By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Summer of Salvation
Harry Potter is back. Plus, 39 other movies we can’t wait to see this season
“The cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake,” Alfred Hitchcock once said, and if that’s true—and who are we to dispute the Master?—then summertime is when we gorge (unhealthily, most of the time, on ear-splitting smash-’em-ups and nerd-filled sex comedies). This year’s summer-movie season is sure to contain its share of brain goo—is that the march of angry zombies we hear?—but there are more satisfying things on the menu, too. Gorging, we say, is good—it’s the American way—but as we peruse the upcoming multiplex offerings, let’s pledge to seek out the occasional rare delicacy. To help, we’ve narrowed down the season’s gazillion releases, and what follows is our list of the best, most intriguing, most promising films. All dates are subject to change. Happy summer.
Away We Go
Married novelists of staggering genius, Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida team with director Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) to send pregnant newlyweds (John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph) on a sweetly comic road trip across America. Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Schneider co-star as the friends and family (a.k.a. eccentrics) who offer the couple temporary refuge. June 5.
Yolande Moreau stars as the French painter Séraphine Louis, who worked as a servant before her gift for painting was discovered in 1912. Director Martin Provost tracks Séraphine’s fast rise and heartbreaking fall in a film that won seven César Awards (the French Oscars), including Best Picture and Best Actress. June 5.
In writing his first original screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola reportedly mined his own backstory for this tale of two brothers (Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich) trying to come to terms with their complex family history. Set in contemporary Buenos Aires, Tetro was filmed in black-and-white, a style Coppola last employed for 1983’s Rumble Fish. June 11.
Moviegoers aren’t likely to rush to the supermarket after seeing this disturbing exposé of the underregulated, profit-mad American food industry. It’s time to plant that garden. Directed by Robert Kenner. June 12.
After three years alone on the moon, a spaceman of the near-future (Sam Rockwell) begins hallucinating—and eventually wakes up to find he’s sharing the ship with an exact replica of . . . himself. This is the first feature for Duncan Jones, whose father (just so you know) is David Bowie. June 12.
Woody Allen returns to Manhattan after an extended European vacation and casts Larry David as a hypochondriac physicist whose spirits are lifted when he befriends and later weds a dippy 20-year-old (Evan Rachel Wood). The film is reportedly based on a script Allen wrote 30 years ago—luckily, neuroticism is timeless. June 19.
New York animator Tatia Rosenthal traveled to Australia to make this acclaimed stop-motion comedy concerning the peculiar adventures of the residents of an Aussie apartment building, including two boys who’ve spent $9.99 (and not a penny more) on a book that promises the secret to life. June 19.
The Hurt Locker
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Guy Pearce go to war in this intense drama about a bomb-defusing unit stationed in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. Look for cameos by Ralph Fiennes and David Morse. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. June 26.
Nanni Moretti stars as an Italian film exec devastated by the death of his wife. Left to raise a 10-year-old daughter, the man finds himself unable to part from her and ends up spending his days in the park opposite her Rome school. Directed by Antonio Grimaldi and featuring Roman Polanski in a small role. June 26.
The Beaches of Agnès
The renowned French filmmaker Agnès Varda (Vagabond), now 80, continues her ongoing cinematic autobiography with this César Award-winning documentary. Using the world’s beaches as both backdrop and metaphor, Varda recalls the important people of her life, including her late husband, filmmaker Jacques Demy, as well as rock star Jim Morrison. July 1.
Johnny Depp is 1930s bank robber extraordinaire John Dillinger; Christian Bale is FBI super-agent Melvin Purvis, hot on his trail, Tommy gun in hand. The director is Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat), who knows a thing or two about bad-guy/good-guy showdowns. Bullets will fly. July 1.
Sacha Baron Cohen jettisons Borat for Brüno, a gay, hot-pants-wearing Austrian fashion reporter. Beyond that, words fail us. Directed by Larry Charles. July 10.
It seemed like a fun idea at the time: Ben (Mark Duplass) and Andrew (Joshua Leonard), lifelong buds, get high at a party where they agree, in front of witnesses, to “do it” (with each other) for a sex-tape film festival. Their girlfriends are amused, and then . . . they’re not. Lynn Shelton directed. July 10.
In the days preceding Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s 1974 fight, musical giants such as James Brown, B.B. King, Bill Withers and Celia Cruz gathered in Zaire for a three-day concert. Oscar winner Jeffrey Levy-Hinte (When We Were Kings) has restored a mountain of found footage of the concert and the chaos that surrounded it for this high-energy doc. July 10.
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