This year’s summer movie slate has been an odd mix. For some reason, this year, the studios seem to have saved a lot of the usual summer fare for the fall. That said, there are still some great films to see this month. Here are my must-see films for July.
I didn’t think it was time for another Spiderman reboot so soon after the fab Sam Raimi trilogy. But with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man coaching him, this one further integrates Spidey into the Marvel Avengers’ universe. The plot? Peter tries to return to his normal routine after hanging with the Avengers. But his powers are put to the test when the villain Vulture appears.
Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya , Donald Glover
Director: Jon Watts
City of Ghosts
I have been a big fan of documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney from his 2005 film on Enron through to Going Clear, the definitive doc on the Scientology cult. His films are always extensive and thought-provoking glimpses into the more shadowy areas of life. This film explores the Syrian civilian journalists called Raqqa, who are risking their lives to chronicle the atrocities committed in their homeland by ISIS.
Director: Alex Gibney
War For The Planet of The Apes
Far more poignant than I had imagined, The War For The Planet Of The Apes was one of the best films of the year to date. Concluding the trilogy of films that follow the evolution of Ceasar from a lab animal to the leader of the Ape Revolution, the film was so moving that I cried throughout. The cruelty shown to the Apes was reminiscent of the treatment of the African-American slaves and the American Indians – both parts of my background – so it tapped a place in my soul. This is a must-see.
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Amiah Miller, Judy Greer, Max Lloyd-Jones
Director: Matt Reeves
The true life story of the amazing scientists and filmmakers that banded together to document the dying coral reefs, Chasing Coral is an amazing documentary. On the one hand it is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and on the other, a premier and a wake up call on global warming and its effects. I learned so much in between my tears for the reefs, This is a very hard film to watch but absolutely necessary for anyone, who cares about the planet. The film taught me that we lost 22% of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia last year with more reefs dying. I also learned that if we do not fight now, we will lose all barrier reefs in 30 years. The sight of the beautiful reefs going from vibrant Life to browned out dead fuzzy skeletons literally had me bawling my eyes out and committing to save them.
l am a crazy horror fan and can’t wait for this one. The skinny: 17-year old Clare is gifted by her Dad (can anyone believe that Ryan Phillippe is now playing Dads?) with a mysterious vintage music box that grants its owner seven wishes. Horrors ensue.
Cast: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Elisabeth Rohm, Josephine Langford
Director: John R. Leonetti
I have met and adore both Alec Baldwin and Dylan McDermot and have been a fan of Demi Moore since “St Elmo’s Fire”. Thus, I will definitely be checking out this drama, which finds Moore in a love triangle with the two men.
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, Dylan McDermott, Viva Bianca, James McCaffrey, Jabari Gray, Renée Willett, Drew Moerlein
Director: Michael Mailer
I love period pieces. So I am looking forward to this tale set in 1865 rural England. Following a woman, who is trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man and having an passionate affair with a man her own age, this is sure to be salacious.
Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, Bill Fellows, Joseph Teague, Ian Conningham
Director: William Oldroyd
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Part Guardians of The Galaxy part Star Wars part Blade Runner, Valerian is a fun space romp, perfect for a midsummer movie outing . The leads are relative unknowns but perfectly cast. As Valerian, Dane DeHaan is affably attractive. But Cara Delevingne’s Laureline is one of the sexiest characters to ever grace a sci-fi flick! The plot is complicated, so I won’t ruin it for you by trying to explain it all. But the visuals are the stunning images we have come to expect from Luc Besson. The only miss was a side plot with Rhianna that was way too long for no cinematic purpose and took away from the action. Plus, Rhianna is too huge a star to cast alongside relative unknowns. There was also a line where Rhianna states she has been practicing to be a good hooker since she was 4, which totally grossed me out. Also, the film runs at 2hrs 17 minutes which I feel was a bit too long, Thirty minutes could have been edited out. That said, I loved this film and it’s an instant cult classic.
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna , Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer
Director: Luc Besson
A lover of peace, I am a not a big war movie fan. But this is a Christopher Nolan film starring my crush Tom Hardy, so I will definitely see this. The film chronicles the evacuation of 330,000 British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers during the 1940 invasion of Dunkirk.
Cast: Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, James D’Arcy, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, Jack Lowden, Aneurin Barnard
Director: Christopher Nolan
Four black woman rekindle their friendship and share wild adventures at the Essence Festival. From Best Man director, Malcolm Lee looks like a riotous laugh fest!
Cast: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh, Kofi Siriboe
Director: Malcolm Lee
This stylized, kickass spy thriller featuring Charlize Theron is definitely going to be one of the best films of the summer. Theron plays Agent Lorraine Broughton, who is sent alone into Berlin to retrieve a priceless dossier from within the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through a deadly game of spies. Action films always benefit from great actors in the lead roles, so I expect a lot from this one.
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, Daniel Bernhardt
Director: David Leitch
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
The sequel to Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”, the film follows Gore as he travels the world to train an army of activists and influence international climate policy. The original film was a wake up call where this one is an inspiring call to action. At a time when we have a fool in the White House, who has no idea the havoc that global warming is wreaking on our environment, this film should be required viewing for every person on the planet.
Cast: Al Gore
Director: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
The Emoji Movie
This film looks like fun for the whole family. Enter the imaginary bustling city of Textopolis the home to all emojis. Each emoji has only one facial expression, except for Gene, an exuberant emoji with multiple expressions. Determined to become “normal” like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his best friend Hi-5 and a notorious code breaker called Jailbreak. During their travels through the other apps, the three emojis discover a great danger that could threaten their phone’s very existence.
Cast: T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera
Director: Anthony Leondis