Monthly Movie Preview: July 2015

July, I’m gonna let you finish in a minute, but June had one of the best movie months of ALL TIME! As summer temperatures rise, there is still room for a few more blockbusters, and some dark horse indy movies.

July 1 – Magic Mike XXL

Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Rick Flair (yes, the wrestlers), Donald Glover, tWitch, Amber Heard, Gabriel Iglesias, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Straham,

I mean, it’s all about the plot, right? Kidding! No one cares about the plot, especially since the first Magic Mike was too much about the plot. Which as it turned out, was kind of dark. Things look a little bit lighter this time around. With the addition of Jada Pinkett-Smith, Donald Glover, and So You Think You Can Dance‘s tWitch, this looks like it could be a funny male stripper movie; everything the first one was not. Oh, and for clarification, this movie is absolutely about the Man Meat. #ComeAgain. – Adrian

July 1 – Terminator Genisys

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Jai Courtney, Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor), Lee Byung-hun (Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe), J.K. Simmons, Sandrine Holt (Fear the Walking Dead)

This may be the Terminator movie no one asked for, and that’s saying something in comparison to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Genisys is sort of a retelling of the original movie, except not at all. John Conner sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother from a Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead of being a remake of the original movie, which would be a bad idea, it was decreed that this would be a brand new story where everything goes horribly wrong. Kyle Reese goes back in time where Sarah Conner is waiting for him with her very own giant Austrian terminator, known as Guardian. Terminator Genisys is sort of a weird amalgamation of the first three Terminator movies. T-800 shaped like Arnold Schwarzenegger, check. T-1000 that takes the shape of a cop that actually looks a lot like Robert Patrick, check. A strange combination of both models, check. I don’t know about this one. – Scott

July 3 (worldwide July 10) – Amy

Starring: Amy Winehouse, bunch of other people

It’s an Amy Winehouse documentary, so it is wrapped up in controversy. Originally approved by her estate, Asif Kapadia set out to make a movie about the singer that captured her true essence. Now her estate is saying the movie has told many lies about Amy’s life, including her relationship with her father. Winehouse’s death was hard for me; she was my absolute favorite singer. Her public and personal life were both in shambles during her career, but that did not take away from the fact that she had the most amazing voice. I will be bringing my tissues to his one. – Adrian

July 10 – Minions

Starring: Pierre Coffin (voice of the Minions), Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush, Jennifer Saunders

A prequel to the hit animation Despicable Me, Minions tells the story of everyone’s favorite, yellow little mess makers. Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob set out on a journey to find an evil mastermind for their clan to serve under and find themselves in 1960’s New York City. This movie could go one of two ways. It could either majorly stink as an obvious marketing ploy to sell more yellow plushies or it could be a really funny, cute movie that ties into an already great franchise. Maybe wait a few days to see what the reviews are before shelling out the cash for a movie ticket. – Charlotte

July 10 – Self/Less

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode, Michelle Dockery, Natalie Martinez, Victor Garber

Holy crap, where has Ryan Reynolds been these past few years – besides Deadpooling? I’m still waiting on the Celebrity Deathmatch between he and Gosling… Anyway, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen a Ryan Reynolds movie that looked entertaining, and this one looks impressive. It sort of feeds of the (albeit terrible) Justin Timberlake movie In Time, where the world’s wealthiest get a chance to continue living past their natural lives, in this case by transferring bodies. It also has a Dollhouse vibe, where the “shells” that the wealthy person’s consciousness is transferred to is never quite clean. And, of course, it’s wrapped up nicely with Ben Kingsley playing the rich old guy. I’d give this a chance. – Sherif

July 10 – Strangerland

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving

Strangerland: I have no idea what this movie is about. All I know is that it is about two teenagers who disappear into the outback and how that affects their families and brings their darkness to light. Honestly, that’s not much to go on and the trailer only makes that premise seem more confusing. I do have to say though, that the movie looks good. I don’t know what to expect, but it seems like this one will leave audiences speechless after taking them on a dramatic thrill ride. Strangerland is lead by a strong cast, and has so far done quite well on the festival circuit so chances are if you want to give it a try you won’t come out of it disappointed. – Keriann

