MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS: July 2013

The Way, Way Back - July 2013 Movies

There are a lot of movies coming out in July that studios have built large marketing campaigns around hoping that they will make a lot of money. And not one of those movies looks particularly interesting to me. This July I encourage faithful moviegoers to focus on the small films. You may have to travel a little bit or put up with a small art-house theater with no air conditioning, but I assure you that it will be a better way to spend your time and money than seeing sequels to Grown Ups or Red.

Here are the movies and events that I am anticipating this month:

Film Releases

The Way, Way Back
Limited Release on July 5

Screenwriters of The Descendants and frequent sitcom supporting actors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash make their directorial debut with this star-studded comedy about a 14-year old (Liam James) spending a Summer torn between his mom’s obnoxious boyfriend (Steve Carrell) and a lifeguard he befriends (Sam Rockwell). Reviews at the Sundance Film Festival were mixed, but the description of the movie sounds like it might offer a decent relief from the other obnoxious comedies hitting screens this month. The film also stars Toni Collette, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, and Allison Janney. [View the Trailer]

Fruitvale Station
Limited Release on July 12

This year’s Grand Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival tells the true story of 22-year old Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) on the last day of his life before he was fatally shot by police officers. Those of you who are paying early attention to the Oscar race because this film is already getting some Awards season buzz for its stars and as a potential Best Picture contender. The cast also includes Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand, and Chad Michael Murray. [View the Trailer]

The Hunt - July 2013 Movies

The Hunt
Limited Release on July 12

This film took home the Best Actor award and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury when it played at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. The film tells the story of a kindergarten teacher (Mads Mikkelsen) whose life is turned upside down when one of his students tells a lie that spreads like wildfire in the small community. The film has been widely praised in its overseas release and looks to be one of the biggest critical darlings of this year. [View the Trailer]

Pacific Rim
Wide Release on July 12

This is my obligatory Summer blockbuster inclusion. There is very little that excites me about Guillermo Del Toro’s visual effects driven film wherein giant CGI robots fight giant CGI monsters, but I know this is a hotly anticipated title for many readers and podcast listeners (and potentially other Film Misery writers). I don’t want to alienate anybody so I included it on my list. Also, if I have to pick one wide release to see this month I guess this is it. [View the Trailer]

Only God Forgives - July 2013 Movies

Only God Forgives
Limited Release on July 19

Nicholas Winding Refn’s re-team with Ryan Gosling after their hit 2011 film Drive received pretty mixed reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. I highly doubt that Only God Forgives will achieve the same brilliance as Drive, but that does nothing to dilute my excitement for this sure to be candy-colored depiction of real-world violence. It is set in the world of Thai boxing, where Gosling plays a drug-smuggler out for revenge after his brother is killed. The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas and a number of Thai actors. [View the Trailer]

The Act of Killing
Limited Release on July 19

I can’t remember the last time the premise for a movie has intrigued me as much as The Act of Killing. The film is a documentary where the filmmakers have former Indonesian death squad leaders direct re-enactments of their real-life killing sprees in various cinematic genres (noir, musical, etc.). What a brilliant way to make somebody face their demons while simultaneously pulling down the artificial barrier that films often create between cinematic and real-world violence. [View the Trailer]

Blue Jasmine
Limited Release on July 26

Woody Allen’s annual release for this Summer features a temporary return to the U.S. for the much-loved director. Set in San Francisco, Blue Jasmine tells the story of a woman (Cate Blanchett) who returns home to reconnect with her sister (Sally Hawkins) while on the verge of a nervous breakdown. As Duncan rightly points out, Allen’s female-driven films have been more successful than his male ones lately. Who knows if the trend will continue? [View the Trailer]

Much Less Appealing Film Releases:

  • Despicable Me 2 – July 3
  • The Lone Ranger – July 3
  • Grown Ups 2 – July 12
  • The Conjuring – July 19
  • R.I.P.D. – July 19
  • Red 2 – July 19
  • The To-Do List – July 26
  • The Wolverine – July 26

Movies in the Park - July 2013 Movies

Other Events

Watching Movies Outside

While the rest of the country has been reportedly roasting alive, it has been a mild 80 degrees in Minnesota. This month I look forward to taking advantage of one of the many outdoor cinematic experiences in the area and I recommend that you do the same. Many drive-in movie theaters are still in operation and many cities offer screenings in the park series. Minneapolis offers a great series that is worth checking out if you’re in the area.

New Film Misery

Film Misery will be relaunching in mid-July with a new design and some new features. The Oscar predictions will be updated and hopefully we will get another marathon going. If you have suggestions for what you would like to see improved, please e-mail me.

Updated All-Time Top 200

As per tradition, this month I will be revamping my personal list of the 200 Greatest Films of All-Time. This year I am going to try and start from scratch so that it will be more unique than in previous years. There will also certainly be some additions!

What movies or events are you excited about this July?

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  • Excited for all those – yes, even “Pacific Rim” – but I’ll vouch for a few I’m at least interested. I admittedly didn’t have “The Conjuring” on my radar until it got rave reviews at Edinburgh film festival, so my interest is piqued. I don’t expect “Girl Most Likely” to be anything but another immature rom-com, but I love the idea of Annette Bening and Kristen Wiig playing mother and daughter too much to not give it a shot. Lastly is “Blackfish”, which obviously risks being an all too explanatory documentary the likes of which we see all too many of, but I like the idea of a psychological thriller about a killer whale. There are things inherently exciting about the ideas of these films, even if they aren’t treated with as much creative attention as they should be.

  • Why are you not excited for “The Conjuring”, if I may ask? It’s getting some really terrific early reviews. Might be my most anticipated film of the month.

  • Its been a while since you guys did one of these monthly highlights… nice to see it back.

    Looking forward to the Top 200 update (which is something i do every month) :D

    I have seen The Hunt, terrific film featuring amazing performance by Mikkelsen.

    Really excited for Only God Forgives, Fruitvale Station, Blue Jasmine, The Way way way way way back, Pacific Rim….. The conjuring even if its as good as most of the people are saying.

  • Jose

    This looks like a good month, what with Pacific Rim, the Conjuring (EW recently had a fantastic feature story Lorraine Warren so that definitely raised my excitement for the movie a lot)

    I’ve never heard of The Act of Killing until I read this, but it sounds amazing. Blue Jasmine is probably my most anticipated film of the month.

    Heck, after recently seeing RED, and having a blast I’m hoping that RED 2 is as fun. And The Wolverine looks like it migh rectify the damage made by Wolverine and First Class.

    I’d have included The Hunt and Fruitvale Station on my list if it weren’t for the fact that they probably won’t play anywhere near me. Ever.

  • Scott Segrell

    I’m also looking forward to “The Conjuring”. I despised “Red” so have no interest in seeing “Red 2”.

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