Saturday, July 1, 2017

But I Digress... May the Fourth Be With You

By Cat


As a change of pace, this weekend’s Holiday Digression is going to feature not 10, 20, or even 5 movies that fit the occasion. I decided that this time less was more – we’re highlighting 4 movies for the Fourth of July. These may not be the absolute be-all and end-all of patriotic movies, but they’re significant to me in various ways and feel appropriate to the season as well as the exploration of freedom and fighting for it. 

Some of these films might be available in select theaters during this season, but you would need to check your local listings due to the limited release. 

4) Stand By Me (1986)

Viewing Options: Netflix DVD, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, BestBuy CinemaNow, Vudu
Director: Rob Reiner
Actors: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Casey Siemaszko, John Cusack, Gary Riley
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: R
Length: 89 minutes
More Information Here.

IMDb Blurb: After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

This movie is one of my favorites of all time. The cast is spectacular, the writing phenomenal, and the soundtrack brings it all together. This coming-of-age tale is one for the ages, really. It's a film that gives you a slice of Americana from yester-year as well as filling you with a sense of adventure. It deftly encapsulates the thrill of testing the boundaries of taboo, and the bond of friendship - especially the ones we cultivate when we're young.

Of course a 'where are they now' look at the cast is rather bittersweet, having lost River Phoenix (Little Nikita, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sneakers) far before his time. If you've got older children in their teens, this movie might be a good starter for testing the waters of Rated R content. It's mainly for language, some violence considered mild by today's standards, smoking, and the like. There's nothing really raunchy in it aside from a smidge of adolescent toilet humor. The film just exudes the feeling of 'summer,' and fits perfectly with this holiday timeframe - especially if you're not in the mood for something overtly patriotic.

3) Independence Day (1996)

Viewing Options: Netflix DVD, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, YouTube (purchase), BestBuy CinemaNow, Vudu, Xfinity Subscription
Director: Roland Emmerich
Actors: Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 145 minutes
More Information Here.

IMDb Blurb: The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind's best weapon is the will to survive.

The debate is on whether or not the sequel to this movie was as good as or better than the first - forget all that for now. You could watch either and enjoy yourself, really. For this list, though, I'm focusing on the original. I was working at an AMC Theater (my high school job) when this movie came out. The tim?ing of this film's release was on point. Everything about this movie was cool back then, and still feels that way now. Of course, some of it is goofy and a little cheesy. That's the point, though! This is one of those films that's there for entertainment more than trying to spark introspection. Forget the deep thoughts and just enjoy the thought of fighting flying saucers and some action-movie style fireworks that are all about the fire and less about the flare.

2) The Patriot (2000)

Viewing Options: Netflix DVD, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, YouTube (purchase), BestBuy CinemaNow, Vudu
Director: Roland Emmerich
Actors: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo, Rene Auberjonois, Lisa Brenner
Genre: Historical Drama, War, Action
Rated: R
Length: 164 minutes
More Information Here.

IMDb Blurb: Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.

It wouldn't be a 4th of July list without something giving a nod to the United States' fight for independence. This is one of my favorite Revolutionary War period pieces. It's Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Signs, Blood Father) and Heath Ledger (10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale, The Order) at their best. Of course, this is our second entry that is bittersweet for the untimely loss of a treasured actor. I promise I'm going to stop tugging at 'the feels' for now, though - at least for that reason.

While I can't recall off the top of my head whether or not 'The Ghost' was an actual person from the Revolutionary War, I do remember The Swamp Fox; and this movie reminds me of those stories. Have some tissues on hand while watching this one. It's inspiring, heartbreaking, and on point for the meaning behind this upcoming holiday.

1) Born on the 4th of July (1989)

Viewing Options: Netflix DVD, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, YouTube (purchase), BestBuy CinemaNow, Vudu, Xfinity Subscription
Director: Oliver Stone
Actors: Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Bryan Larkin, Jerry Levine, Josh Evans
Genre: Biography, Drama, War
Rated: R
Length: 145 minutes
More Information Here.

