The Coming Thing: July Movie Previews

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The Coming Thing:  July Movie Previews

We’re back, much like a certain robotic killing machine, and we’re here to give you a glimpse into what to watch for in theaters for July.  We’ll break down all of the major wide-release films as well as give you some pointers towards limited release films that give you a video-on-demand option, just in case you want to stay in and still see the latest movies!

July 3rd Releases

Wide Release:

Terminator: Genisys

Please don't suck, please don't suck...
Please don’t suck, please don’t suck…

Studio:  Paramount.  Director:   Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World).  Starring:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, Byung-Hun Lee, nostalgia.

Skynet (and Paramount) have dabbled with the time travel once too often, causing the time-line where Kyle Reese rescues Sarah Connor from the original T-800 murder bot to become unstable.  When Reese arrives in LA circa 1984, he finds that history has re-written itself…with terrible consequences for his mission and the fate of mankind.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s Take:  You already know you’re going to see it.  My suspicion is that most of us are going to need to send future versions of ourselves back in time to warn present-day viewers to NOT see it…

 

Magic Mike XXL

I wonder what the target of this ad is?
I wonder what the target of this ad is?

Studio:  Warner Bros.  Director:  Gregory Jacobs (Magic Mike.)  Starring:  Channing Tatum, abs, sweat.

Channing Tatum is back as Magic Mike, a legendary male stripper who is now in retirement.  His old friends are intent on recruiting him for one last show.  Getting the gang of muscled-up V-shaped hunks back together is harder than anticipated, so the remaining members of the Kings of Tampa set out on the road, in the process learning invaluable lessons about friendship and cocoa butter.  Rated R.

Neil’s Take:  Rent it.  The first was a lighthearted romp, and Channing Tatum does seem to know his bread and butter:  take off your shirt and try to talk as little as possible.  This formula should work fine a second time around and I’m kind of rooting for this muscled up comedy as a counter-point to the flabby ex-Governator.  Fat chance of that, though.

VOD Release:

In Stereo

Douche-bags, no In Stereo!
Douche-bags, now In Stereo!

Studio:  Circus Road Films.  Director:  Mel Rodriguez III (nothing.)  Starring:  Nobodies.  And that guy from Office Space you really hope is going to make another funny movie in his lifetime.

Two self-absorbed, well-to-do, good looking, artsy-fartsy types are in a relationship where they treat each other and everyone else like crap.  They break up, continue to be giant walking assholes to everyone, come to the conclusion that they need each other, continue to be assholes some more, end of movie. Not yet rated.

Neil’s take: Burn it with fire!  I guess the title “First World Problems” was already taken?  Vain, vicious, vacuous people screwing up their lives without any humor.

 

Jackie and Ryan

The horrific tale of a face-eating Ashton Kutcher clone!
The horrific tale of a face-eating Ashton Kutcher clone!

Studio:  Entertainment One.  Director:  Ami Mann (Texas Killing Fields.)  Starring:  Katherine Heigl, Ben Barnes.

A chance accident brings together Jackie, a former singer, with Ryan, an aspiring musician.  Jackie is suffering through a bitter divorce, and the two recognize a kindred spirit in each other.  They’ll need more than luck to overcome a vindictive ex-husband and the perils of trying to make a career in music.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s Take:  Netflix it.  The casting seems solid enough, though the story is riddled with cliches and plot gimmicks.  Indie movies just love the up-and-coming musician mythos, here sprinkled with the doomed-lovers motif. Maybe that’s enough to separate if from the pack…in 3 months when it shows up on your recommended list.

July 10

Wide Release:

Minions

Damn, now I want Twinkies!
Damn, now I want Twinkies!

Studio:  Universal.  Directors:  Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda.  Starring:  Pixels, Sandra Bullock.

Before the evil mastermind Gru came along (Despicable Me 1&2) the lovable yellow minions had been searching since the ancient past for a master vile enough to serve faithfully.  Their journey through history, attempting to assist the baddest of the bad, lands them in London in the 1960’s as they try to earn a spot as minions to the delightfully wicked Violet Overkill.  When Violet takes a keen hatred to the minions, they’re going to need all of the despicable prowess to survive.  Rated PG.

Neil’s Take:  See It.  The series has proven to be warped and wonderful, a subversive take on the modern super-hero fixation, and even without the voice talent of Steve Carrell, this film looks like it’s going to be fun.

