Summer movie season is officially here, which means audiences can expect a slew of exciting new films to choose from in the coming months. This week is no exception, with several notable movies — from a new family-friendly animated flick in The Secret Life of Pets to Zac Efron’s latest raunch-com — set to hit the big screen. Can’t decide what to buy tickets for first? Here are our staff’s picks for the three best movies in theaters now.
1. The Secret Life of Pets
The animated comedy follows the story of a terrier named Max who regularly invites his friends to hang out at his place while his owner is gone. But his quiet life is upended when his owner also takes in Duke, a stray mutt whom Max instantly dislikes. The movie features a star-studded voice cast, including Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, and Hannibal Buress.
Co-directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, the film has earned a positive response from critics, scoring an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Labeled “fast-paced,” “funny,” and “irresistible,” The Secret Life of Pets is perfect for audiences seeking entertaining family-friendly fare.
2. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
The romantic adventure comedy stars Adam Devine and Zac Efron as hard-partying brothers Mike and Dave, who place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. They think they’ve found the perfect candidates in Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza). But instead of the wild getaway they were hoping for, the boys find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.
The movie, which currently holds a 53% score on Rotten Tomatoes, has earned mixed reviews, with critics calling it inconsistent and “draggy in spots.” But the talented cast and screwball premise alone may be enough to make it worth watching. As the New York Daily News described it, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is “a surprisingly fun summer comedy and icing on the (wedding) cake for fans of the raunchiest of humor. ”
3. Zero Days
This documentary thriller covers the phenomenon surrounding the Stuxnet computer virus, a piece of replicating computer malware famously used against Iranian centrifuge that many believe originated as a joint effort between America and Israel.
The movie, described as a “comprehensive account of how a clandestine mission hatched by two allies opened Pandora’s Box of cyberwarfare,” has earned widely positive reviews. With an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes, critics have praised the nonfiction thriller for providing an insightful and easy-to-follow analysis of a complex, little-known subject. The end result is more jolting than any of this summer’s horror films, with Variety describing it as “clear, urgent and positively terrifying at times.”