As I look ahead to July, the peak month of the blockbuster season, my challenge is to find five potential movie gems that I will “really like”. I’m not looking for the top five possible winners at the box office, though some of my choices will be on that list. I might even watch one of the July releases and walk away feeling that the movie is special. In the last five years there have only been a handful of movies released in July that have approached this level. In July 2012, there were two. One was a blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises, while the other was a low budget documentary that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Searching For Sugar Man. The five movies that follow are those five that I think have the best possibility of being special.
Jason Bourne. Release Date: July 29, 2016 “Really Like” Probability: 62.5
This is the third collaboration in the series between director, Paul Greengrass, and actor, Matt Damon. Putting aside The Bourne Legacy, which you can almost consider as a stand alone movie since it didn’t involve Greengrass or Damon, each movie in the series was a “really like” movie. The last movie in their collaboration, The Bourne Ultimatum, is, arguably, the best in the series. The word from producer Frank Marshall is that this movie features a chase scene along the Las Vegas strip that is the best chase scene in the series.
Captain Fantastic. Release Date: July 8, 2016 “Really Like” Probability: 44.3
This movie is in the early discussion for Oscar consideration, having won Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival and garnered Director Awards for Matt Ross at Cannes and Palm Springs. It’s about a father, played by Viggo Mortensen, who raises his six children off the grid in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and the challenges they face when they are forced to return to the “civilized” world to address an emergency.
Star Trek Beyond. Release Date: July 22, 2016 “Really Like” Probability: 32.1
J. J. Abrams directed the first two movies in this Star Trek series reincarnation and I rated both of them as “really like” movies. Justin Lin, who directed four of the Fast and Furious franchise movies, takes over for Abrams in the Director’s chair for this film. I have never seen a Justin Lin directed movie which makes me a little hesitant with this one. But, with Abrams overseeing as Producer and Idris Elba playing the villain, Krall, I am ready for another trip on the Enterprise.
The BFG. Release Date: July 1, 2016 “Really Like” Probability: 32.1
I’ll finalize my probability for this movie tomorrow. I don’t believe it will be a special movie, but I do believe it can be a “really like” movie. Raold Dahl, Steven Spielberg, and last year’s Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor, Mark Rylance, are a promising combination. Early reviews are mixed but audiences have yet to weigh in. This is one that you may want to wait on until after opening weekend.
Café Society. Release Date: July 15 (limited) July 29 (Wide) “Really Like” Probability: 23.0
The low probability on this one is deceptive. I actually feel that, while not on the same level as Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, this latest film from Woody Allen may be in the ball park. Based on buzz from the Cannes and Seattle festivals, it has made some early lists for Oscar contenders. Allen, who has a knack for attracting top talent, recently lined up Kate Winslet for his next movie. For this comedy, set in the 1930’s, he has another ensemble of “A’ list talent including Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Blake Lively.
One of the joys of looking ahead at the movies being released in the next month is the hope that one or two of them will be magical. July, historically, has been a month that produces its fair share of these special movies. Maybe one of these five movies will be one of those iconic movies that earn the sobriquet “classic”.