Chicago is finally heating up, with the summer movie season now in full swing. There are many new releases primed and ready for the air-conditioned theater. Every year there is a variety of big budget popcorn flicks mixed with a few possible special-effect Oscar contenders.
This list will give an idea of what to seeand possibly what to skip.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: The outer-space story has already smashed much of the competition this month, with humor and visual effects. The regular version has enough going on so skip the 3-D price tag and just enjoy the roller-coaster without it.
Many stuffy critics did not enjoy Mother's Day weekend release Snatched; for others, including myself, Amy Schumer was much more than just a comedic boob. She was not afraid to let actors like Wanda Sykes shine. Joan Cusack steals every scene without even uttering a word. Snatched is a feel-good movie that starts off the summer with a light-hearted adventure.
Don't get stabbed by King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, though. Director Guy Ritchie is not known for his character development, and that is where this classic tale falls apart. Audiences are not exactly stampeding to the cineplexes, as plummeting box-office sales have trampled the plan for a six-movie franchise.
Alien: Covenant was recently reviewed in Windy City Times and is a hit already with a smart storyline, deft direction and stellar acting.
Baywatch hits the beach for nostalgic fans of the TV show, and I am betting to see a cameo or two. If a shirtless Dwayne Johnson or Zac Efron in drag can't save a life no one can. May 25.
Still not wet? Try the day after with the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. This shopworn series sets sail with Johnny Depp channeling rocker Keith Richards once again. It's out May 26.
Pride month arrives with a rainbow of movies. A gaggle of gays screamed for joy at a recent screening I attended when the Wonder Woman trailer played. Gal Gadot, as the warrior princess Diana, has a lot riding on her skinny shoulders on June 2.
For The Mummy ( out June 9 ), Tom Cruise did his own stunts in zero gravity for this time-worn tale in a reboot that has an Egyptian goddess as the villain instead of a man wrapped in gauze. Does he still have what it takes to carry a big-budget movie?
Transformers: The Last Knight: Director Michael Bay isn't apparently stopping until this franchise rusts out or runs out of steam in a fifth installment of Transformers. Don't go blind, as the 3-D version might overwhelm the senses. June 21
Spider-Man: Homecoming: Who isn't excited about a new take on our favorite arachnid/human hybrid in tights? This time, the young Peter Parker studies in high school during the day and fights rotten scoundrels at night as Spider-Man. This second reboot has unforgettable lines delivered by Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and Michael Keaton playing avian baddie Vulture. How can Spidie not swing into success this time? July 7
War for the Planet of the Apes: The monkeys go bananas once again as Caesar and the gang return for war against the humans, with hairy results. July 14.
The Emoji Movie: This computer-animated film might need a filter as the smartphone landscape is explored in the world of Textopolis. The emojis are voiced by a plethora of comedy stars, but Patrick Stewart ( as Poop ) reeks of a bad idea. July 28
Summer winds down with several sequels at this time. We have quite a range, from horror doll-centered Annabelle: Creation to a purple squirrel cartoon called The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature. They're both out Aug. 11.
The Hitman's Bodyguard might have the best movie poster ever, with a parody of The Bodyguard that starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Ryan Reynolds sweeps Samuel L. Jackson right off his feet in the photo. Aug. 25
Stephen King's The Dark Tower hits the desert Aug. 4, with The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, roaming a dying world while hoping for a multi-picture deal with this eight-book series. Only time will tell if audiences are ready to commit. If it fails, there is always King's It to drag us down into the fall movie season sewer in September.