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Jeff Simon: The summer movies I really want to see

You never know.

I was actually looking forward to "Rough Night." The minute I heard it was a feminist remake of Peter Berg's "Very Bad Things" starring Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon, I was ready to see it right then and there. I wouldn't have crawled over barbed wire to get to it but I'd have endured a little hardship.

I was eager to see "Snatched" starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, too. Both movies were, by my lights, crashing wastes of time and money (although I do know a very smart teacher who went to "Rough Night" with her college-age daughter over the weekend and wound up laughing at a few things with her. I must say, they are nice and generous people congenitally inclined to give an ensemble of hard-working actresses every break they can.)

On the other hand, who expected "The Wall" to be as extraordinary as it was? Not me. I certainly didn't expect the summer junk B-movie "47 Meters Down" to be as well-directed and suspenseful as it turned out to be.

'Rough Night' is a little funny and a lot annoying

You can have the fondest of hopes in advance, only to have them dashed when you're actually in the theater. So too can you expect nothing whatsoever and be blown away (as I was a couple of years ago by "Room," which eventually won an Oscar for actress Brie Larson).

I like summer movies, even a few of the more ostentatiously stupid ones. I even look forward to some. Here are a handful I am looking forward to this summer. All opening dates are tentative.

THE BEGUILED, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell. The original from 1971 is, in so many ways, the most unusual film Clint Eastwood ever made – even more than "Million Dollar Baby." It's about a wounded Civil War soldier trapped in a girl's school and trying to exploit the situation.

It was directed by Don Siegel who was, at the time, also in the "Dirty Harry" business with Clint. It was the sure thing smash success of "Dirty Harry" which, no doubt, enabled the two of them to make an American movie as grotesque and pitiless and repressed as a Bunuel movie. I'm dying to see how Coppola "feminized" it. Opens June 30. Watch the trailer.

BABY DRIVER, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Ansel Elgort and Jamie Foxx. Its reputation as it emerged from film festivals is that it's the ultimate getaway driver movie. Also opens June 28. Watch the trailer.

THE EXCEPTION, directed by David Leveaux. Christopher Plummer plays Kaiser Wilhelm, villain of World War I secretly stashed in Holland by the Germans during World War II and engaging in the sort of royal sarcasm for which you really need actors with the panache of Christopher Plummer. Opens July 7. Watch the trailer.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, directed by Luc Besson, who can be, in sci-fi spectacle like this, quite splendidly excessive and demented. By all means, bring it on. Opens July 21. Watch the trailer.

DUNKIRK, directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and Cillian Murphy. The prestige action hoo-ha of the summer. Just look at the cast for pity's sake. And add the simple ineluctable fact that all Christopher Nolan movies are worth paying attention to, even the bad ones.

And the story of World War II's massive evacuation is one of the great stories to come out of the war. It's made for a great director with epic scope, which Nolan can be. Opens July 21. Watch the trailer.

ATOMIC BLONDE, directed by David Leitch starring Charlize Theron as a killer. Charlize Theron getting into the nasty action movie business in recent years has been even more edifying than Liam Neeson doing so. Wouldn't a face-off of the two of them be just dandy? Opens July 28. Watch the trailer.

DETROIT, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the extraordinary Oscar winner who made "The Hurt Locker." Who on earth would expect this kind of prestige picture in the middle of summer? Opens Aug. 4.

It's yet another film this summer where enormously gifted directors are working on a large scale on something other than comic book noise. No matter what comes of it, it's always exhilarating in a basic way when the right people are allowed to think big. Watch the trailer.

THE DARK TOWER by Nikolaj Arcel. Stephen King Meets "West World." Idris Elba is a gunslinger who says he's not a gunslinger.  Matthew McConaughey as a Man in Black – who, no doubt knows, he's a man in black. You gotta love Idris vs. Matthew. Sight unseen, I'm on Team Idris. Opens Aug. 4. Watch the trailer.


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