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“Cafe Society”, “Captain Fantastic”, and “Ghostbusters”: Films to see in July

cafe society
Happy Fourth of July ladies and gentlemen! It sounds odd in my head though, if I’m being honest. Does it actually feel like it’s already July folks? Just yesterday, I felt like the summer movie season was only beginning, but now we’re knee deep in it. So far, it hasn’t been a blockbuster season to remember, but maybe something this month will do it for everyone. As is always the case, some of the independent releases are putting the studio tentpoles to shame, but there are surprises on both sides to potentially look forward to before we hit August. Take a look below at what I think are the top releases this month, and remember as always…this is just my two cents on the matter.

Here now are what I feel are the ten very best bets for July:

10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates – I’m still under embargo for another 24 hours or so, but I can say that I’ve seen this comedy and suspect that it will have some appeal. Zac Efron especially seems to be carving out a role for himself in the comedy world, and this should give him another showcase. Be sure to look up my Facebook and/or Twitter handle tomorrow night when the embargo lifts for my take on it!

9. Cell – I read this book years ago and found it middle of the road Stephen King, but still prime material for an adaptation. Eli Roth was attached for years, but finally Tod Williams brings this long delayed project to screens, with John Cusack (perfectly cast) and Samuel L. Jackson in the leads. I expect very little because of how long it sat on the shelf, but I’m too curious not to see how it turned out. Perhaps you’ll be curious as well?

8. Indignation – This prestige-laden film comes to us from former studio head turned director James Schamus and got some very kind words back at the Sundance Film Festival. Apparently star Logan Lerman is excellent in it, so maybe we’ve got a low key awards player on our hands here? The release date is a bit early, but anything is possible if it’s as good as it could be…

7. Don’t Think Twice – I’ve seen this comedy back at the Tribeca Film Festival and quite enjoyed it. Comedian turned filmmaker Mike Birbiglia is two for two now, after the previous success of Sleepwalk With Me. This is more of an ensemble piece, led in some ways by Gillian Jacobs and Keegan-Michael Key, but just full of charming work. It’s nearly as good as Birbiglia’s debut, so if you liked that one, this one should really be up your alley. Keep an eye out for it and stay tuned for more!

6. Jason Bourne – The return of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass to this franchise probably should be generating more excitement than it is so far. Maybe that’s a strategic play by Universal, to let the summer movie dust settle a bit and allow the cream to rise to the top? We shall see, but expectations are rightful high among my colleagues. Fingers crossed that it’s closer to The Bourne Ultimatum than The Bourne Legacy.

5. The Secret Life of Pets – I see this animated flick in a few days, and as a pet owner, I kind of can’t wait. I can’t help but wonder what my dog does when I’m not home, and while I strongly suspect it’s just sleep, maybe he does party? If this cartoon is high quality, expect it to be heavily in play for a Best Animated Feature citation. Stay tuned for more on this one in just a couple of days…

4. Star Trek Beyond – The tragic death of supporting player Anton Yelchin casts a shadow over this sci-fi franchise sequel. Justin Lin takes the mantle from J.J. Abrams and looks to have mostly made an action movie with Star Trek dressings. Perhaps that will be a good thing overall, but time will tell. Once I see it, I’ll be able to report back on the latest adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise.

3. Ghostbusters – Ignore all of the hateful talk on the internet…you should be excited for this one. Why? Well, Paul Feig has yet to make a comedy that hasn’t worked. Between Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, in Feig you should trust, especially when it comes to how to delay Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. As a huge fan of the original films, I’m super curious how this turned out, but mostly just eager to see it on its own. We need successful big budget comedies lead by women, plain and simple.

2. Cafe Society – One of my favorite movies of the year so far, as I hope you saw last week on my Best of 2016 so far article, I saw Woody Allen’s latest in conjunction with its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and loved it. It’s his best since Blue Jasmine or Midnight in Paris, with Kristen Stewart absolutely deserving Academy Award consideration for her performance. Steve Carell and Jesse Eisenberg are great too, making for a real pleasure. Allen can be hit or miss for some of late, but this is definitely another hit to me.

1. Captain Fantastic – Another flick I’ve seen and loved (also as told by its high placement on my recent Best of the First Half piece), this dramedy has been building a ton of buzz since its debut at Sundance. Actor/filmmaker Matt Ross does some incredible work, with Viggo Mortensen leading an ensemble that will just captivate you. I’ll be writing more about this one before it comes out on Friday, so stay tuned there, but just know that it’s something special. Mortensen especially is as good as he’s ever been, which is saying something. Sit tight for more…

Captain Fantastic
Honorable Mentions: Bad Moms, The BFG, Equity, The Infiltrator, The Legend of Tarzan, Life Animated, Lights Out, Men Go to Battle, Tulip Fever, and Zero Days

Be sure to check out these various films all throughout the month that is June and of course enjoy your July 4th!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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