Not so long ago — as in, 2016 — the best excuse to go to the movies during the height of summer was the opportunity to bask in air conditioning. But June brought Wonder Woman, The Big Sick and Baby Driver; three movies sure to have lingering buzz come awards time. (Pundits will likely put The Beguiled on that list as well, though I maintain it’s all style, no substance.) Now that we’re in July, the forecast remains scalding. MaraMovies presents five reasons to head indoors:
1. Harry Styles Makes his Movie Debut — in a Christopher Nolan Production
Hey, Justin Timberlake. Harry Styles sees your respectable role in David Fincher’s The Social Network, and he raises you one highly anticipated Christopher Nolan drama, Dunkirk. For his motion picture debut, the ex-boy bander plays a military man that’s part of a heroic real-life 1940 mission — during which 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated. (Dunkirk is the name of the beach where the troops were trapped.) The impressive ensemble includes Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy. The biggest star, however, may be Nolan. Expect breakneck action from the auteur responsible for The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar and Memento.
See it: July 21
2. A Thrilling Franchise Comes to an End
Ever since The Planet of the Apes rebooted in 2011, most of the buzz has surrounded Andy Serkis’ transcendent acting as the CGI’ed ape Caesar. Let’s table the tech talk for a sec and appreciate how this saga — left for dead after Tim Burton’s 2001 fiasco — has only grown in intelligence and intensity. The post-apocalyptic battle between humans and apes crescendoes in War For the Planet of the Apes, in which Caesar (Serkis) and his apes are forced into a conflict with an army of humans led by a terrifying colonel (Woody Harrelson). Having already seen it, I can assure you that the hype is justified. (Review is coming soon!)
See it: July 14
3. The Girls Hit the Road
Enough dude talk. The ladies get to have a piece of the fun this month too. In Girls Trip, four friends (Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Hadish and Queen Latifah) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Dancing, dating, drinking and the usual debauchery ensues. Will they bicker and then rekindle the friendship? Do revelers wear beads on Mardi Gras? Nonetheless, a frothy cast can make this thing sing. And put it this way: This comedy has got to be better than Rough Night.
See it: July 21
4. The Charlize Theron Bad-Ass Streak Continues
Furiosa is not f—ng around. Charlize Theron is in the middle of a career renaissance thanks to her steady work as a bad ass with compelling drop-kick prowess and take-no-prisoners ‘tude. And vice versa. Her latest: Atomic Blonde, in which she plays an undercover M16 agent sent to Berlin during the 1980s Cold War to investigate the murder of a cohort. The film premiered at South by Southwest, where it garnered not-quite-glowing reviews. Ps. Director David Leitch’s next project is Deadpool 2.
See it: July 28
5. The New Spider-Man Is a Gift from the ’80s Gods
Not salivating over the thought of yet another comic book flick? I hear ya. So consider Spider-Man Homecoming an inspired tribute to the decade of excess. I’m not talking about gimme references and an easy-to-license pop music jukebox (ahem, Despicable Me 3.) Guarantee you will not find another movie this summer featuring English Beat’s “Save it for Later” in a key scene, a quick nod to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — and the stars of Less Than Zero and Mr. Mom in prime roles. Plus, the movie itself is pretty rad.
See it: July 7
Also published on Medium.