Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to July

july

After a rather lackluster June with very few major releases (and even fewer that were any good), the summer season kicks back into high gear this July with a trio of highly-anticipated sequels, the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a handful of original comedies that could end up being the biggest surprises of the month.

“Terminator Genisys”

Who: Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke
What: After finding himself in a new timeline, Kyle Reese teams up with Sarah Connor and an aging terminator to try and stop Judgement Day.
When: July 1st
Why: The “Terminator” movie franchise has been limping along for over a decade now, first with the terrible “Rise of the Machines,” and more recently with the failed reboot starring Christian Bale, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying to keep the series alive. So what makes this latest attempt any different? For starters, it has James Cameron’s official seal of approval, and it’s easy to see why, since the movie is tied very closely to the first two installments, playing with the time travel aspect in the same way that J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” did to reinvent the franchise. It still doesn’t look very good, but we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because we love watching Arnold Schwarzenegger in full Terminator mode.

“Magic Mike XXL”

Who: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello and Jada Pinkett Smith
What: Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.
When: July 1st
Why: One of the biggest complaints about the first “Magic Mike” was that it was a lot gloomier than moviegoers were expecting for a film about male strippers, and Channing Tatum has addressed those issues with the promise that the upcoming sequel will be a much lighter affair. Though it’s sad to see Matthew McConaughey isn’t involved in the project (he was, after all, one of the highlights of the first film), “Magic Mike XXL” doesn’t appear to be short on colorful characters, including bigger roles for supporting players like Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello, and the addition of Jada Pinkett Smith. And if the trailers are any indication, it hasn’t lost its self-mocking sense of humor, either.

“Self/less”

Who: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode and Natalie Martinez
What: An extremely wealthy man, dying from cancer, undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man.
When: July 10th
Why: Though it’s hard to imagine a better sci-fi movie this year than Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” (except for “The Force Awakens,” because we all know that’s going to be awesome, right?), “Self/less” at least shows potential with its intriguing premise. It remains to be seen just how much Ben Kingsley is involved in the film beyond his character’s “transformation,” but if nothing else, it should give Ryan Reynolds a nice challenge as he balances the conflicting personalities of two different men. If there’s any reason to be excited about “Self/less,” however, it’s the involvement of director Tarsem Singh, who, even when the material itself is dull (see: “Immortals”), always creates a memorable experience thanks to his gorgeous visuals.

“Ant-Man”

Who: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale and Corey Stoll
What: Armed with a super-suit with the ability to shrink in scale, conman Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero to pull off a heist that will save the world.
When: July 17th
Why: We’ll never get to see Edgar Wright’s fully realized vision of “Ant-Man,” so there’s no point in obsessing over it, but based on the footage released thus far, it’s hard to deny the impression that he left on the project after being replaced by Peyton Reed. After all, Wright was the one responsible for assembling the great cast (especially Paul Rudd, who should fit effortlessly into the MCU/Avengers team), while the Thomas the Tank Engine gag has his fingerprints all over it. Though “Ant-Man” represents another major gamble for the studio due to the lack of character awareness among the general public, that hasn’t stopped Marvel’s B-list heroes (from Iron Man to the Guardians of the Galaxy) from proving to be just as effective at the box office.

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