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Film Guide: Spring/Summer 2013
March 25, 2013 | 9:00AM

written by: Alan Zilberman, Logan Donaldson, Jeff Spross, Vince Goodroe, Ross Bonaime, Toni Tileva, Al Moore, and Svetlana Legetic

Welcome back cinephiles and voyeurs! Yes indeedy, it’s the start of BYT SPRING/SUMMER GUIDE WEEK. After a cold and seemingly never-ending winter, brace yourself for a  pleasant and then apparently brutal spring and summer. And what better way to beat the weather than by letting the  BYT film team guide your screening choices? Award bait season is on the horizon—we’ve got those covered, along with indies, documentaries, mindless action and comedies. On top of that, we’ve laid out a neat menu a Best Worst Movies list, home entertainment must sees and all of the best DC film events.

ENJOY, and follow us on facebook and twitter (@BYT) for ongoing updates.(MORE SPRING/SUMMER GUIDES COMING RIGHT UP TOO.)

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Evil Dead (April 5) -  The fourth installment of the Evil Dead franchise is NOT directed by Sam Raimi and is NOT starring Bruce Campbell, but the trailer does look scary as all hell, and Diablo Cody was brought in to zing up the dialogue which hopefully will lead to some truly funny/scary moments for all of us to kick out spring off with. The poster boasts that this is THE SCARIEST MOVIE YOU’VE EVER SEEN, and while the stakes are pretty goddamn high in that sense, we applaud the filmmakers’ megalomaniacal approach  and if nothing else, we’re interested in seeing them try.  -Svetlana

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To The Wonder (April 12) - 365 days ago, Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life was jcokeying with The Artist at the Oscars. To see Malick return directing on To The Wonder so quickly was a shock, given the amount of time between his other films. If the trailer is any indication To The Wonder is lyrical, spiritual, sensual, Tand full of with Malick’s trademark touches: quiet monologues, brief beautiful images, and an elliptical plot. Early reviews of the movie suggests he pushes his experiments even further. Almost abandoning a normal story arc, he expands on similar motifss as he did in Tree of Life. Much like some sort of tone-poem, this mostly voice-over film will be filled with intimacy and poetic language.. The film stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem. -Logan Donaldson

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Upstream Color (April 19) - Shane Carruth is a filmmaker who absolutely eschews the entertainment industry in favor of complete, utter independence. He made a splash at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with Primer, a mind-fuck of a time travel movie made for only $7,000. Carruth, a former engineer, stuck to the logic of a time travel premise while preserving ambiguity about which alternate timeline the audience sees. It is the rare movie that entertains because it’s challenging, not in spite of it, and his follow-up Upstream Color looks no different. Details are still scarce – critics are cagey, but we know it’s about a man and woman who form a bond based on a shared hypnosis – so what’s more intriguing is its production process. As with Primer, Carruth wrote, produced, shot, acted, and even performed the musical score. By releasing Upstream Color himself, our spring will begin with a much-needed dose a cerebral weirdness. -Alan Zilberman

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Lords of Salem (April 19) Rob Zombie isn’t Jodorowsky or Tarkovsky. Now that we got that outta of the way, Zombie’s new venture is looking like an experiment worth checking out. At first glace this is like a tale of the witches of MacBeth meets Airheads meets Suspiria or Santa Sangre. Zombie has a look to his films that always standsout, and his makeup and set design are unique in how familiar they are to the classic silent film era. Not to mention he’s always had an eye for gore. Zombie has compared his new approach as Ken Russell taking the helm of The Shining. Under a new production team, he tackled a stricter budget(1.5 million compared to Halloween Two‘s 15 million), a short shoot time, and multiple script rewrites. The story is a 21st century tale of a DJ coming under the influence of a record that provokes past traumas, from revenge on her family tree to relapses into past addictions. Instead of in-your-face blood-baths and unhinged killing sprees, he has a slower paced, supernatural, and surreal horror film. Expect a few abstract and artistic qualities that you don’t usually see in modern day horror, rather qualities you might find in an avant-garde piece. However, don’t fear horror fans. You’ll still get those added laughs of stupidity that’d you get from a Mel Brooks film fused with Texas Chainsaw. Vague is what most critics call this movie, I take that as intriguing. – Vince

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Pacific Rim (April 20) – Normally anything involving building sized robots and 130 million dollar budgets would have me running for the hills but after you scratch the surface, and see the team behind it, you WANT Pacific Rim to work: Guillermo Del Toro (of Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth) is at the helm, hopefully ensuring a decent dose of both moodiness and dark humor. The cast boasts everyone from Charlie Hunnam (ensuring that BYT’s entire “SONS OF ANARCHY” groupie oriented office will be in attendance) and Idris Elba (ensuring that BYT’s entire “LUTHER” and “The Wire” groupie oriented office will be in attendance, even if last time he was on board of a space ship things didn’t work out quite as we would have liked (Sorry, Prometheus), plus a hot Asian girl with a Clara Bow haircut.  Added bonus: Del Toro spoke at Comic-Con about some of the tricks he pulled with the camera lens while shooting Pacific Rim in order to give the CGI-heavy proceedings a more grounded and realistic vibe, so we just may have big blockbuster on our hands that doesn’t QUITE feel like one.- Svetlana