IMDb Blurb: The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

OK, so this is my only soapboxy entry for this holiday compilation. There's a strong anti-war message here, but at the same time it's highly patriotic. This biopic is gritty and captures the essence of the Vietnam War era. It's not as humorous as, say, Forrest Gump (1994) but I honestly don't think that a 4th of July list is complete without a nod to the movie telling the story of someone born on America's birthday and with an important story to tell.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sampling of movies to get you in the mood for the holiday. Whatever you have planned for this weekend or the 4th of July, itself; have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the federal holiday (if you’re in The States).

If you plan to light fireworks to celebrate the holiday, please take care to contact any neighbors that are combat veterans to let them know ahead of time so they can plan. Not every veteran experiences PTSD and it doesn’t present itself in the same way for everyone that suffers from it. Sure, they probably already realize it’s going to be a noisy night – but just one moment of your time could make all the difference in saving someone from experiencing a waking nightmare.

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Top 20 Movies to Look Out For In July (2017)

According to: Selina

20 – Wish Upon (7/14)

Tag Line: Be careful what you wish for.
Production Company: Broad Green Pictures, Busted Shark Productions
Director: John R. Leonetti
Writer: Barbara Marshall
Actors: Sherilyn Fenn, Joey King, Elisabeth Rohm, Ryan Phillippe, Shannon Purser, Ki Hong Lee, Sydney Park, Daniela Barbosa, Mitchell Slaggert, Alice Lee, Raegan Revord, Josephine Langford, Alexander Nunez, Ryan Taerk
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Rated: PG-13
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A teenage girl discovers a box that carries magic powers and a deadly price for using them.

This is your typical ‘be careful what you wish for’ plot. I imagine it’ll go pretty much the way you’d expect a plot like that to go.

I really wasn’t certain I wanted this film on the top 20, and I’m still not sure. There are slim pickings this coming month. The good films coming out are REALLY good, but there aren’t as many as there usually are. Unfortunately, this film is filler – the best of the movies that wouldn’t have made the list on another month.

My real picks start at 19.

19 – Karate Kill (7/18)

Tag Line: He is no Mr. Miyagi.
Production Company: Mamezo Pictures – K. K. Torin
Director: Kurando Mitsutake
Writer: Kurando Mitsutake
Actors: Asami, Katarina Leigh Waters, Kirk Geiger, Mana Sakura, Hayate, Tomm Voss, Toshiya Agata, Ben Dukes, Tia, Antuone Torbert, Miki Kawawa, Jin Park, Kotomi Miyashiro, Drew Fitzsimmons
Genre: Action, Horror
Rated: Unrated
Length: 89 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When mysterious loner and Karate master Kenji's little sister goes missing in Los Angeles, whoever stands in his way of finding her will face the wrath of a lethal karate kill!

Can we talk about the title of this film for a moment?

Whenever I talk about The Tomorrow People (2013-2014) I make sure to mention that you should never judge a creative project by the title alone. That show was amazing, but so many people would never know because the title is terrible. It doesn’t hook anyone. Maybe it did back when the original came out, but times have changed.

Similarly, the title Karate Kill is just awful. I don’t know if it’s just a bad translation, though. It could be. The release date mentioned above is for the US. The film was originally released at the BiFan – Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival in South Korea on July 22, 2016. Karate Kill may sound a lot more epic in the Korean language. Remember that before you judge the movie.

That said, the trailer actually makes it seem like a relatively solid action film.

Yeah, there’s a part of me wondering if it’s the campy South Korean version of Taken (2008)… but I do enjoy that campy feel.

18 – Descendants 2 (7/21)

Tag Line: Long live evil.
Production Company: Disney Channel
Director: Kenny Ortega
Writer: Josann McGibbon, Sara Parriott
Actors: Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Sofia Carson, Booboo Stewart, Mitchell Hope, China Anne McClain, Thomas Doherty, Dylan Playfair, Dianne Doan, Brenna D’Amico, Dan Payne, Melanie Paxson, Megan Trainer, Anna Cathcart, Dude
Genre: Fantasy
Rated: TV-G
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Mal returns to the Isle of the Lost to find her archenemy Uma, the daughter of Ursula, teaming up with Harry, the son of Captain Hook, and Gil, the son of Gaston.

Shamefully, I haven’t seen the first Descendants. Why is that shameful? Well, not because of the reviews (although those paint a spectacular pictures). Instead, it’s shameful because I love Disney and love when writers twist up stories to tell them from the antagonists point of view.

In this case, the offspring of some very well-known antagonists.