The Gallows

Can anything be scarier than a high school drama club?
Can anything be scarier than a high school drama club?

Studio:  Warner Bros.  Directors:  Chris Lofing, Travis Luff.  Starring:  murder, ghosts?

Dim witted teens try to do the right thing by staging a school play…but unfortunately they pick a production that resulted in death and tragedy the first time it was staged.  Scares ensue.  Rated R.

Neil’s take:  Skip it.  This film looks like you threw every horror movie of the last decade in a blender.  Can we just STOP with the found-footage crap already?  That schtick was played out 20 minutes into the Blair Witch Project!  The Gallows doesn’t seem to have much substance.

Self/Less

Studio:  Focus Features.  Director:  Tarsem Singh (Immortals.)  Starring:  Ben Kingsley, Ryan Reynolds.

Prove me wrong, boys.
Prove me wrong, boys.

A wealthy businessman reacts to his impending demise by seeking immortality.  A shady scientific/medical firm offers to upload his brain into the vegetative body of a remarkably fit coma victim, but the initial success is met with horror as the bodies original owner starts to intrude upon his new owner’s memories, revealing a sordid tale of body snatching and mad-science.

Neil’s take:  See It…on the cheap if you can.  I love me some mad science (the only science worth doing, in my opinion) and Director Singh has done some visually impressive things with Immortals…I’m just worried because Kingsley and Reynolds have managed to star in some of the very worst movies ever made.  Some great movies too, though, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

VOD Release:

The Suicide Theory

If you want my theory...it was a suicide.  That's all I got.
If you want my theory…it was a suicide. That’s all I got.

Studio:  Seven8 Media.  Director:  Dru Brown (Sleeper.)  Starring:  Well…you probably wouldn’t have heard of them…

A troubled man hires a hitman…with himself as the target.  While the killer is at first scornful, after one sure-fired attempt goes wrong, he starts to become scared, and then angry.  Every attempt to put his client in the ground goes wrong, despite meticulous planning.  As his handlers begin to doubt his ability, the killer must finish this contract, despite the job becoming much stranger than he ever imagined.  Rated R.

Neil’s Take See It.  The pacing, atmosphere and dialogue are all tight, and the supernatural theme is treated with steely-eyed resolve.  This is the best take on everyday super-powers since Unbreakable.

What We Did on Our Holiday

Invest in a better poster, people, this looks like a yawn caught on film.
Invest in a better poster, people, this looks like a yawn caught on film.

Studio:  Lionsgate.  Directors: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkins.  Starring:  Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly, Doctor Who (David Tennant.)

A married couple decide to call it quits.  Unfortunately, they come to this decision right before a family trip to visit relatives in Scotland.  While the family is crumbling from the inside, the tension is building on the outside.  Perhaps the added stress of a garrulous family is what the pair need to put their lives into perspective.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s Take:  Rent it.  Another iffy plot that is helped along by a strong cast and a novel take on the genre.  This film feels like it won’t end in a happy marriage, but everybody is going to learn something along the way.

July 17

Wide Release:

Trainwreck

A brown bag 40 oz...we call it the Congress St. Special.
A brown bag 40 oz…we call it the Congress St. Special.

Studio:  Universal.  Director:  Judd Apatow.  Starring:  Amy Schumer, Bill Hader.  For some reason, Lebron James and John Cena.

After growing up the product of a failed marriage, Amy has lived by a simple credo:  no strings attached, ever.  She’s parlayed that into a comfortable lifestyle, a rewarding writing career, and an over-sized liver.  As a female columnist at a men’s magazine, Amy gets roped into interviewing a sports medicine guru, who happens to think that she is amazing.  Now Amy has to try to reconcile her new situation with her life’s ambition of being an perpetual bachelor-ette.  Rated R.

Neil’s take:  See it.  Damn you, Judd Apatow, for making movies that offend every sensibility that I have, but still manage to appeal to me in every way.  I was totally prepared to blow this movie off…but the trailer roped me in.  Schumer and Hader are both rising comedy stars, for good reason.  The comedic fare is predictable but engaging.  You could do worse, if you’re looking for an adult laugh this summer.

Ant-Man

Big promises, tiny pay offs:  Ant-Man!
Big promises, tiny pay offs: Ant-Man!

