2018 summer movies: 17 flicks to know about

PHOTO: Chris Pratt meets a T. rex in the film, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."PlayUniversal
WATCH 2018 summer movies: 17 flicks to know about

Save the dates! And save some money! Summer movie season is here.

Over 130 films will hit theaters over the next few months, but film critic Peter Travers has narrowed down the list to 17 films -- some already released -- that should be on your radar.

THE EPICS

1. "Avengers: Infinity War"

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana and the list of all-stars goes on and on...

In this action-packed superhero mashup, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man and the rest of the gang join forces to battle the evil Thanos and thwart his efforts to secure unimaginable power to control the world.

PHOTO: Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan and Danai Gurira in Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel
Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan and Danai Gurira in "Avengers: Infinity War."

Travers said the first blockbuster of the season marks the kickoff of Hollywood's summer movie season. This year, "Avengers" claims that spot.

In theaters April 27, 2018

2. "Deadpool 2"

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz

Get ready for laughs and plenty of action with this superhero sequel.

PHOTO: Ryan Reynolds in a scene from Deadpool 2. Twentieth Century Fox.
Ryan Reynolds in a scene from "Deadpool 2."

“I love Ryan Reynolds and what he does with Deadpool," Travers said. "He kind of takes a smack at any kind of self-serious kind of figure.”

In theaters May 18, 2018

3. "Solo: A Star Wars Story"

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson, Joonas Suotamo

In this outer space adventure, Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover take on the iconic roles of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Lando Calrissian (Billy D. Williams). The film takes us back in time to when Solo first met Calrissian and Chewbacca.

PHOTO: Alden Ehrenreich in a scene from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Walt Disney Studios
Alden Ehrenreich in a scene from "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Travers said he has enjoyed Ehrenreich's work in the past, adding “If you’re like me, (I) loved him doing comedy in "Hail, Caesar!'"

In theaters May 25, 2018

4. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Toby Jones

The dinosaurs are back for another epic sci-fi adventure. This time Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Howard) return to the fictional island of Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs from a volcano.

PHOTO: Chris Pratt in a scene from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Universal Pictures
Chris Pratt in a scene from "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."

“Dinosaurs get out. A raptor gets out. And they’re confined to an estate. So we’re going to see where these creatures actually have a roof over their head and are gonna kill us, irresistible,” Travers said.

In theaters June 22, 2018

5. "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer

Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly team up and take on an urgent mission, battling a new enemy. The mission leads to surprising revelations from the past.

PHOTO: Paul Rudd in a scene from Ant-Man and The Wasp. Marvel Studios
Paul Rudd in a scene from "Ant-Man and The Wasp."

“This is the first time in Marvel history that a female character has her name in the title. Can you believe that? We’ve made great strides to do this. And the whole shrinking aspect of this movie I always found appealing, as I do Paul Rudd in this character,” Travers said.

In theaters July 6, 2018

6. Skyscraper

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Hannah Quinlivan

If you know Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, you already know what's cooking, high-action. This time Johnson takes the lead as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader, now assessing security for skyscrapers. He fights to clear his name when he's on assignment in China and finds he's been framed when a skyscraper goes up in flames.

PHOTO: Dwayne Johnson in a scene from Skyscraper. Universal Pictures
Dwayne Johnson in a scene from "Skyscraper."

“He plays a war vet with an amputated leg, so 'The Rock' has even more challenges," Travers said. "And for some reason, the guy is such a charm-ball, we’re going to be there to see what he does.”

In theaters July 13, 2018

7. "Mission Impossible: Fallout"

Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames

Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team find themselves in a race against time after a mission goes wrong. Cruise has been playing Hunt for some 22 years now and he's still going strong.

PHOTO: Tom Cruise in a scene from Mission Impossible - Fallout. Paramount Pictures
Tom Cruise in a scene from "Mission Impossible - Fallout."

“I think this is the sixth ‘Mission Impossible’ movie in which Tom Cruise does everything he can to risk his life for his fans,” quipped Travers. “This guy will do any stunt that he can get away with that the insurance companies will let him do.”

In theaters July 27, 2018

8. "The Meg"

Cast: Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson

Forget about the big, muscular bad guys. In this flick, rescue crew diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) must save other crew members and the ocean from a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark.

PHOTO: BingBing Li and Jason Statham in a scene from The Meg. MEG
BingBing Li and Jason Statham in a scene from "The Meg."

“This, to me, sounds so tacky and yet so irresistible,” Travers said.

In theaters August 10, 2018

FEMALE-DRIVEN FILMS

9. "Ocean’s 8"

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina

This is the female version of the clever male heist film, “Oceans 11.” Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) devises the biggest heist of her life and gathers a team of female experts to help her pull it off.

PHOTO: Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina in a scene from Oceans 8. Warner Bros.
Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina in a scene from "Ocean's 8."

“I’m going to watch them just take on the Met Gala and steal that diamond necklace off of Anne Hathaway and just get away with murder, because I want to,” quipped Travers.

In theaters June 8, 2018

10. "Incredibles 2"

Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson and Samuel Jackson

It's been a long wait for this sequel to the animated 2004 film. In the first film, the superheroes were forced into retirement. But now it's time for them to once again save the day.