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Mud (April 26) - Jeff Nichols is arguably the most exciting American filmmaker right now. Shotgun Stories was a breathtaking crime saga, complete with raw emotion and violence. His follow-up Take Shelter was hands-down the best film of 2011; its portrayal of family, as well as mental illness, was haunting and tragic. Nichols’ subjects are what make him unique. The characters are ordinary, mostly decent Midwest folks in extraordinary situations, and he pushes them until they nearly break (they never quite do). He’s like Terrence Malick without the entire philosophical pretense, and Nichols’ latest film looks like an amazing slow-burn thriller. Mud stars Matthew McConaughey, who had a killer 2012 with Magic Mike and the criminally underrated Killer Joe, as a fugitive who relies on two young friends to survive. It’s the opening stretch of “Great Expectations” except with a higher body count, and critics already say Mud is the performance of McConaughey’s career. -Alan Zilberman

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Iron Man 3 (May 3) –  ”I’m getting too old for this shit.” The man that gave us so many lines is back. Not Danny Glover, Not Mel Gibson, I don’t really even mean Robert Downey Jr. (though that partially is the case), but writer-director Shane Black. Iron Man 3 should garner a massive audience with not only for our modern day Bogartian, Harry Lime-ean wit master, Mr. Black, but its play on our modern day predicament of terrorism, and threats against the stars and stripes all over the world. The film focuses on the tension between U.S.-Chinese tensions while building the story between The Avengers movies, the comic roots of war against weapons of mass destruction, and its audience whom are completely desensitized by it. It seems more of a allegorical and symbolic story indebted with the Rashomon effect: on whether crimes can be perceived in certain and/or different ways and point of views. The film seems to beg many philosophical questions: “Does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man”? And if so, who are the real heroes? If there ever was such a thing. – Vince

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The Great Gatsby (May 10) – Baz Luhrmann’s production of the F.Scott Fitzgerald classic has been delayed in terms of its release schedule more times than we’d dare count, but still, the trailer has us as excited as ever. Luhrmann is in full glitterbomb mode here with the party scenes (Moulin Rouge goes WASP-y! And yes, that IS a zebra in a fountain you spy there!), Jay-Z is doing the soundtrack, and Leonardo di Caprio reunites with his Romeo + Juliet director to bring another lovestruck hero to the big screen. Add to that Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire AND Isla Fisher (who just really needs to be in more films all the time) and this is probably the only must-see-on-the-big-screen non-action movie we have coming this season. – Svetlana

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Rapturepalooza (May 10) – The plot: Two teens battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist. The cast: John Frances Daley and Anna Kendrick as the teens, and Craig Robinson (!) as the Antichrist, with the all star comedy supporting team of Anna Gasteyer, Ken Jeong, Rob Corddry and Paul Scheer backing them up. The script is by Chris Matheson (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and, in my heart of hearts, all of this adds up to be what Zombieland promised to be but never quite delivered. Fingers crossed. – Svetlana

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Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17) - Great adventures in film, with relatively few exceptions, are never about the adventure itself.  We know Frodo destroys the Ring, we know Leeloo will stop the meteor, and we know Harry Potter will foil Voldemort (spoiler alert).  Great adventures are stories of friendship, and occasionally Bruce Willis.  The more unlikely the friendship (or romance), the better the story, indeed, this has been Pixar’s secret sauce for a generation.
J.J. Abrams gets this, and it’s one of the reasons his Star Trek reboot transcended the source material.  Star Trek isn’t about space, or decades of cumbersome and contradictory lore; it’s the story of Picard and Spock and friendship and rivalry and trust and teamwork.  His picaresque for the 21st century cleared away man-millenia of story cruft (thanks, Time Travel!) and distilled the universe to a clean, accessible stage for an ensemble cast with excellent chemistry.
Having saved the franchise from itself, Abrams returns with his usual collaborators in Star Trek Into Darkness.  Under ordinary circumstances, a person could be forgiven for skepticism that a franchise sequel would be anything short of a naked money grab, but in this case, examining the plot summation from Wikipedia should put fears to rest: “After being called back home, the crew of the Enterprise find a seemingly unstoppable force which has attacked Starfleet and left Earth in chaos. Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are tasked with leading the deadly manhunt to capture the party responsible and settle an old score.” Why does this guarantee Into Darkness will be great?  Because, with the exception of the first five words, this is literally the plot of the first movie, and the first movie was awesome.  It stands to reason that, having invested no emotional energy in the general plot arc, all remaining attention has been placed where it is deserved, in the interpersonal and intervulcan relationships of the crew.  This is the genre where more of the same is exactly what’s indicated. -Al Moore
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Black Rock (May 17) – Katie Aselton and Lake Bell are pretty high on our list of actresses we’d watch in pretty much anything on account of them being very funny, very smart, and very attractive 150% of their time spent on film. Well, in this indie thriller, they also get to be a decent amount of badass too. Working from a script by husband Mark Duplass, Aselton directs this tale of female bonding and survival after a camping trip goes terribly wrong (hint: crazy killers show up). Kate Bosworth adds the necessary blondeness and vulnerability to the brunette cast, and the trailer reads like a cross between River Wild, I Spit on Your Grave, and A Lonely Place to Die, which in a sea of high concept movies and summer blockbusters may prove a refreshing genre break. -Svetlana
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Before Midnight (May 24) - As much as I want to be hardened cynical asshole, my loyalty toward Before Sunrise permanently exposes my mushy, pathetically romantic center. I first saw it in high school – really, it’s the movie for teenagers – and the movie influenced my thinking to the point where I advertently reference it whenever I’m interacting with someone for the first time. After Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet cute on a train, they agree to spend a night together in Vienna. Their night is adorable and daring, and it provokes capital F Feelings in a way few movie romances ever dream of achieving. Set nine years later, the sequel Before Sunset is practically a thriller because the stakes are so high: in their mid thirties, Jesse and Celine have more baggage than their idealistic twenties. Now that his characters had much more to lose, director Richard Linklater still somehow found a perfect, ambiguous ending. It’s been nine years since Before Sunset, and now the “three-quel” Before Midnight has the would-be couple reuniting in their forties. All the early reviews have been ecstatic – on Twitter, otherwise eloquent critics resort to cat gifs to articulate their joy – so I can’t wait to see what’s new with my favorite movie couple. -Alan Zilberman