Studio:  Walt Disney.  Director:  Peyton Reed (The Break Up.)  Starring:  Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, unstated misogyny.

Marvel has decided to wave their impervious track record in our face by making an adaptation of the worst (and least known and least loved) super hero in their stable:  Ant-Man.   Hank Pym is a dickhead scientist with a bad relationship with his wife, who created inventions that usually brought nothing but headaches.  His Pym particles lets him shrink and grow at will…which is what Apache Chief could do, but at least he wasn’t a dick about it.  After his run as the worst Avenger, he brought in a replacement to fill his tiny tiny shoes, which is where Paul Rudd finds himself.  A super-hero nobody knows or cares about, he is going to have to save the day just to get the time of day from the big name Avengers…probably minus all that stuff about how Pym was a total dick, since Marvel is trying to sell a movie.

Neil’s take:  Skip it.  I thought we already had one movie this week called Trainwreck!  Marvel is gambling that Paul Rudd is as good at being endearing as Chris Pratt…which is a losing proposition.  His powers are lame, his history is squalid, and they’ve proven they don’t need another mad scientist in the pantheon over at Avengers HQ.  Why is this movie being made?

VOD Release:

Ardor

See it.
See it, despite the boring poster!

Studio:  Magma Cine.  Director:  Pablo Fendrick.  Starring:  Alice Braga, Gael Garcia Bernal.

In Argentina, a poor farmer and his daughter are about to be run off of their family farm until a mysterious tribesman from the rain forest arrives to help them fight back against the ruthless claim jumpers out to take their land.  Rater R.

Neil’s take:  See it.  This film looks like the best western to come out in years.  The story has a classic Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leonne vibe which makes full use of the lush and desperate setting in Argentina.  There are some very cool visuals on display that pay homage to old cowboy classics while giving them a unique stamp, and Alice Braga (Elysium, City of God) looks like a complete bad ass.

Lila and Eve

This PTA is DOA.
The PTA is DOA.

Studio:  Samuel Goldwyn Meyer.  Director:  Charles Stone (Mr. 3000)  Starring:  Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez.

Two women meet at a support group for grieving mothers after their children are murdered in two seperate, drug related incidents.  When they cannot get the police to take an interest in their cases, they decide to get rough justice on their own, and ignite a trail of vengeance and violence that threatens to destroy both of their lives.  Rated R.

Neil’s take:  Rent it.  I like the style and setting of this picture, and Viola Davis is quite a powerful actress, but the film seems to lose its focus after the killing begins and devolve into a gritty revenge flick.  Not that that’s a bad thing, but the premise looks so much more promising than “orgy of violence” that the trailer breaks down into.

July 24

Wide Release:

Pixels

Nope.
Nope.

Studio:  Sony.  Director:  Chris Columbus (various Harry Potter films.)  Starring:  Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage.

Mankind’s overture to the stars brings home invaders from space…who attack the planet dressed as Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders.  A group of man-children known for their video game prowess are our last hope to thwart the pixelated plague.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s take:  Skip it.  The film looks great, graphically, but Sandler, James, et al. have proven to be only capable of the laziest comedic efforts of late.  If you could see this movie with those losers stripped out, it actually seems like a fun time.  Don’t give Sandler any more of your money to squander on half-assed comedies.

The Vatican Tapes

This hallway is scarier than the entire trailer!
This hallway is scarier than the entire trailer!

Studio:  Lionsgate.  Director:  Mark Neveldine (Gamer, Crank series.)  Starring:  Michael Pena, Djimon Hounsou.

When a young woman is possessed by the devil, two Vatican agents are dispatched to deal with the devil.  Apparently, her possession fits a trend of increasingly spooky hauntings that indicated that the prince of darkness has a larger plan that is about to materialize.  That’s probably bad for us.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s take:  Burn it with fire.  A lazy exorcist clone that features found-footage schlock while only earning a PG-13 rating?  You’ve managed to screw up every aspect of this one, Lionsgate!

 

Paper Towns

Wind tunnel, the movie!
Wind tunnel, the movie!

Studio:  20th Century Fox.  Director:  Jake Schrier.  Starring:  Nat Wolff, Cara Delevigne.

