Summer 2019 preview: Streep, Springsteen, ‘Spider-man’ heat things up
Springsteen, Streep and Spider-Man — and that’s just for starters. This summer promises to be a hot ticket, with new albums from The Boss and Madonna, plus four live shows in New York by Ariana Grande. Stay tuned, too, for movies — both new (Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson’s “Late Night”) and sequeled (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”). A certain perennial Oscar nominee will join the cast of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery opens its gates for an evening of Beethoven, burgers and booze.
Here’s what our critics recommend.
“Rocketman,” the Elton John biopic starring Taron Egerton, kicks off a summer of major music-themed films when it hits theaters on May 31. In the clever Danny Boyle-directed dramedy “Yesterday” (June 28), a struggling singer (Himesh Patel) wakes up from a biking accident to find a world in which The Beatles never existed. What does the sad sack do? Performs “Let It Be,” “Help!” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and claims the classics as his own. This movie will be a big hit.
The tunes of another giant, Bruce Springsteen, crash into the life of a young Pakistani-Brit dreamer (Viveik Kalra) in the euphoric “Blinded By the Light” (Aug. 14), one of my favorite films of the year.
And if your craving for the “Tiny Dancer” singer still isn’t satisfied after “Rocketman,” Disney’s got your back with a “live-action” remake of “The Lion King” (July 19), with favorite John songs like “Circle of Life” performed by realistic CGI animals.
Also getting real is Awkwafina. After exploding off the screen in last summer’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” the actress does subtler work as the lead in a sublime film called “The Farewell” (July 12). She plays a New Yorker who ventures to China to see her ailing grandmother, who has cancer but doesn’t know it.
— Johnny Oleksinski
America’s sardonic sweetheart Mindy Kaling wrote and co-stars in “Late Night” (June 7), about a veteran talk show host (Emma Thompson) who hires her first female writer after being accused of not liking other women. Kaling, who knows her way around a writers room (she wrote for “The Office” and did everything on her show “The Mindy Project”) plays Thompson’s overeager hire in this Sundance crowd-pleaser.
And the sunny “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 2), sequel to 2017’s “Homecoming,” sees Tom Holland’s fresh-faced Spider-Man going on a class trip to Europe and, more importantly, teaming with the mysterious Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) at the request of Sam Jackson’s ubiquitous Nick Fury. Gyllenhaal, who can play good guys but usually doesn’t, should be fun to watch.
You may find yourself watching “Midsommar” (July 3) through your fingers, though. From Ari Aster, director of the nerve-wracking 2018 horror film “Hereditary,” it’s this summer’s likely scariest movie, set in a Swedish pagan cult, where a vacationing American couple (Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh) finds the gauzy white outfits and flower crowns belie darker rituals.
In a different getaway, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (Aug. 16) is director Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the best-selling comic novel by Maria Semple about a brilliant but misanthropic woman (Cate Blanchett) who bails on her husband and teenage daughter (Billy Crudup and Emma Nelson), leaving them searching for her as they prepare for a family boat trip to Antarctica.
And slightly less family-friendly is “Good Boys” (Aug. 16), where Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Superbad”) are the big producer names on this hard-R comedy from first-time director Gene Stupnitsky (former “The Office” writer). It follows a trio of sixth-grade boys (including Jacob Tremblay of “Room”) on a mission to get into their first kissing party, encountering drugs, sex toys and lots of F-bombs along the way.
— Sara Stewart
It’s gonna feel like 1984 all over again when two of the ultimate ’80s icons — Madonna and Bruce Springsteen — release new studio albums on the same banner day: June 14. While we can’t expect her to make another “Like a Virgin” or him to make another “Born in the U.S.A.,” all eyes and ears will be on them to see if they’ve still got it 35 years after they ruled the pop world. So far prospects look mixed for her “Madame X” — love “Crave,” hate “Medellín.” Meanwhile, the Boss, working without the E Street Band, seems to be giving his glory days a rest and channeling chill ’70s AM radio vibes on “Western Stars.”
Ever since dropping the post-Pete Davidson breakup jam “Thank U, Next” last year as a surprise single, Ariana Grande has been the closest thing to the Madonna of the moment. Now, Grande has not one but two albums — last summer’s “Sweetener” and this year’s “Thank U, Next” — to bring to life onstage when she hits Barclays Center June 14 and 15, and then Madison Square Garden on June 18 and 19.
