Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to July

“Southpaw”

Who: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent
What: A boxer fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.
When: July 24th
Why: Director Antoine Fuqua and writer Kurt Sutter’s long-gestating boxing drama was originally designed as a starring vehicle for Eminem, so moviegoers should count their lucky stars that the rapper has since been replaced by the far superior Jake Gyllenhaal. Though any movie that features 50 Cent in an acting role deserves to be approached with extreme caution, the rest of the cast is top-notch, and Fuqua is certainly no slouch, either. The film’s summer release date is a bit strange considering the heavy hitters it’s going up against, because while it’ll be a nice break from all the CG-fueled blockbusters, if “Southpaw” was as good as its talent suggests, it would have been better positioned for an awards season run.

“Vacation”

Who: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth
What: Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to Walley World in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons.
When: July 29th
Why: That sound you hear is fans of the original film groaning, because although the new “Vacation” isn’t a reboot in the traditional sense, there’s really no need for this movie to exist. But Hollywood loves milking a good franchise, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the most popular comedies of the past 35 years is receiving the reboot/sequel treatment. In fact, the only surprise at all is that it took this long to make. Though the cast is promising enough, and cameos from Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will no doubt please even the biggest detractors, “Vacation” looks so dumb and desperately raunchy that it’s hard to imagine it’ll perform well enough to warrant a Christmas-themed follow-up.

“Southpaw”

Who: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson and Ving Rhames
What: Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet: eradicating the Syndicate, an international rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF.
When: July 31st
Why: The “Mission: Impossible” franchise has as an impressive record of attracting talented directors, and though Christopher McQuarrie doesn’t hold a candle to recent helmers like J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird, it’s beginning to look like he might have made the best “Mission: Impossible” movie yet. Though it’s not quite the “Fast and Furious” reunion that it could have been (bringing back Paula Patton, Maggie Q and Jonathan Rhys Meyers would have been awesome), “Rogue Nation” has retained the rest of the franchise’s ever-expanding cast, including comic relief Simon Pegg and series favorite Ving Rhames. But make no mistake about it: this is Tom Cruise’s movie, and when you pull off stunts like the military cargo plane set piece highlighted in the trailers, it’s plain to see why it isn’t really up for discussion.

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