July 10 – The Gallows

Starring: Cassidy Gifford, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos

I spent my entire life as a theater geek, acting in plays and working behind the scenes and of all the programs I was involved in and all the schools I went to there was one constant through all of them: every theater has a ghost. The Gallows is the first movie I’ve seen that focuses on that very premise when a group of people break into a theater where a kid supposedly died on stage during a production of the play, The Gallows. Obviously he is not a very peaceful spirit and the rest basically unfolds from there. Here’s what works about this movie: the story it tells will ring bells and give goosebumps to audiences because it’s about an urban legend we’ve all heard at one point. Whether it was the ghost of the theater, the summer camp or  the dormitory – we’ve all heard the tales and we’ve all listened in the quiet to see if a spirit really is there. Here’s what doesn’t work about this movie: it’s ANOTHER found footage film and I am so god damn tired of those. I probably wouldn’t spend my money to see this one in the theaters, chances are that will go to seeing Jurassic World or Mad Max again but when it hits Netflix I’ll be excited to give it a watch. – Keriann

July 17 – Ant-Man

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, T.I., Wood Harris, Judy Greer,

Ant-Man might be the funniest Marvel movie to date. Since Paul Rudd not only stars, but co-wrote the screenplay, I do have high hopes. Add in other co-writers Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), and Adam McKay (Step-Brothers, Anchorman), and you have a winner. The current comic keeps me in stitches, and while I think the only similarity will be Scott Lang, I’m still expecting the same type of humor. By the way, this is going to be superhero movie. But I have a feeling that might be an after thought in the movie, too. – Adrian

July 17 – Irrational Man

Starring: Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix, Jamie Blackley, Parker Posey

When I saw that Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix we going to be in a movie together, I was curious and a bit excited to see what it would be about. But then I found out Irrational Man is a Woody Allen film. I’ve never been a fan of his films, and I do not expect to be seeing this one either. Joaquin Phoenix plays a philosophy professor who’s tormented and doesn’t seem to feel much or get any pleasure out of life. Emma Stone is his student. Half way through the preview something changes and the professor seems to suddenly come out of his malaise while Stone seems irritated and annoyed. It is almost as if the two characters traded places. For me the preview, was boring and uninteresting. With Allen’s name attached to it, it doesn’t give me much hope that it’ll be a good film, either. – Jené

July 17 – Mr. Holmes

Starring: Ian McKellen, Colin Starkey, Patrick Kennedy, Hattie Morahan, Laura Linney

In this mystery drama, it turns out Sherlock Holmes is actually a real person and has been retired for years. Grappling with an unreliable memory, he must attempt to solve a case from his past now haunting him. I’m incredibly excited for this film. As a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, a movie about him being a real person is really fun to think about. I’m a total sucker for fiction weaving with reality, making this an exciting concept. I’m expecting lots of inside jokes and references. It looks to be a lovingly crafted story which will appeal to fans of the original text and novices alike. Ian McKellen is the perfect choice for Sherlock, and I couldn’t stop grinning watching the trailer. – Charlotte

July 17 – Trainwreck

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, LeBron James, John Cena, Ezra Miller, Barkhad Abdi (the guy from Captain Phillips), Dave Atell, Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat), Marisa Tomei, Daniel Radcliffe

Why do I want to see Trainwreck? Amy Schumer, of course. There is no denying this woman has made you laugh at least once in the last two months. The plot isn’t one I’d normally be drawn to; a woman in New York has a tough time getting a decent guy, and then BAM… Bill Hader comes along. However, Schumer’s sense of humor, Judd Apatow taking the director’s chair, Bill Hader playing a love interest, and LeBron James’ new career are enough to make me very interested in this movie. – Adrian

