The 10 Must See Movies of July 2014

By  · Published on July 3rd, 2014

20th Century Fox

June ended with a blockbuster that encapsulated everything wrong with most summer movies. Bloated, thin, self-indulgent, mean-spirited, and incomprehensible are a few ways to describe Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. It’s not the worst film of the series, but it’ll definitely go down as one of the worst films of the summer.

Still, audiences love Bay’s brand and the film made more money domestically in its opening weekend than Edge of Tomorrow has thus far stateside, which is just heartbreaking. Thankfully, we have summer movies like Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to remind us not all blockbusters are run-of-the-mill studio products.

Besides Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or another viewing of Edge of Tomorrow there’s plenty of other movies to check out this month. Here are the must see movies of July 2014:

Deliver Us from Evil

Now in theaters

Director Scott Derrickson is about to take a crack at Doctor Strange for Marvel. It’s a tough character to adapt, but, based on The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, and his newest horror film, Deliver Us From Evil, Derrickson knows how to create an atmospheric world and mythology, meaning he’s well-suited to handle one of Marvel’s lesser known heroes.

This procedural horror film is based on NYPD sergeant/demonologist Ralph Sarchie’s (Eric Bana). Fans of Derrickson should find plenty to enjoy in this noir horror picture.

Read Our Review

Life Itself

Now available on VOD, opens in limited release July 4th

Whether you appreciated Roger Ebert or not, there’s no arguing he isn’t the face of film criticism. His status won’t change anytime soon, and that’s not only because we’re about to see a lovely documentary about the Chicago Sun-Times critic from director Steve James. Even Ebert’s detractors have fallen in love with this doc, including our own Christopher Campbell. If Chris’s affection for the film doesn’t convince you Life Itself will be more than a backpat for Ebert, then maybe Kate Erbland’s thoughts on the film will: “Yet, for all the tears and wrenching moments, Life Itself is a film about, well, life itself, and an uplifting and warming one at that. Towards the end of his life, Ebert reminded James, via email, ‘this is not only your film.’ Instead, Life Itself is a film for everyone.”

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Opens in theaters July 11th

Matt Reeves’ sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a thrilling, emotional and intense experience. This chapter in Caesar’s (Andy Serkis) life perfectly embodies the spirit of the Apes series. This occasionally brutal and dark picture doesn’t pull its punches. When the humans and apes go to war in this movie it’s painful to watch. It’s expertly crafted, of course, but what makes the action in Reeves’s film truly crackle is the drama. The strongly written apes and humans, played by the likes of Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman, make this a rare summer blockbuster full of heart and humanity.

Read Our Review

Watch Some Short Prequels


Opens in limited release July 11th

Director Richard Linklater has been working on this near-three hour epic for over a decade, filming actor Ella Coltraine every few years to portray a boy’s life. The end result, which also stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, was apparently worth all the time and effort, because more than few critics have praised the film as a massive achievement. Even if the early buzz for Boyhood was toxic it would still need to be experienced for its undeniable ambition. Linklater’s creatives risks – Waking Life, the Before trilogy, and A Scanner Darkly — generally make for his finest efforts. We should expect no less from a film already being labeled a masterpiece.

Read About the Film

Wish I Was Here

Opens in theaters July 18th

After ten years of waiting, Zach Braff has finally directed his follow-up to Garden State. Diehard fans of that 2004 drama will likely find Wish I Was Here a successful return to that world. This is, in many ways, a companion film to Garden State. Wish I Was Here also follows an actor, Aidan (Zach Braff), pursuing his dreams, despite having a family to support. He also has a shaky relationship with his father, played wonderfully by Mandy Patinkin, so there’s another connection for you Garden State fans hoping for plenty of father-son drama.

While Braff’s script comes dangerously close to treading all too familiar territory, there’s enough deft touches that make Wish I Was Here stand apart from Garden State. It’s more of a continuation of what he explored in 2004 than a retread.

Read Our Review

Watch the Trailer

I Origins

Opens in limited release July 18th

Mike Cahill (Another Earth) is not a director afraid of absurdity. There’s plenty of silliness in I Origins, but even when a few risks don’t stick their landing, it’s all very admirable. Like Wish I Was Here the pros far outweigh the cons in Cahill’s sophomore effort. This grounded piece of science-fiction is a thought-provoking God vs. science story that follows Michael Pitt as a deeply flawed scientist trying to make a link between the eyes and the soul. This is a film that grows richer with time and begs for repeat viewings.

Read Our Review

Watch the Trailer

Mood Indigo

Opens in limited release July 18th

Michel Gondry’s first narrative feature film since The Green Hornet has been met with a mixed response, but more often than not that’s the case with the French filmmaker. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Dave Chapelle’s Block Party are the only movies of his that have ever been fully embraced. In addition to his track record, it’s not surprising this famous French story about a man (Romain Duris) trying to save the love of his life, Chloe (Audrey Tautou), after a flower starts growing in her lungs, isn’t for everyone. Fans of Gondry’s more divisive efforts, such as The Science of Sleep, will want to seek out Mood Indigo.

Watch the Trailer

A Most Wanted Man

Opens in limited release July 25th

Anton Corbijn is a beautiful visual storyteller. The director behind Control, The American and some of the best music videos ever made is a versatile filmmaker who knows how to pack a frame with emotion. The American is a fantastic hitman movie that might as well have been a silent film. Although another fan of The American at the site, Rob Hunter, wasn’t too big on A Most Wanted Man at Sundance, fingers crossed this adaptation of John le Carré ‘s thriller of the same, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, lives up to its potential and Corbijn’s past work.

Read Our Review

Magic in the Moonlight

Opens in theaters July 25th

In recent years Allen has produced more hits than misses. Even when he churns out a good movie, it’s classified as “Allen light” or “minor work.” A good movie is good enough, especially from someone who works as much as Allen. Considering how many movies Allen has made, it’s astonishing he’s retained a fine batting average in his later years. Let’s hope this story about an older man (Colin Firth) falling for a young spirit medium (Emma Stone) is one of his hits.

Happy Christmas

Now available on VOD, opens in theaters July 25th

Melanie Lynskey, Anna Kendrick, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham and Joe Swanberg all in the same movie is unquestionably a must-see. To make this drama about family sound plenty sweeter: it’s directed by Swanberg himself, who took a serious step forward as a director last year with Drinking Buddies. With this cast, Swanberg would’ve had to have gone out of his way to make a film not as likable as Drinking Buddies.

Watch the Trailer

Honorable Mentions: Lucy, Sex Tape and Begin Again.

What are you looking forward to the most this month?

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