The 10 Must-See Movies of July 2012

By  · Published on July 2nd, 2012

Alright, so June didn’t exactly kick us into high gear the way it should have. We didn’t get another Avengers, a movie everyone lost their nuts over. From the blockbusters to the little guys, there was a lack in unanimous love and praise to be found. We did finally get Prometheus, a movie which could go down as this summer’s main topic of movie conversation over whether “It was awesome! No, it sucked!” but we get those all too often during this time of year.

If we’re going to get one movie to feed the millions with true, big summer entertainment where all the harshest critics will be beaten across the world, then we got one ‘lil superhero movie coming up that may provoke such a reaction… The Amazing Spider-Man! Actually, no, but Marc Webb’s reboot does pass the time nicely and, at the very least, gives us a new Peter Parker we can care about.

But that doesn’t mean it made this list. Find out what did:


Opens July 6th

This is by far Oliver Stone’s most fun, brutal, and energetic movie in years. Even as a fan of his most recent work, Savages represents the man at his most controlled and experimental. Although the scope of his violent and super-cool adaptation is never “epic” in the traditional sense, there’s an operatic feel to the story, never afraid of going big with the drama or the dark laughs. This is the type of hard-R, violent, and counter-programming picture every summer needs to have.

The Imposter

Opens July 13th

Here’s another festival favorite on the site. Kate Erbland was blown away by it at SXSW, and after reading her plot description, I want to know no more about this film before seeing it for myself. Here’s a sneak peek: “In 1994, a thirteen-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared while on his way home from playing with his friends in San Antonio, Texas. Three years later, a French con artist named Frédéric Bourdin placed a prank phone call to the police in a small Spanish town, claiming to be a man who had found an American child who had been abducted. When the police arrived, it was Frédéric Bourdin who huddled in the phone booth, clad in oversized clothing and a baseball cap pulled low.”

Red Lights

Opens July 13th

Red Lights is a methodical, stylish, and grounded supernatural film starring Cillian Murphy and Robert De Niro. Some critics have described it as the “realistic Ghostbusters,” and that’s not a bad way of putting it. Rodrigo Cortés’s followup to the underseen Buried is an intriguing and tactful film which happens to end with a major, major thud. The buzz out of Sundance was spot on when it comes to the final minutes – it’s a big miscalculation. Bad ending or not, Red Lights remains an involving film with plenty to discuss afterwards, even that finale…


Opens July 13th

Freida Pinto’s post-Slumdog Millionare career hasn’t exactly done her performance from Danny Boyle’s film justice. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, she was a blank slate. Immortals reduced her to eye candy. And – how could we forget? – she was in one of Woody Allen’s most recent misfires and it’s fair to say not many remember Miral. If anyone’s going to give her time for a showy performance, it’s director Michael Winterbottom.

The Dark Knight Rises

Opens July 20th

I know, I know, I can’t believe this movie made the list, either… If one film is going to bring the epic this summer, it’s Christopher Nolan’s final chapter in his “see how serious I am!” Batman trilogy. The level of expectations for this film makes Prometheus’s pre-buzz completely fadeaway in comparison. After The Dark Knight— a film Nolan could easily top – extremist batfans are holding their breaths for a “masterpiece.” Based on some early buzz out of a recent screening, Nolan delivering somewhere near that expectation is quite possible.

Read on!

Ruby Sparks

Opens July 25th

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris haven’t directed a movie since Little Miss Sunshine, a movie everyone adored back in 2006 and then went on to face an inevitable backlash. Some find it too cutesy, and if you find that quirky sensibility smug, then Ruby Sparks could drive you mad, based on the trailer alone. For fans of Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks has the potential to be as sweet and charming.

The Watch

Opens July 27th

Akiva Schaffer’s feature debut Hot Rod took a bit of a beating back in 2007. Both critically and at the box-office, it went unnoticed. The movie has rightfully gone on to find an audience, and, thankfully, Schaffer has a film coming out which will possibly discover an audience sooner rather than later. With Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn, the Richard Ayoade, and Ben Stiller in the same film facing off against aliens, it’s hard to fathom the Lonely Island member not being able to craft one of the year’s more memorable comedies.

Killer Joe

Opens July 27th

If you’re a fan of director William Friedkin’s and Tracy Letts’s previous collaboration, the lovely Bug, you’re going to eat up this dark and grimy film. What first appears as simple-minded B-trash involving bad things happening to bad people then becomes, with time, an oddly romantic tale of not-so-bad people who simply can’t escape their bad environment. Like Bug, Friedkin makes you taste the dirt of the claustrophobia and the emotionally desperate characters who inhabit that atmosphere as well.


Opens July 27th

“If women ever wanted to see a film of why men are terrible and feel terrible afterwards then Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men would probably be your best bet. If women ever wanted to see a film about why men are terrible and laugh uncontrollably at our inadequacies, perversions, insensitivities, hormonal indulgences, and even occasional homosexual confusions (am I right men? Huh?….right?…) then Klown is it.” – Adam Charles’s review. Sold.

Easy Money (Snabba Cash)

Opens July 27th

This movie became a calling card for Joel Kinnaman (our future Robocop) and director Daniel Espinosa, the latter of which gave us a this year’s highly conventional – and still kick-ass – Safe House. The film has sat on the self for a while, and now with the director and its leading man getting some street cred, along with Martin Scorsese presenting, Easy Money is finally seeing the light of day stateside.

What movies are you definitely seeing this July?

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Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.