Celebrate the end of summer with cinemas biggest hits


Chloe Brown, Columnist

In past summers, Grand Valley State University students looked forward to catching the latest cinematic release with friends at their local cinema. However, with the pandemic still affecting theaters, more and more movies are getting released either direct to streaming services, or a hybrid simultaneous release between theatres and streaming. 

The reasoning is simple; some are still uncomfortable going to a crowded public space like a theater, and we all enjoy the comfort of seeing the newest release in our homes. When asking GVSU students their thoughts, a plurality of students said they would prefer seeing a new release on a streaming service rather than in a theater. 

HBO Max’s on-demand service is a prime example, as subscribers can stream new theatrical releases exclusive to Warner Brothers Pictures at no added cost. “In the Heights” and “Space Jam” both made their way to HBO Max the same day as theaters, but at a limited release. 

Disney offers a similar service with cinematic releases but does require members to pay an added fee for early access, similar to purchasing a movie ticket. GVSU students were surveyed on what their favorite summer releases were. The responses yielded a variety of opinions, but some were deemed more popular than others. Below is a list of on-demand releases to check out that would contribute to an entertaining night after studying.

“In the Heights,” HBO Max

This is a feature film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, written by “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda. “In the Heights” follows four Latino hopefuls living in New York City, dreaming of better lives. The story takes place in the predominantly Dominican Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan and is a landmark in representation for big-budget studio filmmaking. Full of catchy songs, exuberant choreography, and inventive camerawork, not to mention a scorching hot setting, this film just about sums up the summer.

Luca, Disney Plus

Disney and Pixar studios combine again to bring another heartwarming comedy that’s fun for all ages. Young boy Luca is a sea creature who is amazed to discover that when he walks on land and becomes dry, he looks like a human. Meeting a fellow creature named Alberto, they set off on an adventure to explore the human world in the seaside human town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera. But when they meet the feisty Giulia, they’re roped into helping her win the local triathlon and beat the bullying Ercole.

Space Jam: A New Legacy, HBO Max

After twenty-five years of anticipation, the sequel to the nostalgic nineties’ classic “Space Jam” is finally here. This time starring LeBron James, “A New Legacy” follows James and his son, Dom, as they are tricked into entering a Warner Brothers themed virtual multiverse by a deceitful artificial intelligence named Al-G Rhythm, played entertainingly by Don Cheadle. James encounters the Looney Tunes characters and enlists their aid in a basketball game against Al-G and his monstrous players to rescue Dom and earn their freedom.

Cruella, Disney Plus

In the latest Disney live-action classic animated feature remake, “Cruella” follows the template established in “Maleficent” by reframing the story around the villain. Set in London during the punk rock movement of the 1970s, the film revolves around Estella Miller, played by Emma Stone. She’s an aspiring fashion designer, as she explores the path that will lead her to become a notorious up-and-coming fashion designer known as Cruella de Vil. Aided by a memorable soundtrack, a solid supporting cast, and an unforgettable evil turn from Emma Thompson, this flick keeps you guessing despite the familiar character. 

Army of the Dead, Netflix

Combining the two genres of zombie flick and heist film, director Zack Snyder brings a unique blend of action, suspense, horror, and comedy. Featuring an ensemble cast headed by Dave Bautista and Tig Notaro, this movie has something to offer everybody. Set in the near future, a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas forces the authorities to close off the city. Afterward, a mysterious casino owner recruits a group of mercenaries to retrieve his stash of cash before the zombie apocalypse gets out of control.