Summer Movie Preview: July 2011

Pet peeve: People who arrive at the movie theater with no clue of what they’re going to see, or even what half the movies are, who then proceed to queue up despite not being prepared, thus slowing down the line for the rest of us who know what we’re doing. If you know that person, or if you ARE that person, please, direct them to this blog. That’s what these previews are for—so no one has to go to the theater unprepared.

July 1

Larry Crowne

Your parents probably want to see this movie. Written and directed by, and starring, Tom Hanks, Larry Crowne is about a guy who gets fired from his job (at Costco?) And then goes to community college. Julia Roberts is his teacher and of course they fall in love. This movie should be called “Mid-Life Crisis Love Story”.

Monte Carlo

A teeny flick for…teens…Monte Carlo stars Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin Bieber’s pants), Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl), and Cory Monteith (Glee). I have a strict “no more than two Gossip Girl twats per movie” rule—if there are more than two Gossip Girl twats in a movie, I’m out. The plot involves a case of mistaken identity and a fantasy trip to Monte Carlo. I’m also assuming there is a montage of either a shopping trip or a makeover, or both.

Hilariously, this movie disabled embedding on the trailer.

Terri

Jacob Wysocki (TV’s Huge) stars with John C. Reilly in this “comedy” from indie darling Azazel Jacobs (Momma’s Man). I say “comedy” because while movies like this often elicit uncomfortable huffs of laughter, they rarely score outright gut-busting guffaws. See also: Cyrus.

July 8

Beats Rhymes & Life: the Travels of a Tribe Called Quest

Actor Michael Rapaport (anything set in Boston) directs this documentary about the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. He scored top notch reviews at Sundance with it in January and has been getting good buzz ever since. I will have to overcome my intense dislike for Rapaport in order to see this movie. I have an irrational hatred for the sound of his voice.

The Chameleon

I had this down for June 10 originally, but it got kicked back to July 8. Here’s my previous caption:

Based on a true story, The Chameleon traces the path of Frederic Bourdin, a con artist who convinced a family that he was their missing thirteen-year-old son. Sort of a dark Catch Me If You Can. This movie hasn’t gotten stellar reviews, however, there was a throw-down between the director and the producer over the final cut, which the producers won and they recut the film without the director. So there’s some word that the director’s cut is better than the theatrical one. Which just makes me want to wait for the director’s cut to come to DVD, if I bother with this at all.

Horrible Bosses

Of Jason Bateman’s two comedies this summer, this is the better looking option. Also starring It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Charlie Day and SNL‘s Jason Sudeikis, Horrible Bosses is every working stiff’s fantasy–offing your awful boss. The trailers have been consistently funny and the bosses, played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston, seem to embody the absolute worst in workplace assholery. I’m down with this movie.

Ironclad

Here’s some revisionist history from writer/director Jonathan English (Minotaur) about that time King John stormed Rochester Castle in the early thirteenth century. Which, it did actually happen but take a look at this trailer and tell me you think you can rely on anything this movie sells as a fact. Beyond “King John signed the Magna Carta” and “King John laid siege to Rochester Castle”, Ironclad looks like it will do for King John what Braveheart did for Edward Longshanks.

The Ledge

With a cast including Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson (Morning Glory), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Christopher Gorham (TV’s Covert Affairs), and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), The Ledge was tipped as a hot title at Sundance. But viewers there seemed less than impressed with the philosophical story about a fundamentalist Christian and an atheist who engage in a (ludicrous) test of faith. I don’t get it with Charlie Hunnam. Do you?

Project Nim

It’s too early to speak with any certainty, but Project Nim is already garnering serious Oscar buzz. A documentary about Nim, a chimpanzee raised amongst a human family in New York City in the 1970’s, it’s the one to beat, thus far, for Best Documentary. And I guarantee you it will be better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Sleeping Beauty

I want to see this just out of pure prurient interest. Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) stars as a student who begins hooking at a high-class escort service. Her “specialty” is being drugged and letting creepy men do what they will with her while she’s unconscious. Reviews at Cannes were mixed, but I’m a sucker for stories of people’s kinks and peccadilloes. This will undoubtedly be weird, and possibly bad, but like we’re not all down for a weird sex movie every now and then. I just hope it’s not dead boring, like Steven Soderbergh’s disappointing Girlfriend Experience.

