Well, my fellow summer cinephiles, it’s time for part two of this Examiner’s annual 2014 “Summer Movie Madness” preview, bringing you July’s most anticipated cinematic escapes…May and June have already unspooled with a bang, bringing us a steady stream of crowd-pleasing, megalithic blockbusters like X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla and Edge of Tomorrow, side by side with accomplished, comparably low budget gems like Cold in July and The Rover (all presciently previewed in this Examiner’s last preview article for June, also accessible on Examiner.com). With Michael Bay’s multimillion dollar, 3D Imax blockbuster, Transformers: Age of Extinction ready to rake in a gazillion dollars – along with the intriguing Snowpiercer sci-fi mind trip – about to round out the month of June alone, buckle up for even more thrills as we take a look at what July has to offer!
Other notable July releases not featured in depth throughout the following slides include Zach Braff’s new indie comedy (a follow up to his similarly-themed, low budget hit, Garden State), Wish I Was Here, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new self-professed passion project, Hercules, The Purge sequel brings Anarchy to the streets, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role in the espionage drama, A Wanted Man, Eric Bana’s attempts to Deliver us from Evil – in this case, a NYC demon infestation, and the mysteriously shocking discovery Boardwalk Empire's offed gangster, Michael Pitt, makes in I Origins.
Our featured film for the month of July (releasing on the 18th) is the new sci-fi-romance-action thriller, Jupiter Ascending, from the always-interesting Wachowski clan – the accomplished team that virtually transformed the future of sci-fi cinema with their groundbreaking Matrix trilogy (not to mention the excellent V for Vendetta). Featuring the talents of Andy and Lana Wachowski this time around, in addition to the seemingly endless rising star-power of Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending is set in a dystopian future where an alien bounty hunter (played by Tatum) is sent to rescue a human janitor named Jupiter (Kunis), whom believes it’s her destiny to overthrow the current royal regime.
With the Wachowski’s proven track record in creating visually sumptious, mind-bending thrillers, along with the talents of the aforementioned cast (and increasingly fun screen shots revealing Tatum zipping around the city with a pair of sleek jet-pack boots and Kunis on his back), this one promises to another sizzling summer entrée. While some of their latest offerings have received only lukewarm responses, it’s tough for any admirers of their work to not get jazzed for what promises to be another fun, unique – and often even profound – return to form for the Wachowski’s. If so, here’s to hoping these shortlisted creators get a crack at the upcoming Justice League film!
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Back in 2011, Twentieth Century Fox and Rupert Wyatt decided to revive the meaty Planet of the Apes franchise and, in the process, unexpectedly produced one of the best, most thought-provoking and emotionally engaging blockbusters of the year. Flash forward to 2014, and now rising director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) has taken over the reins for a sequel that promises the same successful elements on an even larger, darker, and hopefully just as pleasing scale.
Following the remnants of surviving humans as they inexorably head into war with the dominant species of apes now roaming free, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (a nice titular homage to Dawn of the Dead's pioneering auteur, George Romero) should feature more than enough credible actors (Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, etc.), top-notch effects and surprisingly deep social commentary to make for a well-rounded summer meal at the multiplexes.
Of course, no summer would be complete without at least a couple intentionally low brow, leave-your-brain-at-home comedies, so until Dumb and Dumber To hits theaters, perhaps Tammy will tide us over. Featuring red-hot comedy star, Melissa McCarthy (anyone heard of Bridesmaids?), this self-described, raunchy road trip comedy will look to get audiences rolling in the aisles all over again when it hits theaters on July 2nd. Initially inspired by a dream of McCarthy’s real-life husband, Ben Falcone (who directs the film), Tammy finds McCarthy braving a road trip with her frequently tipsy grandmother, played by the always-reliable Susan Sarandon. What more really needs to be said?