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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to July

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Audiences have seen quite a few big movies may their way into theaters over the past two months, but the onslaught of summer tentpole films isn’t even close to over. In fact, we’ve just reached the midway point of the season, and as you might expect, there’s plenty more big blockbusters on their way, including a potential new Disney franchise for Johnny Depp, Guillermo del Toro’s answer to Godzilla, and the return of Wolverine.

“THE LONE RANGER”

Who: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner and Helena Bonham Carter
What: Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
When: July 3rd
Why: Disney may think that they have another ready-made hit on their hands with this big screen adaptation of the popular radio serial, but I don’t know many people that are actually excited about “The Lone Ranger,” and that includes myself. Though Johnny Depp will almost certainly be a riot as the dead-bird wearing Tonto (he’s at his best when playing eccentric characters), Armie Hammer has yet to prove himself as a viable leading man. Additionally, the rumors about the film’s troubled production don’t exactly exude confidence, and although “World War Z” taught us not to take behind-the-scenes drama at face value, there hasn’t been a single trailer released yet that doesn’t make the movie look like one really expensive mess.

“THE WAY, WAY BACK”

Who: Liam James, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell and Amanda Peet
What: 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.
When: July 5th
Why: After becoming a smash hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the coming-of-age comedy ignited a bidding war, with Fox Searchlight ultimately acquiring the rights for a near-record $10 million. The indie studio clearly believes that the film can replicate the box office success of “Little Miss Sunshine” (it even features two of the actors from that movie in Steve Carell and Toni Collete), and if the festival buzz is to be believed, an awards campaign might not be too far behind. The film marks the directorial debuts of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who first turned industry heads with their Oscar-winning script for “The Descendants,” and boasts a star-studded cast that also includes Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Rob Corddry and Amanda Peet. Though it may seem like an odd time of the year to release such a small comedy, it’s actually a smart piece of counterprogramming that could work to its benefit.

“PACIFIC RIM”

Who: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Ron Perlman
What: When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.
When: July 12th
Why: There’s surely more to this Japanese-inspired movie than giant robots fighting giant monsters, but at the moment, that appears to be all that matters to the giddy teenage boys (and fanboy bloggers) that were drooling at the mouth before they even saw a single frame. Personally, I’m a little worried that Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi epic is going to be a bit cheesy, but it looks like so much fun that it probably won’t matter. Though the robot and monster designs aren’t nearly as cool as I was expecting considering del Toro’s past projects, the cast features a host of exciting actors, including Rinko Kikuchi, who’s been MIA from Hollywood since “The Brothers Bloom”; Idris Elba, who’s one role away from becoming a very big deal; and Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, who usually makes everything better.

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