If there’s one other young pop diva who’s on the short list of must-see shows this summer, it’s one who’s not even old enough to have a refreshing summer frosé: 17-year-old Billie Eilish has been nothing short of a sensation since dropping her goth-pop debut, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go,” in March. After rocking Coachella in April, she’ll play the Rooftop at Pier 17 on June 18 and Radio City on June 19.
There are divas, and then there are divos. And after Mick Jagger’s recent health scare, undergoing heart surgery in April that forced the Rolling Stones to postpone their “No Filter” tour, they’ll be delivering some delayed satisfaction at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 1 and 5. If the shimmying dance moves he recently posted on social media are any indication, time is still on the 75-year-old rock god’s side.
And with the 35th anniversary of the “Purple Rain” soundtrack coming up June 25, we’re looking forward to getting a posthumous gift from Prince when “Originals” — a collection of songs he wrote for other artists — drops from the heavens, first on Tidal June 7 and then other outlets June 21.
— Chuck Arnold
Kick off the season with “Good Omens” (May 31, Amazon) a romp of a show from fantasy giant Neil Gaiman. It’s a tongue-in-cheek epic about angels and demons and the apocalypse with an all-star cast including David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Jon Hamm.
Meryl Streep joins “Big Little Lies” (June 9, HBO) to play Nicole Kidman’s mother, and tries to solve the case of who pushed Alexander Skarsgård down that bloody staircase last season.
Kevin Bacon returns to TV in “City on a Hill” (June 16, Showtime), as a Boston FBI vet who teams with a district attorney (Aldis Hodge) to investigate a family of armored car robbers.
On the new season of “Pose” (June 11, FX), Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) is convinced that Madonna’s “Vogue” will lead to mainstream acceptance, and encourages the House of Evangelista to follow their dreams despite putting her own on the back burner.
HBO branches into teen territory usually covered by the CW and Netflix with “Euphoria” (June 16, HBO), a buzzy show about sex, drugs and teen angst. Zendaya stars.
“Grand Hotel” (June 17, ABC) is a new upstairs/downstairs story set in a Miami Beach hotel, starring Demián Bichir. Executive produced by Eva Longoria.
The buzzy ’80s-set hit “Stranger Things” (July 4, Netflix) returns just in time for Independence Day. This time, a host of new characters join the cast, including Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride”) as a mayor and Maya Hawke (Ethan and Uma’s daughter) as a new addition to the gang.
In “Suits” spinoff “Pearson” (July 17, USA Network), powerhouse lawyer Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) sets up shop in Chicago and encounters all manner of criminal mischief.
— Robert Rorke and Lauren Sarner
You don’t have to start out as a swinger — but before the evening’s out, you just might become one. Midsummer Night Swing returns June 25 for its 30th season, filling Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park with people who know how to lindy, tango, fox trot, boogie and salsa, and are happy to show you how to follow in their footsteps: Each ticket ($18 in advance, $22 day of) comes with a free dance lesson. The music is always live and lively. This year’s 15-night slate includes Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks (June 25), Dr. K’s Motown Revue (June 28) and Maria “Midnight at the Oasis” Muldaur (July 12). The season wraps up July 13 with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra and a dance contest: Expect lots of vintage dresses, saddle shoes and high-flying moves; MidsummerNightSwing.org
Anyone who thinks graveyards are quiet places hasn’t been to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Not only is it the final resting place of Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Albert Anastasia (one of several mobsters who wormed their way in), but its gothic architecture makes it a haunting place to stage plays, concerts and operas. The first “Burgers, Bourbon & Beethoven” festival rolls out there Saturday (May 25) from 7 to 10 p.m. Ticket buyers (ages 21 and older) are invited to rate a batch of burgers, sample whiskeys and soak up Beethoven’s Fifth and Schubert’s “Unfinished” symphony, performed by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn; DeathOfClassical.com
No tickets, no dress code, no lines — and they’ll even loan you a picnic blanket to spread out on. New York City Opera’s free summer concerts in Bryant Park make music-loving easy. Check out the new “Stonewall” opera at the “Pride in the Park” concert June 12 and savor highlights from “Carmen” Aug. 26. The concerts start at 6 p.m., and there are drinks and food for sale all around you; BryantPark.org
— Barbara Hoffman
Source: Read Full Article