July! The Summer Movie Season is pretty much done, but there’s a few blockbusters still in the mix. What’s worth checking out? Let’s break it down! EDIT: I just discovered that SWISS ARMY MAN actually opens this week (the directors will be doing a Q&A on Thursday at the Varsity) so I’ve added it to the list.
- SWISS ARMY MAN – July 1 Toronto, July 8 wider. This movie looks completely insane. Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse, and Paul Dano is the man trapped on a deserted island who finds him. They begin an incredible friendship while trying to get back to civilisation. You are not prepared for this film. You need to see this film. Go see this film.
- GHOSTBUSTERS – July 15, RealD3D, IMAX3D. Four hilarious comedians take over the franchise, with Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS) behind the camera. What’s not to love? I’m excited to see what they bring to the table.
- THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – July 8, RealD3D. The first teaser was enough to get my attention, when the weiner dog gets a massage from the standing mixer. This is going to be a monster. The voice actors are a who’s who of the comedy world, and I’m sure their personalities will come through in the great animation from the makers of DESPICABLE ME.
- JASON BOURNE – July 29. I still haven’t watched the Jeremy Renner volume, but I feel like it’s not required viewing with the return of the man himself for the fifth Bourne film. I’m disappointed that they couldn’t just leave it at the three, but Matt Damon said he wouldn’t come back without Paul Greengrass behind the camera, and hopefully the film reflects their passion.
- BAD MOMS – July 29. It’s always good to see women headlining a comedy, here it’s Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn up front, but unfortunately it’s directed by the bros who wrote THE HANGOVER. While I loved that one, they haven’t exactly been killing it with the short-lived MIXOLOGY series, but hey, there’s a lot of great actors here, so we’ll see what happens.
- STAR TREK BEYOND – July 22, RealD3D, IMAX3D. The nerds in charge have officially called this “The Kelvin Timeline” to separate it from the original shows, and depending on the numbers this may well be the end of that timeline anyway. Let’s just say the experiment has, um, diverged from the tone of Trek as we knew it, and what better way to continue on that path than by getting the director of FURIOUS 6? Sure, they balanced it out by getting Simon Pegg to co-write the script, but I’m not expecting a return to the core ideas of Trek. Once it does poorly, what does that mean for the series? Who knows, but I’m going to try reeeeal hard to be neutral about this.
- The BFG – July 1, RealD3D. When Spielberg makes a proper kid’s film, it’s normally a cause for excitement, but this one is aiming a bit younger than usual, and it shows. There’s still lots for the older folks to appreciate, especially Mark Rylance’s performance as the titular BFG, but it’s not one of Spielberg’s finest.
- LIGHTS OUT – July 22. When you distill horror films to the core, it usually comes down to creatures that wait in the dark. This promises just that. Writer/Director David Sandberg gets the chance to extend his short to feature length, and it looks pretty damn good. Not much horror competition, so it should do pretty well.
- NERVE – July 27. Ah, commentary on social media via the thriller. It’s become a subgenre unto itself, partly thanks to the creators of CATFISH, who are taking the dive into narrative filmmaking here. Two pretty young white people (Emma Roberts and Dave Franco) get caught up in an online game of, well, Dare or Dare, that gets supremely out of hand. They had me until it got way too large at the end of the trailer, but at least it’s not all found footage.
- ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE – July 22, RealD3D. Yeesh, they just can’t stop making these, can they? I enjoyed the first, but to say they’re been getting diminishing returns would be an understatement. But the international grosses have been astronomical, so here’s another one! The gimmick is that they cast huge stars for each translation. Smart move, really, but they’re definitely not trying to break new ground creatively.
- THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR – July 1. The reviews for the third installment are interesting, they suggest it’s the weakest of the series, but the timing of the film is perfect given the current political climate. It feels like we’re only a few steps from The Purge being instituted, but I’m trying real hard not to be that pessimistic.
- THE LEGEND OF TARZAN – July 1, RealD3D, IMAX3D. Who wanted this? Who asked for a big-budget Tarzan movie? Who’s going to pay to see it? Is it for international audiences? I like the people involved, but I can’t get excited about it in the slightest.
- MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES – July 8. I love a good vulgar comedy, but I just don’t have a good feeling about this one. Maybe I just can’t see Anna Kendrick as a stoner. Director Jake Szymanski cut his teeth with FUNNY OR DIE and also made the funny Wimbledon mockumentary 7 DAYS IN HELL and the writers made NEIGHBORS, but something about it rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s Adam Devine. He’s super punchable.
- ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE – July 22. I didn’t watch the series, and the trailer didn’t make me laugh once. It’s nice to see French and Saunders get their big-screen moment, but it’s waaaay past due. If you’re a fan of the show, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the film if only to see them doing what they do best.
And there you have it. Nothing horrible, but not much to get excited for either, which is pretty shocking for a July. And frankly August isn’t much better, with a few shining jewels. In the meantime, go see HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. Seriously, go.