July Film & Blu-Ray Tip Sheet

Ho hum. July is a pretty weak month in terms of releases of any sort. I’ve found 3 winners and two hopeful winners (the latter two are to be released in theaters) that can possibly spice up the month. Otherwise, it may be a good time to find a show you’ve always wanted to watch on Netflix and marathon it. Here are a few gems in the rough that is July 2016. 

New Theatrical Releases:

The Infiltrator

Release Date:  July 15th

Directors:  Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner)

Starring:  Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Amy Ryan

IMDb Summary:  A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

 Why I Am So Excited: I think I’m excited to see anything Bryan Cranston related at this point. The guy’s a genius of an actor. Aside from that, this could be alright. In a slow month, there’s a definite pull from a cast as talented as this being led by one of our generation’s best. Hey, we’ve had some surprise thrillers this year (Eye in the Sky, for instance), so let’s hope The Infiltrator becomes another.

Watch the Trailer Here!

Don’t Think Twice

Release Date:  July 22nd

Directors: Mike Birbiglia (Directorial debut)

Starring:  Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Chris Gethard, Mike Birbiglia

IMDb Summary: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all

 Why I Am So Excited: Birbiglia has done some intriguing acting work (including The Fault in our Stars), so let’s see how he gets with his big feature film debut as a director. Plus, you’ve got comedy stars like Key (Key and Peele) and Jacobs (Community) to boot. Films about actors acting as actors who are acting (say that 5 times fast) can contain some pure movie magic, and hopefully this film is one of those instances.

Watch the Trailer Here!

New On Blu-Ray:

Sing Street

Release Date: July 26th

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Directors: John Carney (Once, Begin Again)

Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Mark McKenna, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor

IMDb Summary: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.

Why This is Worth Getting: Not every good movie has to be complex. Sing Street is easily one of my favorite films of the year so far, and it’s an absolute win for music-movie extraordinaire Carney. This 80s throwback is full of some genuinely great songs, witty nostalgia and a dose of pure joy between the hardships. This is one hell of a creative musical, and it was a very pleasant surprise this year.

Watch the Trailer Here!

Green Room

Release Date: July 12th

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 

Directors: Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots

IMDb Summary: After witnessing a murder, a punk rock band is forced into a vicious fight for survival against a group of maniacal skinheads.

Why This is Worth Getting: I predicted this film would be worth the ride. Now that it’s out on home release, it is definitely worth the purchase. In a somber way, you can witness one of Anton Yelchin’s final performances before his unfortunate passing, and it’s a damn good one here. 

Watch the Trailer Here!

Criterion Release of the Month:

A Touch of Zen

Release Date: July 19th

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Director: King Hu (Legend of the Mountain)

Starring: Feng Hsu, Ying Bai, Chun Shih, Billy Chan

IMDb Summary: A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painte and skilled Buddhist monks.

Why This is Worth Getting: This 1971 Taiwanese film is a cinematic revelation that came way before its time. For a film that just slipped past the 60’s, the cinematography and directing here is sensational. This film influenced Ang Lee, who gives an interview in the special features for this release. You’ll also get a documentary based on the director Hu, a scholarly essay and more. If you’re looking for a means to branch out more in the history of foreign films, A Touch of Zen will impact you more than its title suggests.

Watch the Trailer Here!

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.