Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in July

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  • Publish Date: July 1, 2014

This month's key theatrical releases

Below, our editors have selected the 10 most notable films debuting this month, listed in alphabetical order.

Boyhood Watch trailer
R Drama | July 11 (limited) | Directed by Richard Linklater

Also by this director (10 most recent):

94 Before Midnight (2013)
75 Bernie (2012)
73 Me and Orson Welles (2009)
64 Fast Food Nation (2006)
73 A Scanner Darkly (2006)
65 Bad News Bears (2005)
90 Before Sunset (2004)
82 School of Rock (2003)
71 Tape (2001)
82 Waking Life (2001)

Richard Linklater’s 12-year experiment in narrative filmmaking captures the maturation of a boy (played for the length of the film by Ellar Coltrane) and his family in Texas. The ambitious project follows Mason (Coltrane), his sister Samatha (Lorelei Linklater) and his parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) through moments both big and small. There were only 39 days of actual shooting scattered among those dozen years, but Linklater frequently checked in with his actors to help him develop ideas from their actual lives. The resulting one-of-a-kind film premiered at Sundance to rave reviews.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Watch trailer #1 Watch international trailer Watch trailer #2
PG-13 Sci-fi/Action | July 11 | Directed by Matt Reeves

Also by this director:

79 Let Me In (2010)
64 Cloverfield (2008)

Matt Reeves takes over directing duties from Rupert Wyatt for this sequel to the surprise 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Dawn's story picks up 10 years after the virus outbreak (shown here), when a group of human survivors struggle to form a truce with the apes. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar, and joining the cast are Jason Clarke as a man who favors peace, and Gary Oldman, whose character believes that war is inevitable. (One of them is right.) Keri Russell and Kodi Smit-McPhee play Clarke’s wife and son. Expectations are high considering the critical and financial (over $480 million worldwide) success of the last film, but with Reeves already signed on to co-write and direct a third film (scheduled for a July 29, 2016 release), Fox must be pretty confident that moviegoers want to see the damn dirty apes take over.

Happy Christmas Watch trailer
R Comedy/Drama | July 25 (limited) | Directed by Joe Swanberg

Also by this director:

42 24 Exposures (2014)
62 All the Light in the Sky (2013)
71 Drinking Buddies (2013)
59 Silver Bullets (2011)
36 Art History (2011)
48 Autoerotic (2011)
59 Nights and Weekends (2008)
63 Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007)
63 LOL (2006)

And you thought Woody Allen was prolific. (He is, of course; see below.) Happy Christmas will be the fourth film by writer-director-actor Joe Swanberg to reach theaters in the last 12 months. His latest looks at what happens when the irresponsible Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother (Swanberg), his wife (Melanie Lynskey) and their two-year-old son (played by Swanberg's real-life son Jude). Earning mostly positive reviews when it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Christmas also features Lena Dunham (Girls) as Jenny’s old friend, and Mark Webber as a pot-smoking babysitter who catches Jenny’s eye.

Can't wait a month? The film is already available on VOD and at iTunes

Land Ho! Watch trailer
R Comedy | July 11 (limited) | Directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens

Also by Aaron Katz:

64 Cold Weather (2011)
54 Dance Party, USA (2006)

Also by Martha Stephens:

30 Pilgrim Song (2013)

This buddy comedy may have an older cast than your typical Hollywood summer entry, but don't let that deter you. Written and directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, Land Ho! follows former brothers-in-law Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn of This is Martin Bonner) as they vacation in Iceland together. Colin is recently divorced, so the more gregarious Mitch, a retired surgeon who used to be married to Colin’s wife’s sister, hopes a change in scenery will cheer him up. Good early reviews greeted the film when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

Life Itself Watch trailer
NR Documentary | July 4 (limited) | Directed by Steve James

Also by this director:

86 The Interrupters (2011)
63 Reel Paradise (2005)
72 Stevie (2003)
56 Prefontaine (1997)
98 Hoop Dreams (1994)

Based on Roger Ebert’s best-selling memoir of the same name, Life Itself finds documentarian Steve James directing a look at the life and career of one of the world’s best-known film critics, from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times, to his on- and off-air relationship with Gene Siskel, to his love for his wife Chaz, to his battles with alcoholism and cancer. The fact that film critics like a movie about Roger Ebert is not a surprise, but Ebert was more than a film critic. He was able to relate with people on a massive scale throughout his life, living openly through joy and pain. So it makes sense that, film critic or not, film lover or not, any viewer should be able to connect with his story.