Despite the fact that I’ve never seen the original, the trailer for this sequel looks just as good. It makes me look forward to seeing them both.

If I had seen the first Descendants, this one might have actually been higher on the list – who knows?

17 – First Kill (7/21)

Tag Line: When you only have one shot, don’t miss.
Production Company: Aboretum Productions, Brookstreet Pictures, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films (EFO Films), Ingenious Media, River Bay Films, The Fyzz Facility
Director: Steven C. Miller
Writer: Nick Gordon
Actors: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Magi Avila, Gethin Anthony, Charlotte Kirk, William DeMeo, Tamara Belous, Chelsea Mee, Megan Leonard, Tyler Jon Olson, Heather Johansen, Jesse Pruett, Shea Buckner, Chris Moss, Ty Shelton, Christine Dye, Deb G. Girdler
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A Wall Street broker is forced to evade a police chief investigating a bank robbery as he attempts to recover the stolen money in exchange for his son's life.

Take a moment. Read Hayden Christensen’s (Outcast, Awake, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith) name. Sigh, facepalm, or complete whatever method you use to deal with the fact that he still acts.

All done? Great! Let’s move on.

The trailer for this film looks decent. Bruce Willis (Once Upon a Time in Venice, Rock the Kasbah, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) may be a dick, but he’s a good actor – especially when it comes to action. It’s always been his bread and butter for a reason. The plot also looks relatively solid and the trailer did a good job of making me care about the outcome.

I want to know what the antagonist’s motivation is for kidnapping the son of the guy who helped him. That seems interesting to me.

I wish they would have left out that last quote about how hunting a man is the best hunting there is. It’s an overused quote that made me roll my eyes.

16 – Awaken the Shadowman (7/21)

Tag Line: Nightmare come to life.
Production Company: Wild Story Productions
Director: J.S. Wilson
Writer: Skyler Caleb, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, James Zimbardi
Actors: James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb, Jean Smart, Emily Somers, Andrea Hunt, Robert R. Shafer, Raam Weinfeld, Grace Van Dien, Sophie Labelle, Casey Kramer, Carlos Pratts, Angie Teodora Dick, Oliver Morton, Jasper Cole, Dylan Mooney, Steve Moulton, Eve Sigall, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Kara Michelotti, Marisa Dzintars, Karah Britton, Scarlet Mackenzie Pineda Luna, Frank Sansores, Sanford Holsapple
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: Unrated
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After the mysterious disappearance of their mother, estranged brothers reunite and discover an unknown supernatural force.

Horror films revolving around cults are some of the creepiest horrors I’ve seen. Not necessarily the best, but the creepiest. It’s that innate fear that something or someone can take a perfectly reasonable and normal human being and warp them into something no one can recognize. It’s the same reason why possession stories are so scary… only cult stories are based more in reality.

A story always feels scarier to me when it could be true.

Sure, there’s some kind of shadowy figure in this film, but I suspect that’ll be a figment of one of the main actor’s imaginations. Or both of theirs, it depends on how the cult plot goes.

15 – A Family Man (7/28)

Tag Line: What are you working for?
Production Company: G-BASE, Zero Gravity Management
Director: Mark Williams
Writer: Bill Dubuque
Actors: Alison Brie, Gerard Butler, Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol, Anupam Kher, Alfred Molina, Dustin Milligan, Kathleen Munroe, Mimi Kuzyk, Julia Butters, Max Jenkins, Sierra Woolridge, Jess Berry, Dwain Murphy, Brittany Anne Woodford, Ethan MacIver-Wright
Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Length: 108 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A headhunter whose life revolves around closing deals in a a survival-of-the-fittest boiler room, battles his top rival for control of their job placement company -- his dream of owning the company clashing with the needs of his family.

This film looks absolutely heartbreaking. I suspect a very bitter-sweet ending to it, which is the kind of ending I appreciate the most.

Really the film just looks like a solid drama with a great cast, which makes it hard to pass up. No, dramas without other primary genre aren’t my first choice for the most part, but that doesn’t stop them from looking good from time to time.

A good plot mixed with a good cast could easily break through a genre issue for me.