The Ward

Horror movies released in summer are never any good. Amber Heard’s (Drive Angry) “terrorized girl” flick won’t be any different, even though it is from horror master John Carpenter. Which is too bad, as I generally like Heard but she doesn’t seem to get very good work.

Zookeeper

Paul Blart: Zoo Cop. That is all.

July 15

Girlfriend

Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone and Shannon Woodward (TV’s Raising Hope) star in writer/director Justin Lerner’s feature film debut. It’s about a guy with Down’s Syndrome who falls for a woman with a disturbed ex. This movie has had an uphill battle getting released and the buzz has been generally poor, so that this is coming out at all, in any capacity (it’s a New York-only release), is kind of a minor miracle.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part  2 

You ever been on a trip you just didn’t want to end? And every day you were aware that you had one less day in that fabulous place? And so you determined to cram as much amazingness as possible into whatever little time you had left? Yeah.

Life, Above All

Imported from South Africa, Life, Above All is about Chanda (newcomer Khomotso Manyaka) and her struggle to overcome the prejudice against those inflicted with HIV/AIDS and more particularly, the children left behind to raise their siblings when they’re left orphaned by the disease. This is supposed to be a very good movie, but it sounds really intense and really sad and I always have to work my way up to this stuff. May be in the mix for Best Foreign Film come Oscar time.

Lucky

Colin Hanks, despite his Hollywood lineage, has yet to really reach the assumed potential given who his father is. Lucky isn’t helping—the story of a serial killer who wins the lottery hasn’t been winning many fans from what I’ve heard. I don’t care about this one.

Salvation Boulevard

I LOVE Jennifer Connelly. I’ll sit through anything for her, including the mega-depressing Requiem for a Dream and the revolting He’s Just Not That Into You, so I’ll probably get around to seeing this at some point. The story—a born again Christian finds himself fleeing from his church, hellbent on protecting their charismatic pastor—doesn’t particularly interest me. When it comes to movies about cults in 2011, I find Martha Marcy May Marlene and even Red State to be more intriguing. But I do love Jennifer so, so much.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I want to see this and will likely hunt it down in the local arthouse when I get the chance. Set in 19th century China and the present day, the story revolves around two friends, Snow Flower and Lily, who use a fan to send each other messages and maintain their friendship in the face of the super strict social mores imposed on women. Then the story swings to present-day Shanghai and the modern lives of the descendants of Snow Flower and Lily. I’m not explaining it well. Just watch the gorgeous, gorgeous trailer.

Tabloid

ERROL MORRIS.

BEAUTY QUEEN GONE WRONG.

MORMONS.

Please, like you’re not all over it.

Winnie the Pooh

I keep forgetting this movie is coming out, and that Zooey Deschanel is involved. Does anyone else find Winnie the Pooh depressing? I was recently having this discussion with a friend, that we find Winnie the Pooh depressing. Think about it–Winnie and his pals exist because Christopher Robin has no friends. See? Depressing.

July 22

A Little Help

This is another one originally slated for June that got kicked to July. Original caption:

Jenna Fisher (The Office) and Chris O’Donnell star in this dramedy about a widowed mother whose son lies a lot. They try to pass it off like the plot is more complicated than that but it isn’t. It’s just about a boy who is a lying liar and his mom. I like Fischer on The Office but she’s a TV Girl to me—any more than thirty minutes and I start getting annoyed with her presence. And I’ve never gotten the appeal of O’Donnell—SO BORING. Just like this movie. Boring and unspecial and not worth $11.

Another Earth

There’s a trend in independent cinema this year for apocalyptic films. Another Earth, Melancholia and Take Shelter all deal with the end of the world. This one happens to be the least intriguing of the three–one day the world wakes up to find a second Earth in the sky and everyone realizes it’s some kind of doppleganger for this world. So Rhoda (Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice) decides to get tickets to the Other Earth in order to escape the mistakes she’s made, and the ensuing guilt. I mean, maybe. I’m more stoked for Take Shelter.