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Now You See Me (May 31) -The plot is as hokey as it gets this summer: a group of illusionists perform bank heists during their performances and reward the audiences with the money they make (sort of a Burt Wonderstone-meets-Robin Hood pitch). Still, the cast features Isla Fisher, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and James’ little brother Dave Franco, who was last seen being VERY funny in 21 Jump Street. If we’re signing up for an evening of illusion and cat-and-mouse chases, this seems like a pretty sweet group of people to spend such an evening with. – Svetlana

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The East (May 31) - Brit Marling’s latest movie, The East, sounds like an incendiary amalgamation of The Edukators and If A Tree Falls, with a dash of Fight Club-esque nihilism for good measure. In Sound of My Voice, she played a cult leader and the protagonists were the infiltrators; here, she is the infiltrator, attempting to gain access into an “eco-terrorist” group that launches attacks against major corporations (I use quotation marks as I am not quite sure the rather-easily-slapped-on terrorist label should be bandied about quite so freely in cases involving environmental issues). The East finds Brit teaming up with long-time collaborator and fellow Georgetown alum Zal Batmanglij to once again explore the more subversive side of life (they also co-wrote and produced Sound Of My Voice). Alexander Skarsgård plays the group’s firebrand (ha!) leader and Ellen Page one of its members. The East promises to be a thrilling take on some very cogent, all too terrifyingly real issues and if Brit’s past work is any indication, expect this to be thoroughly and I do mean thoroughly engrossing. The trailer alone will give you chills.-Toni Tileva

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Kings of Summer (May 31)- In a Stand By Me meets Son of Rambow meets Superbad set up, Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Aries star in this buzzy Sundance crowd pleaser as three teenage boys who run away from home and build a house in the woods where they would live like kings in their own, no-adults-allowed univers. The adults that they’re not allowing are played by Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie and Mary Lynn Rajskub (not to shabby!). All of this adds up to what promises to be the sweetest-yet-funniest film this summer. Friends 4ever. – Svetlana

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Much Ado About Nothing (June 7) –  After the massive box office success of Avengers and Cabin in the Woods, Joss Whedon is back with another project after seeing great success artistically and professionally in recent years. During 12 days in his Santa Monica home, he secretly churned out a twist on a Shakespearean tale. This seems more of a chance for Whedon to fully appeal to the Hollywood drama crowd, and pulling his fans in a new direction at the same time. Much Ado About Nothing is entirely black-and-white and fully in the tongue of Whedon’s token dialogue. It also reminds us of the themes of Revolutionary Road and the story of Great Gatsby in terms of love being drawn in two ways: the romantic love that is fashioned by societal ideals, and mature love of marriage that we seem to want, but often let slip away. Will we be rolling our eyes at all the pompous, wordy accent (a la Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet)? Who knows, but there’s a good chance we’ll warm up to it. – Vince

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This Is the End (June 14) - By the end of 2013, we’re surely going to be tired of the destruction of Earth. There are at least half a dozen films this year where the world we know it is gone, but no apocalypse film this summer will be close to as fun as This Is The End. The self-referential film stars James Franco, Johan Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and an insane amount of cameos, all playing themselves, as these Apatow regulars try to survive the end of the world together. At the very least, it’s sure to be one of the more insane comedies to come out this summer. -Ross Bonaime

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The Bling Ring (June 14) – I will watch ANYTHING Sofia Coppola makes. And while The Bling Ring premise of LA kids who broke into movie star homes and stole their clothes and accessories for fun, makes for potentially very annoying viewing (as already evidenced by the very annoying reality TV drama “PRETTY WILD,” which is spawned right after the real life story it was based on broke in the news), the young cast features some truly smart, thoughtful young actors (namely Taissa Farmiga and Emma Watson) and if anyone is able to make this little bit of consumerist superficiality seem beautiful and dare we say, poetic, it is probably Sofia. Added bonus: Gavin Rossdale and Paris Hilton both show up for the party. Think of this as the brattier, more high maintenance  sister to Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers (out now!), a bookend to a season of cinematic kids not being quite alright. – Svetlana