14 – The Big Sick (7/14)

Tag Line: An awkward true story.
Production Company: Apatow Productions, FilmNation Entertainment, Story Ink
Director: Michael Showalter
Writer: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Actors: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Kurt Braunohler, Vella Lovell, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Jeremy Shamos, David Alan Grier, Ed Herbstman, Shenaz Treasury, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kuhoo Verma, Mitra Jouhari, Celeste Arias, Shana Solomon, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Linda Emond, Holly Chou, Andrew Pang, Alison Cimmet, Lawrence Ballard, Shunori Ramanathan, Matty Cardarople
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Rated: R
Length: 119 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A couple deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows.

I found this film trailer very interesting. I enjoy exploring various cultures and how they interact with other cultures. In this case, you have an interracial couple facing differences in what they expect out of life and what people expect from them.

This would be a decent plot for a drama, but it’s a comedy… which is so much better.

That’s not because comedy is a better genre in general, because it’s not. That’s just a matter of taste. It’s better in this case because taking a serious subject and putting humor into it makes it easy to swallow and understand.

Racial issues are already a hot button issue. In this case, you get to look into the life of how people deal with that hot button issue without uncomfortably shifting in your seat and wondering if it’s ok to have the normal thoughts you have. You’re not in trouble for laughing, because everyone is laughing.

Movies like this give viewers a giggle that hides a wealth of understanding behind it.

13 – Girls Trip (7/21)

Tag Line: You’ll be glad you came.
Production Company: Universal Pictures, Will Packer Productions
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Writer: Kenya Barris, Karen McCullah, Tracy Oliver, Erica Rivinoja
Actors: Jada Pinkett Smith, Kate Walsh, Tiffany Haddish, Mike Colter, Queen Latifah, Kofi Siriboe, Regina Hall, Larenz Tate, Deborah Ayorinde, Lara Grice, Robert Miano, Aadyn Encalarde, Tonea Stewart, Alona Leoine, Ricky Wayne, Jannette Sepwa
Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Length: 122 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

This film looks like so much fun. I’ll admit, it doesn’t look like it has much substance to it, but I don’t think that matters for what it is. It looks like one of those fun, raunchy, turn-your-brain-off films that you watch after a day when the boss simply won’t stop riding you, or the kids have been terrors and you finally got them to bed.

It’s a film that’s about the quick and easy laugh. Normally, it’d be lower on the list… but this one has a hell of a cast.

There are very few cast members involved, if any, that don’t have an amazing career to note. It’s actually really impressive and takes expectations for the film to a whole new level.

12 – Story of a Girl (7/23)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Random Bench Productions
Director: Kyra Sedgwick
Writer: Laurie Collyer, Emily Bickford Lansbury, Sara Zarr
Actors: Kevin Bacon, Sarah Grey, Sosie Bacon, Ryann Shane, Jon Tenney, Tyler Johnston, Caroline Cave, Andrew Herr, Naika Toussaint, Maddie Phillips, Alison Wandzura, Katerina Katelieva, Michael Maize, Iain Belcher, Bailey Skodje, Nelson Leis, Zachary Gulka, Eric Bempong, Beau Han Bridge, Rachel Prosch, Gavin Langelo, Tyler Burrows
Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 90 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When a compromising video of sixteen-year-old Deanna Lambert hits social media, her teenage life is changed forever.

Story of a Girl touches on a subject that really needs awareness among teens. The internet is a place of permanence. In a world where everything expires or gets lost or runs out of print, there is always the internet… and things that go on it can be found by anyone.

Naked pictures, sex tapes, etc. These are things that kids either take voluntarily or other kids take and share as a ‘joke’. These kids don’t realize they are doing significant damage to the subject’s future. People will judge them on those images for the rest of their lives. People my age sometimes forget to talk to their kids about the issue of the internet and being careful about what gets out there.

If the internet as we know it had been around when I was younger, Junior High School would have been a hell that never ended. For me, it wasn’t an image, it was a story. But it’s only a host of bad memories now. It’s lost to time.

The people who shared the story that caused the worst of my bullying in JHS were my ‘friends’. They thought they were just laughing and joking around. The result, however, caused a lot of harassment and depression.

Maybe, if they had realized it wasn’t a ‘joke’, they wouldn’t have done it – or abandoned me after they had. This film raises awareness of what is appropriate and what isn’t.

For teenagers, it’s very important to know that line. You never know what the consequences of crossing it could be.