PHOTO: A scene from Incredibles 2. Walt Disney Studios
A scene from "Incredible's 2."

"The 'Incredibles,' to me, was one of the great Pixar animated movies of all time,” Travers said. “Mr. Incredible is forced to stay home with the kids while mama, Elastigirl, is the one in charge. Holly Hunter to me, can stand up and take control in any situation. This is great to see a classic, animated movie fronted by a woman. This is almost unprecedented. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”

In theaters June 15, 2018

11. "Mama Mia! Here We Go Again"

Cast: Lily James, Amanda Siegfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Cher

This is the sequel to the smash hit musical romantic comedy "Mama Mia." This time the story is told in flashbacks of Streeps’ character, Donna Sheridan, played by Lily James.

PHOTO: Alexa Davies, Lily James and Jessica Keenan in a scene from Mama Mia! Here We Go Again. Universal Pictures
Alexa Davies, Lily James and Jessica Keenan in a scene from "Mama Mia! Here We Go Again."

“’Mama Mia,' when it first came out, was so reviled by critics. They said, ‘this is awful.' What is Meryl Streep doing singing and dancing to ABBA songs in a movie?” Travers said. “It became the most successful movie Meryl Streep has ever done.”

In theaters July 20, 2018

12. "The Spy Who Dumped Me"

Cast: Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis

This comedy tells the story of two best friends, Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon), who find themselves caught up in an international conspiracy after one of the women finds out her boyfriend was actually a spy.

PHOTO: Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in a scene from The Spy Who Dumped Me. Lionsgate
Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in a scene from "The Spy Who Dumped Me."

Travers said this comedy features the MVP of any summer movie. “That’s Kate McKinnon, just as she’s the most valuable player on 'Saturday Night Live,'” he said.

In theaters August 3, 2018

SMALL PACKAGES WITH OSCAR BUZZ

Sometimes it’s not about the amount of money spent to make a movie. Some movies just have that "it" factor. Travers included little films bringing a lot of umph on his list.

13. "Hereditary"

Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd

Toni Collette plays Annie Graham, a woman who just buried her mother and strange things begin to happen to Graham and to her entire family.

PHOTO: Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff in a scene from Hereditary. A24
Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff in a scene from "Hereditary."

“Toni Collette is giving a performance in a horror film that I think will get her Oscar buzz,” Travers said. “And the movie has a subtext. Do we as families pass along dysfunction, pass along things that maybe are bad about us to further generations? So smart and really, really scary.”

In theaters June 15, 2018

14. "Sorry to Bother You"

Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer

Rapper Boots Riley is both writer and director of this film. It stars Lakeith Stanfield, who plays a telemarketer. Stanfield is African American. His character is told if he really wants to sell, he needs to use his white voice.

PHOTO: Lakeith Stanfield and Armie Hammer in a scene from Sorry to Bother You. Annapurna Pictures
Lakeith Stanfield and Armie Hammer in a scene from "Sorry to Bother You."

“The satire here seems as fresh as anything I can imagine,” Travers said. “This is bold and interesting and something summer is not supposed to be about. Here we have something almost revolutionary.”

In theaters July 6, 2018

15. "Eighth Grade"

Cast: Elsie Fisher, Emily Robinson, Josh Hamilton

Newcomer Elsie Fisher stars as Kayla, a 13-year-old making her way through the last week of middle school at the end of a rough year of eighth grade.

PHOTO: Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher in a scene from Eighth Grade. A24
Bo Burnham and Elsie Fisher in a scene from "Eighth Grade."

“You will laugh and you will cry while you’re watching this. It is the work of a writer/director Bo Burnham. And he has gotten inside the head of a 13-year-old girl in ways I have never seen in any kind of movie before,” Travers said. “If this isn’t a major contender at next year’s Oscars, I’ll be really, really surprised.”

In theaters July 13, 2018

16. "BlacKkKlansman"

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver

This film from director Spike Lee depicts a true story of an African American detective who sets out on a mission to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. John David Washington and Adam Driver star.

PHOTO: Adam Driver and John David Washington in a scene from BlacKkKlansman. Focus Features
Adam Driver and John David Washington in a scene from "BlacKkKlansman."

“(This film) gives Spike Lee a chance to go back to his great period of 'Do the Right Thing,' very, very exciting. It’s just the kind of movie Spike Lee should be doing,” Travers said.

In theaters August 10, 2018

17. "Crazy Rich Asians"

Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, Kris Aquino

Constance Wu of "Fresh Off the Boat" stars in this comedy as Rachel Chu, who accompanies her boyfriend to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s surprised to find out that the boyfriend’s family is extremely wealthy and he's considered to be one of the country’s most eligible bachelors.

PHOTO: Constance Wu in a scene from Crazy Rich Asians. Warner Bros.
Constance Wu in a scene from "Crazy Rich Asians."

“What we’re talking about in this movie is the comedy sleeper of the summer. Something original, something fresh and something that may get us talking rather than just sitting and eating the popcorn.”

In theaters August 17, 2018

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