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Man of Steel  (June 21) – Reacting to the Man of Steel trailers, a fellow movie critic jokingly tweeted: “Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan present: Terrence Malick’s MAN OF STEEL.” And the trailers certainly do make it look Snyder will try to ape Malick’s contemplative and lyrical style. But I think it works. What would it mean to be the closest thing the lost, broken human race has to a messiah? Brian Singer got a lot of shit for pounding home the Christ-imagery in Superman Returns, but while that film was a misfire, really, where else can you possibly take things? Superman is such a primordial superhero, such a straight-up demigod, that the only workable storytelling options boil down to the pulp hokeyness of the 1978 original or inward-looking existentialism. I’m not a Zack Snyder fan, and I’m not thrilled to see the same small cadre of white dudes handling all our major cinematic pop culture products. But there’s no denying Nolan resurrected the moribund Batman franchise in spectacular fashion. And so far, I must confess, what we’ve seen of Man of Steel has genuinely moved me. But then, I’m a total sucker for stories that deal with that most simple yet crucial of questions: “Just what does it take to be a good person? Or a good people?” The Lord of the Rings music doesn’t hurt either. -Jeff Spross

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Despicable Me 2 (June 21) – Despicable Me was adorable and funny and one of the best animated movies we’ve seen of late. So-we’re crossing our fingers that Gru, the girls and the minions don’t fail us this time around either - Svetlana

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World War Z (June 21) – I’m “excited” about this movie in the same way I get “excited” about movies on FEARNet, or “excited” about showing a friend Southland Tales for the first time.  Anyone can make a bad movie, but it takes real talent to insult the form while still meaning well.  Genius is rare, a visionary risk-taking  rarer still, but it’s only once in a blue moon that a generational talent and just the right (wrong) circumstances come together to ruin what should have been a slam dunk Oscar contender.  Write it down: this will be the cinematic equivalent of a missed extra point, an air-balled free throw, balking in the winning run in game seven, or posting an own-goal while celebrating a save. It’s generally gauche to write, let alone print, the obituary of the not yet departed, but this work has all the hallmarks of an unforced error.

From Harry Knowles (take from that what you will) the leaked original script was by all accounts a stunning and bold work of genius, which should have been pretty easy to pull off since that is exactly what the source material was.  This was in 2009.  Since then, the movie went through production, post production, post-production production and post-production post-production hell; it has by all accounts abandoned the frame story of the original work for a standard “find the cure” narrative, and replaced the hordes of undead with Danny Boyle style “fast-zombies.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the race for the cure, or with speedy shamblors for that matter, but what made “World War Z” resonate was structural; the narrator had no arc to speak of, and the vignettes were raw, compressed, and illustrative; it was a comic book serial in prose.  Brooks’ novel subverted its genre; it presented the undead for the very, very alive. -Al Moore

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The Heat (June 28) – Paul Feig follows up Bridesmaids with this lady cop buddy comedy (hopefully, not to be confused with the other HEAT) starring the irrepressible Melissa McCarthy (as the rough-and-tumble Boston cop) and the always game Sandra Bullock (as an uptight FBI agent forced to partner with her). Caitlin Olsen from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is on board too. And while the trailer DOES feature Spanx jokes and backwards hats, it is also genuinely funny most of the time, which is good because these ladies deserve it. -Svetlana

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I’m So Excited (June 28)  After a series of dramas, acclaimed Spanish Director Pedro Almodovar turns his attention back to comedy. Digging through his troupe of actors and actresses of the past, Almodovar’s new film is set on a plane for the duration of a flight. The passengers and crew experience an endangering technical failure that draws the flight attendants attention away from themselves to service to the perilous situation of everyone onboard. It seems to crudely and comedically tackle issues of money and the financial depression of (which plague Spain and most of Europe) today. Through his trademark characters and lush visual palette, Almodovar gives us an allegorical farce of his continued search for sexual identity and his typical offkilter way of showing how Spanish politics are taking a nosedive. -Vince

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The Lone Ranger  (July 3) – For some weird reason, I really enjoy it when filmmakers take a setting that doesn’t intuitively lend itself to action — like, say, the barren, technologically primitive, stripped down world of the western — and try to rip the most massively gymnastic sequences they can from it. So I find the sheer bigness of The Lone Ranger trailer endearing, despite its patent ridiculousness. Whether Johnny Depp’s casting as the Lone Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto, represents an unfortunate indulgence of degrading Native American stereotypes or some bizarre upending of them, I shall not here attempt to judge. But I trust we can all agree we’d pay to watch Depp knit a sock at this point. Director Gore Verbinski has had his share of mixed results (Rango, Pirates of the Caribbean 2) and outright disasters (Pirates of the Caribbean 3). But The Lone Ranger does promise more of Verbinski’s remarkably rich and identifiable visual style, and when the dude is on (The Weatherman, Pirates of the Caribbean) man is he on. -Jeff Spross

