The End of the Tour (July 31)
James Ponsoldt’s third film (after Smashed and The Spectacular Now) adapts Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, David Lipsky’s chronicle of the making of an unpublished David Foster Wallace profile, into a road movie/exploration of the themes of success, failure, masculinity, and friendship. Jesse Eisenberg is appropriately Eisenberg-ish as Lipsky; Jason Segel is surprisingly convincing as Wallace.
Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (July 31) For filmmakers, there are few more reliable indications that you’ve arrived in Hollywood than getting your shot at the M:I franchise. Up to bat this time is Christopher McQuarrie, the Usual Suspects screenwriter and Way of the Gun director who forged an ongoing relationship with Tom Cruise while they were making Jack Reacher. Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Ving Rhames are all back; Alec Baldwin joins, reportedly as the head of the CIA.
ALSO IN JULY
Best of Enemies (July 3): Robert Gordon and 20 Feet From Stardom’s Morgan Neville direct this riveting documentary account of the televised 1968 political debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley.
Tangerine (July 10): Sean Baker’s comedy/drama made headlines out of Sundance for not only its storytelling but also its DIY backstory: it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S. Presumably, they were smart enough to turn the phone on its side, UNLIKE A FEW IDIOT FACEBOOK FRIENDS I COULD NAME.
The Look of Silence (July 17): The Avengers, Mission: Impossible, and Magic Mike aren’t the only movies getting sequels this summer, as director Joshua Oppenheimer returns to the subject of his acclaimed The Act of Killing, this time from the point of view of victims and survivors.
Irrational Man (July 17): So, yes, maybe the timing’s not quite right for another of Woody Allen’s tales of romance between aging intellectuals and much younger women. But when said characters are played by Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone, well, that complicates things a bit.
Unexpected (July 24): Cobie Smulders’ indie movie reinvention continues (after May’s Results) with this wise, funny, and thoughtful examination of gender roles and class dynamics, wrapped up in the charming story of a teacher and student who help each other through their surprise pregnancies.
Vacation (July 31): Is it odd to think that the most interesting element of this return to the Griswold family is the presence of Christina Applegate as the de facto Beverly D’Angelo?
Ricki and the Flash (August 7)
It’s frankly a little odd, how Jonathan Demme has disappeared from the mainstream; after his Oscar win for Silence of the Lambs and the success of Philadelphia, he went into a strange spiral of remakes, documentaries, and concert films. But after some art-house success with Rachel Getting Married and A Master Builder, he could very well have another hit with this Diablo Cody-penned musical/comedy/drama starring Meryl Streep as a would-be rock star trying to get right with her family.
Straight Outta Compton (August 14)
Friday and Set It Off director F. Gary Gray is at the helm of the long-gestating N.W.A. biopic, which will retrace their journey from the ‘hood to worldwide fame, their dustups with law enforcement, and their very messy public breakup over the business dealings of manager Jerry Heller (a perfectly cast Paul Giamatti). Gray’s always been an underrated director, and the story of Cube, Dre, Eazy, Ren, and Yella is, to put it mildly, highly cinematic.
She’s Funny That Way (August 21)
If you’re schooled on the gossip and intrigue of ‘70s American cinema (see: Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls), you’ll know that it’s kind of a huge deal that there’s a new Peter Bogdanovich movie co-starring his onetime muse and partner in career self-destruction, Cybill Shepard. And frankly, it’s a big deal that there’s a new Peter Bogdanovich movie, period — he hasn’t had a new one since 2001’s wonderful The Cat’s Meow. But I’m betting the marketing for this screwball comedy will focus less on that stuff than on stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson; also appearing are Imogen Poots, Will Forte, Kathryn Hahn, Lucy Punch, Rhys Ifans, Richard Lewis, and (shudder) Quentin Tarantino.
ALSO IN AUGUST
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (August 7): Kristen Wiig’s quiet quest for dramatic cred continues with this story of a teenager girl (obviously) and her affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
People, Places, Things (August 14): Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows star Jemaine Clement earned warm reviews at Sundance for his starring turn in this family dramedy from writer/director James C. Strouse.
Grandma (August 21): Lily Tomlin does her first starring turn since 1988 (and seriously, what did we do as a society to deserve that kind of a hiatus?) in this warm and wickedly funny comedy/drama from writer/director Paul Weitz. Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliot, and Judy Greer turn up in juicy supporting roles.