May movie preview: Doctor Strange, Top Gun, Downton Abbey and a brand new Chip 'n Dale
Chicago - It may still be spring, but summer movie season is officially upon us! And nothing says summer like Tom Cruise performing death-defying stunts in a pair of aviator sunglasses. That’s right, "Top Gun: Maverick" is finally (finally!) soaring into theaters after the pandemic pushed back its release by nearly two years. Plus Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will be doing some soaring of his own in the highly-anticipated "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
May is also a big month for reunions as the upstairs-downstairs crew of "Downton Abbey," the animated chipmunks Chip 'n Dale and the original Broadway cast of "Spring Awakening" all find excuses to get back together on the big screen. Plus there's a new Stephen King adaptation and a pair of Mr. Darcys on the horizon too.
Here’s what’s headed your way, cinematically speaking, in May 2022.
Spring Awakening: Those You've Known (streaming on HBO Max May 3)
Spring Awakening Reunion Concert. Photograph courtesy of HBO.
Before "Hamilton," "Dear Evan Hansen" or "Hadestown," there was "Spring Awakening," the edgy pop musical that took Broadway by storm circa 2006. 15 years later, the original original cast and creative team reunited for a one-night-only benefit concert. And this new HBO documentary captures the creation of that concert, as well as the entire whirlwind journey behind the musical itself. In addition to launching the careers of the likes of Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher, Jr., "Spring Awakening" also enthralled multiple generations with its themes of sexual identity and teenage pain. So watch this loving tribute with the musical theater fan in your life and you won’t be disappointed.
Rated TV-MA. 83 minutes. Documentary. Dir: Michael John Warren. Featuring: Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher, Jr., Skylar Astin, Krysta Rodriguez, Michael Mayer.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The coming-of-age romance "Maurice"
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (in theaters May 6)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios' DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
There’s something for superhero fans of all kinds in the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: It’s written by "Loki" scribe Michael Waldron; directed by "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2" helmer Sam Raimi; and it promises to continue the emotional story that made Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff such a hit on "WandaVision." Oh and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is there too, of course! After the multiversal antics of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," the good doctor has some cleanup to do. So he calls in a few familiar faces — as well as Xochitl Gomez’s newly debuting America Chavez — in a movie that could very well shatter the multiverse and turn the entire MCU on its head.
Rated PG-13. 126 minutes. Dir: Sam Raimi. Featuring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Sam Raimi’s horror classic "The Evil Dead"
Operation Mincemeat (in theaters May 6; streaming on Netflix May 11)
OPERATION MINCEMEAT (2022) Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Cholmondeley and Colin Firth as Ewen Montagu. Cr: Giles Keyte/Courtesy See-Saw Films and Netflix
The casting department of '"Operation Mincemeat" knew what they were doing. What could easily be written off as just yet another British World War II drama now comes with a very unique calling card: It stars both Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen — the two men who each put generation-defining spins on the classic romantic hero, Mr. Darcy. While we personally wouldn't mind if this movie were just "Pride and Prejudice: Into the Darcy-verse," "Operation Mincemeat" actually tells the true story of two intelligence officers who came up with a risky, highly unusual plan to protect British soldiers by tricking the Nazis with falsified documents and a single floating corpse. Oh and, believe it or not, there's also an origin story for James Bond author Ian Fleming (Johnny Flynn — also a Jane Austen romantic hero!) in this wilder-than-fiction tale.
Rated PG-13. 127 minutes. Dir: John Madden. Featuring: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, Johnny Flynn, Jason Isaacs.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Colin Firth in "A Single Man" and Matthew Macfadyen in "Death At A Funeral"
Firestarter (in theaters and streaming on Peacock May 13)
The previous 1984 adaptation of Stephen King’s classic sci-fi thriller (which starred a young Drew Barrymore) didn’t set a particularly high bar, but there’s reason to be optimistic about the latest "Firestarter": This time around, the horror aficionados over at Blumhouse Productions are the ones holding the matches. Zac Efron and Sydney Lemmon play the parents of a young girl named Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) who has extraordinary pyrokinetic abilities. On the run from a shadowy government agency that wants to kidnap and study her, it’s up to Charlie to protect her family and herself — without succumbing to her darkest impulses in the process. Expect some pretty intense fire sequences, which you can either enjoy in theaters or at home on Peacock.
