17 movies Bostonians should know about this summer

From a Celtics guard's big-screen debut to a Hamilton native's first directorial effort.

Kyrie Irving in "Uncle Drew." –Lionsgate Entertainment

Much like the first day of spring in Boston, the first day of summer movie season is a tough one to nail down. You may think spring has arrived early when greeted by a 70-degree day in early March, only for a snowstorm and weeks of bitter cold to change your mind. Similarly, one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, Marvel’s “Black Panther,” can come out on Feb. 16, only to be followed by more than a month of underperformers like “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Tomb Raider,” and “Pacific Rim Uprising.”

With Chris Evans and the rest of the Marvel gang in “Avengers: Infinity War” breaking several box office records last weekend in a debut that saw the film earn $258 million domestically and a shade under $641 million worldwide, it’s safe to say that summer movie season has finally arrived. (The summer-like temperatures this week don’t hurt, either.) With that in mind — and in sticking with our tried-and-true approach of highlighting all of the films with local connections coming out from May through Labor Day weekend — here are the films Bostonians should know about this summer movie season.

“RBG” (May 4)

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While parts of this documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg celebrate the cult-like following she has garnered during her years serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, much of the film focuses on the adversity she faced on her way to becoming the second-ever female associate justice. It features interviews with classmates from her brief time at Harvard Law School, where she was asked by the dean how she could justify taking a spot at the school “from a qualified man.” The film starts playing at the Coolidge Corner and Kendall Square theaters on May 4.

“Deadpool 2” (May 18)

Who needs the Avengers when you’ve got this crew? In this sequel, the wisecracking masked man Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) forms his own superhero squad, including Terry Crews (“Brooklyn 99”) as Bedlam, Zazie Beetz (“Atlanta”) as Domino, and Marblehead native Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”) as Peter, a completely ordinary guy with a love for beekeeping and his wife, Susan, and absolutely zero superpowers. “Deadpool 2” slices into theaters May 18.

“American Animals” (June 1)

“American Animals,” which recently had its New England premiere at the Independent Film Festival Boston, is based on the true story of four college-age boys in Kentucky who plan an audacious heist of rare books from a university library. Featuring Even Peters (Quicksilver in the “X-Men” film series), Barry Keoghan (“Dunkirk”), Blake Jenner (“Edge of Seventeen”), and Jared Abrahamson (“Travelers”) as the thieving quartet, and co-starring Holyoke native and Emmy winner Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) as the librarian victimized by the collegiate criminals, “American Animals” is set to be released in New York and Los Angeles on June 1.

“Hotel Artemis” (June 8)

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Set in a not-so-distant future Los Angeles, “Hotel Artemis” is about a hospital that’s run by “The Nurse” (Jodie Foster) and that treats wealthy criminals. Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), and Milton native Jenny Slate (“Zootopia”), “Hotel Artemis” checks into theaters June 8.

“Hereditary” (June 8)

In one of the creepiest-looking movie on this list, Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) plays Annie Graham, a woman grieving the loss of her domineering mother. As is the case in most horror movies, the dead resurface in one way or another, and some very weird things begin to happen with the Graham family, most notably with Annie’s daughter, Charlie (newcomer Milly Shapiro). Ann Dowd makes another supporting turn in this one, playing a woman who teaches Annie how to contact the dead via a seance. (Something tells us that’s not going to end well.) “Hereditary” opens June 8.

“Ocean’s 8” (June 8)

Following in the grand tradition of the “Ocean’s 11” trio of films, this new movie brings together an all-female heist squad that includes Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Cambridge native Mindy Kaling, and Rihanna. Instead of a casino, this band of criminals has their eyes set on $150 million worth of jewelry at the Met Gala. Featuring a cameo from Cambridge native Matt Damon reprising his longtime “Ocean’s” role as Linus Caldwell, “Ocean’s 8” steals into theaters June 8.

“A Kid Like Jake” (June 15)

Alex (Claire Danes, “Homeland”) and Greg (Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”) are the parents of Jake, a 4-year-old boy who loves to wear dresses and pretend to be Rapunzel when playing with his friends. Should Alex and Greg celebrate Jake’s unconventional gender expression and use it to help land him a spot in a top preschool? Should they tell him to tone it down to protect him from bullying? Or perhaps something in between? Co-starring the very busy Ann Dowd as Alex’s mother and onetime Newton resident Priyanka Chopra as a family friend, “A Kid Like Jake” hits theaters June 15.

“The Catcher Was a Spy” (June 22)

Sienna Miller and Paul Rudd in "The Catcher Was A Spy."
Sienna Miller and Paul Rudd in “The Catcher Was A Spy.” —IFC Films
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“The Catcher Was a Spy” tells the true story of former Red Sox catcher and coach Moe Berg (Paul Rudd, “Ant-Man”), who was also a spy for the U.S. government during World War II. Early reviews after its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January were mixed, with one critic questioning the filmmakers’ decision to rely on unsubstantiated rumors about Berg’s sexuality to imply that his proficiency as a spy was partly due to his closeted nature. “The Catcher Was A Spy” hits theaters June 22.