11 – Austin Found (7/7)

Tag Line: Some mothers will do whatever it takes.
Production Company: Caspian Pictures, Costanzo Media, Omega Point Films
Director: Will Raee
Writer: Brenna Graziano, Will Raee
Actors: Linda Cardellini, Skeet Ulrich, Jaime Pressly, Patrick Warburton, Kristen Schaal, Chris Parnell, Craig Robinson, Matt Jones, Jon Daly, Ursula Parker, Kyla Deaver, Karen Strassman, Meg DeLacy, Matt Medrano, January Stern, Sid Wilson, Sarah J. Eagen, Jehanne Chinnery, Jade Bryce, Melissa Shoshahi
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 95 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A woman who is fed up with her mundane lifestyle hatches a scheme to make her family instant celebrities, but not everything goes as planned as her wild tempered ex-boyfriend starts to lose it.

The trailer starts off looking like a real drama kind of thing and take a hard left immediately after. It’s eye catching.

I’m amused by the plot and there’s a decent cast. I just finished watching the Riverdale series and I’m excited to see Skeet Ulrich (Escape Room, 50 to 1, Babylon Fields) in something else now.

This film promises to be hilarious.

10 – Feed (7/18)

Tag Line: Control yourself.
Production Company: Indy Entertainment
Director: Tommy Bertelsen
Writer: Troian Bellisario
Actors: Troian Bellisario, Tom Felton, Ben Winchell, James Remar, Paula Malcomson, Courtney Henggeler, Willie Garson, David Warshofsky, Adam Shapiro, Tiffany Boone, Jack McGraw, Joe Pacheco, Brooke Fontana
Genre: Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Olivia and Matthew Grey, 18-year-old twins born into a world of privilege and high expectations. There are almost no boundaries between them; even their dreams are connected.

This movie seems to deal with survivor’s guilt in one of its strongest forms – where one twin lives and the other dies.

Although this film is listed as a drama, it looks terrifying, as if it has hints of thriller in it as well. It seems very interesting, and it looks like Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars, Martyrs, Sister Cities) works incredibly well off of Tom Felton (The Flash, Stratton, A United Kingdom).

9 – Atomic Blonde (7/28)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: 87Eleven, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, Denver and Delilah Productions, Film i Vast, Focus Features, Sierra / Affinity, T.G.I.M Films
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Kurt Johnstad, Antony Johnston, Sam Hart
Actors: Sofia Boutella, Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Bill Skarsgard, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Daniel Bernhardt, James Faulkner, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Roland Moller, Sam Hargrave, Lili Gesler
Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Rated: R
Length: 115 minutes

IMDb Blurb: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

Bad ass women are all over the movies right now and that makes me super happy.

Unsurprisingly, this film is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston (Zombi, Dead Space, Binary Domain) and Sam Hart. I don’t know anything about the original work, but I’m perfectly happy finding out more about it in the coming weeks.

I, personally, like adaptations. If they’re made right, the characters have more depth and there are less plot holes. I understand that there are pitfalls that are easy to fall into for writers and directors working on adaptations, but I prefer to hope for the best. That’s true here.

The entire trailer is heart-pumping action complete with awesome fight choreography.

Besides, the cast is outstanding as well. I love Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Last Face), James McAvoy (Filth, Split, Victor Frankenstein), and John Goodman (Patriots Day, Love the Coopers, Kong: Skull Island). I’m looking forward to seeing them all mixed together.

8 – To the Bone (7/14)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: AMBI Group, Sparkhouse Media, Mockingbird Pictures, Foxtail Entertainment, BondIt, To The Bone Productions
Director: Marti Noxon
Writer: Marti Noxon
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Lily Collins, Carrie Preston, Liana Liberato, Alanna Ubach, Kathryn Prescott, Lili Taylor, Brooke Smith, Ciara Bravo, Retta, Alex Sharp, Hana Hayes, Michael B. Silver, Rebekah Kennedy, Maya Eshet, Lindsey McDowell, Joanna Sanchez, Don O. Knowlton
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
Length: 107 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A young woman is dealing with anorexia. She meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.

I love everything about this trailer.

This is an in-depth look at a woman with anorexia nervosa.

Eating disorders are terrifying in general. Both for the people affected and their loved ones. I’m more familiar with bulimia, but the point is the same. People watch someone they love waste away.

