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July Movie Preview 

From Inception to Despicable Me

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Inception

Inception ought to be titled “Intersection.” The film combines the talents and box office power of the new Batman franchise director, Christopher Nolan; Oscar-nominated actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe; indie-darling actors Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt; a Matrix-meets-Minority Report storyline; and stunning special effects.

With so many star-crossings and such great potential, it’s one of the most anticipated films this summer. The film’s producer (and Nolan’s wife), Emma Thomas, called Inception “an enormous movie” in a January interview with the Los Angeles Times. And, once you see a giant building curling over on itself like a Fruit Roll-Up right before DiCaprio and Page’s eyes, it’s hard to think otherwise — even if you have no idea why what you’re watching is happening.

The storyline of Inception has been heavily guarded — and the trailer, while definitely badass, reveals little in the way of plot.

What is known about Inception is that it’s the story of Cobb (played by DiCaprio), who has the air of a CEO and the history of a criminal. In Cobb’s world, the technology exists to allow people to enter each other’s minds via dreams, thus accessing their thoughts. Cobb leads of team of people who use this technology to steal corporate secrets. Of course, complications ensue, including Cobb’s being wrongfully accused of murdering his wife, leading to shocking situations and surreal images.

The notion of being able to enter and control dreams allows for both existential questions and colossal action sequences — making Inception the perfect summer flick for viewers with (and without) brains. In an interview with MTV, Nolan described the film as having “no limits.” For the sake of our summer movie-going options, let’s hope he’s right. — CAREY JACKSON

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Lisbeth has a dragon tattoo. She’s one brilliant hacker.
Mikael feeds her the clues, acts as her backer.
Sequel doesn’t bother asking sicko Swedes “Why?” —
Just enjoys watching them squirm, scream, and die.
— Michael Bowen

Dir.: Daniel Alfredson • Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyquist • July 2 • Rated R

The Last Airbender

One day, M. Night Shyamalan
jumped out the window with his career in his hand,
said, “’scuse me, ladies,” but looked disapproving —
“Can you tell me why this thing isn’t moving?”

With no hesitation, they voiced their vexation
And heartlessly gave him the gist:
“You make up these stories that are really quite boring,
And lastly you add a crap twist.
“You’d do best to take stock. You ain’t no Al Hitchcock.
Your fantasy thrillers are flops.
“Why not shoot a franchise with billions in toy rights
for fans whose balls haven’t yet dropped?”
And he did.
— Luke Baumgarten       

Dir: Shyamalan • Starring: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel • July 2 • Not Yet Rated

The Kids Are All Right

Julianne and Annette sure are gay,
Chose a means of conception outré.
Ruffalo’s the sperm donor
— You expected some stoner? —
And their kids will have questions all day.
— Michael Bowen

Dir.: Lisa Cholodenko • Starring Moore, Bening, Ruffalo • July 7 • Rated R

The Sorceror's Apprentice

Dear Every Aspiring Actor in Hollywood:

They probably seem a little unfair,
the casting choices made in this movie.
Rather than you, and your leading-man stare,
the part of Mickey is played by Goofy.

That would be fine — it wouldn’t even faze you —
but God! Nicolas Cage?! It pains you acutely.
If this film is indeed based on Fantasia,
Bruckheimer should emphasize “loosely.”

But here’s something that may staunch your frustration
and make the pain easier to bear.
Nic Cage may have attained a wizardly station,
but not even witchcraft can fix his hair.
— Luke Baumgarten

Dir: Jon Turtletaub • Starring Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel • July 16 • Not Yet Rated


Also in July

Co-director Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) follows a U.S. Army platoon for a year in Afghanistan’s deadly Korengal Valley in RESTROPO (documentary • 7/2)

In TWELVE (drama • 7/2), director Joel Schumacher tackles the story of a young, conflicted drug dealer (Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl)

Divorced John C. Reilly woos Marisa Tomei but has to deal with her clingy son (Jonah Hill, Superbad) in CYRUS (comedy • 7/9)

Bertolucci, Lynch, Sayles and six others get the interview treatment in GREAT DIRECTORS (documentary • 7/9)

Adrien Brody, Danny Trejo, Topher Grace and Walton Goggins prove that humans, rather than aliens, are the worst PREDATORS (sci-fi thriller • 7/9)

Gru (voice of Steve Carell) is the world’s no. 2 supervillain in DESPICABLE ME (animated comedy • 7/11)

An orchestral conductor fights anti-Semitism while Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) plays a violin virtuoso in the French-Russian film THE CONCERT (drama • 7/16)

He was black in a white art world, neo-expressionist when minimalism was in vogue — he was JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD (documentary • 7/23)

Feds, feminists and fascists confront a man wearing only his silk pajamas in HUGH HEFNER: PLAYBOY, ACTIVIST AND REBEL (documentary • 7/23)

Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse) directs a story of two sisters (Shirley Henderson, Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle) and Allison Janney (The West Wing, Juno) dealing with their no-good husbands in LIFE DURING WARTIME (dramedy • 7/23)

To impress his boss, Paul Rudd humiliates Steve Carell in DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (comedy • 7/23)

Robert Duvall returns to the Oscar-bait territory of Tender Mercies, playing a rambunctious 1930s Tennessee hermit (alongside Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray) in GET LOW (dramedy • 7/30)

A handsome guy is cursed with ugliness in BEASTLY (fable • 7/30)

Charismatic Kevin Kline escorts wealthy widows and takes charisma-challenged Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) under his wing in THE EXTRA MAN (dramedy • 7/30)

A gay French teenager doesn’t get along with his mom — like, at all — in I KILLED MY MOTHER (drama • 7/30). — MICHAEL BOWEN

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