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
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A nerdy but increasingly sexy teenage boy with magical powers and an invisible cloak learns the true history of his archenemy, whose name we dare not utter. David Yates directs this installment of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series. July 15.
(500) Days of Summer
An LA greeting-card writer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finds true love in the form of a beautiful co-worker (Zooey Deschanel) in Marc Webb’s romantic comedy, which literally counts the days of this up-and-down relationship. July 17.
In the Loop
British satirist Armando Iannucci (BBC’s The Thick of It) goes to Washington in this fictional riff on the political scrambling—British and American alike—that preceded the Iraq War. Starring Tom Hollander and featuring James Gandolfini as an American general who speaks in snappy one-liners. July 17.
Flame and Citron
Flame (Thure Lindhardt) and Citron (Mads Mikkelsen) were the code names for two resistance fighters in Denmark during the Nazi Occupation. Ole Christian Madsen tells their story in a film that’s been a smash hit in its home country, where Mikkelsen is a superstar. July 31.
Belgium’s Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (La promesse, L’enfant), among the world’s finest filmmakers, return with this story of an Albanian refugee (Arta Dobroshi) who finds herself going to extremes in order to gain Belgian citizenship. Advance buzz, including a screening at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, heralds Dobroshi as a great discovery. July 31.
In the 1960s, Richard O’Barry captured five dolphins and trained them to play “Flipper” on the popular TV show. Since then, he has become obsessed with getting footage of the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a Japanese port town. Louie Psihoyos tracks O’Barry’s quest in this wrenching documentary. July 31.
Julie & Julia
Nora Ephron adapts Julie Powell’s memoir of the year she spent making all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Amy Adams portrays Powell, whose inner musings on Child’s life and times are enacted by none other than Meryl Streep. Looking forward to that accent. Aug. 7.
In a documentary that’s not really a documentary, comedian Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) conducts interviews to see if anyone still believes in true love. Enter actor Michael Cera, playing himself (sort of) and falling for Yi, who, in real life, is already his girlfriend. Got that? Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec. Aug. 7.
From first-time director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson, a sci-fi epic about extraterrestrials that landed in South Africa 30 years ago, only to be captured, segregated and brutally mistreated by the government. The rest of the plot is a secret (so far), but we all know what happens when you piss off a space creature. Aug. 14.
From Disney, the new film by master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Howl’s Moving Castle). In Miyazaki’s take on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid,” a goldfish named Ponyo longs to become human. Looks like Ariel’s got competition. Aug. 14.
Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee lightens up for this tie-dye-filled adaptation of Elliot Tiber’s terrific Woodstock memoir. Tiber, played here by comedian Demetri Martin, isn’t famous, but his family’s dilapidated motel was ground zero for the iconic festival. Aug. 14.
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Henry (Eric Bana), a Chicago librarian, is forever bouncing around in time (literally). This makes life/marriage hard for Clare (Rachel McAdams), his wife, whose attempts to hold him still are captured in this film version of Audrey Niffenegger’s best-seller. Directed by Robert Schwentke. Aug. 14.
Blame the bad spelling of the title on those infernal Nazis, who refer to the band of Jewish-American soldier/assassins led by Brad Pitt as “The Basterds.” Quentin Tarantino’s World War II action flick also stars Diane Kruger, B.J. Novak (The Office), Hostel writer/director Eli Roth and last, but never least, the mighty Cloris Leachman. Aug. 21.
It Might Get Loud
Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) cuts loose in his new documentary, which finds rock gods Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White singing the praises of their respective electric guitars. Then they jam. Loudly. Aug. 21.
The Boat That Rocked
It’s 1966, and rock & roll has yet to make it to the airwaves of the BBC, which controls all radio stations in England. So Philip Seymour Hoffman leads a renegade band of disc jockeys as they broadcast the devil’s music from a boat off the U.K. shore in this comedy from Richard Curtis, the director of Love Actually. Aug. 28.
Mesrine: A Film in Two Parts
Vincent Cassel, who was so extraordinary as the mob boss’ son in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, moves up the crime ladder in this four-hour epic about the action-packed life (murders, kidnappings—the works) of modern-day French criminal Jacques Mesrine. Directed by Jean-François Richet. Aug. 28.