Summer may not technically begin until June, but Hollywood hasn't gotten that memo. For movie fans, the summer actually kicks off in the first week of May with one of this year's most anticipated films, and another giant franchise installment follows two weeks later. Don't forget about some smaller titles worth checking out, though, including a few that critics raved about at Sundance. These are the new movies to watch in theaters and on streaming in May:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5)
Good luck guarding yourself from a flood of tears when Guardians of the Galaxy's finale hits theaters. The Marvel franchise reaches an end with this trilogy capper, which picks up after Thanos murdered Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in Avengers: Infinity War, only for a different Gamora, who is no longer in love with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), to enter from another timeline. But this sequel is focused heavily on Rocket and his origins, and we'll meet the scientist who created him, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji). Will Poulter also debuts as Adam Warlock, who was created by the Sovereign in an effort to get revenge on the Guardians in Vol. 2. This is director James Gunn's farewell to Marvel after he was hired to lead DC. He has promised Vol. 3 will be the last time we see this Guardians lineup, suggesting some deaths and/or retirements are in store. Protect Drax at all costs.
Fool's Paradise (May 12)
Coming off the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Charlie Day is really challenging himself by making his feature directorial debut and playing dual roles in the same film. In Fool's Paradise, the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia star portrays a man who has lost the ability to speak and who is abruptly released from a mental health facility. This man conveniently looks exactly like a method actor, also played by Day, who refuses to leave his trailer, so a publicist recruits the mute man to pretend to be this actor. The star-studded cast includes Ken Jeong, Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Jason Sudeikis, Edie Falco, Jason Bateman, Common, Glenn Howerton, John Malkovich, and Ray Liotta in one of his final roles. Day wrote and directed the movie, and he says Guillermo del Toro gave him notes on the script. So if the film takes a sudden detour to introduce a horrifying monster, you'll know why.
Book Club: The Next Chapter (May 12)
Jane Fonda is turning the page in her Book Club franchise. She starred alongside Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen in the 2018 film about four women who read Fifty Shades of Grey in their book club, and this follow-up sees them take a bachelorette trip to Italy. "When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing vacation turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure," the synopsis says. Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, and Andy García return, and the director of the original is back. This isn't to be confused with that other 2023 Jane Fonda comedy about four older women going on a trip together, 80 For Brady. The first Book Club was a bigger hit in 2018 than you might assume, grossing more domestically than Shazam! Fury of the Gods did this year. Eat your heart out, DC. We're in the age of the Jane Fonda universe now.
BlackBerry (May 12)
Hollywood has brought us origin stories of every superhero imaginable, so the hot new trend is now the origin story of products. First we had Tetris, and then there was Air. Now comes BlackBerry, which tells the true story of the creation of the BlackBerry mobile phone. Jay Baruchel stars as BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis, while Glenn Howerton plays Jim Balsillie, former BlackBerry co-CEO. Cary Elwes and Saul Rubinek also star, and the film was based on the non-fiction book Losing the Signal. While it may not be a modern classic like The Social Network, reviews for BlackBerry have been strong, with IndieWire's Steph Green calling it a "gently mocking takedown of corporate hubris" with "a sense of deadpan comedy straight from the Succession playbook." For the true throwback experience, ask your buddies if they want to go see it over AIM.
Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (May 12)
Michael J. Fox opens up about his life, career, and battle with Parkinson's disease in this revealing new Apple TV+ documentary from the director of An Inconvenient Truth. The film tells the actor's story by using a unique mix of interviews with Fox, reenactments, and scenes from his movies. "Intimate and honest, and produced with unprecedented access to Fox and his family, the film chronicles Fox's personal and professional triumphs and travails, and explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease," Apple TV+ said. Still was one of the most talked-about movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and Variety's Peter Debruge said it "reminds what a peppy, relatable personality [Fox] was — and is — on-screen."
The Mother (May 12)
You've heard of Jenny from the block, but make way for Jenny with the glock. Jennifer Lopez is ready to kick some butt in this new action-thriller from Netflix, starring as an assassin who, after years of hiding, "returns to rescue the daughter she loved from afar," per the streamer. Think of it as Lopez's very own Taken. Lucy Paez plays the daughter character, and Joseph Fiennes and Gael García Bernal also star. Niki Caro directed the film coming off the 2020 live-action remake of Mulan, and you better believe Netflix isn't passing up the opportunity to release the film for Mother's Day weekend. It's a somewhat rare chance for Lopez to lead a full-on modern action film, as well as a chance for her fans on Twitter to yell "mother!" even more than usual.
