Blue Jasmine (July 26)
Woody Allen may be 77 years old, but he’s clearly not one to let advancing age keep him from turning out a new movie every single year, and 2013 is no exception: his latest (a rare Stateside shoot for the increasingly European director — though in San Francisco rather than his beloved New York City) features Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K. (oh, to be a fly on the wall during those conversations), Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Canavale and Michael Stuhlbarg, and (wild card!) Andrew Dice Clay.
Fruitvale Station (July 26)
When this drama premiered at Sundance in January (under its original title Fruitvale) it won not only the Grand Jury prize, but the Audience Award as well. Based on the true story of Oscar Grant, an unarmed man shot to death by a BART officer in 2009, it reportedly features a star-making turn by Michael B. Jordan, the remarkable young actor from Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, and Chronicle.
Only God Forgives (July 26)
Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn reunites with star Ryan Gosling for this neon-soaked, noir–infused drama, but don’t go expecting a retread of their earlier effort; their latest is “radical and punk,” according to Thierry Frémaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival (where the picture will debut this month). Radical, punk, violent Gosling? Sounds like a surefire recipe for awesome.
Also in July:
The Spectacular Now (August 2)
Tim Tharp’s popular YA novel gets the big screen treatment, via director James Ponsoldt (Smashed) and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer). It’s a simple story, of a popular bad boy made better by his tender relationship with a genuinely good girl, executed with genuine sweetness and pathos. One of the best films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, anchored by astonishingly accomplished leading performances by Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley.
Elysium (August 9)
Back in 2009, a sci-fi/action picture with a touch of social commentary opened quietly in a low-profile August slot and ended up a sleeper hit with four Oscar nominations (including Best Picture). The film was District 9, the director was Neil Blomkamp, and his eagerly anticipated follow-up is getting an August release as well. But the profile is noticeably higher this time — thanks in no small part to the presence of Matt Damon in the lead and Jodie Foster in support.
Kick-Ass 2 (August 16)
The original 2010 Kick-Ass was, truth be told, kind of a mess: a tonally inconsistent mishmash of low humor and high concept. But Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl carried the picture almost single-handedly, stealing scene after glorious scene, and the filmmakers appear to have realized that she’s the real draw this time around, title be damned.
The World’s End (August 23)
After splitting off for the individual endeavors of Scott Pilgrim and Paul, director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are together again, seeking to recapture the gloriously irreverent magic of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The story is being kept under wraps; it’s something about a group of friends on a pub crawl who “unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.” Similarity in titles has prompted some question as to whether the film is covering the same apocalyptic ground as This Is the End, but even if that’s the case, surely there’s enough end-of-the-world satire to go around.
The Grandmaster (August 30)
Wong Kar-wai is another filmmaker who’s taken entirely too long between movies; it’s been a full six years since his 2007 effort My Blueberry Nights. That one was much-maligned, but not in these parts; it’s thin, sure, and lacking the emotional punch of In the Mood For Love (most things in this life are), but it’s got a lovely, hanging-out spirit, and it’s just plain gorgeous to look at. Who knows if his latest will prove up to par (reviews thus far have been mixed), but once again — if the trailer is any indication — the aesthetics are astonishing.
Also in August:
And there’s your big-time summer movie preview — what are you looking forward to? What will you be carefully avoiding?