This summer has been a noteworthy season for new movies. With an increasing number of theatergoers and fewer movies being released on demand, I took the chance to watch some of the most anticipated films of this year. If you’re looking for some new movies to watch, I recommend checking out these films.
‘Elvis’— Directed by Baz Luhrmann
A flashy, superhero-esk storytelling with the right amount of Austin Butler is what the world needed to retell the turbulent life of Elvis Presley. Baz Luhrmann directed this whirlwind of a biopic while Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Olivia DeJonge delivered electrifying and captivating performances.
A deep dive into Presley’s childhood was an interesting component of the film. Before watching, I didn’t know much about his upbringing. Even though it was prominent in his music, Luhrmann highlighted how heavily influenced Presley was by African-American blues, gospel, and southern country music.
The cinematography was intoxicating, a lot of care and time was put into all of the scenes and it doesn’t go unnoticed. The strategic lighting and harsh Vegas lights pulled the film together and made the contrast of his struggle with keeping up in the show business even more emotional. The editing was distracting at times because of how much was going on but it kept me engaged since the movie was almost three hours long.
The soundtrack was top-notch, including remixes of Presley’s chart-topping songs and Doja Cats ‘Vegas’ as the movie’s leading single. Austin Butler did a wonderful job in replicating Presley’s vocals and ended up singing the majority of the soundtrack.
‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’— Directed by Cooper Raiff
In a sweet story that focuses on a recent college graduate, Andrew (Cooper Raiff) finds himself struggling with his purpose after graduating. So, he takes the opportunity to “party start” at bar-mitzvahs after chaperoning his younger brother David (Evan Assante).
He meets Domino (Dakota Johnson), a “30-something” mother with an autistic teenage daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt). Andrews clicks with the pair and soon lands a babysitting job for Lola.
Cooper Raiff starred as well as directed, making this his sophomore feature. Breakout star Lola Burghardt collaborated with Raiff on the script to bring authenticity to the screen. His thoughtfulness, perceptive writing, and chemistry on screen with Dakota Johnson was so charming to watch.
What I loved most about this film was the rawness and vulnerability conveyed through the screen, as well as the message this film delivered. It dialed in on the moment in life where things aren’t going “as planned” and how taking advantage of those opportunities in your life is crucial. The risks and decisions taken in life will affect the future, which is exactly what this movie showed.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’— Directed by Joseph Kosinski
After 36 years since the original Top Gun premiered, Tom Cruise made his comeback with an even more gripping and anxiety-inducing sequel. As I sat in an overpacked theater, this movie took my breath away and not just because of Miles Teller.
Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is called back to ‘Top Gun’— the elite Navy fighter weapon school, where only the best pilots fly. Maverick is called back not to fly, but to teach. He is tasked with training a group of new pilots for a special assignment— bombing a country’s unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant.
The cinematography was incredible, especially because the flying scenes were actually shot inside of the plane’s cockpits — unlike the first installment. Although the actors weren’t actually flying the aircraft, their three-month long training helped bring authenticity to the screen.
The cast was phenomenal, a new generation of pilots introduces a new generation of faces. Miles Teller plays Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw who is Nick “Goose” Bradshaws’ son. This component was really sweet to watch because it felt like the story had come full circle and Teller knows how to steal scenes and hearts. My favorite addition to the cast was “Phoenix” (Monica Barbaro), her wit and comic relief was top-tier, especially after intense scenes.