Monthly Preview: July 2015

calendar2July is a bizarre stretch for me, as there isn’t really anything catching my eye until the 3rd Friday of the month. That means, among other things, that there won’t be anything new to see on my birthday (though with the surplus of offerings last month I won’t be completely lost).Thankfully July still looks like it will end strong, with a bunch of fun and intriguing films on the docket through the last few weekends. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Ant-Man: At this point the biggest bummer about Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man is that it might eclipse what could be another great film from Marvel Studios as a whole, and a potentially career-redefining effort from director Peyton Reed. Early word on this one is as positive as one could hope, and it seems like Reed & company are using a relatively small-stakes story both to tell an intimate emotional story and provide some added depth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall. I’d worry that the average audience member isn’t capable of taking the concept of Ant-Man seriously, but after we collectively shelled out three-quarters of a billion worldwide on a talking raccoon and a walking tree I’m feeling confident that Ant-Man could be the latest oddball blockbuster from the supposedly repetitive MCU.

Mr. Holmes: For the last decade or so, Bill Condon has mostly been defined by his efforts with big-budget studio musicals (writing Chicago, writing/directing Dreamgirls and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast) and schlocky tween vampire movies (that shall remain nameless). But he’s also demonstrated a real ability with quiet character dramas like Gods and Monsters and Kinsey, an arena that he is returning too with Mr. Holmes. Combine the good festival buzz with the thought of Ian McKellen playing Sherlock Holmes and this sounds like some solid counter-programming in the thick of summer blockbuster season.

Trainwreck: Judd Apatow has been one of (possibly THE) defining comedy voice of the 21st century, having directed, written and/or produced some of the best comedy films of the last 10 years. Unfortunately his last few directorial efforts have trended less towards Laugh-Out-Loud and more towards Quietly Humorous Introspection, and while I’ve enjoyed those films as much as his earlier ones I also think he could use a creative shakeup. Enter Amy Schumer, taking a break from her brilliant TV show to provide an equally smart critique of gender dynamics and rom-com tropes that also looks flat-out hilarious. Apatow and Schumer certainly seem to make a great team together, one bolstered in this case by a stacked supporting cast. This could be one of my favorite movies of the year when it’s all said and done and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

The End of the Tour: I have never read any David Foster Wallace, and my only real knowledge/awareness of him comes secondhand from friends. I’m sure this will impact how I respond to The End of the Tour, I’m just not sure if it will be for better or worse. Either way, it seems like this should be another quality character piece from James Ponsoldt, driven by the always-reliable Jesse Eisenberg and the apparently-revelatory Jason Segel. If the trailer is any indication, the themes and emotions at play in this story could easily be the sort of thing an artist (or in my case, aspiring artist) eats up with a spoon; hopefully they earn that and turn it into something powerful and affecting, regardless of your foreknowledge of DFW.

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation: It occurred to me a few months ago that I really, REALLY like the Mission: Impossible franchise. Aside from John Woo’s overblown, melodramatic second installment, I’ve enjoyed every film immensely and appreciated how Tom Cruise has allowed the franchise to basically be a sandbox where filmmakers can bring their own unique persona to bear. I’m certainly curious to see how Christopher McQuarrie makes his mark on a franchise that is built on that principle, and I’m excited to see Tom Cruise and his repertory company of IMF agents on another rollicking, old-school spy adventure. The Year of the Spy isn’t close to over yet, and Rogue Nation looks like it could be another winner in the genre.

The only thing keeping me from being more interested in Magic Mike XXL is that I missed the first one, but if I rectify that soon enough I’ll certainly catch the sequel; I’ve heard amazing things about Tangerine, beyond just the “shot on an iPhone” thing, sounds like an authentic and grounded bit of storytelling; I can’t forget about The Look of Silence even if I wasn’t as blown away by The Act of Killing as everyone else; and Vacation looks surprisingly fun and energetic and not at all the vapid, shallow reboot exercise I would’ve expected.

And that’s July! Stick around and maybe I’ll tell you a bit about how these movies turned out!

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