Summer Film Previews

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Mad Max: Fury Road
Jurassic World
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Inside Out
Terminator Genisys
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Fantastic Four

Summer Film Previews

1Mad Max: Fury Road
An action movie, boiled down, is a collection of set pieces – big moments of adrenaline that justify the ticket price. Examples include a chase scene, an explosive finale, and a big fight between your stars.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is three chase scenes connected by deliciously pulpy sci-fi sinew.

And it’s two hours long. The purity of our characters’ goals (survival) and their mission (escape) allow us to embrace the mythic nature of the cinematic epinephrine.

Director George Miller’s fourth entry in the Mad Max saga continues the legend of Max, not with complex continuity or a complicated plot, but by being the perfect Cirque du Soleil of action movies.

Release: May 15, 2015
Rated: R

Director Brad Bird is an opinionated guy. The Incredibles, Iron Giant – the guy knows what he wants to say with his movies, even if they’re aimed towards kids. Tomorrowland promises more philosophizing wrapped in a package of youthful appeal.

George Clooney leads a tale of secrecy, hope, and wonder that strikes at the heart of Disney.

The effects and production design throw back to 1950s predictions about the future (chrome architecture and jetpacks), which makes me think it’ll be a fictional exploration of Walt Disney’s childlike optimism.

Release Date: May 22, 2015
Rated: PG

Jurassic World
Despite a history of their guests becoming a 24/7 human buffet, the cold-hearted corporate moneygrubbers behind Jurassic Park insist on reopening it.

Now it’s up to gruff (and from the previews, unfortunately sexist) Chris Pratt to save the day/shoot some dinosaurs.

Of course the big point of it all will remain that Man must not interfere with Nature. But obviously we also want to see some people get chomped before coming to that conclusion.

As much as the inner 10-year old in me wants to be excited for more dinosaurs, I’m not sure anything in this new addition could capture the first wondrous moment we saw Spielberg’s T-Rex.

But I also don’t think that’s what it’s going for.

Release Date: June 12, 2015
Rated: PG-13

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
The winner of both the Audience and Grand Jury Awards for Drama at Sundance, “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” invests the young adult narrative of befriending a terminal peer with the indie spirit of the new generation.

Two high school friends that make low-budget movies befriend a girl with leukemia. They decide to make a film for her. Hearts are subsequently warmed.

But don’t get all cynical yet. There’s a reason Sundance loved this film.

If you want something charming, poignant, and resonant to see with your high schooler, this is the movie for you.

It’s a movie for young adults without a franchise-building money machine around it.

Release Date: June 12, 2015
Rating: PG-13

Inside Out
Pixar’s back! Finally, a respite from “Cars” sequels and unexpected “Toy Story” sobbing.

But if you think you’re escaping the story of anthropomorphized emotions inhabiting the mind of a little girl without shedding a few tears, you don’t know Pixar.

Fun enough for kids and timelessly rich enough for adults, “Inside Out” places us in with an uprooted family moving for a new job.

Isolation, change, and upheaval speak to audience members of all ages. So will Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness’s journey to discovering the bright side of life.

Release Date: June 19, 2015
Rating: PG

Terminator Genisys
There’s no way this will be good, right?

A rehash of a rehash of the same story the Terminator crew has been hocking for the better part of three decades.

A robot from the future has to come to the present to stop another robot from killing a woman that has a robot helping her escape from other robots?

And of course, Schwarzenegger’s back. He’s always back.

I think maybe you’ve gotten in a little over your head, “Terminator Genisys.”

And that’s not how you spell Genesis. Why…why would you even do that?

Release Date: July 1, 2015
Rating: PG-13

One of those ambitious sci-fi films that feels like a short story from the ‘70s, “Self/Less” continues the tradition of asking “What if…”

What if you didn’t have to die? What if you could get a new, hot body? A body that, perhaps, looks exactly like Ryan Reynolds?

But of course, there’s trouble. Perfectly chiseled movie star bodies don’t grow on trees. They have to be taken, stolen from other lives.

I want to give “Self/Less” the benefit of the doubt because it’s an original sci-fi flick with an OK premise and a terrible title.

But those are exactly the kinds of films that end up flopping at the box office.

Release Date: July 10, 2015
Rating: PG-13

The Stanford Prison Experiment
The dramatized true story that every college kid reads about in their intro psychology class, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” demonstrates how upsettingly damaged people are when given the opportunity.

Split arbitrarily into two groups (prisoners and guards), volunteer test subjects begin suffering from their changing dynamic. Guards embrace their newfound power, prisoners become subservient.

The declination of the experiment into madness is a trip both fascinating and terrifying.

Watch as your faith in humanity is demolished by a bunch of college kids in a basement, and catch an early screening of it at our very own deadCenter Film Festival.

Release Date: July 17, 2015 or June 12 at deadCenter Film Festival
Rating: Likely R

With a name like “Ant-Man” and the equally unthreatening power of shrinkage, you know this movie will have to be aware of its own silliness.

Luckily they’ve got the star for it, as Paul Rudd’s goofy pedigree is ripe for a superhero that self-deprecates more than fights.

Directorial and writing struggles during production of the film may have left it with some unevenness, but the less serious they take themselves, the better.

If the jokes land, so will “Ant-Man.”

Release Date: July 17, 2015
Rating: PG-13

Fantastic Four
On the other side of the self-serious spectrum is the new “Fantastic Four.”

Just look at those grimaces.

The reboot of the oldest super group in history has a stellar cast of young actors, but will they be enough to convince audiences that they bring a new voice to the Marvel-dominated super-landscape?

I’m willing to put my money behind the cast. A few moments from the previews have hinted at a joking rapport between team members that could serve as much-needed levity.

If the serious moments and plot find their footing, this could be a big opportunity for four successful stars on the rise.

Release Date: August 7, 2015
Rating: PG-13

Jacob Oller is an Oklahoma City-based film critic and blogger whose work has been published by multiple journals and news publications. Read more on his blog or follow him on Twitter @JacobOller

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