A monthly guide to stuff we think is cool

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Our most anticipated summer films because movie theaters have air conditioning and popcorn is fine to eat in excess.

A couple days ago, the dudes who brought you Superbad and Pineapple Express (and I shouldn't say it but I will, the The Green Hornet) came out with This is the End, a comedy about celebrities facing the apocalypse. I don't even know where to start dropping names, but this movie stars just about everyone you'd want to see in a movie and they all play themselves. James Franco, Seth Rogan, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr and Rihanna (for some reason?). I'm mostly excited about Channing Tatum. Er, nevermind. Anyway, the movie looks hilarious and toys with the idea of a fictional movie composed of a series of cameos. It's like the movie you'd make with your friends if you ever had money and there was less Game of Thrones to catch up on. Out June 12, wide release.

This weekend may be the greatest weekend ever. Both Man of Steel and The Bling Ring premiere in a culmination that could possibly have been the very event that destroyed Krypton. Sorry, I'll stop. Man of Steel is the new Superman movie directed by Zack Snyder who I personally confirm as a visual genius. His past films 300 and Watchmen, while weak on plot, remain two of the most beautiful films I've ever seen regardless of their being adaptations. Steel looks just as beautiful. Soft fabrics, saturated fogs, forest greens, and Henry Cavill (swoon). As long as David S. Goyer's screenplay is as compelling as Batman Begins and Amy Adam's Lois Lane is infinity times more compelling than she's ever been before, I think this film may very well save the world. Out June 14, wide release.

I promise this is the only film not opening in Boston that I'll talk about, but it needs to be said, Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation) is finally releasing her 5th feature film, The Bling Ring. Based on a Vanity Fair article, the film chronicles the true story of fame-obsessed teens who take to robbing celebrity's homes in order to fuel their quest for brand-name wealth. The film stars Emma Watson and a bunch of other pretty 20-somethings I don't recognize. Coppola's films are poignant, beautiful, and make you feel a little less lonely in your personal struggle to feel a little less lonely. The film is not being released in Boston, for reasons I can't figure out, but I think it's worth the weekend trip to New York, I'll help pay for gas. Out June 14, limited release, New York, Los Angeles.

To honor Joss Whedon on his birthday and help raise money for his favorite charity, The Coolidge Corner @FTER MIDNIGHT series is showing Serenity on the very first night of summer. After Whedon's 2002 television series Firefly was abruptly cancelled, he rallied to wrap things up more appropriately in a movie, Serenity, which shares the name of the series' cargo ship. The story is like Star Trek meets The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in that a team of space-cowboys make interplanetary cargo deliveries to impoverished provinces fighting the backlash of the Unification War. In typical Whedon fashion, the cast stars Nathan Fillion as the Clint Eastwood Captain Kirk, and a bunch of other familiar faces in awesome non-gender-offensive roles. You definitely don't have to watch Firefly to understand Serenity, but you should anyway. On June 22, Coolidge Corner Theatre, 11:50pm, $15 advance, $20 day-off, proceeds benefit Equality Now, http://www.coolidge.org/content/serenity.

A Band Called Death and The Secret Disco Revolution premiere the last weekend in June. Both documentaries explore music and it's effects on the human spirit. Death tells the story of a band called Death formed in the early 70's by three black brothers in their spare bedroom. Before the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, the brothers played awesome punk music and even pressed a single. But in the era of Motown and emerging disco, the band was deemed too intimidating and their music was never heard. The documentary chronicles the journey, three decades later, of their 1974 demo tape being found and shared, giving Death their due credit as the first real punk band. Out June 28, wide release.

Disco explores the emergence of disco music in the late 70's/early 80's and features interviews with Gloria Gaynor, Thelma Houston, Alice Echols, and other pioneers of disco. Filmmaker Jamie Kastner chronicles the relationship between disco music and the empowerment of female, black, and queer communities. Out June 28, limited release, art house theaters.