“Uncle Drew” (June 29)

Kyrie Irving may not be on the court for the Celtics during the playoffs, but fans will be able to see him on the big screen soon enough. The point guard reprises his titular role from the Pepsi Max “Uncle Drew” web short and advertisements, playing a septuagenarian baller who wows opponents with filthy crossovers and surprisingly athletic slams. In the film, Uncle Drew recruits several of his aging friends for a Rucker Park basketball tournament. His pals are played by former Celtics Shaquille O’Neal and Nate Robinson, former NBA stars Chris Webber and Reggie Miller, and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie. “Uncle Drew” shoots into theaters June 29.

“Leave No Trace” (July 6)

Lines were out the door for “Leave No Trace” when it played at the Independent Film Festival Boston last weekend, and for good reason: The film is the first in eight years from director and Cambridge native Debra Granik, whose most recent film, 2010’s “Winter’s Bone,” received four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence in her first major role. “Leave No Trace” centers around a father (Boston native Ben Foster) and teenage daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) living off the grid in an Oregon forest until authorities find them and force them to integrate into society. The movie arrives in theaters July 6.

“Eighth Grade” (July 20)

“Eighth Grade” follows a shy teenager named Kayla (Elsie Fisher, “Despicable Me”) hoping to survive her last week of middle school. Much of the film’s debut trailer is told through Kayla’s vlogs, as she attempts to define herself through a digital medium. It’s fitting, then, that the film is written and directed by Hamilton native Bo Burnham, who gained internet fame as a teen during the early days of YouTube by writing and performing comedic songs while attending St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers. “Eighth Grade” will be released July 20.

“The Equalizer 2” (July 20)

Much like the 2014 original, “The Equalizer 2” is an opportunity for Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) to dispense justice using his fists and any other weapons he can get his hands on. This time, the plot takes him to Boston (where the movie was also filmed), where he’s initially laying low as a Lyft driver. Of course, trouble manages to find him, and Robert is pressed back into action when the bad guys go after someone he loves. Co-starring Pedro Pascal (“Game of Thrones”) and Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), “The Equalizer 2” shoots into theaters July 20.

“Hot Summer Nights” (July 27)

Set on Cape Cod, “Hot Summer Nights” tells the story of Daniel (Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”), who is forced to spend a summer living with his aunt and working on Cape Cod. There, he strikes up an increasingly lucrative business selling weed with his gas station coworker, Hunter (Alex Roe, “The Fifth Wave”), and pursues a romance with Hunter’s sister, McKayla (Maika Monroe, “Independence Day: Resurgence”). Hailed by one critic as a “teen New England ‘Goodfellas,'” the film blazes into theaters July 27.

“Mile 22” (August 3)

Mark Wahlberg in "Mile 22."
Mark Wahlberg in “Mile 22.” —STX Films

“Mile 22” is another new film from the Berg Boys (as in, Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg), who previously teamed up for “Lone Survivor,” “Deepwater Horizon,” and “Patriots Day.” This time, Wahlberg plays James Silva, an elite CIA operative who must safely extract an agency asset who has valuable information. No trailer has surfaced online yet, but the film’s first poster features an image of Wahlberg and the tagline, “Option 1: Diplomacy. Option 2: Military. Meet Option 3.” You can meet it in theaters Aug. 3.

“Dog Days” (August 10)

Vanessa Hudgens in 'Dog Days.'
Vanessa Hudgens in ‘Dog Days.’ —LD Entertainment

“Dog Days” tells a broad tale (or perhaps “tail”?) about a disparate group of Los Angeles residents interconnected by their canine counterparts. Boasting a large ensemble cast that includes Finn Wolfhard (“Stranger Things”), Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”), Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”), and Weymouth native Rob Corddry (“Ballers”), “Dog Days” paws into theaters Aug. 10.

“The Happytime Murders” (August 17)

A promotional image for "The Happytime Murders."
A promotional image for “The Happytime Murders.” —Black Bear Pictures

When the stars of an ’80s puppet TV show begin to get murdered one at a time, a disgraced private detective (Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”) and her puppet partner try to figure out what’s happening before the culprit ties up any loose strings. Based on reactions to film footage shown at CinemaCon, the movie, which is directed by Brian Henson, the son of Muppets creator Jim Henson, is very much not for kids. According to IndieWire, the film features raunchy puppet sex, rampant drug use, and riffs on more family-friendly Muppets. Also featuring Joel McHale (“Community”) as an FBI agent and Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games”) as a burlesque dancer, “The Happytime Murders” will be released Aug. 17.

“Slender Man” (August 24)

Created on internet message board Something Awful in 2009, Slender Man served as inspiration for several preteen and teenage girls who committed violent real-life crimes. The real-life stories have inspired a film: “Slender Man,” another horror film that shot in Massachusetts, tells the tale of the faceless, long-armed creature that haunts and abducts children and teenagers. The movie creeps into theaters Aug. 24.

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