“Summer” starts early at the movies. This year it began May 6, with the release of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The season starting so early, movie-wise, means it’s front-loaded. Almost all of this summer’s high-profile releases have come out. The biggest one remaining is “Nope,” which arrives in theaters July 22. It’s the third film from writer-director Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”). Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play siblings who encounter a UFO on their ranch in rural California. Get out? No, watch out. Steven Yeun costars.
“The Last Movie Stars” is an HBO Max documentary series. But as its title says, it’s about movie stars. The ones in question are Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The director is also a movie star, Ethan Hawke. Other stars involved include George Clooney, Laura Linney, and Sally Field. So, no, it’s not a movie. But its six episodes are movie heaven. It starts streaming July 21.
The Harvard Film Archive is devoting the summer to The Complete Federico Fellini. The retrospective lasts through Aug. 15. Among titles still to be screened are “Roma” (1972; July 25, 29), “Amarcord” (1973; Aug. 7, 15), and the director’s final film, “The Voice of the Moon” (1990, Aug. 12).
The late Peter Bogdanovich liked to say that there aren’t old movies or new movies, only ones you have seen or haven’t. If you’ve not seen “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) on a big screen, or at all, let the Coolidge Corner Theatre remedy that. More than a century later, this Expressionist exercise in horror and fantasy remains wild and one of a kind. It screens July 30 as part of the Coolidge’s After Midnite series. Even better, pianist Jeff Rapsis will be providing live accompaniment.
Besides having a great summer-movie title, “Bullet Train” offers Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, and a lot of action: five assassins ride the rails at high speed. David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”) directed. It comes to a theater near you Aug. 5.
Tuesdays in August the Kendall Square Cinema is devoting its RetroREPLAY series to Happy Birthday, Mr. Hitchcock. Titles include “North by Northwest” (1959, Aug. 2), “Strangers on a Train” (1951, Aug. 9), “The Birds” (1963, Aug. 16), “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943, Aug. 23), and “Vertigo” (1958, Aug. 30). The screen master of suspense would be turning 123 on Aug. 13.
The summer’s sexiest, most stylish series comes courtesy of the Brattle Theatre. Dietrich and Von Sternberg Weekend (Aug. 12-14) comprises the six Hollywood films starring Marlene Dietrich directed by Josef von Sternberg. Style doesn’t come any more substantial, or shameless, than in these supreme exercises in hothouse swank. Even the titles are over the top: “Morocco” (1930, Aug. 12), “Dishonored” (Aug. 12, 1931), “Blonde Venus” (1932, Aug. 13), “Shanghai Express” (Aug. 13, 1932), “The Devil Is a Woman” (1935, Aug. 14), and “The Scarlet Empress” (1934, Aug. 14). If you have to pick just one, go with “Shanghai Express,” if only to hear Dietrich say “It took more than one man to change my name to [pause] Shanghai Lily.”
Speaking of birthdays, Ben Affleck turns 50 on Aug. 15. No, it’s true. Celebrate the occasion by streaming one of his movies. An obvious choice is “Argo” (2012), which he directed and stars in and won a best picture Oscar. Less obvious, but maybe better for strictly Ben purposes, is “Chasing Amy” (1997). His performance has a vulnerability and sweetness that’s a reminder that, with acting, at least, fortune favors the brave.
The summer’s most intriguing new release has to be George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” Set in modern-day Istanbul, it stars Idris Elba as a genie — no, seriously, Idris Elba as a genie — and Tilda Swinton as a scholar to whom he offers the three proverbial wishes. It opens Aug. 31. For those preferring more familiar Miller, or who just want to warm up for “Three Thousand Years,” the Coolidge will be showing “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015), as part of its Big Screen Classics series, on July 18; the Kendall has it as part of RetroREPLAY, on July 26; and the Brattle has George Miller’s “Mad Max” Cycle — yes, “cycle” is a pun — Aug. 26-Aug. 28.
Of course the essential summer-movie experience has less to do with what you see than where you go see it. Go to a drive-in: the Mendon Twin, say, or the Wellfleet. Just make sure to clean your windshield first.
Mark Feeney can be reached at email@example.com.