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The Way, Way Back (July 5) – The OTHER coming-of-age Sundance hit (aside from Kings of Summer, which we discussed above), The Way, Way Back resulted in a 10 million dollar offer from Fox Searchlight, implying Little Miss Sunshine levels of confidence on studio’s side. It also boasts a decent amount of other similarities with that indie landmark hit: Steve Carrell and Toni Collette stars in a strong ensemble cast (which also features Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney and Amanda Peet). It has an understated semi-comedy vibe (a genre the screenwriters Nate Faxon and Jim Rash know a thing or two about, having won an Oscar for their for on The Descendants script). AND it has  a waterpark setting. Enough to keep our fingers crossed.- Svetlana

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Girl Most Likely (July 19) -This is also known as “The first movie Kristen Wiig said yes to after she finished Bridesmaids and before she dived into Anchorman: The Legend Continues.” Originally named IMOGENE, the film features Wiig as a playwright who fakes her own suicide to re-attract the attention of her old boyfriend. This results in her being sent to live with her estranged Mother (a scene stealing Anette Benning) and the host of characters now occupying her childhood home, including her Mom’s new boyfriend (played by Matt Dillon) and the man now renting her room (GLEE’s Darren Criss). Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who you may remember from the heartbreaking American Splendor, are at the helm. We’re hoping for a subtle, smart, funny AND sad story we can use to hide from the superhero sequel summer. -Svetlana

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Blue Jasmine (July 26) - It’s rare that Woody Allen comes back to the United States for his films anymore. The last time he did was 2009’s Whatever Works, a film in which very little did actually work. His latest film Blue Jasmine is as usual shrouded in mystery, but the cast alone is quite interesting. While names like Cate Blanchett, Peter Sarsgaard, and Sally Hawkins should pique your interest alone, it’s the inclusion of Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay, that makes this more dynamic than your usual Allen ensemble. -Ross Bonaime

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Fruitvale (July 26) – Fruitvale won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance, making it officially the indie-to-watch this summer. The based-on-true-events film, starring Michael Jordan Jr. (who has shown great depths in both “Parenthood” and “Friday Night Lights”) as the 22 year old Oscar Grant, the story follows its hero during his final day on Earth (Grant was shot in the back and killed by Oakland transit police on New Year’s Day morning 2009) as he attempts to become a better father, a better boyfriend, and a better son and friend. Pass the tissues. -Svetlana

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The Spectacular Now (August 2) -You guys, are you ready for a serious, heartfelt, earnest movie about what it feels like to be a teenager? No hipster posturing, no zingers, no gimmicks, just young people dealing with things, the best way they can? Starring Miles Teller (Project X) as a charismatic, devil-may-care hero whose magnetism is undeniable to everyone who enters his orbit, and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) as the innocent, industrious, smart girl he falls for after waking up on her lawn one hungover morning, the film got rave reviews on the festival circuit for its young cast and its director James Ponsoldt, who, post-Smashed, is quickly establishing himself as a man who can handle alcohol-tinged melodramas just the right way (bonus: Smashed’s luminescent start Mary Elizabeth Winstead is back here too, as Miles’ older, well-to-do sister). – Svetlana

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Elysium (August 9) – It’s really amazing how much District 9 gets right. It’s a rich, character-driven story; a genuinely creative act of scifi world-making; a solid action-adventure romp; a moral and political fable of real substance. After pulling off a feat like that, any flick by writer and director Neil Blomkamp deserves our attention and anticipation. Set nearly 200 years in the future, his new film Elysium features an Earth-bound population riven by mass destitution, and desperate to gain entrance to the luxurious space station that houses humanity’s wealthy. In short, it promises to do for the issue of immigration what District 9 did for apartheid, while making the most of Blompkamp’s scifi-adventure chops en route. Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster, and William Fichtner — whom, let us pray, finally gets to play something other than a villainous weasel – are all top notch casting choices. So here’s hoping. -Jeff Spross

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The To-Do List (August 16) – If you are a fan of TV, The To-Do List cast reads like a fanfic dream come true: Aubrey Plaza stars as a high school senior with a to-do list of sexual experiences she decides SHE NEEDS TO HAVE before heading off to college, and everyone from Donald Glover to Andy Samberg to Alia Shawkat to Rachel Bilson to Connie Britton to Bill Hader join her on the quest. The setting is the 80s, the clothes are everything the photo below would lead you to expect (skorts! overalls! scrunchies! ponchos!), the humor is appropriately awk and the good times are guaranteed (IMHO). – Svetlana

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Kick-Ass 2 (August 16) - I’m bored with the usual superheroes. I’m tired of The Avengers. I couldn’t care less about Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World. And while Man of Steel intrigues me, it’s coming form Zack Snyder who doesn’t exactly have the best track record. I am quite excited about Kick-Ass 2, however, the sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s real-world take on the ridiculous nature of getting in a costume, taking to the streets, and seeking vigilante justice. This time around Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl will be joined by several new heroes, including Donald Faison’s Doctor Gravity and Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by Jim Carrey. Not to mention that this new group is fighting against Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s super-villain known as The Mother Fucker. I mean, that beats looking for a tesseract any day, right? -Ross Bonaime