Hypnotic (May 12)
Weirdly, not only do both halves of Bennifer have a movie coming out on the exact same day, but both films are about their characters trying to protect their daughter. Ben Affleck's version is the thriller Hypnotic, in which he plays a detective whose daughter is missing, and he begins to suspect a man (William Fichtner) using hypnotic abilities may be involved. He "finds himself spiraling down a rabbit hole while investigating a series of reality-bending bank robberies where he will ultimately call into question his most basic assumptions about everything and everyone in his world," the synopsis says. Director Robert Rodriguez told Collider the film is like a "Hitchcock thriller on steroids," and it's "one of my favorite stories." The Dunkin' budget must have been massive.
Fast X (May 19)
Buckle up, family: Fast & Furious is preparing to drive off into the sunset. The action franchise returns with this tenth and allegedly penultimate entry, which is expected to be followed by one last film (and which was tragically not titled Fast 10 Your Seatbelts). This time, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) faces off against Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), who's seeking revenge for the death of his father, Hernan Reyes from Fast Five. The trailer even teases that Momoa will be retroactively added into footage from the 2011 film, further expanding the lore of this soap opera for dudes. On top of the returning stars, joining the cast are Rita Moreno as Dominic Toretto's grandmother and Brie Larson, who based her character on Diesel's actual daughter. Why? Because nothing in this franchise can't be at least a little bit connected to the idea of family, that's why.
White Men Can't Jump (May 19)
Will a White Men Can't Jump remake be a slam dunk, or will it simply inspire tons of Twitter dunking by fans of the original? The 1992 basketball comedy starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson gets an update in this Hulu original film starring Jack Harlow and Sinqua Walls. Harlow takes on the Harrelson role of a man who hustles basketball players who assume he can't play because he's white. The film was directed by Calmatic, who's remaking a classic 1990s movie for the second time this year, as he also brought us January's House Party remake. Kenya Barris, the creator of Black-ish, co-wrote the script, and the cast includes Lance Reddick in one of his final roles. This is also the first major film for Harlow, so soon we'll find out whether he should quit his day job.
Master Gardener (May 19)
From a certain point of view, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn't the only trilogy-capping film of May 2023. There's also the end of an unofficial trilogy of films from Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader that includes First Reformed, The Card Counter, and now Master Gardener. Joel Edgerton stars in Schrader's latest as a horticulturist, Narvel Roth, who works at an estate owned by Mrs. Haverhill, played by Sigourney Weaver. She asks him to take on her niece as an apprentice, but he's revealed to have a dark past, as evidenced by his white supremacist tattoos. Reviews have been mostly positive, with The Playlist's Rafaela Sales Ross saying the film features a "career-best turn" from Edgerton. Schrader told IndieWire he considers this the end of a trilogy, as "I am hitting the same kind of themes" explored in his last two films. Get ready for the most twisted Ewok scene ever.
Sanctuary (May 19)
If you're a fan of one-location movies and miss the erotic thriller genre, boy, do we have the film for you. From Neon, Sanctuary follows Hal (Christopher Abbott), the wealthy heir to a hotel empire, and his relationship with a dominatrix, Rebecca (Margaret Qualley). "In the wake of inheriting his father's hotel chain, Hal attempts to end his long and secret relationship with Rebecca," the plot synopsis says. "A battle of wills ensues over the course of one incredibly fraught night, with both Rebecca and Hal struggling to keep the upper hand as the power dynamics swing wildly back and forth." The trailer teases a film that looks like it could be staged as a play, as it's almost completely set in the hotel room. "This is a terrifically nasty thriller about seizing control, over others and over oneself," Amy Nicholson wrote at Variety. Consult Fandango to find your check (it) out time.
You Hurt My Feelings (May 26)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has already dominated the Emmys, so might her next stop be the Oscars? The Seinfeld star leads this dramedy with a premise right out of Curb Your Enthusiasm: Beth (Louis-Dreyfus), a novelist, one day overhears her husband (Tobias Menzies) admitting he doesn't like her latest book. The film reunites Louis-Dreyfus with writer-director Nicole Holofcener, whom she worked with on 2013's Enough Said. Amber Tamblyn and David Cross also star. Reviews for You Hurt My Feelings were strong after its Sundance premiere, with RogerEbert.com's Brian Tallerico calling it one of Holofcener's "smartest and funniest films, a movie that understands how partners and even parents can delicately manage the insecurities of the people they love." The answer to the question "is there anything Julia Louis-Dreyfus can't do?" continues to be "no."
The Little Mermaid (May 26)
What's that word again? Oh yeah, remake. Like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin before it, The Little Mermaid is getting the live-action remake treatment from Disney, with Halle Bailey playing Ariel in the film from the director of Mary Poppins Returns and Into the Woods. She's joined by Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Bailey has teased Ariel is more "modern" in this rendition, as "we've definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy." Expect to hear all the songs from the original (in some cases with updated lyrics), and Lin-Manuel Miranda also worked with Alan Menken to write some new ones. Hopefully the transition from animation to live-action doesn't cause the film to lose its voice.