Film sessions: A full summer slate of cool movie offerings for those really hot summer days

After a spring in which there was a superhero movie just about every week between March and May, a proper summer movie season is upon us.

Here’s a look at what’s coming to big screens near you this summer:

The latest film in the seemingly endless X-Men series is Dark Phoenix (June 7), a movie made possible by X-Men: Days of Future Past altering the timeline to push Brett Ratner’s 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand out of existence. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones) stars as Jean Grey, along with Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and the rest of the First Class cast.

It’s a movie that will have your kids asking why Max the Dog “sounds different.” With Louis CK’s children’s movie voice-over career over for obvious reasons, Patton Oswalt steps in for Secret Life of Pets 2 (June 7). Kevin Hart returns as well.

The Men in Black franchise returns, minus Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, with Men In Black: International (June 14), which reunites Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, with F. Gary Gray directing. Liam Neeson plays their handler, and Frank the talking alien dog returns.

Director Jim Jarmusch assembles an all-star team of his favorite actors (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Tom Waits) for the zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die (June 14), which pays delightful tribute to both Night of the Living Dead and the iconography of Frank Zappa.

Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (June 14), the latest in a recent line of standout films with black casts shot in the Bay Area, stars Jimmie Fails as a man seeking to retake possession of the San Francisco home that his grandfather built. It’s one of the year’s most visually stunning films.

Toy Story 3 had as perfect an ending as any trilogy, so naturally, it’s not really the end, and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 arrives June 21, with Keanu Reeves and both Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele joining the fun.

Yesterday (June 28) is a movie with a premise so outlandish that it drew widespread guffaws when it was first announced: A struggling musician (Himesh Patel) wakes up after an accident and realizes that he’s the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles. Danny Boyle directs the film, which drew mixed reviews at Tribeca.

It’s going to have a tough act to follow after last year’s animated masterpiece Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, but the live-action MCU version of Spidey returns July 2 in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Now that we don’t have to pretend Spider-Man is dead, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is free to battle Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Ari Aster, who directed last year’s supremely creepy Hereditary, is back with Midsommar (July 3), which stars Florence Pugh and Will Sommer in the tale of a summer trip gone awry. Between Me And My Mind, the documentary about Phish frontman Trey Anastasio is coming to the Ritz Five for one night only on July 17.

Just two months after the Aladdin remake, it’s another live-action remake of an early-’90s Disney animated classic, this time The Lion King (July 19). Jon Favreau directs, with Donald Glover providing the voice of Simba.

In The Art of Self Defense (July 19), Jesse Eisenberg stars as a meek young man who’s drawn into a creepy karate dojo that’s like a more violent and sadistic version of Cobra Kai. Directed by Riley Stearns, this was the best film I saw at PFF Springfest back in March.  Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded take on the Manson murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26), arrives from its Cannes bow, with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio starring. The film also serves as Luke Perry’s final movie role.

There hasn’t been a new Fast and the Furious movie in a couple of years, and the franchise comes back with a Vin Diesel-less spinoff, featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham as Hobbs and Shaw (August 2). David Leitch (Atomic Blonde and the first John Wick) directs.

Meanwhile, the summer will feature local showings of plenty of older movies:

Pulp Fiction turns 25 this year, and the Philadelphia Film Center will show it June 19 on 35mm. The Film Center is also screening The Best Man on July 18 and Dirty Dancing on August 1.

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is showing Wayne’s World on June 20, The Shining in 4K on June 26 and 29, and Lawrence of Arabia on August 29.

The Ambler Theater is screening Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou on June 13, Purple Rain on June 20, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, July 10.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, is playing at the Ritz Five on June 18. For its Father’s Day marathon, the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville will show three films from the Rocky series-the first, Rocky IV and Creed. Also, Jaws is coming to the Colonial on June 22. The annual Blobfest is set for the weekend of July 12.


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