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Summer Movie Preview: Once you dig in, there’s quite a bit of variety at the cineplex this summer

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Avengers? Deadpool? Han Solo? What about the movies without goofy car endorsements? Several smaller-scale films, including a mini-renaissance of African-American stories, encourage spending even more of summer 2018 in air-conditioned theaters. Here's a quick rundown.

"Oceans 8" Another crime story rolls the dice that the "Oceans" franchise could be a winner again with a makeover, this time with a female-centric cast. Sandra Bullock leads the team as Debbie Ocean, sibling to George Clooney's Danny. – June 8.

“Hotel Artemis,” June 8
  • “Hotel Artemis,” June 8

"Hotel Artemis" You quickly lose count of the genre elements watching the trailer for this outlandish action thriller, about a secret hospital for criminals, run by Jodie Foster, under siege by a maniacal gang led by Jeff Goldblum. – June 8

"Hereditary" In this creep fest, life appears to follow the art of a dollhouse crafter (Toni Collette) and her decidedly odd daughter (Milly Shapiro) after the death of a close relative. – June 8

"Gotti" John Travolta's turn as the Teflon Don, John Gotti, finally arrives after much delay, and practically ensuring unusually intense scrutiny for this mob flick. – June 15

"Superfly" This remake of the 1970s blaxploitation film moves the tale from Harlem to the currently hot rap scene of Atlanta, where fate again tests the notion of honor among thieves. – June 15

"Under the Silver Lake" "It Follows" director David Robert Mitchell turns to shades of Hitchcock-style wrong-man suspense and neo noir with this mystery about a young Los Angeleno (Andrew Garfield) who hooks up with a girl (Riley Keough), only to find her missing the next day. – June 22

"The Hustle" You may not even remember 1988's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," but that doesn't mean someone won't remake it. Only this time the male leads (formerly Michael Caine and Steve Martin) are replaced by two female con artists (Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson) who wager over who can con a tech billionaire (Alex Sharp) first. – June 29

"Sicario: Day of the Soldado" Trailers make this "Sicario" sequel seem to the original what "Rambo" was to "First Blood": day of less character development and more explosions. – June 29

"The First Purge" No? You weren't dying for an origin story in "The Purge" franchise? Not even with Marisa Tomei? – July 4

“Sorry to Bother You,” July 6
  • “Sorry to Bother You,” July 6

"Sorry to Bother You" Lakeith Stanfield ("Get Out") stars as an African-American telemarketer told to use his "white voice" (David Cross) in a social satire from first-time writer and director Boots Riley of hip-hop group the Coup. – July 6

"Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" Director Gus Van Sant ("Milk") returns with the true story of John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix), a former cartoonist for Portland's Willamette Week, who discovered his often controversial life's work after a drunk-driving accident left him a quadriplegic at 21. – July 13

"Eighth Grade" Comic Bo Burnham's debut feature sorts through life as an awkward soon-to-be high schooler, following 13-year-old Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she tries to navigate existential teenage dread. – July 13

"Blindspotting" Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and co-star in this topical drama, the story of a parolee (Diggs) who witnesses a white cop shoot an unarmed black man. – July 20

"The Equalizer 2" Another episode of the TV-series adaptation exhibits an oddity for the action thriller: The sequel returns with the same director, Antoine Fuqua, who seems to have some kind of uncanny connection with star Denzel Washington when they make movies together.

"Searching" Think "FaceTime: the Movie" for this suspense thriller portrayed solely through personal computer applications, which follow John Cho's desperate character as he tracks down his missing daughter (Michelle La) with the help of a suspicious detective (Debra Messing). – Aug. 3

"BlacKkKlansman" Director Spike Lee and producer Jordan Peele put their signature imprint on undercover officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) and his real-life attempt to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. Adam Driver stars as Stallworth's partner (and Klan go-between), and Topher Grace rounds out the cast as Klan leader David Duke. – Aug. 10

"Crazy Rich Asians" The novel adaptation looks crazy intelligent, and crazy well done, especially for the moribund rom-com genre. Could be a late summer sleeper. – Aug. 17

"Juliet, Naked" Ethan Hawke is a musician with a groupie problem in this adaptation of a 2009 Nick Hornby novel. Chris O'Dowd and Rose Byrne are the fans with issues. – Aug. 17

"Papillon" It takes almost as much guts to try to remake the fantastic original with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman as it does to escape from a French penal colony. Either way I'm rooting for "Papillon." – Aug. 24

Dates subject to change. Check local listings.

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