Summer movies: The 30 coolest things to see this summer

From high-fiber docs to hot-buttered-popcorn blockbusters, we’ve got the lowdown on the movies you need to see this summer.

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Man of Steel

Man of Steel

You’ve seen the down-and-dirtier Batman; now meet the new, sensitive Superman. Director Zack Snyder reimagines Krypton’s favorite son (played by Henry Cavill) as faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and moodier than a 15-year-old girl. We are so there. (June 14)

A Hijacking

A Hijacking

If you see only one movie about Somalian pirates and hostages on the high seas this year, make it Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm’s nail-biting procedural, about a cargo ship’s crew held for ransom and the corporate CEO negotiating their release. (June 21)

World War Z

World War Z

Max Brooks’s somber postwar zombie novel is the inspiration for this immense-looking action movie, starring Brad Pitt and thousands of tumbling, clawing flesh-eaters ravaged by a global pandemic. Rumors of on-set ego friction had us worried, but the trailers suggest a solid summer diversion, more Danny Boyle than George Romero. (June 21)

"The Jackie Chan Experience" at the Film Society of Lincoln Center

“The Jackie Chan Experience” at Film Society of Lincoln Center

Just to clarify, that would be the experience of lightning-fast kicks to bad guys’ faces, catlike escapes, and life-threatening stunts involving cars, trains and hot-air balloons. Jackie Chan is exactly what cinema was invented for; specific titles in this series haven’t been announced yet, but just dive in wherever. (June 23–27)

I'm So Excited

I’m So Excited

After the landing gear breaks on a flight bound for Mexico City, the passengers and crew slowly lose all sense of social and sexual decorum. If Pedro Almodóvar’s ribald comedy is anywhere near as joyously liberated as its Pointer Sisters–scored trailer, we’re sure to leave the theater with an ear-to-ear grin. (June 28)

White House Down

White House Down

The latest disaster film from Roland Emmerich pits D.C. policeman Channing Tatum and POTUS Jamie Foxx against some pissed-off paramilitaries. (Didn’t the bad guys learn anything from Olympus Has Fallen?) Prepare for plenty of blustery speechifying à la Independence Day, as well as some iconic landmarks—bye-bye, Capitol Building!—getting blown up real good. (June 28)

Passion

Passion

Returning to the genre he does best, Brian De Palma concocts a deliciously catty erotic thriller, about an advertising-agency protégé (Noomi Rapace) out for revenge against her manipulative boss (Rachel McAdams). Throat-slitting straight razors and sapphic sex scenes are, of course, included. (July TBD)

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp’s latest opportunity for high-paid strangeness has him changing races as cryptic Native American sidekick Tonto. We also like the guy playing the outlaw hero: Armie Hammer, most famous for his Winklevii in The Social Network. (July 3)

Crystal Fairy

Crystal Fairy

A tourist (Michael Cera) searches for a mythic hallucinogenic cactus in Chile, joined by an obnoxious hanger-on/hippie chick named Crystal Fairy (a pitch-perfect Gaby Hoffmann). Sebastián Silva’s stoner comedy takes on first-world entitlement and transcendental drug-trip clichés with its tongue firmly in its cheek. (July 7)

Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives

Lately, Ryan Gosling has stared out of a lot of iffy crime movies (Gangster Squad, The Place Beyond the Pines), but this one, a reunion with stylish Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, should be worth the wait. It takes place in a neon-lit, blade-happy Bangkok. (July 12)



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Abigail Hirsch
Abigail Hirsch

For those of you in NYC June 13 - 20th, You can watch all the latest films at the New York City International Film Festival, the NYC response to Cannes. My documentary, "Yiddish: A tale of survival" will be screened for the first time on June 18th. NYCIFF Check it out.