Movies Not to Miss: July 2014

hich of these are you going to watch?

We are already half way through the year and also the summer months. Even though we know that most of you are still chained to your televisions with the World Cup reaching its fever pitch, but nevertheless there are releases this July that would be able to tempt you out to the cinema (but take a shower first before you do!).

Even if you were supporting a team that is out of the World Cup, the releases this month would still give you reasons to stay up through the night whilst catching them (and maybe stop you from sleeping after) as we ride into the thick of the summer season. So here are our recommendations of movies you shouldn't miss in the month of July of 2014!

Earth to Echo

When a group of smart kids receive an encrypted message coming from a strange signal, they decide to trace it to an alien visitor that has landed on Earth. While learning the purpose of their new friend coming to their home, the adults are fearful of its intentions and wish to find out for themselves.

From the trailer of this feature debut by director Dave Green, it certainly does share the same vibe of Steven Spielberg's "E.T." or more recently J.J. Abram's "Super 8" from 2011. What's new, however, is the mashing of the found-footage formula together with some well-done effects and the adorable little alien robot that reminds us of "Wall-E". The child cast also seems to be able to hold off on their own, so there could be a few more surprises hidden in our first recommendation to start off on the first week of July.

General Release Date: 3 July


On the night before the biggest job of his career, construction supervisor Locke enters his car and drives to an unknown destination. Over his long drive, Locke makes a few phone calls that will unravel the almost perfect life he has built for himself while revealing why he is willing to let it all collapse on him when some decisions will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Highly regarded when it was shown out of competition at the Venice International Film Festival recently, screenwriter Steven Knight shows us why he should be taken seriously as a director after a less-than warm reception for his directing debut "Hummingbird/Redemption", starring Jason Statham. All this is done within 90 minutes and only shot within a car. So expect some fine performance from Tom Hardy to carry this through and emerge from it fully satisfied that you didn't miss this on our screens.

General Release Date: 10 July

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

A decade after the outbreak of the Simian Flu, the human population is almost decimated while the apes living in the forest continue to prosper. As both humans and apes are faced with an uncertain future but a future worth protecting, the two species must draw their lines if they want a peaceful co-existence, or to let the laws of nature decide who is the fittest to survive.

Out of the unexpected hits of 2011 that was not a superhero franchise was the reboot of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise that had placed an intriguing and painful origin story of how the apes came to be the dominating species. Although director Rupert Wyatt is not returning to make this sequel, we would trust on screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver to return with an affecting story of man versus their primate cousins. With the tables now turned, the dynamics of the tensions would be something we would like to see further expanded and given more depth. All that wouldn't be hurt with actors like Gary Oldman in front of the screen, while Andy Serkis gives his best motion-captured performance as Caesar.

General Release Date: 10 July

The Fault in Our Stars

16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster had somehow managed to survive a terminal lung cancer through a medical miracle, but as a result she lives by carting an oxygen tank behind her. When reluctantly attending a cancer support group, she bumps into Augustus Waters, another cancer survivor, and his affection for her is undeniable; leading them to a love story that is not as debilitating as their illness.

Based on the best-selling young adult novel by John Green of the same name, this one would definitely be in the watch list for all those who had read the book. As melodramatic as the title may sound, "The Fault in Our Stars" can be enjoyed without making a non-reader burst into goosebumps from its grounded lines about love, life and sickness and is also a faithful adaptation of the book. The natural chemistry between Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort makes them a memorable couple in the best ways which makes the ending just as painful. This goes without saying, but in case you needed further endorsement....definitely better than "Twilight" (oh, and you will need those tissues).

General Release Date: 17 July

22 Jump Street

After their successful sting at highschool in "21 Jump Street", police officers Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko are sent back as undercover cops to bust a new drug ring at a new educational institution. Their playground this time is the happening campus of college. While the partners try to blend in with the beer dousing fraternity or the ostracised college outcasts, Schmidt and Jenko must find out if their partnership is made to last longer than what brought them together in the first place.

While Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's reinvention of a barely remembered property turned out to be one of the biggest comedy hits of 2012, the directing duo by now have established themselves to be reliable in putting clever and outrageous spins on these properties for some comedic gold. Their challenge now is being able to sustain that momentum with a sequel, and their first is "22 Jump Street". Still even if the directors fail where Seth MacFarlane had with "A Million Ways to Die in the West", we would still get our stomach full of laughs from seeing Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play off each other, and not forgetting Ice Cube.

General Release Date: 17 July

Guardians of the Galaxy

After being captured for trying to steal a cosmic artifact, Peter Quill a.k.a. Star Lord is imprisoned with several other wanted criminals of the galaxy. When their skills and knowledge are noticed to be able to save the galaxy from a new group of villains, Quill joins forces with some of the other inmates to form the aptly named Guardians of the Galaxy.

The last of the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this one is set light years away from where Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are saving the day from alien invaders and enemies within. While these teams of misfits are not as heroic as the Marvel superheroes we've seen so far, they may yet be the funniest bunch to save the galaxy, if the character dynamics in the trailers are more than what we've seen. You will need to pay attention to this one, however, even though it doesn't seem to have much connection with "Thor: The Dark World" or "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". If you've been watching your after-credit scenes for those movies, you will want to see where "Guardians of the Galaxy" is taking them to (maybe into "Avengers 2: Age of Ultron?).

General Release Date: 31 July

The Teacher's Diary

Song is a teacher who is transferred to teach in a small school with four students at a water village. Finding it lonely to spend his days there, he finds a diary written by the previous teacher of the school, Ann. While reading her words and experiences at the school, Song feels a connection with her as if he knew her for a long time, and decides to find her, only to have his heart broken.

Thai movies that have been coming to Malaysia have all been variants of the horror genre (and July is no exception with the release of "The Cursed House"). While the Thais generally do a good job at providing the chilling scares, they are also certainly good at bringing out the warm emotions too, if "The Teacher's Diary" taught us anything. So if your idea of cuddling in the theater does not involve screams and pinches, maybe this romance will help her to melt into your arms while you provide the tissue.

General Release Date: 31 July

Ju On 3: Beginning of the End

Elementary school teacher Yui notices that one of her students Toshio has been absent for a long time. When she decides to pay a visit to the Saeki household to find out the reason for Toshio's absence, she relives through the terrors that had happened to the family that should have been left within the home.

July isn't a month without its worth of horrors to draw you into the cinemas (see also "Deliver Us From Evil"), but if there was one piece of horror to remember watching this July, it is "Ju On 3: Beginning of the End". It's been more than decade since we were last terrified by the white-skinned ghosts. Although director Takashi Shimizu has long laid his hands off from this horrific franchise more than a decade ago, this one should be revisited by anyone who wants to see the horrors done onto the Saeki family to the end.

General Release Date: 31 July