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You’re Next (August 23) -There are very few things that frighten us more than home invasions and You’re Next seems, from what we can gather, a worthy successor to The Strangers and Funny Games genre. Directed by Adam Wingard (V/H/S) the movie premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival only to sit on a shelf for two years after. Still, after a buzzy SXSW resurrection it is back and ready to rumble. The film is being described by those who’ve seen it as “Die Hard meets Home Alone meets Them if it was directed by ’80s John Carpenter” AND features a sign-of-approval guest starring turns by fellow horror meisters Ti West and Joe Swanberg. Between this, Evil Dead, V/H/S 2 and Lords of Salem, it is looking like a very solid season for horror fans. -Svetlana

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Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (August 23rd) – The latest addition in the fight for the new YA throne of 2013 (at least until Girl on Fire comes out later in the year), the film revolves around teenager Clary Fray’s search for her missing mother, which leads her to a city filled with mysterious fairies, raucous warlocks, vampires and other demons. Lilly Collins plays Clary, and Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers provide the obligatory adult/scenery chewing support. – Svetlana

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Frances Ha (September 1) - Anyone who has seen The Squid and the Whale realizes Noah Baumbach has a unique way of viewing the emotion oof relationships. His sense of compassion, self-deprecation, and modern social signaling can be moderately compared to Woody Allen at times. His new film, Frances Ha, starring (and co-written by) his new muse Greta Gerwig, might resonate only to a certain audience: affluent indie kids. This film centers on mid-twenties woman whom has a lover, but doesn’t live with him, nor in her own home. She lives with friends, and apprentices at a Dance company, though she really isn’t much of a dancer. It explores growing up, just at the point of being fully grown, but through a New Wave fairytale lens. – Vince

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Passion (September 7) - Brian De Palma knows a thing or two about the lurid, with a resume featuring Scarface, Carlito’s Way, and Carrie. Rachel McAdams (yes, the ebullient girl next door Rachel McAdams) and Noomi Rapace (yes, the girl with the dragon tattoo) star in De Palma’s remake of the 2010 French thriller Love Crime, which follows two women playing games with each other in a business setting. Think The Devil Wears Prada with a lot more violence and sex, maybe? While things start out with a little good ol’ taking credit for someone else’s idea – Rachel McAdams’ character takes credit for her underling’s work – they quickly escalate. I mean, didn’t Desperate Housewives teach you the jump from casserole bickering to murder isn’t all that great!? McAdams and Rapace could be the new Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis from Black Swan: things are looking pretty steamy, lack of leotards and anorexia notwithstanding. -Toni Tileva

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Behind the Candelabra (September 18) - Matt Damon and Michael Douglas finally get wear their sequins: Behind the Candelabra, a Liberace biopic, was picked up by HBO Films late last year. The movie was originally titled Liberace, but has since been renamed. The story focuses on the famed pianist’s involvement with his much younger lover at a time when homosexuality significantly endangered celebrity. Perhaps most notably is the film falls under the direction of Steven Soderbergh, and if rumors are true, it could be his last film. The project has been in-the-making since early 2009, and will no doubt portray all angles of the life of the vivacious pianist, known for his glamorous getups and accessories. Candelabra will ghopefully dig into the emotional spectrum of Liberace’s life, both light and dark. Damon worked with Soderbergh last year in the disease thriller Contagion, and Douglas last worked with the director in Traffic. -Logan Donaldson

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R.I.P.D. (July 20) – This is also known as “REST IN PEACE DEPARTMENT.” Yes, guys, we’re in zombie detective land here. By the guys that brought us Red. It stars Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges AND Mary Louise Parker, all from different eras, all wearing stupid costumes, all looking pretty disenfrenchised in all the production photos. There is no way this movie is going to be any good, but it is definitely going to make for a great drinking and smoking game some day soon.
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Tyler Perry’s Temptation (March 29) – Normally, we don’t even consider Tyler Perry movies for this category because they are so by default bad, it is not even worth wasting typing energy on it. Still, the game appears to be stepped up a little here, in the sheer camp department. For one, Kim Kardashian is in it. As is Brandy (sadly, Monica is nowhere to be seen, but we are still hoping for a  “The Boy Is Mine” remake featured in the soundtrack) and the full name of the movie is TEMPTATION: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR. And the current IMDB rating is a neat 2.0 (out of 10). For reference: MADEA’S FAMILY REUNION got a 4.2. You’ve been warned.
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Fast 6 (May 24) – The Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock!) team is back and while the trailer announces that the movie before us is going to be faster and more furious than any of the previous ones, there are really only 2 reasons to watch it: the chance to rehash the debate of whether you a Vin or The Rock kind of guy/gal over drinks afterwards (trust us: EVERYONE has an opinion on this one) and to consider the state of the world arts affairs, in which money is located, year after year, to produce yet another sequel to a movie that never should have been made in the first place. Actually, just stick to reason #1, #2 is too depressing to consider.
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The Host (March 29) – There are a few reasons why we hope The Host will be good: namely Soairse Ronan, whose clear eyed presence was amazing in everything from Atonement to Hanna (with Diane Kruger providing an adequate counterpoint to that movie’s icy Cate Blanchett). Director Andrew Niccol is at the helm (we will ALWAYS love Gattaca over here at BYT) but way too many signs point to potential disaster too. First of all, it IS based on a Stephanie Meyer book and that almost automatically plops it into this category. It also stars Max Irons, who was last seen in RED RIDING HOOD, one of the worst movies we’ve ever seen period, and Niccol’s track record has been slipping (In Time, anyone?). Plus, there is this completely shameless TITANIC rip-off that we can’t even start to process.
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300: RISE OF THE EMPIRE (August 2) – I will freely admit to not actually seeing the original 300 mainly because I am not all that much into hidden-in-plain-sight homoeroticism on the big screen. But I am sort of into going to this one because: a) it stars Eva Green who is bound to have WAY TO MUCH fun with this role, and also because seven years after the original came out I realized that Xerxes (below) is played by Rodrigo Santoro, aka Carl-Laura-Linney’s-crush-from-Lovee, Actually. This gives it enough finger pointing value to be worth the admission price.
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The Wolverine (July 26) – In case 300 shirtless Spartans were not enough for you this summer, Hugh Jackman returns to his Wolverine role which, for good over-the-top-measure, is this time around set in modern day Japan. No words.
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White House Down (June 28) – Channing Tatum. Jamie Foxx. The guys that brought us Godzilla and Independence Day, and a title that pretty much explains the whole plot of the movie. If this movie was made in 1995 we’d understand, but in 2013, we would hope for a little more of a bite to our political action thrillers. Between this and Olympus Has Fallen, we’re already sick of all the god damn White House invasion thrillers.
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(We publish a HOME ENTERTAINMENT column every Tuesday which focuses on a weekly update of this very concept. Keep an eye out for it, you won’t regret it, we promise. Note: some of the recommendations below were removed and replaced).
 
