Dwayne Johnson! Tom Cruise! Cher! Five Reasons to See July Movies

Well, this is interesting. It’s been one solid month into the 2018 summer movie season, and that hot box-office draw known as Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already shown more staying power than Han Solo. (Meanwhile, Elastigirl is flying higher than anyone. Wonder what Deadpool would sneer about that.) The July lineup offers even more possibilities for both blockbuster sure things and potential surprises. Head into a cool theater and catch as many of these buzzy-as-a-bumble-bee flicks as you can. What else are you going to do? Stay outside, watch fireworks and practice your grilling skills? Hello, amateur hour!

Stars as Superheros

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One More Marvel Movie

Are Spider-Man, Black Panther, Star Lord and Doctor Strange really and truly gone forever?!! Marvel fans will get all the answers . . .  next May in the new Avengers movie. Ant-Man and the Wasp follows the adventures of the tiniest superhero in the comic-book galaxy. In the aftermath of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (i.e., before Infinity War), Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is still under house arrest when Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) comes to him with an urgent new mission. Time to suit up and fight. This installment also introduces Michelle Pfeiffer as the Original Wasp. Sold! (In theaters Friday, July 6)

Dwayne Johnson Skyscraper
Dwayne Johnson in ‘Skyscraper.’ Universal Pictures

You’ll Always Love Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston started doing weed and cocaine as a teenager. And that may be the seventh most fascinating revelation from Whitney, a raw and jaw-dropping all-access documentary that probes deep into the superstar’s troubled, tragic life. Unlike the recent Showtime documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me, this pic was produced with full cooperation from Houston’s family — and nobody holds back. Her mom, Cissy Houston, her brothers, ex Bobby Brown, The Bodyguard costar Kevin Costner and many more all weigh in on the New Jersey girl born to sing yet squandered her gifts. (An acapella version of “How Will I Know” will give you chills.) Houston died in 2012; her music will live on forever. (In theaters Friday, July 6)

Best Movie Makeovers

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The Rock Is on a Roll

Eight whole weeks have passed since the congenial Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson last top-lined a big-dumb action movie. At long last, our wait is over. In Skyscraper, he plays a former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and war vet who now assesses security for very, very tall buildings. While on assignment in China, he becomes framed for a skyscraper set ablaze. And his family is trapped inside. If you don’t think Johnson is up to the challenge of saving his loved ones and clearing his name then you haven’t been paying attention for the past 15 years. (In theaters Friday, July 13)

Cher in Mamma Mia 2
Cher in ‘Mamma Mia 2.’

Cher Does ABBA

The next stop on Cher’s never-say-farewell farewell tour: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. The eternal diva sings and dances to ABBA’s greatest hits as the glam grandma to island-dwelling Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). Not that a story makes a lick of difference under the impossibly sunny backdrop, but it revolves around mom-to-be Sophie asking her family and friends for more scoop about her own mamma (Meryl Streep). Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski and Dominic Cooper all return, yay. Lily James is the young Streep. It still bugs me that Cooper’s character is named Sky, but I’m willing to let this go. (In theaters Friday, July 20)

Tom Cruise's Ageless Face

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Tom Cruise, on the Ledge of Glory

If we’ve learned anything since the summer of 1996, it’s that no mission is too impossible for Tom Cruise. The official logline for Mission: Impossible — Fallout goes something like this: “Ethan Hunt and his IMF team find themselves in a race against time after a mission goes wrong.” During said race, expect Cruise and his cohorts (including franchise vets Ving Rames, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg and Michelle Monaghan) to do their share of bickering, chasing and technological maneuvering. Cruise himself shattered his ankle while jumping from building to building. Maybe he should have enlisted Dwayne Johnson for help. (In theaters Friday, July 27)

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