July 24 – American Heist

Starring: Hayden Christiansen, Adrien Brody, Akon, Jordana Brewster

If I had to make a list of the crappiest movies out this summer, American Heist would be on it. That being said, if I also had to make a list of the movies I would see out of said crappy list, American Heist would also be on that. Hayden Christiansen plays James, “a man with nothing to lose” (don’t you just love those clichés?) who is trying to turn his life around after his brother Frankie (another classic thug name), played by Brody, takes the rap for him and goes to jail in his stead. Of course, things go wrong. Frankie owes people money, somebody let Akon act, and it’s a story you’ve heard 25,000,000 times before. WACK. – Sherif

July 24 – The Look of Silence

Starring: Documentary

The Look of Silence is an Oppenheimer documentary that follows a family who has survived genocide. It’s a companion piece to his earlier work The Act of Killing. When I heard that Werner Herzog was one of the producers on the film, I was instantly curious. He’s one of my favorite documentarians and he has a tendency to back up a lot of really good work. The preview itself chokes you with emotion as a man talks to his mother about being surrounded by her son’s killers. Though, as the preview continues we get praise for the documentary instead of presenting the actual story the documentary is portraying.  While I know I will eventually watch the documentary it’s hard to tell what to expect from just watching the preview alone. I wish documentaries would rely on the story more than what critics of to say about the piece. – Jené

July 24 – Dark Was the Night

Starring: Kevin Durand, Lukas Haas, Bianca Kajlich, Sabina Gadecki (The League)

I am a sucker for a good monster movie, and this one really gets my hopes up. It’s so hard to do a good monster movie these days because frankly people are so much scarier, but there is still something so primal and scary about being preyed upon by something inhuman from nature. Dark was the Night is about a small town sheriff who begrudgingly realizes that the stories he was told as a child about a monster in the woods were more than just make believe. I am very excited about this movie after watching the trailer. It does not look over the top by any means, instead it feels like a subtle true to life tale of how this would impact people in reality and not fantasy. Spoiler alert: that shit would be terrifying. I would recommend a trip to the theater for this one, and maybe potentially sleeping with the lights on afterward. – Keriann

July 24 – Paper Towns

Starring: Nat Wolff (Fault in Our Stars), Cara Develingne, Austin Ambers (The Kings of Summer),

After a wild night of revenge and mischief, Quentin embarks on a wild journey to find Margo, the girl he’s been pining over for most of his life. Based on the novel by the award winning author and internet guru John Green, this long anticipated film promises to ignite the curiosity inside you. ANOTHER JOHN GREEN MOVIE! I’ve been waiting for this film ever since I first read Paper Towns in 2010. After the success of The Fault in Our Stars, I can’t wait to see what this film has in store. TFIOS was such a brilliant adaptation, I have no doubts that this one will be just as faithful. Another giant gift for Nerdfighteria is just around the corner! Until then, DFTBA! – Charlotte

July 24 – Pixels

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan, Sean Bean (for Winterfell!), Ashley Benson, Jane Krakowski

Right away, the first problem with Pixels is that it opens up with images of things that bring you joy, make you happy, and aren’t made with the kind of cynical joyless sticky cash-grabiness that drips from the oily pores Adam Sandler. Seriously. This movie is dumb, Adam Sandler’s dumb, and he hasn’t been funny since Billy Madison. If you want to simulate what watching this movie will be like, just repeat the trailer for two terrible hours, add in some good ol’ fashion racism, and beat your face against the wall. Still better than having to sit through a full frontal lobe lobotomy. Er, I mean Adam Sandler. Same difference. And I don’t know if you care, Kevin (there’s only one person who cares, his name is Kevin, and I don’t know if he’s reading this), but there’s a single frame at 1:38 telling you to unlock Lady Lisa at Dojoquest.com. To which I summon level 12 Lucille Bluth. Better yet, just go rewatch Arrested Development. That’s what I’m going to do. – Montgomery

