Getting Reel: Summertime Movies

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Meryl StreepIt’s hot. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but it is summertime in Texas.

Movies are cool. At least they are if they don’t insult our intelligence and are well-acted, produced and directed.

Hot movies aren’t always cool, though. Mainstream hits invariably aim for the lowest common cinematic denominator to grab box-office dollars quick. That often means giant lizards stomping through major cities, zombies or vampires and spider-men in tights.

The challenge, I think, is to find potentially cool movies to get us out of the summer heat for a brief oasis of comedy, romance or adventure.

The movies I’m looking forward to in the next couple of months feature triple-Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, a comedy about, ahem, a sex tape and Susan Sarandon portraying a grandma. How’s that for a varied cinematic oasis?.

The Giver (Opens Aug. 15) – Streep, arguably our finest living actress, has brought a string of unforgettable characters to movie screens during her long career; Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady and Julia Child in Julie & Julia, just to name a couple from her recent acting past.

In the sci-fi fantasy drama, The Giver, however, Streep takes on a character dubbed Chief Elder. The title role goes to fellow Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart). Chief Elder protects (or imprisons) a society from pain, suffering and war in what appears to be a really blah world. The Giver offers a young citizen a chance to break out and enjoy the roller coaster emotions of the real world.

Tammy (July 2) – Are you ready for Susan Sarandon (an Oscar winner for Dead Man Walking) as Melissa McCarthy’s booze-guzzling grandmother? Well, get ready if you’re in the mood for what promises to be wild comic fun as grandma and granddaughter (whose marriage has recently gone sour) take off on a road trip. If you saw McCarthy opposite Sandra Bullock in The Heat recently, you know that she can carry a silly movie with a talented co-star.

Sex Tape (July 18) – A somewhat bored married couple portrayed by Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel decide to spice things up a bit by making a sex tape. Oops, the tape is missing. Look for a wild night of trying to head off serious embarrassment.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11) – Looking for some intelligent, eye-popping action this summer? You might want to try this sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes of 2011.

As man and beast go ape for control of the planet, expect dazzling special effects and superb work from the best actor we rarely get to see in the flesh, Andy Serkis (ape leader Caesar), in a cautionary tale about humans who get a little too cocky.

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