Rated R. 110 minutes. Dir: Keith Thomas. Featuring: Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: Stephen King’s "Children of the Corn"
Sneakerella (streaming on Disney+ May 13)
Disney's "Sneakerella" stars Chosen Jacobs as El, and Lexi Underwood as Kira King. (Disney/Roger Erickson)
Move aside Camila Cabello, this latest take on "Cinderella" is a gender-flipped contemporary musical set in the "avant-garde street-sneaker subculture of New York City." El (Chosen Jacobs) is an aspiring sneaker designer who works as a stock boy in his late mother’s shoe store. Kira King (Lexi Underwood) is the fiercely independent daughter of a sneaker tycoon and legendary basketball star (John Salley). Sparks fly when the two young sneakerheads meet, but can they bridge the gap between their two different worlds? Find out "once upon a pair of sneakers." (We take no credit for that pun, which comes straight from the trailer. Please direct all groans to Disney+.)
Rated TV-G. Dir: Elizabeth Allen-Rosenbaum. Featuring: Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood, John Salley, Devyn Nekoda, Bryan Terrell Clark.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song" starring Lucy Hale
Downton Abbey: A New Era (in theaters May 20)
Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith and Allen Leech as Tom Branson in Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Just call it "Downton Abbey: Here We Go Again" because the Crawleys are going on vacation! Specifically, they’re headed to the South of France, where the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) has mysteriously inherited a villa. Meanwhile, back at Downton, a film crew move into the estate to make a movie. Sounds like an awful lot of change for a family that doesn’t really like to face the future. But we suspect there will still be plenty of tea, scones and crikeys to go around — which is good news for fans of the original British TV show and its 2019 film spinoff.
Rated PG. 124 minutes. Dir: Simon Curtis. Featuring: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Hugh Dancy, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and so many more!
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The British period piece classic "Sense and Sensibility"
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (streaming on Disney+ May 20)
"It’s not a reboot. It’s a comeback." So goes the tagline for this hybrid live-action/animated action-comedy inspired by the beloved 1980s cartoon with the catchy theme song. Don’t expect just average kiddie fare, however. The film comes from "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" director Akiva Schaffer and features his Lonely Island collaborator Andy Sambergas the voice on Dale, alongside comedian John Mulaney as Chip. The conceit of this very meta-looking comedy is that it’s been 30 years since "Rescue Rangers" ended production, leaving the cast scattered to the winds. And though Chip and Dale have both changed since their glory days (Dale has had "the CGI surgery"), they must reunite to save an old friend in modern-day Los Angeles.
Rated PG. Dir: Akiva Schaffer. Featuring: John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, Kiki Layne.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The animated adventures of "Mr. Bean"
Men (in theaters May 20)
With his first two films "Ex Machina" and "Annihilation" (not to mention his TV show "Devs" and his screenplays for "28 Days Later" and "Never Let Me Go"), Alex Garland has emerged as a singular voice in eerie contemporary sci-fi. Now his new film "Men" looks to head down an even creepier path. Following the death of her husband, Harper (Jessie Buckley) seeks a fresh start at a manor house in the beautiful English countryside. But strange forces in the woods — not to mention a multi-faceted performance from Rory Kinnear — turn her dream vacation into a living nightmare. Indie darling A24 produced this spooky flick, which is being billed as "folk horror."
Rated R. 100 minutes. Dir: Alex Garland. Featuring: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu, Gayle Rankin.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The creepy men of "Slender Man"
Emergency (in theaters May 20; streaming on Amazon Prime Video May 27)
RJ Cyler, Sebastian Chacon and Donald Elise Watkins in "Emergency." Photo: Sundance Film Festival.
