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Summer Sizzlers

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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 29, 2013
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This summer's movie lineup looks incredibly hot. And when temperatures soar, there's no better place to beat the heat than chilling out in a dark movie theater. My advice: Be cool. Skip the predictable, big-money blockbusters and dive into some quality films that require an attention span. Feed your mind, and check out the following:

Documentarian Richard Rowley exposes how the United States has "fundamentally changed the way it makes war." Based on the investigative work of reporter Jeremy Scahill. June 7

There's nothing like a summer-coming-of-age film in July. Fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is dragged to his mom's (Toni Collette) boyfriend's (Steve Carell) beach house but finds solace in the friendship of a wacky water-park manager (Sam Rockwell). It received the only standing ovation at Sundance. Directed by Nat Faxon, who won an Oscar for co-scripting "The Descendants." July 5

Ryan Gosling has Oedipal issues in this crime thriller set in Bangkok. When his brother is murdered, mom (Kristin Scott Thomas) forces him to hunt down and kill the perpetrator — hence, the title. Gosling teams up once again with his "Drive" director, Nicolas Winding Refn. Can't be anything less than hot. July 19

Director Brian De Palma is back and with a vengeance. In a remake of Alain Corneau's final film, "Love Crime," he goes for the jugular. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace play dueling advertising boss and protégé, respectively, who resort to murder when one steals credit. Rumored to be "return to form" De Palma. Yes! July

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara play a married couple expecting a baby. During a robbery, she shoots a cop (Ben Foster), and her hubby takes the blame. When he escapes from jail four years later, all hell breaks loose. Director David Lowery's work in this highly anticipated film is being compared to Terrence Malick's. Nice. Aug. 18

Johnny Depp sets the record straight regarding Tonto; he portrays him as a "proud warrior." Armie Hammer plays the masked vigilante and describes the film as "A big-a** comedy-Western rock opera.” Huge money pick ($215 million) but looks well worth the price tag after having seen the jaw-dropping trailer. Gore Verbinski directs. July 3

Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor award at Cannes last year for his portrayal of a teacher wrongly accused of a horrible crime. The more he fights to clear his name, the more hostile the community becomes. Mikkelsen's performance is so powerful it gets under your skin. I had the chance to catch this film at this year's Sarasota Film Festival. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. July 12

In 2009, an Oakland policeman shot and killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale train station. Footage of the senseless shooting of another black man in an urban environment went viral and provoked massive protests against police brutality. Director Ryan Coogler's outrage convinced Forest Whitaker to produce. Michael B. Jordan stars as Grant. July 26

Woody Allen's latest Freudian foray into complicated relationships stars Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett as a happily married couple — but not for long. He trades her in for a younger model. As usual, everything is on the QT regarding the details of Allen's latest release, but his films always make the must-see list.  July 26

High school big-shot hooks up with an ugly duckling and they go looking for his deadbeat dad. Each is out to save the other in this thought-provoking film about adolescence and “grown-ups.” Nice casting with Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in the lead roles. Directed by James Ponsoldt.  Aug. 22

 Joseph Gordon-Levitt directs, scripts and stars in this "story about how we objectify each other rather than really connecting." In the title role (inspired by Don Juan), he plays a self-centered womanizer and porn addict. Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore come to his rescue. August


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