The Brattle Theatre is spending this summer showing off it's fancy new digital projector by screening a bunch of classic movies. July starts off with West Side Story which I literally could not be more excited about. If you've been living under a rock, the story is about two rival New York street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, that have to defend their turf through song and dance! Composed of the greatest love songs of all time, West Side Story is full of hope, tragedy, heartbreak, and babes in leather jackets. I'm hopeful that hearing "Somewhere" through crazy surround sound speakers will drown out the sound of my tears. On July 2, Brattle Theatre, at 4pm for $7.75 and 7pm for $9.75.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre must agree with me about the cultural significance of Bring It On because they're playing it two nights in a row. You can spend Friday and Saturday watching the Toro cheerleaders train to win the national cheerleading championship with sass, spunk, and jazz fingers. Also Eliza Dushku is a fellow Bostonian having grown up in Watertown, so if you need any other excuse to see this movie on the big screen you can just convince yourself you're supporting local artists. On July 5 and 6, Coolidge Corner Theatre, 11:59pm, $9.25.

Fruitvale tells the heartbreaking true story of Oscar Grant, a young black man riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit on New Year's Eve 2008. After reports of a fight, Grant was detained and shot in the back by transit police as a ton of bystanders recorded the event on their cell phones. The days that followed held peaceful protests that later turned violent after dark. The film looks astounding. First time director Ryan Coogler won a bunch of awards at Sundance and Cannes and I'd be surprised if the film's star Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Hardball) doesn't get some accolades, too. Out July 12, wide release.

Four decades later, and 1970's new wave cinema has still proved timeless. Taxi Driver, considered one of the greatest films of all time, was one of Martin Scorsese's first projects. It stars Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, an insomnia-ridden Vietnam War veteran who turns to taxi driving to occupy his time. The film also stars a young Jodie Foster as a teenage sex worker and Cybill Shepherd as the object of Travis' affection. One of the most poignant tales of self-actualization and patriotic disillusionment, Taxi Driver is playing two nights in a row at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. On July 12 and 13, Coolidge Corner Theatre, 11:59pm, $9.25.

Neill Blomkamp seemed to have come out of nowhere, but following his 2009 masterpiece District 9, I'd see just about anything he put his name on. In early August, he releases Elysium, the tale of a dystopian quest to bring balance to polarized worlds. Matt Damon plays an impoverished resident of a ruined Earth who sparks an uprising against the elite residents of the space-station Elysium. Jodie Foster also stars as a wealthy Elysium dweller who lives in a world with no war, no sickness, and no poverty. Well, for now anyway. Out August 9, wide release.

The directors who brought us Howl are now telling another biopic story. This time of Linda Lovelace, a 1970's adult film star who was used and abused by the porn industry and the whims of her coercive husband. The film chronicles her subsequent transformation into a feminist, anti-pornography supporter. Amanda Seyfried plays the legend while Peter Sarsgaard stars as her manipulative husband. So far no trailer has been released, only a short clip of what appears to be one of Linda's first photoshoots. The minute long clip is transcendent in its sensitivity and if the whole movie reflects that same honesty, it might just become legendary itself. Out August 9, wide release.

Edgar Wright is back. Need I say more? It's been three years since he put out Scott Pilgrim and almost ten years since Shaun of the Dead so I don't think I'm alone in saying C'MON MANNNN I'M DESPERATE. So thank god and my seven evil exes, because this summer ends with The World's End. Naturally, Simon Pegg stars as one of five friends reuniting in their hometown in an attempt to finish a pub crawl started 20 years earlier. Also naturally, their hometown now seems to be inhabited by evil robots. Fast cuts, sweet effects, rapid jokes. Count me in. Open August 23, wide release.



PANDORA'S PROMISE, a new documentary about the positive effects of nuclear energy, out June 12, limited release.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Joss Whedon's take on the Shakespeare classic, out June 12, limited release.

HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS, a documentary exploring the drug-trade and it's lure and dangers, out June 26, limited release.

PACIFIC RIM, the new Guillermo del Toro flick about mind-controlled robot monsters, out July 12, wide release.

GIRL MOST LIKELY, hopefully the new Kristen Wiig film is as great as Bridesmaids was, out July 19, wide release.

BLUE JASMINE, the new Woody Allen movie, stars Cate Blanchett as a New York housewife suffering an acute crisis, out July 26, wide release.

THE TO-DO LIST, high-school comedy with Aubrey Plaza, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Alia Shawkat, out July 26, wide release.

THE WOLVERINE, the newest installation in the X-Men Wolverine franchise, this one is in Japan, out July 26, wide release.

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