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The 2017 Film Release Calendar: July

Every January, I preview all the films that are scheduled to come out for the year. I go through the existing release calendar, month by month, and guess how much or how little I’m going to like each of the films.

The major benefit is that it allows me, come the end of the year, to see which movies ended up surprising me for better or for worse, or which ones I had wildly disproportionate expectations for. It also gives me a chance to know what’s coming out and what to look forward to.

I also take all the films that are filming or in post and theoretically able to come out that year and preview those too, along with all the films from the previous year(s) that have yet to come out that I’ve been tracking. In all, I end up previewing more films than pretty much anyone else, I’ve been told.

July

Spider-Man: Homecoming

A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero.

A lot to unpack with this one.

So we have the Sam Raimi movies. One good one, one so-so one, and one awful one. (In that order. I think people calling the second one a masterpiece is ridiculous.) They were fine, and good for the era, but definitely not something that particularly holds up at all. Then they rebooted the franchise with Andrew Garfield. Which was a good idea, except… they had nothing new to say, so they just kind of remade the first movie. And then went straight to the third movie and redid that disaster. And within two years, killed the franchise again.

You know you’ve fuck up a franchise really badly when you basically have to give the property back to the people you bought it from just to save face. That’s what they had to do. They gave it back to Marvel in exchange for, “Okay, just give us money and put our names on it.” You know how much of the credit they’re gonna get if this works? Exactly zero.

So sure. Now Marvel has Spider-Man again. And they’re going to give us our third franchise starter Spider-Man movie in fifteen years. I don’t have any particular faith in them to do anything better with it. And apparently they don’t have faith in anything about this movie, because they’re selling it entirely on Robert Downey Jr. Maybe see if Spider-Man can do it on his own rather than force the crutch of Tony Stark on him.

Also, you guys are really calling your shot by literally casting Michael Keaton as Birdman. That’s a fucking bold move.

I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that this will be fun. The cast is really strong. Tom Holland looks like he’ll be fine as Spider-Man. Downey is always good. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May — okay, I guess. Keaton I love, so I have to assume he was aware of the Birdman connection and was fine with it. Favreau is coming back. Hooray. Logan Marshall-Green is in it. Dead Uncle Ben, maybe? No idea who Zendaya is, but I’m sure she’s fine. The girl from The Nice Guys is in it as Betty Brant. That’s cool. Hannibal Burress has a small role. Kenneth Choi. Tony Revelori is Flash Thompson. Bokeem Woodbine is in it too, which is cool. They have interesting people. And the director made Cop Car, which I loved.

3.5 stars. I can’t not assume standard Marvel, but I’d like to have hope that this could possibly get to 4. Nothing of Marvel’s has really gone to 4 for me except like two movies. So I’m not really getting my hopes up.

There’s no way this could be a third disaster, can it?

Bad Dads

No. I reject this concept entirely.

STOP MAKING THESE MOVIES.

Bad Moms was a piece of shit.

Bad Teacher sucked.

Dirty Grandpa (which is basically “Bad Grandpa” except the Jackass movie took that title) was atrocious.

Stop putting “Bad” in front of a title and making that into a shitty comedy.

You know what the only hope I have for this movie is? That they announced in October that it was coming out in July, and as of right now they haven’t even shot it yet. So there’s a chance this might not even come out this year.

When that’s the thing I’m holding onto, you probably shouldn’t make the movie in the first place.

2 stars. I would rather put lamb’s blood on my testicles and dip them into a shark tank than have to deal with this movie.

Midnight Sun

Based on the Japanese film, Midnight Sun centers on Katie, a 17-year-old sheltered since childhood and confined to her house during the day by a rare disease that makes even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly. Fate intervenes when she meets Charlie and they embark on a summer romance.

So… vampirism? Is that the disease? Because this sounds like a fucking Twilight book.

Though this movie is Japanese. I don’t think they’re as fascinated with vampires as America is.

I like Midnight Sun as a combination of words that sound good together, but wouldn’t you call this Summer Nights? Just a thought.

Directed by the guy who did Step Up Revolution, they said, as if that were a vote of confidence.

This movie stars Bella Thorne, who I only know because apparently she really likes getting half naked on the internet and being famous for that. So I’m sure she cannot act whatsoever and this is her way of staying famous. And it stars Patrick Schwarzenegger, whose last name about tells me where he’s at.

