Summer Guide: Film

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

If you like your summer movie-going experiences to be a blend of blockbusters and independent films, with a few locally filmed options sprinkled in, then 2019 is going to be a very good summer for you, indeed.

First up, let’s think big. Real big. Reel big, even.

It doesn’t get much bigger than Godzilla, King of the Monsters (May 31), the latest in the Godzilla franchise. Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown goes up against some literal giants of the screen. If giant CGI monsters battling each other is your thing, this is a very good day for you.

Can Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth recreate the chemistry from Thor:Ragnarok? We will find out soon when Men In Black: International (June 14) debuts. Not content to just deal with aliens, this time there is a mole inside the organization. Let’s all hope it’s not Tessa Thompson.

Fire up the nostalgia machine for Toy Story 4 (June 21). Featuring a new character, Forky, a road trip, and an unbelievable all-star cast providing the voices, Toy Story 4 is gearing up to be another one of those fun-for-the-whole-family flicks.

If you’re suffering from mild anxiety and depression following Avengers:Endgame, you won’t have to wait too long for the next Marvel installment, Spider-Man, Far From Home (July 2). How will the webbed one do in a world that’s been changed forever?

Completing yet another circle of life, the CGI version of Disney classic The Lion King will be upon us (July 19). How will it stand up to the original? If the cast is any indication, this is going to be a powerhouse event. One word: Beyoncé.

Iconic filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is bringing some serious heat with his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26). Set in hippy Hollywood 1969, the film brings together Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as an aging actor and stunt double, trying to navigate a changing industry.

Moving away from blockbusters, the dearth of local summer film festivals ensures that no matter what type of film you like, no matter when you’re looking to go, there is something you are going to want to watch. Not only are there entire festivals to enjoy, but screenings of featured films are sprinkled all over this summer.

You can kick it off this Sunday with a screening of Standing on My Sister’s Shoulder, presented at Alphabet City by Sembène Film and Art Festival.

Also at Alphabet City, A Moment in the the Reeds (May 29) will be presented by ReelQ. ReelQ produces and presents the Pittsburgh LGBTQ Film Festival.

Alphabet City will be screening movies from both festivals throughout the summer, so it’s worth checking back to see what’s coming up next.

Row House Cinemas is bringing their Sweded Film Festival back for its 3rd year. This film festival includes an amateur competition, aimed at anyone with a camera. You have until June 3 to register and then June 9 to submit your low cost, low tech, 3-5 minute recreation of a famous movie. The festival itself runs from June 21 -27, with the audience voting on winners. If you ever thought that you should be a filmmaker, here’s your chance to find out.

Allegheny Cleanways wants you to know the work they do is for everyone, including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. The festival takes place Saturday, June 1 at Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University and combines breathtaking films with stories of environmental advocacy.

People with little ones or those just young at heart will enjoy the Pittsburgh International Film Festival. Held at Row House Cinemas July 26 – 1, this festival lineup includes nostalgic classics, award-winning shorts, documentaries, and family-friendly cultural events.

Looking to add a little bit of Pittsburgh to your summer movie mix? A good place to start is the Heinz History Center’s celebration of film pioneer, Lois Weber (June 13). The North Side native was one of, if not the, first people to act, write, direct and produce films. Lois Weber: Fim Pioneer will feature lectures by Turner Classic Movie host and actress, Illeana Douglas and Dr. Shelley Stamp, film historian and professor of film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

From blockbusters, to screenings, to festivals, to locally created and inspired shorts, summer of 2019 is bringing you everything you need to scratch your movie itch but the popcorn.

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