Summer 2014 movie preview

Movies coming to the big screen this summer


Obvious Child
Ex-SNL cast member Jenny Slate portrays an up-and-coming standup comic in a movie that promises to provide a nuanced and sympathetic portrait of one woman’s lot in show business and society. In a world where In a World actually got the accolades it deserved, maybe there’s room for another feminist hero in our meta-comedies. (limited release, begins June 6)

22 Jump Street
Magic Mike might get all the attention, but it was Channing Tatum’s surprisingly sensitive turn in the wonderful 21 Jump Street that showed he was going to be a major force to contend with. Two years later, he and Jonah Hill are back for a follow-up that looks set to do for obligatory sequels what the original did for obligatory reboots. This time, our heroes are on assignment in college, which opens the door to all kinds of winking self-exploitation. In other words, this shit just got unreal. (wide release, June 13)

Ivory Tower
Learn everything that’s wrong with America’s debt-inducing system of higher education in this probing documentary. NOTE: No student passes accepted for this engagement. (limited, June 13)

They Came Together
The latest collaboration between Paul Rudd and filmmaker David Wain (Role Models) is a romcom spoof in the high-stakes world of candy manufacturing. No matter how it turns out, we’re all but guaranteed two ancillary benefits: an airing of the non-Wings nonhit “Love Take Me Down (to the Streets)” and Rudd yet again Rick-rolling Conan O’Brien with that ridiculous clip from Mac and Me. Never gets old! (limited, June 27)

The Purge: Anarchy
Last summer’s The Purge was crap with a conscience: home-invasion porn that actually had something worthwhile to say about 21st-century class warfare. Ten months later, its closing line – “This country has taken everything from me” – remains one of the most daring and bracingly honest observations I’ve heard in a major release. The flick made all sorts of serious, unexpected bank, too, which is why there’s already a sequel ready to go. Now, ask yourself – with a schedule that tight, which element of the original do you think it was easier for the filmmakers to preserve: the wholesale bloodletting or the pithy social commentary? Yeah, me, too. (wide, July 18)

A Most Wanted Man
This indie thriller based on the writings of John le Carré represents Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last starring role to reach theaters. What’s that, you say? You could use a really good punchline here? Hey, then why don’t you make one? (limited, July 25)

Get on Up
Chadwick Boseman (42’s Jackie Robinson) is Godfather of Soul James Brown in a biopic directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. Apparently the role of onetime Brown confidant Al Sharpton is played by no one – hey, just like on TV! (wide, Aug. 1)

Guardians of the Galaxy
While Warner Bros. abandons hope of ever making a profitable DC Comics movie that doesn’t involve a trip to the Batcave, Disney does the nyah-nyah dance by anointing one of Marvel’s more obscure titles as its end-of-summer hopeful. And whaddaya know, the thing looks like it could be a monster hit, distilling the space opera, caped heroics and funny animalhood that represent the shared character of the Mouse House’s latter-day acquisitions. If those Star Wars sequels underperform somehow, don’t be surprised if Rocket Raccoon gets a makeover as a Disney Princess. (Aug. 1)

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dameto Kill For
A lot has happened in the nine years since the sequel to Frank Miller’s Sin City was announced: Robert Rodriguez fell in love with Machete, and Miller’s solo directing debut, The Spirit, was such a bust he had to settle for establishing himself as the Islamophobic pariah of comics. So what’s left to anticipate now that a second Sin City is finally limping out of the gate? Well, there’s a featured role for Lady Gaga.. (Aug. 22)

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