MOVIES:
Senna - From our 2011 review: “‘Meteoric rise’ is a cliche describing an athlete’s ascendency into greatness, but it’s tough to think of a better way to describe Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna and the vapor trails he left in his wake. Senna, a documentary directed by Asif Kapadia, plots the racer’s preternatural driving skills and his embroilment in the politics of F1. Despite a life jeweled with privilege and championships, there is plenty of drama along the way to the top. His friend and eventual rival Alain Prost provides antagonism, and both men have enough charisma to enamor attentions. Tension slacks in the second half of the documentary, but it succeeds at captivating even those who are apathetic toward Formula 1 racing.” -Logan Donaldson
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Primer – In 2004, Shane Carruth spent $7,000 and made one of the smartest, effective, thrilling movies of the year. This is a movie that challenges the viewer’s intelligence instead of insulting it, and still maintains its entertainment cred. Now, almost a decade later he is back with Upstrem Color, this is a perfect time to revisit this time-travelling gem on Instant Netflix.  -Svetlana
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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan - Martin Scorsese on Bob Dylan. What’s not to like, right? Apparently Scorsese was so intimidated throughout the filming of this far-reaching documentary that he couldn’t be in the same room as Dylan during the interviews. All’s well that ends well: No Direction Home is worth it just to hear the mystery behind Dylan’s coy admission of, “They can kill you with kindness, too.” -Alan Zilberman
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How To Steal A Million – When they say “They don’t make movies like they used to,” they’re talking about this one. A 1966 art heist rom com starring the forever flawless Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn, this William Wyler romp is a class act through and true. The movie precariously teeters on the all-style-and-not-much supstance but it does it with great aplomb. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon with a well mixed cocktail. – Svetlana
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Bill Burr: You People Are All the Same - Whereas Louis CK is the thinking man’s vulgarian, hard working comedian Bill Burr is the thinking man’s blue collar asshole. Burr is unafraid to tackle uncomfortable topics – he argues that even though no man should ever hit a woman, he sometimes has his reasons – and will double down whenever a heckler calls him out. There’s a warm center underneath all Burr’s bluster, and his specials on Netflix prove that he deserves a place among the stand-up pantheon. -Alan Zilberman
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Young Adult – An under-appreciated gem of feel-bad cinema. Reitman is a master at the sour, sly comedy, so he is in his element here (remember Up in The Air and how you let yourself think it was going to be funny?). Diablo Cody’s expectedly but effectively thorny script is peppered with pop-culture references that make everyone in the movie seem like a believable person with likes and dislikes you knew in school, or met in a bar. The cast is ON FIRE (if Theron will crush your soul, Oswalt’s subtle performance with steal your heart). And the music, which is crucial to the emotional core of the movie (because, hey, that’s how it was in high school, too) is top notch in terms of 90s nostalgia: Lemonheads, Veruca Salt, and, since we ARE in Minessota, The Replacements are all peppered throughout for maximum effect. (read the rest of our original review here)- Svetlana
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Metropolitan - The BYT concensus is that Whit Stillman is our favorite filmmaker. His films are about intelligent young people who lack just enough self-awareness so they can receive gentle mockery. Stillman reached his zenith with 2012′s Damsels in Distress (read our interview with Stillman and Greta Gerwig here), but it’s 1990′s Metropolitan that got the ball rolling. -Alan Zilberman
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Slacker - Passionate about apathy? Nevermind that paradox. Richard Linklater’s varied career began with Slacker, a meandering dialogue-heavy comedy where the camera wanders from one character to the next. At the time, Linklater’s technique was seen as revolutionary and tedious in equal measure. Who knew this Generation Xer would be the guy who bring us tender romances (Before Sunrise) and bizarre sci-fi adaptations (A Scanner Darkly)? But clearly the talent was there. -Alan Zilberman
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TV:
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret - Todd Margaret (David Cross) is a hapless fuck-up. His boss (Will Arnett), so somehow Todd ends up in London on behalf of dangerous toxic swill that’s being marketed as an energy drink. Todd is an affront to English manners wherever he goes, and the only way he wades through it all is by telling a bigger lie whenever he’s pressed. Created by Cross, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret is a trainwreck of a comedy, one complete with f-bombs and a rabbit hole of strangely believable chaos. – Alan Zilberman
