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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Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

When an alien invasion threatens Earth’s existence, humanity takes up arms in the form of giant robots to (as one character rousingly intones) “cancel the apocalypse!” We’re always excited for a new Guillermo del Toro project, and this one seems to play to all of his fantastical strengths. (July 12)

Computer Chess

Computer Chess

Mumblecore, schmumblecore: The so-called godfather of the indie movement, Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha), brings the goofiness with this gloriously wonky, lo-fi tale of ’80s computer geeks engaged in a man-versus-machine competition. Nerdtastic doesn’t even begin to describe it. (July 17)

Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

What would a year be without another Woody Allen feature? Few story details have been released about his latest, beyond the fact that Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins star as a pair of neurotic New Yorkers—a promising setup for what we hope is another of the writer-director’s searching and sidesplitting dramedies. (July 26)

The Wolverine

The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman’s clawed wiseass of a superhero is too enjoyable a creation to be stalled by less-than-successful sequels. In the new one (helmed by Walk the Line’s James Mangold), our hero travels to modern-day Japan, no doubt with sideburns in tow. (July 26)

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now

The sleeper hit of this year’s Sundance, James Ponsoldt’s coming-of-age movie focuses on a charming fuckup (Miles Teller) and the young woman (The Descendants’ Shailene Woodley) who gets caught in his destructive orbit. Credit the chemistry between the two young leads for making this a genuine gem. (Aug 2)

Elysium

Elysium

Welcome back, Neill Blomkamp, director of 2009’s thoughtful sci-fi smash District 9. His new one sounds upsettingly similar to a lot of recent dystopian fare: wealthy humans in space stations, the losers left behind on a ruined Earth. But Blomkamp will undoubtedly tease out a social dimension. (Aug 9)

Planes

Planes

From the company that owns Pixar—and thus kinda sorta brought you Cars—comes this cartoon tale of a crop-dusting aircraft that’s afraid of heights. Disney is determined to anthropomorphize those magnificent flying machines to the max; we applaud casting Top Gun’s Val Kilmer to voice an animated fighter jet. (Aug 9)

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

David Lowery’s poetic tale of an escaped con (Casey Affleck) trying to make it back to his wife (Rooney Mara) has already earned plentiful comparisons to the early work of Terrence Malick. But a cover version this ain’t; the young filmmaker has a sure hand with actors and a singular knack for making rural magic-hour shots feel fresh. (Aug 16)

The World’s End

The World’s End

The ever-inventive Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) reteams with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for this comic-apocalyptic tale of five pub-crawling friends who have to save the world. We’re especially excited to see how the Brit-tastic supporting cast (Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine) handles the end of days. (Aug 23)

You're Next

You’re Next

Horror went through its gory Saw phase; now it looks like the pendulum may be swinging back to Scream-era cheekiness (e.g., The Cabin in the Woods). Here’s more evidence: a terrific besieged-mansion thriller that puts as much care into catty domestic squabbles as it does the kills. (Aug 23)


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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.