Lucy Watch trailer
R Sci-fi/Action | July 25 | Directed by Luc Besson

Also by this director:

42 The Family (2013)
43 The Lady (2012)
48 Angel-A (2007)
39 Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)
54 The Messenger: Story of Joan of Arc ('99)
52 The Fifth Element (1997)
64 The Professional (1994)
56 La Femme Nikita (1991)
35 The Big Blue (1988)

Scarlett Johansson has been on quite a roll lately with Her, Under the Skin, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But will teaming with director Luc Besson end her run of critical (and commercial) successes? Maybe not, if it’s more like The Professional (Besson's sole critic-approved release) and less like his last directorial effort, 2013's lackluster The Family. The action-filled story follows Johansson’s Lucy as she’s forced to be a drug mule but then turns the tables on her captors when the drug leaks into her system. She quickly evolves from using 10% of her brain to 100% of her butt-kicking capabilities. Morgan Freeman plays a professor who comes to her aid, since no summer is complete until his mellifluous voice echoes in a darkened theater.

Magic in the Moonlight Watch trailer
PG-13 Rom-com | July 25 | Directed by Woody Allen

Also by this director (10 most recent):

78 Blue Jasmine (2013)
54 To Rome with Love (2012)
81 Midnight in Paris (2011)
51 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)
45 Whatever Works (2009)
70 Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
49 Cassandra's Dream (2008)
48 Scoop (2006)
72 Match Point (2005)
54 Melinda and Melinda (2005)

A new Woody Allen film has landed in theaters every year since 1982 (and he certainly didn’t take too many years off between 1966 and 1981). This year’s offering is set in the 1920s and stars Colin Firth as an Englishman brought to the south of France to debunk a spiritualist played by Emma Stone. Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Eileen Atkins, and Jackie Weaver also star. If a movie’s poster were an accurate sign of how good a film would be, then Allen’s latest would be terrible. Luckily, there is no correlation between the two.

A Most Wanted Man Watch trailer
R Thriller | July 25 (limited) | Directed by Anton Corbijn

Also by this director:

61 The American (2010)
78 Control (2007)

Working from a script by Andrew Bovell (Lantana), photographer-turned-director Anton Corbijn brings his cool, austere style to his third feature, an adaptation of John Le Carré’s 2008 novel about Issa (Grigoriy Dobrygin), a young Chechen Muslim who arrives illegally in Germany and becomes the focus of a terrorist investigation. In one of his final screen roles completed before his death, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the head of a German spy unit who will use any means necessary to stop a threat. Caught in his web are Rachel McAdams as Issa’s lawyer, and Willem Dafoe as a banker sponsoring Issa’s defense. Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl (Rush), and Nina Hoss (Barbara) also star. Reviews out of Sundance were good, though not great.

Sex Tape Watch green-band trailer Watch red-band trailer
Comedy | July 18 | Directed by Jake Kasdan

Also by this director:

47 Bad Teacher (2011)
63 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
65 The TV Set (2007)
48 Orange County (2002)

It has been a good summer, both critically and monetarily, for R-rated comedies. Neighbors got the ball rolling in May, and 22 Jump Street kicked it along in June. Can the team behind Bad Teacher (director Jake Kasdan and stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel) keep it going in July with Sex Tape? The script by Kate Angelo (The Back-Up Plan) follows Annie and Jay, a couple with two kids, whose love life needs a spark. Unfortunately for them, the video of their three-hour marathon Joy of Sex session gets uploaded to the cloud and onto the iPads they gave out as gifts. Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper, and Rob Lowe play just a few of the people Annie and Jay would like to prevent from seeing their video.

Tammy Watch trailer
R Comedy | July 2 | Directed by Ben Falcone

Here's another R-rated comedy vying for July box office success. Melissa McCarthy stars as the titular character in this feature directed by her husband (and fellow Bridesmaids actor) Ben Falcone from a script they wrote together. The film follows McCarthy’s Tammy on a pretty bad day as she loses her job, totals her car, and catches her husband cheating. Needing to get away but finding her only option to be her alcoholic grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon), they hit the road together. This is the first feature script for the pair, as well as Falcone’s directorial debut. But a strong supporting cast (Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette, and Nat Faxon) and the fact that they have another comedy (Michelle Darnell) already in the works bodes well for their first project. Then again, the first reviews suggest otherwise.

All July film releases by date

July 2 / July 4 July 11 July 18 July 25
Beyond the Edge *
Deliver Us From Evil WED
Earth to Echo WED
Life Itself *
Me and You *
Premature * WED
School Dance * WED
Tammy WED
Wrinkles *
Affluenza *
And So It Goes
Boyhood *
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Fluffy Movie
Land Ho! *
A Long Way Down * THU
Made in America *
Rage *
Aftermath *
Among Ravens *
I Origins *
Mood Indigo *
Planes: Fire & Rescue
The Purge: Anarchy
Sex Tape
Video Games: The Movie*
Wish I Was Here *
Beneath *
Happy Christmas *
Hercules
Ironclad: Battle for Blood*
Lucy
Magic in the Moonlight *
A Most Wanted Man *
My Man Is a Loser *
Step Up: All In
Very Good Girls

* Limited release

What do you think?

Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2014, visit our Movie Calendar.

Comments (2)

  • RoraEst  

    I hate to see the all releasing date calendar, when some/many of them already leaked on the internet.

  • Duke_Challenger  

    Snowpiercer and They Came Together should probably be on this list given how they weren't in wide release at all yet.

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