The LEGO Batman Movie (PG) (June 19-21)
Possibly less original then 2014’s near-perfect LEGO Movie, this spinoff follows the caped crusader on his one-man battle to keep his status… a one-man battle. Everyone thinks he needs a sidekick, but he’s determined to stay a lone wolf. The movie isn’t much story-wise – it’s really just a hurricane of gags and jokes, most of which land perfectly. Let’s put it this way: here’s a $80 million animated movie with the confidence to give two precious minutes to a risky sight gag about heating up a lobster. Good comedy doesn’t come from playing it safe.
The Secret Life of Pets (PG) (June 26-28)
Think of this movie as Toy Story if your pets got loose while you were at work. Household mutt Max must deal with the new pet in the house named Duke. The two rivals end up out in the wilds of New York City without their collars, where they’re on the run from Animal Control (apparently New York only has two guys working the whole city). Somehow, Max and Duke manage to bring along every other neighboring pet in their apartment complex, including Gidget, a Pomeranian; Chloe, a cat who couldn’t care less; Mel, a hyperactive pug; Buddy, a dachshund; and Sweet Pea, a bird whose dreams of flying on wings of eagles is kind of inspiring.
Storks (PG) (July 3-5)
When it was released in 2016, this delightful animated comedy got buried by the competition and never had a chance to find an audience. It is worth your time. Here is a cute little comedy about storks who once delivered babies but now deliver big-box-style packages. But when the old machine accidently produces a human child that needs to be delivered, the only human in the plant must help make the baby drop before the boss finds out.
The Peanuts Movie (G) (July 10-12)
The beloved Charles Schulz-created Peanuts characters don’t seem like they would make good material for a computer animated comedy, but this 2017 adventure captures all the magic that you remember, as Snoopy tangles with the Red Baron and Charlie Brown meets the love of his life.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (PG) (July 31, August 1-2)
Dav Pilkey’s runaway hit books make their big screen debut in this hysterically funny comedy adventure. The story involves George and Harold, a pair of pranksters at Jerome Horwitz School. One of their tricks transforms the mean old principal Mr. Krupp into the bone-headed but high-spirited Captain Underpants. But he proves to be more than they expect, and they learn a valuable lesson.
For a complete lineup of all the free summer movies, visit cobbtheatres.com.
Jerry Roberts is a movie critic and movie fan who believes in Birth-Movies-Death. He is the historian for armchaircinema.com, armchairoscars.com, and he has a blog at overthinkingoscar.wordpress.com.