Street is here to give you the skinny on the best summer flicks of 2017. Spend your first few days of classes (before work starts piling up) cocooned in the tranquility of a movie theater—far, far away from the depths of the Van Pelt basement.
1. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright’s film may very well take the cake as this summer’s greatest sensation. Baby Driver tells the story of “Baby” (Ansel Elgort), the young and talented getaway driver who’s been trapped into a life of crime. And though Baby’s car–handling skills are nothing short of jaw dropping, his perhaps most intriguing characteristic is his constant connection to his iPod—a relationship that keeps Baby in constant motion. This film is smooth like butter and brilliantly painted, but what truly makes it successful is its dependency on its soundtrack. A la La La Land, this film speaks its greatest volumes through music rather than dialogue. When Baby meets the girl of his dreams—a girl who could have easily inspired his most beloved singers—he attempts to make a clean break from his dangerous lifestyle. However, Baby’s exit is anything but easy, and things go truly bananas. It’s definitely a must-see.
This war thriller plunges you into the French city of Dunkirk, in the midst of a campaign that began in May of 1940, where over 600,000 Allied soldiers found themselves completely surrounded by the German army. Out of such a large throng, this story narrows in on a handful of soldiers as they attempt to complete a near-impossible escape mission, named “Operation Dynamo.” What makes this tale so moving is its ability to humanize one of the monumental moments in history through the scope of these few men who are fighting for their survival, rather than through a greater historical perspective. You’ll remain on the edge of your seat. (Check out Street's more in-depth piece on Dunkirk and Christopher Nolan's career here.)
3. Wonder Woman
Patty Jenkins melds various genres as she brings to life the infamous heroine, drawing inspiration from the expansive history of the 76–year–old character. We witness Diana (Gal Gadot) as the princess of the Amazons—an invincible warrior who does not know the power she possesses. Raised on an island hidden from the rest of the world, she does not know anything of humanity until she encounters an American fighter pilot (Chris Pine) whose plane has just crashed onto her island’s shores. It is he who introduces her to the worldwide war that is raging in the world beyond, and it there that Diana unlocks her potential. Gadot is sharp and flawless in her portrayal of the unconquerable badass that is Wonder Woman. Furthermore, the production does the character justice by not over–sexualizing Gadot, which in turn only amplified just how phenomenal the woman actually is.
4. The Big Sick
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani makes his debut on the big screen with a story that is based on the real-life relationship between Kumail and Emily V. Gordon. Kumail is a Pakistani comic living in Chicago when he meets Emily, a graduate student who heckled him during one of his shows. Though the two initially resist engaging in a committed relationship, of course they eventually find themselves doing exactly that. The Big Sick could have easily become just another tired and overdone romantic comedy, yet it prevails through such confines with a true and honest depiction of love and life, and all the realities of it. Though it does possibly last a little too long, the film is ultimately packed with charm, delight, and gentle humor.
5. The War for the Planet of the Apes
The third installation of the Planet of the Apes reboot series has just landed, and it was everything loyal fans could have hoped for. Andy Serkis outdoes himself as Caesar, the leader of the apes. He and his followers find themselves locked in brutal combat with the humans and their inhumane colonel (Woody Harrelson), as both sides battle for control over the planet. Apart from a plot packed to the brim with ethical complexities, the film enthralled viewers with its impressive cinematography and special effects.