July Movie Preview

July! We’re in the thick of it now, people! This season has seen two of the biggest box office successes of all time, featuring dead people and dinos, but will the records continue to fall? I’m going to say, yes. Yes they will. Well, not this month, but hey, records were made to be a baseline to compare success with other instances. Let’s go!

  1. ANT-MAN – July 17, IMAX3D, RealD 3D. The shortest window between Marvel Films yet! A lot of people thought this would be their first misstep, especially after the late dismissal of Edgar Wright, but based on early reviews, it’s one of their best efforts. Sorry haters! It’s probably the funniest of the lot and has a lot of heart, plus some really innovative action. This is the official end of “Phase 2”, things are only getting bigger and better.
  2. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE:: ROGUE NATION – July 31, IMAX. The latest adventure for Ethan Hunt and the gang was actually moved up from a Christmas release, which is pretty shocking but makes sense since a certain sci-fi film will likely take up all the screens. THE USUAL SUSPECTS writer Chris McQuarrie is behind the camera for the first time since the very underappreciated JACK REACHER, and there’s no shortage of insane stunts. Definitely IMAX worthy.
  3. TRAINWRECK – July 17. Judd Apatow’s latest is a full-blown vehicle for red-hot Amy Schumer, and it looks like a winner. The film follows Amy through life as a woman who refuses second dates thanks to a messed-up parental situation, but then she falls for Bill Hader’s sports surgeon character. A great supporting cast with SNL vets Colin Quinn and Vanessa Bayer, John Cena (?) and LeBron James (??).
  4. MINIONS – July 10, RealD 3D. Did you like DESPICABLE ME? Did you like the minions? You’ll probably need to see this. Seems that they’ve always been around, looking for a villain to follow, and this tells the tale of their lives pre-Gru. Sandra Bullock plays the bad guy, but no one cares. They want to see the little yellow buggers be super adorable, and it’ll probably shatter box office records. I’m sure it’ll be fun.
  5. SOUTHPAW – July 24. Jake Gyllenhaal has transformed into a monster, playing a successful MMA star whose life falls apart when his wife (Rachel McAdams) dies. Director Antoine Fuqua has worked magic with Denzel in the past, this one looks pretty intense, mixing family drama with a comeback story. Writer Kurt Sutter created SONS OF ANARCHY, so that should give you an idea of HOW intense.
  6. MAGIC MIKE XXL – July 1. I saw the first one because it was a Steven Soderbergh film, and it was a surprisingly interesting tale. This one seems a little more like fan service, with most of the original crew on a road trip, and though he’s not directing Soderbergh actually shot and cut the film, so it’s still got his DNA all over it. Most folks are getting hot and bothered over the dance numbers, you’ll get what you paid for if you’re looking for man flesh. But dammit, Channing Tatum is just so damn awesome. Dude’s got MOVES.
  7. SELF/LESS – July 10. Ryan Reynolds is the new Ben Kingsley! Well, Ben’s consciousness is transplanted into Ryan’s body, but thanks to some memory flashes it seems that he may not have been a willing donor. An interesting look into our obsession with immortality, it’s actually directed by Tarsem Singh, visionary behind THE CELL and THE FALL, though his last two were the tepid IMMORTALS and MIRROR MIRROR, so take that into account. Could go either way.
  8. TERMINATOR: GENISYS – July 1, RealD 3D, IMAX3D. Arnie’s back! Back again! And based on the rave reviews, it’s “almost as good as the first two!” What a killer review! Word is all over the map, from “a disaster” to “not as bad as you expect”. The time travel elements are basically insane, and the big twist is spoiled by both the trailers AND THE POSTER. Features a crapload of callbacks to the other, better films, and let’s be honest, THE TERMINATOR never needed a sequel in the first place. This should never have been a franchise, and this shows what happens when money overrides brains. Still, it’s Arnie, and there’s some big action setpieces from director Alan Taylor (THOR: THE DARK WORLD, GAME OF THRONES), so sure, check it out on the big screen if you’re going to see it at all, just leave your expectations at the door.
  9. PAPER TOWNS – July 24. Another precious youth-driven tale from the writer of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. A young man falls for a troubled girl who disappears but leaves a series of clues, seemingly in an attempt to get him to leave his small town and become his own man. Like last month’s ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, this could either be a teen smash or be too twee to live.
  10. VACATION – July 29. No NATIONAL LAMPOON’S in front of this one. Not a remake, but an actual sequel to the classic, following Rusty’s attempt to replicate his beloved childhood memory for his own family, no matter the cost. Ed Helms and Christina Applegate bring the comedy bona fides, and it should provide some laughs, but it’s got one hell of a shadow to get out from. Trailer looks good though.
  11. THE GALLOWS – July 10. I think they forgot to market this one, but it’s coming out regardless. A high school play ended tragically, and twenty years later the school decides to take another crack at it, displeasing the local spirits. I expect nothing.
  12. PIXELS – July 24. Could this be the final nail in Adam Sandler’s coffin? He’s already in a straight-to-Netflix deal for most of his current output, but this is a big budget action sci-fi comedy, so they have to pretend it’s worth seeing on the big screen. It looks absolutely terrible. Aliens attack Earth by looking like 80s video game characters, so the government finds a group of experts of the era to save the world. Sandler was good at Frogger or some shit, I don’t know. They thought it would be funny to cast Peter Dinklage as a thinly veiled Billy Mitchell, king of Donkey Kong. It’s funny because he’s a midget! Sure, it was shot in Toronto so you can see our beloved city stand in once more for New York, but for the love of god, wait until it’s on Netflix. Let Sandler’s career just die already. Look at his eyes! HE DOESN’T CARE. He has contempt for you for watching him half-assedly perform. Oh god, I just found out this was directed by Chris Columbus, who made HOME ALONE and ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING. What a waste. And Kevin James plays the president? AAAAAAAAAAAGH

So that’s July for you, kids! August looks, well, bad. Really bad. But there’s a few gems, so look out for that one next month.