This looks like Nicholas Sparks nonsense. I don’t even need to watch the movie to know she dies at the end. Though it would be cool if she turned out to be a vampire and just murdered him at the end. What a beautiful ending that would be. There’s your short film. They get to know each other, and finally, at the every end, they lean in for a kiss, and she just tears his jugular out and drinks his blood, and he lays on the floor, convulsing and bleeding out while she walks away casually. I’d give this movie 5 stars if that’s how it ended.

But I think we all know this will probably be the piece of shit version of this story.

2.5 stars. And that’s being lenient. I’m counting on the fact that it’s based on a Japanese movie to keep it above 2 stars and Unforgivable watch.

We’ll see.

War for the Planet of the Apes

A nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar becomes embroiled in a battle with an army of humans.

These Apes movies have been really solid. I actually have solid expectations for all of these.

I gotta say 4 stars. The others have all been 4. No reason to think this will be otherwise.

Though I do also have to say — there’s no way Woody Harrelson agreed to that scene of him shaving his head with a straight razor without recognizing the Natural Born Killers connection, right?

My Cousin Rachel

A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

This is the second remake of a 50s movie starring Rachel Weisz. First she did The Deep Blue Sea, and now this. I’m sure most people have no idea what either one is.

My Cousin Rachel, which was first a novel, was originally made in 1952 with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton. It was actually Richard Burton’s first Oscar nomination — for Supporting Actor, which is hilarious, since he’s clearly the lead of the picture. But that’s how the Oscars do these things.

Anyway, it’s a gothic romance. The kind that could have been directed by Hitchcock were it made a decade before it was, originally. (Though that’s also because he directed the author’s other novel, Rebecca. And Jamaica Inn, earlier.)

Generally a good story. Not sure a whole lot could be done to make it great, but the director is typically one for a solid 3 star movie or a flat 3.5 star movie. So we’ll assume it’ll be one of them.

Let’s say 3.5 stars and figure it’ll either be a strong 3 or a 3.5.

Dunkirk

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.

It’s Christopher Nolan, it’s World War II, it’s shot on film and not digital, I was in days ago.

5 stars.

Go big or go home.

Girl Trip

No plot, but it’s being directed by the guy who made Undercover Brother, Roll Bounce, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Soul Men, Scary Movie 5 and The Best Man Holiday.

It stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Regina Hall.

Hard pass.

Might as well have got Vivica A. back and made it a full Set It Off reunion.

2.5 stars.

Not for me at all.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Time-traveling agent Valerian is sent to investigate a galactic empire, along with his partner Laureline.

I’m gonna walk you through my feelings on this one:

August 2015, they announce that Clive Owen has joined Luc Besson’s new space epic “Valerian.” I go, “Space epic? You mean he’s going back to the Fifth Element well?” Followed by, “Awesome,” and then immediately followed by, “Oh no.” Because it’s not 1998. What was once achieved by makeup, costumes and set design is now accomplished by CGI. I also think, “Oh but there’s no way this will actually get made. They’ll talk about it and then it won’t actually happen.”

March 2016, they release photos from the movie, and I realize this is actually happening. The photos are entirely underwhelming, but I hold out hope — maybe it can be okay. Let’s wait and see.

November 2016, they release a trailer.. It’s not good. It’s really not good and it utilizes a Beatles song that should not be used. I worry based on her previous work that Cara Delevingne is not gonna be able to pull this off, and I worry that it’s gonna be like all overly CGI movies and not feel like it has any stakes.

But, since it’s Luc Besson going into space, I kinda have to figure he knows what he’s doing. 3.5 stars has to be the guess and it needs to actively disappoint me. They’re going for summer, so there’s hope for this yet. But man, am I deeply, deeply concerned about this.

The Coldest City

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.

One of the John Wick directors is doing this. The one who is also doing Deadpool 2.

Charlize Theron stars. James McAvoy is in this, as is Toby Jones, who will never turn down a spy thriller. John Goodman, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella — decent cast.

It’s a spy thriller, which means I assume I will like it. 3.5 stars and I hope it’s not a flat 3 generic thriller.

The Dark Tower

Gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the dark tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world.

They’ve been trying to force this into production for years. They have the director of A Royal Affair, which — sure. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star. Nice. This is an attempt to start a franchise, but I honestly don’t know how they’re gonna do with it. It could end up being another Jonah Hex.

I have to say 3.5 stars with this because of the cast and the fact that it’s a western (kinda). Let it disappoint. But it’s got things that I like, so let’s figure decent things.

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