Captain America: the First Avenger

I got a look at twenty minutes from Captain America and you know what? It was pretty cool. It did not suck. The CGI and effects were solid. And Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Fantastic Four), despite his recent trip into Totally Revolting, was good. I’ve been nervous for this project from day one–Cap is a hard sell for modern audiences and while the corny sentamentalism and rah rah patriotics work (at least in twenty minute increments) in context to World War II, I do still worry about what happens when Cap is transported to 21st century America. But we should be good for the origins story.

Friends with Benefits

I didn’t hate Justin Timberlake in The Social Network or Bad Teacher, but in both of those movies he was just a supporting player. Can he carry a movie? Probably not, but he has Mila Kunis (Black Swan) to carry him through it. She isn’t a proven lead, either, but I’m a big fan of Kunis and I think she’s capable of carrying something like Friends with Benefits. Which plot is pretty much explained in its entirety by the title.

The Myth of the American Sleepover

I hate movies set on the last day of summer. I don’t know exactly why, but maybe it’s because I’ve never seen one that’s been good.

Sarah’s Key

Kristin Scott Thomas stars in this French language film about a present-day journalist who gets sucked into the story of a girl whose life was changed by the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup in 1942. Kristin Scott Thomas + Nazi atrocities + sympathetic young character = MASSIVE SADS.

July 29

Attack the Block

We’ve been hearing about Attack the Block for the better part of the year. Already a winner in the UK, Attack the Block is to alien invasion movies what Shaun of the Dead is to zombie flicks. I. Am. Dying. To. See. This. Movie.

Cowboys and Aliens

Stupid title, sure, but you know what the movie is about. Daniel Craig and Cranky Ford star as Old West gunslinger types caught up in an alien invasion. Sure, why not? Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), it should be stylish if nothing else. Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) also stars, because she’s in everything now.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

This is being marketed as a comedy, but I think it’s going to be a bit darker than that in reality. Cal (Steve Carell) wife (Julianne Moore) leaves him for another man (Kevin Bacon), and so Cal must rediscover his manhood. Enter Jacob (Ryan Gosling), an all-around Cool Dude and womanizer to help him get his mojo back and reconnect with his wife. Emma Stone and Marisa Tomei also star.

The Devil’s Double

Dominic Cooper (Tamara Drewe, Captain America) stars in this movie based on the true story of Uday Hussein’s body double, Latif Yahia. Maybe the movie is good, but 1) I’m not a huge fan of Cooper and 2) the trailer is seizure inducing. If I see this at all, it will be via Netflix.

The Future

Indie hipster queen Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) writes, directs and stars in this indie hipster tale about how adopting a cat tears an indie hipster couple asunder. It will be very indie and hipster. And pretentious.

The Guard

This played to huge reviews at Sundance back in January, drawing a lot of comparisons to In Bruges, which was written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Martin’s brother, John Michael, makes his feature film debut (as a director, having previously written Ned Kelly) with The Guard. Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter’s Mad Eye Moody) stars with Don Cheadle in this story about an uptight FBI agent (Cheadle) and an Irish policeman (Gleeson) who team up to investigate a drug ring. I LOVED In Bruges and the sibling connection alone—let alone Gleeson and Cheadle—is enough to get me into the theater to see this.

Point Blank

This is a New York-only release, however, it’s coming from Magnolia Pictures who has been doing very well with simultaneously releasing films via On Demand, so if you want to see this French thriller about a man trying to save his wife, check your On Demand menu. In other news, one of my favorite movies in high school was Grosse Point Blank.

The Smurfs

What is the point of this? Do children these days even know what the Smurfs are? Who is clamoring for this movie? Because the Smurfs were big when I was a kid and neither I nor my friends care about this movie. Now The Muppets, on the other hand…

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2 Responses to “Summer Movie Preview: July 2011”

  1. GREAT REVIEW! I pretty much agree with pretty much all you said in your article, especially at the middle of your article. Thank you, this info is very valuable as always. Keep up the good work! You’ve got +1 more reader of your great blog:) Isabella S.

  2. My admiration & appreciation for you has increased tenfold. Because you used “peccadilloes” in this preview.

    p.s. Tabloid is the only movie I care about this summer…after midnight on July 15, of course.

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