Half college buddy comedy, half social commentary thriller, "Emergency" is one of the more tonally unique films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival. At the tail end of their senior year, best friends Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) are determined to become the first Black students to complete their school’s frat party Legendary Tour. But when they arrive home to find a white girl passed out on their living room floor, they’re forced to figure out how to help her without risking their own futures by calling the police. As film critic Allison Shoemaker wrote in her Sundance review, ""Emergency" is often a heavy film. Yet it never capsizes under its own weight, thanks in no small part to its boundlessly charming ensemble."
Read more about "Emergency" in FOX Digital’s Sundance movie round-up
Rated R. 105 minutes. Dir: Carey Williams. Featuring: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Maddie Nichols, Madison Thompson, Sabrina Carpenter.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The college antics of "Van Wilder"
Top Gun: Maverick (in theaters May 27)
Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
If you feel like you’ve been hearing the haunting notes of the "Top Gun: Maverick" trailer forever, that’s because you have! This decades-in-the-making "Top Gun" sequel dropped its first trailer in July 2019 ahead of a planned summer 2020 release. That date was obviously pushed back by the pandemic, but as other blockbusters switched to streaming releases, Tom Cruise stuck by his, well, guns, for a theatrical release. And now the time has finally come to reignite the need, the need for speed. Cruise is back as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, the courageous test pilot who’s charged with training a group of new Top Gun graduates. When it turns out one of them (Miles Teller) is the son of Maverick’s late friend "Goose," the aging aviator is forced to reckon with his past and figure out how to forge a new future.
131 minutes. Rated PG-13. Dir: Joseph Kosinski. Featuring: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The airplane battle of "Air Force One"
The Bob's Burgers Movie (in theaters May 27)
Linda Belcher (voiced by John Roberts), Louise Belcher (voiced by Kristen Schaal), Gene Belcher (voiced by Eugene Mirman), Tina Belcher (voiced by Dan Mintz), and Bob Belcher (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin) in 20th Century Studios' THE BOB'S BURGERS MOVI
The beloved Belcher family make the leap to the big screen in this animated musical-comedy-mystery-adventure based on the Emmy-winning FOX series, "Bob’s Burgers." Aimed at both long-time fans and new audiences, "The Bob’s Burgers Movie" follows a summer adventure for loving married couple Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda Belcher (John Roberts) and their three kids: anxious Tina (Dan Mintz), oblivious Gene (Eugene Mirman) and conniving Louise (Kristen Schaal). When a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of the titular burger joint, it’s up to the kids to try to solve a mystery that could save their family's restaurant.
Rated PG-13. 103 minutes. Dir: Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman. Featuring: Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Kline, David Wain.
WATCH FREE ON TUBI: The animated laughs of "The Freak Brothers"
Siiri Solalinna appears in "Hatching" by Hanna Bergholm, an official selection of the Midnight section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by IFC Midnight.
FOR MOTHER’S DAY: For some warmhearted Mother’s Day viewing, there’s the gorgeously poignant French film "Petite Maman" (expanding in theaters May 6) from "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" director Céline Sciamma. And for the darker side of motherhood, try "Hatching" (Hulu, May 6), a Finnish body-horror/creature-feature hybrid about a mommy-blogger, her people-pleasing daughter and a mysterious egg. Read more about "Hatching" in FOX Digital’s Sundance movie round-up and "Petite Maman" in our list of 2021’s must-see movies.
FOR HORROR FANS: In addition to "Hatching," this month also offers Christina Ricci as a haunted 1950s housewife in "Monstrous" (in theaters and VOD May 13). Plus some Nordic kids discover creepy superpowers in "The Innocents"(in theaters and VOD May 13), and Shane West is among a group of strangers who wake up trapped in a mysterious corn field in "Escape the Field" (in theaters and VOD May 6).
