A long, long time ago, let’s say the early noughties, franchises didn’t rule the roost. Movie stars did. A marquee name would draw in the crowds and get studios green lighting left, right and centre. People would flock to the next Harrison Ford movie or the next Adam Sandler comedy or the next Meryl Streep drama. Arguably the nadir of this moment is Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Trilogy, where the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon teamed up to steal a lot of money from the likes of Andy Garcia and Al Pacino. They were so star-studded, Ocean’s 12 featured a gag where Julia Roberts’ character pretends to be Julia Roberts.
But, the rise of branded entertainment dimmed the stars whose names now mainly sell gossip magazines. Yet, director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games) has seemingly found a way to unite these two periods of Hollywood history. He has teamed up Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett by softly rebooting the Ocean’s films.
Before we see those modern screen queens unite, older royalty join forces in Book Club (2 June) as Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton start a, you guessed it, book club and scandal ensues. The geriatric blockbuster has seen some success over the last few years and this film wants to enter the same league as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Luckily, it understands its leads are the most attractive function in this particular equation.
Another actor enjoying a resurgence in his later years in Jeff Goldblum, walking meme machine and confirmed silver fox. He returns to his biggest franchise with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (6 June), the continuation of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen’s (Chris Pratt) fight against an evil corporation and genetically modified dinosaurs. How older Park characters will fit into the narrative is unknown, but with a director like J. A. Bayona at the helm and support from Toby Jones and Rafe Spall, we know the story will find a way.
After the amusing story where the trailer played in front of Peter Rabbit, Hereditary (15 June) is here to make you beg for freedom. As always, it is being marketed as the scariest movie ever made, and if you’re up for the challenge you will find unexpected rewards and a touching story about motherhood embodied by Toni Colette’s nuanced performance.
And here it is, Ocean’s 8 (18 June) featuring one of the greatest collection of female stars since How to Marry a Millionaire. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina and Helena Bonham Carter team up to steal a precious necklace off of Anne Hathaway’s neck. This spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy should be filled with great gags, double crosses, and shocking reveals. With this much star wattage it’s surprising the screen doesn’t explode.
However, the month isn’t finished yet, with a remake of Overboard (22 June) opening in the final week. Remake is a dirty word, but the filmmakers have smartly decided to gender flip the roles with Anna Farris playing Kurt Russell and Eugenio Derbez giving his best Goldie Hawn. The gender swap is an interesting and simple update on a problematic plot. For those not in the know, the original Overboard is about a rich girl falling overboard, getting amnesia and being tricked into believing she is a lumberjack’s wife. It’s a difficult story for modern times especially when packaged as a fun studio comedy, but its nice to see Farris headlining a big comedy again, and with Eva Longoria producing, there is a nice emphasis on Latin representation on and off screen.