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Arrested Development  – With the new season (OMG!) premiering in May, now is the time to revisit season 1, 2 and 3 in all their dysfunctional, insanely funny glory. We feel absolutely no need to spend any more time on this recommendations, as all the reasons for it should be abundantly clear. -Svetlana
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Hemlock Grove - Sandwiched in between House of Cards (which I assume you have ALL ALREADY SEEN, right? If not, please do so now) and the OMG-ARRESTED-DEVELOPMENT-RETURN is Eli Roth’s original Netflix series which promises to be a fine cross between The Killing, Twin Peaks, American Horror Story, and Roth trademarked torture porn. A teenage girl is brutally murdered, sparking a hunt for her killer. But in a town where everyone hides a secret, will they find the monster among them? We cannot wait to find out. – Svetlana
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Luther- We assume you’re all in a full on Sherlock withdrawl now, and while Season 3 is blessedly being filmed as we speak, tie yourself over with this other top-notch moody crime miniseries from BBC. Starring Idris Elba as the brilliant but tormented detective John Luther, and Ruth Wilson as one of the finest/most complex villains we’ve encountered of late, the show is everything you want it to be (smart, dark, funny, morally ambiguous), and possibly more. -Svetlana
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Scandal – If you are not watching Scandal, you are missing one of the most insanely delicious roller coaster rides committed to the small screen in the 2000s. And while season 2 is in full swing on ABC, the first season is available for INSTANT NETFLIX viewing and worth every second of your time. Starring Kerri Washington as Olivia Pope, a DC “problem solver” of the highest order, the show has everything: sex, a Machiavellian first lady (not since Angela Lansbury in “Manchurian Candidate” have we been this afraid of a woman behind a (political) man), a gay, conservative chief of staff, insane costume decisions and yes, A WHOLE LOT OF SCANDAL(S) mixed in. Addictive, addictive stuff. -Svetlana
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UNIVERSAL AT 100 @ National Gallery of Art (April 6-28) – In association with Universal Pictures and UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Gallery presents this selection of ten legendary titles from Universal’s vaults, celebrating this pioneering movie studio’s first century of filmmaking, including such rarely-seen-on-the-big-screen-these-days classics as: The Birds, The Mummy, Showboat, Murders on the Rue Morgue and more.
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 FILM FEST DC (April 11-21)- Since 1995 FilmFest DC has been a growing success and has screened some great film selections. This year the festival returns once again screening a host movies both domestic and abroad, whose highlights include Canadian adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Norway’s Oscar nominated Kon-Tiki, as well as Laurence Anyways, which one the Best Actress award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.  There will be the pageantry of opening and closing nights, director panel discussions, free events for all ages, and most importantly, great independent and international film.
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National Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon @ Freer Sackler (April 13) – This year’s marathon presents all 26 episodes of Shinichiro Watanabe’s landmark animated television series Samurai Champloo. This smart, hip series is the story of three eccentric outcasts traveling across Edo-era Japan in search of “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.” The program gleefully incorporates playful anachronisms, such as hip hop music and graffiti, while touching on actual elements of the era, such as ukiyo-e painting, historical figures, and Japan’s interactions with the Dutch East India Company. Selected episodes are introduced by experts, and tours of Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer’s Japanese Illustrated Books, as well as the Freer’s Japanese collection, are offered throughout the weekend.
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48 HOUR FILM PROJECT (May 3-5)- Not for watching, but for participating. Grab your film school buddy and a boom mic and make the next Blair Witch Project / Clerks / Napoleon Dynamite / Slacker low-budget smash hit.
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SILVERDOCS (June 19-23)- This year will mark the fifth year that BYT has covered DC’s best film festival. Co-run by AFI and the Discovery Channel, Silverdocs showcases the world’s best documentaries, whether they’re worldly, issue-driven, or downright bizarre. Many entries at Silverdocs get scooped by studios or HBO, and the festival is a chance for fans to get their fix of non-fiction. The festival typically announces its line-up in May but if past years are any indication, we won’t be disappointed.
E Street Cinema’s Midnight Screening Lineup  – Everything from Flash Gordon to Batman to French Connection is coming to a midnight screen near you.
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Please feel free to let us know in the comments if we missed something. And stay tuned for more SPRING/SUMMER guides (music, food, arts, theatre, style…. the works).

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