FOR COMEDY: "Lupin" star Omar Sy leads the French buddy cop comedy "The Takedown" (Netflix, May 6). PlusRebel Wilson plays a former high school cheerleader who wakes up from a 20-year coma and still wants to complete her "Senior Year" (Netflix, May 13).
FOR ROMANTICS: Two teenage insomniacs forge a late-night connection in the YA adaptation "Along for the Ride" (Netflix, May 6). Victoria Justice finds love at an Australian vineyard/sheep farm in "A Perfect Pairing" (Netflix, May 19). And "The Valet" (Hulu, May 20) casts Samara Weaving as a world famous movie star who nearly gets caught with her married lover (Max Greenfield) and has to pretend to date a valet ("CODA" star Eugenio Derbez) to cover it up.
FOR DRAMA: Tim Roth and Charlotte Gainsbourg play siblings on an unhappy family vacation in "Sundown" (Hulu, May 17), while Haley Lu Richardson and Owen Teague play siblings on an unhappy family ranch in "Montana Story" (in theaters May 20).
FOR DOCUMENTARIES: "Our Father" (Netflix, May 11) uncovers the haunting story behind a corrupt fertility doctor; "Hold Your Fire" (in theaters and VOD May 20) explores a tense 1970s crisis that helped birth modern hostage negotiation; "Look at Me: XXXTENTACION" (Hulu, May 26) examines the life and death of a young rapper; and "Gamestop: Rise of the Players" (Hulu, May 31) revisits the stock market short squeeze phenomenon from 2021.
About the writer: Caroline Siede is a film and TV critic in Chicago, where the cold never bothers her anyway. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, she spent four years lovingly analyzing the romantic comedy genre one film at a time in her column When Romance Met Comedy for The A.V. Club. She also co-hosts the movie podcast, Role Calling, and shares her pop culture opinions on Twitter (@carolinesiede).
More great movies streaming (for free!) on Tubi
10 Truths About Love (2022): Camilla Belle stars as Carina Franklin, a thriving romance columnist who has her own love life totally figured out — at least until her longtime boyfriend dumps her. Even worse, her editor insists on giving her column a "male perspective" and hires a writer named Liam (David Lafontain) to balance her out. When the two new co-workers clash, Liam sets out to demonstrate that his tactics work by helping Carina win back her ex. Of course, in trying to prove each other wrong, Liam and Carina might just realize how right they really are for each other. "10 Truths About Love" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-14. 90 minutes. Dir: Brian K. Roberts. Featuring: Camilla Belle, David Lafontaine, Jennifer De Lucia, Karn Kalra, Paula Rivera, David Keeley.
Howard High (2022): A modern-age "Bring It On," "Howard High" is an energetic teen musical that follows a high school performance group who must compete against a rival school in order to save their arts program. The crowd-pleasing film from "You Got Served" director Chris Stokes is inspired by his 2020 TV mini-series of the same name, which is also streaming on Tubi. With its talented cast of up-and-comers, "Howard High" shines a light on the challenges that school arts programs face in underfunded neighborhoods — all through the power of song and dance. "Howard High" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-14. 102 minutes. Dir: Chris Stokes. Featuring: Chrissy Stokes, Veronika Bozeman, Lindsay Diann, Jarell Houston, Dylan Mooney.
Domingo (2020): From Mexican director Raúl López Echeverría, this feel-good comedy follows Domingo (Eduardo Covarrubias), a 55-year-old man living in a poor suburb near Guadalajara. When his wife abruptly leaves him, Domingo decides to do everything in his power to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer commentator. Soon enough, his impassioned weekly commentaries on local amateur matches are changing lives throughout his neighborhood. "Domingo" is a Tubi Original. Rated TV-MA. 95 minutes. Dir: Raúl López Echeverría. Language: Spanish. Also featuring: Martha Claudia Moreno, Jesus Hernandez.
About Tubi: Tubi has more than 35,000 movies and television series from over 250 content partners, including every major studio, in addition to the largest offering of free live local and national news channels in streaming. The platform gives fans of entertainment, news and sports an easy way to discover new content that is available completely free.
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