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“Eighth Grade” and “Sorry to Bother You”: Movies to see in July

Welcome to July! Now that we’ve full on entered the second half of the year, the films will again start to take two very distinct shapes. On one end of the spectrum will be the summer blockbusters, which have already been going on in earnest, while on the other side will be the smaller movies that are potentially looking to pick up some awards buzz. In fact, July usually is a perfect example of that. We have a Marvel movie hitting screens and some action flicks, along with at least one title that wants to try and contend for Oscars. The films overall are pretty solid, which I can vouch for, having seen a fair amount of them. Read on for some recommendations…

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

10. Shock and Awe – Rob Reiner gives his take on a Spotlight style film here. Armed with Woody Harrelson and James Marsden (along with Reiner himself in a supporting role), this showcases journalists questioning the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq. Re-litigating that could set a fire inside Reiner, who hasn’t had a hit in some time. I’ll be watching it soon, so if it’s notable in any way, look for my take.

9. Whitney – A documentary about the late Whitney Houston, this got some great notices at the Cannes Film Festival. Apparently, it has a revelation or two to share as well. Not being a huge fan of her music, I can’t say this doc has my full attention, but I am curious. If you’re a fan, I’m sure it’s already marked down as a must see event.

8. Skyscraper – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson goes the Die Hard route for this action flick. We’ve seen this plot dozens of times before, with this version even going with the literal skyscraper as the setting. Still, Johnson is a legit movie star, so this could be mindless popcorn entertainment worth seeking out…

7. Teen Titans Go! To The Movies – After the Justice League debacle, Warner Brothers may have a welcome tonic here. A kid friendly superhero film, it’ll be a welcome tonic to some of the darkness that the DC Universe has wallowed in. More on this one once I’ve seen it, so sit tight there!

6. The Equalizer 2 – Denzel Washington makes his first sequel ever with this new action outing. The last installment was surprisingly good, with style to spare. Here, it hopefully will be more of the same. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it as a fun summer diversion. This is another one I’m sure I’ll be writing about later on this month. Until then, maybe revisit The Equalizer?

5. Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot – Few movies this summer boast star power like this, especially for an independent dramedy. Gus Van Sant directing a biopic that stars Joaquin Phoenix? With Jack Black, Jonah Hill, and Rooney Mara in supporting roles? Yes please. I see this one next week, so stay tuned for a full report then…

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp – The newest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering seems to be one of the MCU’s most fun outings. Not having seen it yet, I can’t say for certain, but as a fan of Ant-Man, I’m all about more of this character. There will be an Ant-Man centric article in a few days, so look out for that.

3. Eighth Grade – I’ve seen this flick, and while I’m not as in love with it as some are, it’s still really good. Bo Burnham makes a great debut as a filmmaker, telling a deeply realistic story of growing up. It cuts close to the bone, yet always has heart to spare. For some, this will be an instant classic.

2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Tom Cruise again saves the world as Ethan Hunt. The latest Mission: Impossible sequel hopes to continue a trend, namely that this is under the radar one of the best franchises out there Give or take the second one, quality has always been front and center. Cruise is the premiere action hero of his generation, so why not give this one a shot?

1. Sorry to Bother You – The best film of the year so far, I’ll be raving about this one in a day or two. So, I’ll hold back here. That being said, just know that this movie is an absolute masterpiece. I can’t wait to rave more, so just check back in for that, which should be in a day or two. It’s brilliant…

Honorable Mentions: Blindspotting, The First Purge, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, Puzzle, and Under the Tree

Be sure to check out these various films all throughout the month that is July!

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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