Real issues lead to eating disorders. Those issues are things that many people face. It makes understanding the symptoms easier, even if it’s difficult for some people to actually understand the disorder.

In reality, it’s horrific… in a film it makes for a heartbreaking and engulfing story that is likely going to be both relatable and chilling at the same time.

It’s going to be released on Netflix, so you can see it on opening day without leaving the comfort of your couch… or putting on pants.

7 – Undercover Grandpa (7/7)

Tag Line: Get the girl. Save the world.
Production Company: CCI Entertainment, Grandpa Productions Ltd., Productions de Grand-Pere
Director: Erik Canuel
Writer: Jeff Schechter
Actors: James Caan, Jessica Walter, Louis Gossett Jr., Kenneth Welsh, Paul Sorvino, Dylan Everett, Jennifer Robertson, Greta Onieogou, Rob Archer, Lawrence Dane, Joanna Douglas, Jesse Bostick, Paul Braunstein, Rhys Wyn Trenhaile, Pat Lemaire, Timm Zemanek, Bernard Kay, Brandon Garth
Genre: Action, Comedy, Family
Rated: PG-13
Length: 99 minutes

IMDb Blurb: When the girl he likes goes missing, Jake enlists the help of his grandpa and his WWII buddies.

A new trend in action films involves middle-aged action heros. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with Hollywood favorites aging. People still want to see actors like Sylvester Stallone (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Creed, The Expendables 3), Dolph Lundgren (Arrow, Altitude, Larceny), and Jackie Chan (Skiptrace, Monkey King: Hero is Back, Dragon Blade) kick some serious ass. I’m included in that. I love some good hardcore action fighting.

In this case, however, the actor used as the hero isn’t exactly known as one of the action greats. Actually, he’s known more for his mob movie roles… which is close, but not really the same thing.

Still, the way the trailer portrays James Caan (The Throwaways, The Good Neighbor, Blood Ties) in the main role makes it impossible to not want to see just how good he still is. There’s a certain immortality to watching an older actor in that kind of active part normally reserved for the younger generations.

It also looks hilarious.

6 – War for the Planet of the Apes (7/14)

Tag Line: For freedom. For family. For the planet.
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Matt Reeves, Amanda Silver
Actors: Toby Kebbell, Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Ty Olsson, Terry Notary, Sara Canning, Max Lloyd-Jones, Aleks Paunovic, Alessandro Juliani, Devyn Dalton, Karin Konoval, Gabriel Chavarria, Michael Adamthwaite, Chad Rook, Mercedes de la Zerda, Timothy Webber, James Pizzinato, Dean Redman, Yuri Zackoqv
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Length: 140 minutes

IMDb Blurb: After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

The ape series is a bit on the epic side. There’s no denying that. What makes this film even more epic is the inclusion of Woody Harrelson (The Edge of Seventeen, Triple 9, The Hunger Games).

I’m all for that.

5 – The Emoji Movie (7/28)

Tag Line: Not easy being meh.
Production Company: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation
Director: Tony Leondis
Writer: Tony Leondis, Eric Siegel, Mike White
Actors: T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, Sofia Vergara, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Coolidge, James Corden, Maya Rudolph, Jake T. Austin, Christina Aguilera, Steven Wright, Thom Bishops
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Length: Unknown

IMDb Blurb: Gene, a multi-expressional emoji, sets out on a journey to become a normal emoji.

I don’t much use emojis. It feels a bit too much like we’re regressing to hieroglyphics. So, aside from the occasional decorative heart or smiley face… not for me. But that’s not a prerequisite to wanting to see this film.

The Emoji Movie is more about shrugging off conformity and finding your own path. That is a message I can definitely support.

Besides, who could possibly pass up seeing Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk, Logan, American Dad) play Poop?

4 – Dunkirk (7/21)

Tag Line: Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory.
Production Company: Warner Bros., Canal+, Cine+, Dombey Street Productions, Kaap Holland Film, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, StudioCanal, Syncopy
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Actors: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles, James D’Arcy, Brian Vernel, Aneurin Barnard, Jack Lowden, Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Elliott Tittensor, Kevin Guthrie
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Rated: PG-13
Length: 107 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

This is a horrific war film that looks like it will be a hell of a story to watch. I imagine it’s going to have triggers in it that people with PTSD should be careful with, however. I say that, because I remember how an ex of mine reacted to watching Saving Private Ryan (1998) the first time (he was a Marine).

