It’s remarkably light July this summer season, since most studios were smart enough to avoid the one-two punch of Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises altogether. But some daring Hollywood moguls think they can find a place in the box office top ten anyway, with family films, broad comedies and independent Oscar bait filling out the rest of the docket this month. Which movies should you be on the lookout for, good or bad? Find out with CraveOnline’s July Movie Guide.
The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen,
Sally Field, Denis Leary
Directed by: Marc Webb
Opens: July 3
Just five years after the Sam Raimi Spider-Man franchise came to an inauspicious close, Sony Pictures reboots the wallcrawler with The Amazing Spider-Man, a grittier version of the hero’s origin story from (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb.
CraveOnline’s Call: Public opinion is mixed so far, and it’s no different here at the CraveOnline bullpen. Some of us are happy with the less cartoony take on the Spider-Man mythos, others are disappointed by film’s lack of personality. The consensus seems to be that if you weren’t a big fan of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies in the first place, even the supposedly good ones, then this reboot is for you. But if you hold the previous franchise in high regard, The Amazing Spider-Man could just be an amazing disappointment. You already know which camp you fall into.
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro,
Demian Bachir, John Travolta, Salma Hayek
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Opens: July 6
Two marijuana entrepreneurs (Kitsch and Johnson) take on a drug cartel to rescue their kidnapped girlfriend (Blake Lively). Based on the novel of the same name by Don Winslow.
CraveOnline’s Call: Crazy-ass Oliver Stone is back! But will this drug and action-fueled movie be his next Natural Born Killers or just another U-Turn? Our sources are saying the latter, but Oliver Stone’s such a polarizing director this could be the kind of movie that gets embraced by the minority opinion. We say shy away for now, but wait for the buzz to roll in, just in case Stone really is back in the game.
Ice Age: Continental Drift (PG)
Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez,
Wanda Sykes, Aziz Ansari, Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, Queen Latifah
Directed by: Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier
Opens: July 13
The fourth Ice Age movie (oh god, that’s really true, isn’t it?) finds the heroic mammals lost at sea when the continents suddenly – and surprisingly rapidly – separate.
CraveOnline’s Call: Wow, another one of these, huh? We can’t imagine anyone over the age of 10 is particularly excited to see “Ice Age meets Pirates of the Caribbean,” but honestly, none of these movies have ever completely sucked, so if you have to take your little brother or sister to something, there are worse possibilities.
The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman,
Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Opens: July 20
A little independent production that finds a rich guy with a bat fetish dealing with socio-economic issues that… It’s The Dark Knight Rises. Do you really not know about this yet?
CraveOnline’s Call: Audience expectations have tempered a bit on The Dark Knight Rises after The Avengers raised the bar for blockbuster superhero movies and a series of confusing trailers implied that Nolan’s final Batman movie will be more about politics than action. But after The Dark Knight, we trust the director completely. Will the risks he’s taking pay off? You’re going to need to see for yourself. If you haven’t bought your tickets already, you really should get on that now.
Ruby Sparks (R)
Starring: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan, Aasif Mandvi, Elliot Gould
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Opening: July 25 (Limited)
Paul Dano plays a novelist whose latest creation, a protagonist named Ruby Sparks, comes to life in the form of Zoe Kazan, the film’s screenwriter.
CraveOnline’s Call: The directors of Little Miss Sunshine are back with their first film in six years, and while it’s not the most original concept (see: Pygmalion, Stranger Than Fiction, Delirious), the cast is great and the duo’s previous film proved that they can handle light comedy mixed with potent melodrama. We’re willing to get excited for Ruby Sparks.
The Watch (R)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Billy Crudup, R. Lee Ermey
Directed by: Akiva Schaffer
Opens: July 27
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill sign up for their local neighborhood watch, but are unexpectedly put to the test when aliens invade.
CraveOnline’s Call: The trailer looks pretty funny, but it’s hard to look at The Watch and not see the American version of Attack the Block, isn’t it? Whatever. Lack of originality aside, the cast seems to work well together and the potential for sci-fi nuttiness looks even higher than Men in Black III. But like Men in Black III, we don’t expect to remember it a week later.
Step Up Revolution (PG-13)
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Katherine McCormick, Adam G. Sevani, Peter Gallagher
Directed by: Scott Speer
Opening: July 27
An aspiring dancer (Kathryn McCormick) teams up with a Miami flash mob to stop her father, a dastardly real estate mogul, from tearing down local businesses.
CraveOnline’s Call: Sure they’re dumb, but the Step Up movies long ago embraces their ridiculous storylines and broad characters, creating a little pop-and-lock superhero universe all their own. The retro storyline only makes us want to see it more. It’s okay to like these movies, people. They’re the right kind of goofy fun, and Step Up Revolution looks like more of the same.
Killer Joe (NC-17)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple,
Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: William Friedkin
Opening: July 27
A family of rednecks conspires to kill one of their own for the insurance money, but the plot thickens when the assassin (McConaughey) asks for their young daughter (Juno Temple) as down payment.
CraveOnline’s Call: The year of Matthew McConaughey continues with this adaptation of Tracy Letts’ disturbing stage play, from The French Connection director William Friedkin. Killer Joe’s advance buzz seems to be swirling around its controversial NC-17 rating, but we’re more interested in the creepy storyline and potentially award-nominated performance from Matthew McConaughey. It looks like a weird-ass movie, but we’re cool with that.