Eric Idle’s theme song - “He’s got 10 fantastic fingers, and 10 fantastic toes!” - somewhere in this movie.

Funderburg: But Marcus, you love snoozefests! Pinnland Empire has an entire series on “Boring Masterpieces!” You’re the only person who even considered coming with me to watch Andy Warhol’s (ahem, Jonas Mekas’) Empire at Anthology! Anyhoo, I didn’t watch the trailer for this one and I literally have no idea what to expect. It’s not a comedy right? Mortsensen and Langella say to me “What? No, of course not.” Hahn, Zahn and Pyle’s presence sez “How could it be anything but a super goofy comedy?” That still clarifies nothing.

~ MAY 5, 2016 ~

NEXT WEEK: Join us for Part Dos of this summer movie preview, including our thoughts on two different sets of ghostbusters, Waldo Pepper-era Robert Redford, and a Kevin Spacey movie that's kinda hard to believe exists.