It’s pretty genius of Hollywood to schedule its most anticipated releases for the hottest months. Because really, what’s better than three hours inside a temperature-controlled movie theater while a heat wave rages on outside? Here, the big-name blockbusters, classic remakes, and small-but-mighty indie flicks we can’t wait to watch…and then watch again.
So, we’ve had a raging girl crush on Amy Schumer ever since her time on Last Comic Standing. Her no-holds-barred humor is raunchy for sure, but also has some very serious feminist overtones, and Trainwreck, in which she stars as a commitment-phobic magazine writer alongside Bill Hader, promises to be a knee-slapper. Oh, and it’s directed by Judd Apatow, the man who brought us The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Bridesmaids.
Mad Max: Fury RoadOut Now
The most recent chapter of the Mad Max franchise doesn’t offer much in terms of dialogue, in fact, it’s essentially one massive action sequence. Makes sense, too, since special effects have come a long way from 1985 when the last installment came out. While Tom Hardy is great as Max Rockatansky, it’s really Charlize Theron’s movie—she absolutely kills it as Imperator Furiosa. If you haven’t seen it yet, go, and if you have, go for a second viewing.
Melissa McCarthy’s comedic genius is on full display in Paul Feig’s latest spy-thriller spoof, and surprisingly, Jason Statham also makes excellent use of his screen time, dropping one hilarious one-liner after the next. The rest of the cast—Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney—is great as well.
Love & MercyOut Now
Casting Paul Dano and John Cusack as Brian Wilson at two different points in his life was a pretty brilliant move. Jumping back and forth in time, the story depicts Wilson’s heartbreaking decline into mental illness, intermingled with a fair amount of Beach Boys lore. It’s based on fact, so things are bound to get emotional at times.
I’ll See You In My DreamsOut Now
This sweet, cleverly written drama covers a lot of ground: love, death, starting over, and the power of friendship. Blythe Danner carries the film, somehow managing to be funny, endearing, and at times, totally badass. And we’re not just saying that because she’s our boss’s mom. Although, we do see where GP gets it from.
The team behind this Rick Famuyiwa film includes Forest Whitaker, Pharrell Williams, and Sean Combs, so it’s kind of guaranteed to be a good time. Apparently, we’re not the only ones who think so as it initiated an all out bidding war at Sundance. Judging from the preview, we’re in for a stellar soundtrack, too.
While remakes may be all too common these days, this National Lampoon’s Vacation reboot (thankfully, Chevy Chase does make an appearance) promises to be genuinely good. It stars Ed Helms as grown-up Rusty Griswold, who decides to relive his childhood road trip to Wally World with his wife and kids. All sorts of nuttiness ensues.
Me and Earl and the Dying GirlOut Now
This adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel has received nonstop buzz at just about every festival. Even though it’s billed as a comedy, the title pretty much says it all in terms of plot, so expect to shed some tears.
Magic Mike XXLJuly 1st
Steven Soderbergh’s executions are always deft and surprising, and his treatment of the original Magic Mike was no exception. It drew us in for obvious reasons (hot guys dancing) but actually offered a pretty brilliant portrait of young men dealing with intimacy. The sequel— directed by Soderbergh’s longtime collaborator, Gregory Jacobs—promises to be just as good (but hey, hot guys dancing will suffice).
Mr. HolmesJuly 17th
This is the story of “the real” Sherlock Holmes, set decades after Sir Conan Doyle published the last book of the series. Played by the inimitable Sir Ian McKellen, Holmes has long since put his sleuthing days behind him, but still has to deal with the effects of his literary fame. As opposed to other recent adaptation, this one boasts few cinematic bells and whistles but plenty of heart.
Irrational ManJuly 17th
Woody Allen has been diligently writing a movie a year since the late ’60s. True to form, this one revolves around a middle-aged man (Joaquin Phoenix) going through an existential crisis of sorts and a precocious younger woman (Emma Stone) who flips his life upside down. It’s a formula that has worked exceptionally well for both Allen and his fans over the years.
The Stanford Prison ExperimentJuly 17th
It’s strange that no one in Hollywood thought to adapt this fascinating—and seriously disturbing— story into a movie until now. Seriously, the true events that inspired the film have all the makings of a hit: The six-day Stanford University study, lead by professor Philip Zimbardo, aimed to explore the psychological differences between prisoners and guards. Eventually things got so out of hand with the volunteer prisoners and guards that the experiment had to be cut short. Needless to say July 17th can’t come soon enough.
The Diary of a Teenage GirlAugust 7th
We love a good coming of age story. This one is set in the ’70s and is based on a graphic novel (hence the integration of cartoon-y graphics within the live action). What’s more, it stars Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård as the token adults.
BONUS: Wet Hot American summer mini-series on NetFlixJuly 31st
The good news is that most of the original cast of Wet Hot American Summer (Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Amy Poehler…) is back for the prequel. The even better news is that a slew of new faces (Jon Hamm, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig) are joining them at camp Firewood for the eight-episode mini series.