An awkward nerdling with a comfortable high-school existence is given a chance at excitement when the girl of his dreams needs his help to get revenge on her cheating boyfriend.  After a prank filled adventure, the girl vanishes mysteriously.  Taking his trio of fellow nerds with him, the young man sets out to follow an elaborately constructed trail of clues to find the love of his young life.  Instead of calling the cops and giving them the clues…which you should totally do, she could be dead, you knuckleheads.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s take: Skip it.  The studio is banking on bump-drafting from the success of A Fault in Our Stars, but this film (adapted from the same author) lacks the emotional heft and engaging premise of that young-adult romantic flick.  This film looks juvenile in every sense of the word.

VOD Release:

Dark Was the Night

Three fingered werewolves?
Three fingered werewolves?

Studio:  Caliber Media Co.  Director:  Jack Heller (Bad Milo, lots of movies starring Stone Cold Steve Austin?)  Starring:  Lukas Haas, Kevin Durand.

After a logging company disturbs an ancient evil, a small town sheriff and his deputy must protect their people while dealing with a previous tragedy that threatens to engulf them all.  No rating available.

Neil’s take:  Rent it.  This film looks intriguing, despite a less than stellar pedigree.  It’s a werewolf movie that stays true to its roots and doesn’t seem to rely on CG to get its scares (I distinctly saw a clawed hand that was a costume…) Critics have taken a shine to this indie horror gem, and I’m excited, but the 15$ price tag that is being advertised better come down to earth as the movie’s release draws near!

July 31

Wide Release:

Vacation

A movie so unnecessary should come with a pre-refund.
A movie so unnecessary should come with a pre-refund.

Studio:  Warner Bros.  Directors:  John Daley, Jonathan Goldstein.  Starring:  Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chevy Chase, despair…and once again, that guy from Office Space who we STILL wish would make another funny movie again in his lifetime.

In yet another sequel to American Lampoon’s Vacation series, grown up Rusty Griswold decides to learn nothing from the past by taking his family on a road trip vacation to the fabled tourist destination of Walley World.  Rated R.

Neil’s take:  Burn it with fire, then pour the gasoline on yourself in a final attempt to get clean if you actually see this.  This looks like the biggest crock of shit comedy I have had the misfortune to review…and I’ve reviewed several Tyler Perry in-a-fat-suit comedies!  Nobody in this movie deserves this fate, except Chevy Chase.  I think Chevy’s personal hell is making never-ending sequels to this highly over-rated franchise, but there’s no need to televise the results, Satan.

Mission Impossible:  Rogue Nation

Well, you wanted a seat with a view and ample leg room...
Well, you specified a seat with a view and ample leg room…

Studio:  Paramount.  Director:  Steven McQuarrie (Jack Reacher.)  Starring:  Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Hawk Guy.

What installment are we on?  The ten billionth Mission Impossible finds super-spy Ethan Hunt on the run as the CIA disbands his team and a highly trained team of rogue anti-spies attempt to hunt him down.  Rated PG-13.

Neil’s take:  Skip it.  This franchise is getting stale.  Ethan Hunt doesn’t so much take on Impossible Missions as perpetually get black-listed and have to scramble to find out who is trying to shaft him.  Each and every movie.  There’s nothing in the trailer that looks remotely exciting, and the film seems to be missing that “oh wow!” stunt sequence that each film hopes will make you forget that the film is actually pretty boring.

VOD Release:

Extinction

You would not believe how many shitty monster movies are called Extinction.  This wasn't even the only one to come out this year!
You would not believe how many shitty monster movies are titled Extinction. This wasn’t even the only one to come out this year!

Studio:  La Ferme! Productions.  Director:  Miguel Angel Vivas.  Starring:  Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan, snow zombies!

After a virulent outbreak kills most of humanity and turns them into flesh hungry monsters, the powers that be decide to make a final gambit and cause a nuclear winter in the hopes of freezing the bastards to death.  Now, living in a snowy hell-scape many years later, a small group of survivors discover that the mutants have adapted to the cold and become even more dangerous.  Rated R.

Neil’s take:  Rent it.  I’m mostly interested in this film because I hope Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) is as engaging a zombie slayer as he is a super-spy.  The atmosphere in this film is one part The Thing, one part 30 Days of Night, and (hopefully) a dash of 28 Days Later.  It could be mind-eating fun or undead dreck, hopefully another trailer will come out before the end of the month to clarify.

 

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