This Summer’s Most Promising ____________.
(Some of which we’ve already seen.)
Shot with the luscious warmth of a Bernardo Bertolucci film— and the lingerie of a Beyoncé video—the lingering lesbian sex scenes of Maryam Keshavarz’s daring Iranian drama, Circumstance, are as hot as they are forbidden.
Opens August 19
Unintentionally Topical Scene
In Horrible Bosses, Jennifer Aniston plays a horny, sexual-harassing dentist who drugs her dental hygienist (Charlie Day) at work, mounts his unconscious body, and takes incriminating (half-dressed) photos that are even more ridiculous than anything tweeted by Anthony Weiner.
Opens July 8
A few years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine a comedy about a kid who gets a vest loaded with explosives locked to his chest—but in 30 Minutes or Less, Jesse Eisenberg plays the doofus who must rob a bank or die; Aziz Ansari is his accomplice.
Opens August 12
Those exhausted by amusement parks, screaming playdates, and Imax 3-D explosions should appreciate the lo-fi pleasures of the proudly old-school, hand-drawn Winnie the Pooh. Less a reboot than a calm return to the solace of the Hundred Acre Wood, the film should play as soothingly as Xanax.
Opens July 15
At Colin Farrell’s worst—Miami Vice, Alexander—he was unintentionally hilarious, too serious in silly roles. But as a freaky, utterly un-Edwardian vampire in Fright Night, he may well be at his best: crass and utterly without vanity, for the first time in years.
Opens August 19
Stoner Film, Man
The summer tentpoles are filled with voyages to magical lands, but none will be as mind-altering as Alison Ellwood and Alex Gibney’s documentary Magic Trip, which unearths a trove of unseen Super 8 films from Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters’ legendary, acid-addled 1964 trip.
Opens August 5
Studly Dominic Cooper has a secondary part in Captain America, but he breaks out twice in the outrageous and gruesome The Devil’s Double, playing both Uday Hussein, Saddam’s sadistic, maniacal twerp of a son, and his world-weary body-double. It’s like The Parent Trap meets Taxi Driver.
Opens August 12
Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, and Elizabeth Banks steal the show in Our Idiot Brother with frank, bitchy honesty. When they gang up on Mortimer’s character to eviscerate her frumpy style, Deschanel suggests, “Maybe it would be cool if you looked semi-fuckable once in a while.”
Opens August 26
— Logan Hill
*The non–déjà vu variety.
Seeing movies outdoors in New York is a freakish luxury, but with annual screenings of the same old classics (Manhattan again?), the experience has become, for many, predictable. Luckily, amid this summer’s repeats, there are a few surprises:
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, July 1
Films on the Green Festival, Tompkins Square Park
Low on dialogue and high on visual gags, Jacques Tati’s 1953 vacation flick is a seasonally appropriate farce about a city slicker who struggles to chillax at the beach.
West Side Story Dance and Sing-Along, July 21
Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park
If you’re going to trot out a gold-plated New York classic, have some fun with it. Sondheim’s lyrics will be projected karaoke style, and a dance instructor will lead gangs of fans.
The Lady Eve, July 25
HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
One of the sassiest love stories of all time, Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve is also a thoroughly modern vacation classic in which Barbara Stanwyck is a grifter who has Henry Fonda in her crosshairs.
Rooftop Films, through August 20
The Old American Can Factory, Gowanus
This summer’s slate of eclectic new shorts and features will conclude with the late war photographer Tim Hetherington’s heartbreaking, impressionistic documentary, Diary.
For the Vitamin D Averse
Comedian Patton Oswalt shares his summer rental list.
1. The Wind Journeys (2009)
A Colombian troubadour, legendary but long retired, is in possession of the devil’s accordion. Or is he? The journey he undertakes to return it to its master is a lush introduction to the gorgeous landscape of northern Colombia. And the accordion “insult duel” scene puts most rap battles to shame.
2. The Late Show (1977)
Forty summers from now, when arthritis and injury have hobbled most of this summer’s bang-’em-up heroes, the best of them will end up like Art Carney’s Ira Wells. He’s every Humphrey Bogart film-noir hero, trapped with a hearing aid, ulcer, and bus pass in post-hippie seventies Los Angeles. His no-nonsense, knuckles-first way of dealing with all the leisure-suited villains who hinder his path give us all hope for our inevitable twilight years.
3. The Snake (2008)
Adam Goldstein (who co-wrote and directed with Eric Kutner) plays the titular “hero”—a flaming asshole who falls in love with a bulimic girl in a body-image support group. Yes, that’s how the movie starts. Yes, you will weirdly root for him in his pursuit.
4. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
Look, you’re going to get plenty of heat outdoors these next few months. So why not enjoy the icy, bracing tonic of paranoia and body horror that is John Carpenter’s underappreciated The Thing? With some of the best dialogue in a horror movie ever.
The Jacked Pack
Summer movies are full of pumped-up explosions, budgets, and, of course, muscles. This year, men, apes, and robots are among the meatheads vying to have the most notable six-pack of the season. We consider the field.