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10 Films To See In July

Written by on July 2, 2013 

Even though the blockbuster that kicks off the month leaves much to be desired, there’s still a great deal to look forward to in July. A handful of our festival favorites, with premieres counting back to over a year ago, are finally arriving in theaters, while one of Hollywood’s top directors is given seemingly free reign to deliver one of the summer’s biggest tentpoles. Our monthly round-up just looks at U.S. releases, but those in the U.K. will  be getting the premieres of Ben Wheatley‘s A Field in England and Edgar Wright‘s The World’s End, while Japan receives Hayao Miyazaki‘s The Wind Rises, so look for them in upcoming installments and check out our rundown below.

MatineesV/H/S/2 (7/12), Computer Chess (7/17), Broken (7/19), Grabbers (7/19), The To-Do List (7/26)

10. The Conjuring (James Wan; July 19th)

Synopsis: Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.


Why You Should See It: While Hollywood’s prime time for scaring audiences is usually around Halloween, Warner Bros. is aiming to strike in the middle of summer with James Wan‘s The Conjuring. Not to be confused with his Insidious follow-up this fall (also starring Patrick Wilson) this forthcoming horror film has been riding off strong buzz from screenings and if tracking is any indication, it’ll be one of the season’s biggest sleeper hits.

9. Crystal Fairy (Sebastián Silva; July 12th)

Synopsis: Jamie is a boorish, insensitive American twentysomething traveling in Chile, who somehow manages to create chaos at every turn. He and his friends are planning on taking a road trip north to experience a legendary shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro cactus.


Why You Should See It: If one had any preconceived notions when it came to Michael Cera, the actor is clearly hoping 2013 will bring a change of mind. Yes, he returned to the role that gave him his breakout in Arrested Development, but he poked some fun at himself in This is the End, and most impressively, took part in two Chile-based independent features. Both directed by Sebastian Silva, the psychological thriller Magic Magic will land on DVD/Blu-ray next month, but first comes Crystal Fairy. Intended to be the lighter affair, our full review will be coming soon, but we think it’s his best performance yet.

8. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; July 5th)

Synopsis: Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park’s managers.


Why You Should See It: After picking up an Oscar for their scripting work on Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash used their much-deserved clout to jump into directing. Premiering at Sundance Film Festival, The Way, Way Back was one of the largest acquisitions in the events history, with Fox Searchlight picking it up for just under $10 million. Set for a timely release in the middle of summer, the coming of age story is a fairly light endeavor, but has enough charms (notably a hilarious Sam Rockwell) to warrant a watch. Read our Sundance review.

7. Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro; July 12th)

Synopsis: When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.


Why You Should See It: As a fan of Guillermo del Toro‘s previous work, I should be unequivocally excited regarding the prospects of his biggest budget work yet, but I’m still on the fence. If Pacific Rim succeeds, it could be one of the most purely entertaining studio efforts this year, but if it’s a mindless smash-em-up, it might not be far removed from the latest Michael Bay blockbuster. I have enough faith in the director that it’ll be the former and we only have a week left to find out.

6. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler; July 12th)

Synopsis: The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.


Why You Should See It: Another Sundance Film Festival hit, picking up top jury and audience awards, will be arriving this month. With a no frills approach, Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut serves as up-and-comer Michael B. Jordan‘s best performance yet and we called it “a telling and touching movie, serving as a pertinent social and cultural reminder not to forget the life and times of Oscar Grant,” a man who was gunned down by a police officer on New Year’s Day 2009 in Oakland.

Our top 5 films to see this month >>

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