I suspect Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, Interstellar) was the right writer/director to head this project and I expect a lot from it.

3 – Swallows and Amazons (7/14)

Tag Line: The adventure begins.
Production Company: BBC Films, British Film Company, The Electric Shadow Company, Harbour Pictures
Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Writer: Andrea Gibb, Arthur Ransome
Actors: Kelly Macdonald, Andrew Scott, Rafe Spall, Jessica Hynes, Elizabeth Berrington, Richard Bremmer, Fenella Woolgar, Harry Enfield, Orla Hill, Dane Hughes, Seren Hawkes, Sophie Wardlow, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen, Bobby McCulloch, Hannah Jayne Thorp, Dan Skinner, Neil Bell, Abbie Glozier, Megan Glozier
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family
Rated: Unrated
Length: 97 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Four children (the Swallows) on holiday in the Lake District sail on their own to an island and start a war with rival children (the Amazons). In the meantime, a mysterious man on a houseboat accuses them of a crime they did not commit.

I love coming across epic fantasy films geared toward children.

I believe it’s essential for kids to have fuel for their imagination. In this case, you have a great epic film that promotes that while still staying anchored in reality.

Swallows and Amazons is a British film that came out a while back, but it’s being released in the US on the date mentioned above.

2 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (7/21)

Tag Line: A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.
Production Company: EuropaCorp, Fundamental Films, Grive Productions, Gulf Film, Novo Pictures, Orange Studio, River Road Entertainment, TF1 Films Production, Universum Film (UFA)
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson, Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mezieres
Actors: Cara Delevingne, Elizabeth Debicki, Dane DeHaan, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Rutger Hauer, Kris Wu, Mathieu Kassovitz, Aymeline Valade, Emilie Livingston, Sam Spruell, Diva Cam, Alexandre Willaume, Gavin Drea, Alain Chabat
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 137 minutes

IMDb Blurb: A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

I know this film was based on a French sci-fi comic series created by Pierre Christin (Valerian & Laureline, Es ist nicht leicht ein Gott zu sein, Bunker Palace Hotel) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (L’Histoire de la page 52, Es ist nicht leicht ein Gott zu sein, Valerian & Laureline), but I’m not familiar with the source material. It hardly matters, though. How could this movie even be considered anything but epic?

People who were familiar with the source material got to see a little bit of the film at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con. Apparently, those hardcore fans thought it measured up, because they gave it a standing ovation.

I expect nothing less than the best from Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Arthur and the Invisibles, The Family). The story couldn’t be in better hands.

1 – Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7)

Tag Line: None
Production Company: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios, Pascal Pictures
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Actors: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Abraham Attah, Hannibal Buress, Kenneth Choi, Selenis Leyva, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Chernus, Michael Mando, Logan Marshall-Green, Jennifer Connolly, Gary Weeks, Christopher Berry, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Tunde Adebimpe, Tiffany Espensen, Isabella Amara, Michael Barbieri, J.J. Totah, Hemky Madera, Zach Cherry, Stan Lee, Chris Evans, Kerry Condon, John Penick, Ethan Dizon, Nitin Nohria
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13
Length: 133 minutes

IMDb Blurb: Following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Peter Parker attempts to balance his life in high school with his career as the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man.

Finally. A Spider-Man we can all be excited to see.

With Marvel involved in the film, and Tom Holland (Wolf Hall, In the Heart of the Sea, The Lost City of Z) taking on the title role, this movie really can’t fail. If it somehow does, maybe Spider-Man just isn’t meant for the big screen anymore.

Movies to Look out For
According to: Cat

Awaken the Shadowman .20
A Family Man .19
Blind .18
Lake Alice .17
Feed .16
Dunkirk .15
Lady Macbeth .14
Undercover Grandpa .13
Girls Trip .12
Karate Kill .11
Wish Upon .10
The Gracefield Incident .9
Mary and the Witch’s Flower .8
First Kill .7
The Emoji Movie .6
Swallows and Amazons .5
War for the Planet of the Apes .4
Atomic Blonde .3
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets .2
Spider-Man: Homecoming .1