The Ten Best Film Events in Denver in July

Patsy and Edina have pulled their vodka-soaked selves out of the telly and into Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, sweetie darlings.
Patsy and Edina have pulled their vodka-soaked selves out of the telly and into Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, sweetie darlings.
Fox Searchlight / BBC

Hot dogs, hamburgers, fireworks and heat will always stamp our memories of summer, but it may be those moments we spend inside the refuge of our favorite movie theaters — scientifically cooled by refrigeration — that leave our minds and imaginations racing like a kid headed toward a water slide. Dive in, Denver: Here are your ten best bets for silver-screen satisfaction this month, in chronological order.

10. Tickled
Opens July 1
Landmark’s Mayan Theater

It sounds too crazy to be true: Pop-culture journalist David Farrier, known for his “quirky” profiles on people, places and things, discovers a website that specializes in the world of “competitive tickling” — attractive, clothed men sitting on other attractive men and tickling them into hysterics — and sets out to interview the site’s queenpin, a woman named Jane O’Brien. What happens next is unexpected: O’Brien shuts down the request and begins a severe retaliation for the inquiry, which makes Farrier even more curious about just what the hell is going on in this bizarre sport. While trying to work his way to the truth (along with co-director Dylan Reeve), Farrier meets former tickle subjects who discuss just how weird the sport is and reveal how they were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be subjected to tickling. But as the filmmakers dig deeper, things turn from kooky to sinister: The inevitable unveiling of O’Brien and her tickle empire may be the most shocking plot twist you’ve seen in a documentary in years. The film was a hit on this year’s film-festival circuit, where it pushed so many buttons that subjects in the film began showing up at screenings and confronting Farrier. Will you be tickled or terrified by what you see? Get your tickets at landmarktheaters.com.

9. Swiss Army Man
Opens July 1
Area movie theaters

One of the most talked-about films at this year’s Sundance was this offbeat story about Hank, a suicidal young man (indie darling Paul Dano), who finds the bloated corpse of another young man, Manny (Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe), washed up on a beach. That plot line provides enough fodder for a dozen art-house dramas, but it’s where Swiss Army Man goes — with the help of directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, or the Daniels, for short — that’s the real rub. The corpse seems to be alive and willing to talk to Hank (or Hank is wildly imagining the whole scenario) and helps rescue him from being stranded in the wilderness via his dead body’s flatulence, rigor mortis and boners. What follows is actually a sincere, heartwarming buddy comedy that is Weekend at Bernie’s magnified through an existential lens. It may not be for everyone, but it's definitely one of the strangest yet most endearing films you'll see in this summer of blockbusters. Get your tickets at fandango.com.

8. Maximum Bondage
Sunday, July 3 at 4:45 p.m., and subsequent Sundays
Alamo Drafthouse

For a couple of months, the Alamo has been running James Bond classics on Sunday afternoons — though starting at 007 o’clock would be more appropriate. But July’s selections — Octopussy (July 3), A A View to a Kill (July 10), The Living Daylights (July 17), Tomorrow Never Dies (July 24) and The World Is Not Enough (July 31) are some of the series' most festive, with the revolving door of kooky Roger Moore, wooden Timothy Dalton and charmer Pierce Brosnan all on shaken, not stirred super-spy duty. This handful of Bond bests also includes some of the canon’s most varied Bond babes, with Grace Jones, Maud Adams, Tanya Roberts, Maryam D’abo, Teri Hatcher, Michelle Yeoh and, as a nuclear physicist in her greatest role, Denise Richards. Reserve your seats at drafthouse.com.

7. Wiener-Dog
Opens July 8
Sie FilmCenter

In 1995, director Todd Solondz burst on the scene with Welcome to the Dollhouse, a gently nihilistic tale of lil’ Dawn Weiner — a disliked and put-upon suburban tween perfectly realized by actress Heather Matarazzo — trying to survive an adolescence of crushes, popularity and sibling rivalry. Solondz’s sincerity in subjecting Dawn to some truly dark places set the stage for the director’s future hits (Happiness, Dark Horse) and for his eventual return to Dawn’s story (though her funeral was revealed in 2004’s Palindromes). His new film uses an anthology format to follow a lost dachshund bouncing among oddball owners — including an adult Dawn (played by Greta Gerwig) — whose lives are changed by meeting the pup. For the Love of Benji this ain't, though, and Solondz has quite a few awkward things to show us since he last made us a little uncomfortable watching a film. Get ready, and get your tickets at denverfilm.org.

6. The Wailing
Opens July 8
Sie FilmCenter

For whatever reason, living in the shadow of batshit-crazy North Korea has had a positive creative effect on the filmmakers of South Korea. The country’s best visionaries — Park Chan-Wook, Kim Ki-Duk, Bong Joon-Ho and many others — have mastered the art of the taut thriller. Now Na Hong-Jin joins their ranks with his fifth film, The Wailing, a genre-bender that starts as a disease thriller but quickly turns into a cop procedural-slash-horror tale that has been a hit with audiences the world over. Don’t let its 156-minute running time freak you out; that’s still not as long as the latest Captain America film, and it will most certainly take you someplace you’ve never been before. Get your tickets at denverfilm.org

Keep reading for five more big film events in July.


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