July 24 – Southpaw

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, Victor Ortiz, 50 Cent, Tyrese Gibson, Rita Ora

This film is nearly five years in the making, with Jake Gyllenhaal replacing Eminem as the lead actor (that makes TWO big name movies that Eminem could have starred in) in this boxing film. Lefty boxer Billy Hope is finally getting ready to retire from the sport to spend time with his family. Unfortunately, he does some knucklehead stuff and his wife dies, leaving him to be a crappy father to his child. Maybe it’s the feeling that this movie is too close to 8 Mile conceptually, but I’m not completely sold on the premise of the film. I love Gyllenhaal as an actor, but it’ll take something more than a training montage and an Eminem theme song to get me to the theaters. – Sherif

July 24 – The Vatican Tapes

Starring: Kathleen Robertson, Michael Peña, Djimon Hounsou

I’m not entirely sure what the plot of this movie is. I can’t tell if it’s a movie about a movie and that’s why it’s called The Vatican Tapes, if it’s the first in a series and that’s why it’s called The Vatican Tapes, or if it’s supposed to be a found footage movie and that’s why it’s called The Vatican Tapes. But, it looks like another one of those missed-the-point trying-to-out-do-The-Exorcist movies about an exorcism gone awry. On paper, this sort of stuff speaks my Changuage, but more often than not, it’s a series of jump scares and diet water level Catholicism. It might be worth seeing if you think jump scares are streets ahead. – Montgomery

July 24 – A LEGO Brickumentary

Starring: Jason Bateman (narrator)

If you’re like me and billions of other kids who grew up on LEGOs, then this documentary will give you a chronic case of the feels. These little building blocks might seem like they’ve sold out with the collector’s sets and the over-branding, but they are still an international sensation. LEGOs reach across poverty lines and geographic lines and teach kids how to BUILD. Well, I could go on about how LEGOs have changed my life, but you should just watch Jason Bateman do it himself in LEGO form. Whether it be a handful of blocks, or a grand scale like the Star Wars tie-fighter, LEGOs inspire. – Sherif

July 29 – Vacation

Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Charlie Day, Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Nick Kroll,

From the writer of Horrible Bosses, John Francis Dailey (HOW COOL IS THAT!) comes the next installment of the wonderful National Lampoon’s Vacation series. Now Rusty is all grown up with a a family all his own. What else is he to do but recreate the family trip to Wally World; the first time around went pretty well. Adult Rusty, played by Ed Helms, and Christina Applegate pack their kids into a new horrible family vehicle and hit the road, and, of course, shenanigans ensue. With cameo’s from Chevy Chase and Beverley D’Angelo, and a supporting cast too funny to mention here, this movie is going to be too excellent to pass up. – Scott

July 31 – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, America Olivo, Alec Baldwin

I may be in the minority of not hating Tom Cruise, but I think most people are looking forward to the latest Mission Impossible installment. Here are some reasons to be excited: Simon Pegg, kick-ass woman spy lady, explosions, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, action, Simon Pegg, humor, maybe a good plot, and Simon Pegg. If you like spy movies, and if you are American and have eyes, you do, then this will be the best bet for your July theater going. I for one, am pretty darn excited. – Adrian

July 31 – The End of the Tour

Starring: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Ron Livingston, Anna Chlumsky

Whether you like it or not, Jesse Eisenberg is coming back in a big way. The End of the Tour is a departure from his other upcoming work like American Ultra and Batman vs. Superman; it’s another under-the-radar indy film that has the potential to be quite poignant and reflective. Eisenberg plays Rolling Stone journalist David Lipsky, who goes on a road trip to interview David Foster Wallace (played by Segel). Wallace has practically Salinger’ed himself after Infinite Jest, and Lipsky is looking to bring him out of his funk. It’s basically Get Him to the Greek for intellectuals… or, at least, that’s how I’m going to hope it turns out. – Sherif

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