Summer films worth seeking out

With very few exceptions (“Personal Shopper,” “Get Out” and “Beauty and the Beast” among them) there’s been little reason to make a trip to the cinemas so far this calendar year. But that’s about to change as a slew of exciting and intriguing films, both big budget and indie, are slated for release this summer. Below are some of the most promising films coming out in the next few months, beyond the standard superhero fare (“Wonder Woman” and “Spiderman: Homecoming”) or crass comedy (“Baywatch”).

“Alien: Covenant” (May 19)

Ridley Scott can’t seem to escape the “Alien” series. And that may just be a good thing. This latest offering promises the dread, horror and thrills of the original. And Michael Fassbender, a bright spot from the prequel “Prometheus,” is returning as well, which is an added bonus.

“The Beguiled” (June 23)

Starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell, you’d be hard pressed to find a more talented cast than on display here. The trailer teases a dark, tense exploration of sexuality and gender and power dynamics in this Civil War set drama, based on a novel, about an injured Union soldier who seeks refuge at an all-girls school. Writer and director Sofia Coppola is known for personal, intimate, atmospheric films (like “Lost in Translation”) and this promises to be one of her best works to date.

“Okja” (June 28) (Netflix)

There’s nothing that looks or feels familiar about this film, which in the case, appears to be a good thing. Starring the ever-amazing and transforming Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, “Okja” tells the story of a young girl’s quest to protect the massive animal/monster(?) she’s befriend from a corporation’s greedy clutches.

“A Ghost Story” (July 7)

This was one of the best reviewed films of Sundance, and now is one of the most anticipated summer releases. Rooney Mara, among the most talented and enigmatic actresses working today, stars as a woman whose husband has just died and is followed around by him as she grieves. It’s been praised for it’s beauty and exploration of time and grief.

“Atomic Blonde” (July 28)

If there was an award for best trailer of the year, “Atomic Blonde” would have it. Charlize Theoron, who established herself as a certified badass with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” is kicking butt once again. This time she’s a Cold War-era spy for MI-6 in Berlin working to take down an espionage ring in the latest from the director of “John Wick.” The trailer promises excellent action choreography, steamy romance and a lot of fun.

“Detroit” (August 4)

Kathryn Bigelow has been behind two of the most important and critical films about the post-9/11 War on Terror (“The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”). She’s shifts her focus now to 1960s America, tackling the 1967 Detroit riots, one of the deadliest and most destructive public uprising in our country’s history. The film’s topics of police abuse and racism feel extremely timely, despite the events being portrayed taking place fifty years ago.

“Baby Driver” (August 11)

Comedy director Edgar Wright’s newest film looks to be one of his most ambitious and entertaining yet.  At the very least, the soundtrack will be a riot. The film follows Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, who with the help of his playlist, lives a life as a getaway driver for criminals. He tries to leave the game after falling in love, but is pulled in by Kevin Spacey for one last, dangerous job.

“Logan Lucky” (August 18)

Steven Soderbergh willingly came out of his retirement to direct this comedy, so there’s a good reason to believe it’s something special. The buzzworthy ensemble features Adam Driver, Katie Holmes, Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Channing Tatum and indie darling Riley Keough, and traces one family’s attempt to execute a major robbery during the Coca-Cola 600 Race.