Movies are selected for their casts, directors, cutting-edge issues, potential to contribute to the uplifting of moviegoer mental health, and general fun quotient.
Opening June 27
Starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo
What: A serendipitous meeting between a down-and-out music-biz exec and a beautiful singer-songwriter begins a collaboration.
Anticipated: A solid movie about music from John Carney, the director of “Once.” The two leads have actor integrity; they don’t do bad work. Let’s see what kind of chemistry they have and whether Keira Knightley can sing.
Opening July 11
‘A Long Way Down’
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul
What: On New Year’s Eve, four strangers discover they have the same plan: jump off the same building. Meeting on the roof, they decide to maybe wait a week and see what happens.
Anticipated: Nice plot device; Pierce is always better funny than Bond. Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”), as a nice guy, and the very cute Imogen Poots co-stars. Four potential suicides who find a way out. What’s not to like?
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
What: Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused,” “Before Sunrise”) discovered a 6-year-old non-actor and filmed him every year for 12 years. The result is a movie about childhood and growing up.
Anticipated: This film is a pioneering effort, a game-changer, and has enormous buzz. Linklater is the king of capturing magical, nostalgic moments of youth and shooting the same actors over long periods of time.
Opening July 18
‘And So It Goes’
Starring: Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton
What: A crotchety realtor asks his neighbor for help when left in charge of the granddaughter he didn’t know he had.
Anticipated: Remember “The War of the Roses”? Michael Douglas on his comedy game is hysterical. So’s Keaton. If the chemistry’s good, and it’s not (too) cutesy, the belly-laugh yield is promising.
‘Road to Paloma’
Starring: Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet
What: A Native American named Wolf does the “Easy Rider” thing out West on a motorcycle, running from the law after avenging his mother’s murder.
Anticipated: The trailer has a great outlaw look: desert vistas,
motorcycles, war-paint, Lisa Bonet, fisticuffs in the dust. Probably Ry Cooder-type dobro musings. Momoa’s directorial debut. Let’s give him a chance.
Starring: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling
What: A molecular biologist maintains that scientific study of the complexity of the human eye points to a creator.
Anticipated: Some good theological, ontological, cosmological, and epistemological insights.
Starring: James Remar
What: An evangelist is turned into a fugitive as persecution of religions sweeps the United States.
Anticipated: See above—good theological, ontological, cosmological, and epistemological insights—in thriller form.
‘Wish I Was Here’
Starring: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin, Joey King
What: A 35-year-old man has a life crisis. Multiples of seven (5×7=35) tend to bring crises, since all our cells renew every seven years. Directed by Zach Braff.
Anticipated: Zach Braff is very funny. And real. His storytelling is humorous and insightful. For those who have not moved on from viewing Braff exclusively as J.D. from “Scrubs,” it’ll be a nice change of pace to see him grow up. Again. He already grew up, directing “Garden State.” Braff and Donald Faison get to do a non-“Scrubs” project.
Opening July 20
‘Monty Python Live (mostly)’
Starring: The Python crew
What: If you grew in the Python heyday of the 1970s, you know the genius of this classic Brit comedy ensemble. Younger generations must be introduced to the mega-foolishness of “The Ministry of Silly Walks,” “The Spanish Inquisition,” and so on.
Anticipated: It’s said that George Harrison of the Beatles, good friend of Python Eric Idle, told Eric he felt that when the Beatles split up, the spirit of the Beatles drifted over to the Pythons. Will the spirit have anything new to say all these years later?
Opening July 22
‘Made in America’
Starring: Rita Ora, Kanye West, Jay-Z
What: A concert movie is a concert without the exorbitant ticket prices.
Anticipated: Anything directed by Ron Howard is guaranteed to be interesting. Howard and Jay-Z are moguls. Music and movie moguls make magic (and money) by making you move to the music, all while giving you hope about jobs and creativity. “I believe every human being has genius-level talent” (Jay-Z). That’s why it’s the “Made in America” festival.
Opening July 25
‘Magic in the Moonlight’
Starring: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Eileen Atkins, Marcia Gay Harden
What: A comedy about a British magician hired to ferret out whether an American spiritualist medium is the real deal or a just con job. Maybe there’s romance. Set in the 1920s South of France.
Anticipated: Woody Allen. That cast. This topic. Plus mansions, the Côte d’Azur, jazz joints, and the ever-delightful Emma Stone. He thinks he’s so smart, but she’s so baffling and beautiful…
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
What: Gangs, addicts, bad cops. Scarlett Johansson plays a drug-mule for a mob in Taiwan. The drug implant in her body leaks, giving her supernormal abilities. She absorbs knowledge in a flash, has telekinesis, and can’t feel pain.
Anticipated: Johansson plays Black Widow in “The Avengers,” so here she is with some new supernormal abilities.
Starring: James Franco, Kate Hudson, Tom Wilkinson
What: Discovering big cash in a deceased tenant’s apartment, a couple with big debt go, “Hmm….” They take the money and run, but—what about the thief who stole it in the first place?
Anticipated: What makes money bad? Maybe this fairy-tale line from the movie: “Don’t you know when you find a pot of gold there’s always a monster guarding it?”