Welcome to July, baby, where the heat isn’t only on the pavement and the fireworks aren’t just in the sky, but on the big screen too. Let our chronological list lead you and your Popsicle-stained fingers through an ice cream truck’s worth of movie goodies in Denver this month.
10) Magic Mike XXL
Opens July 1 at a theater near you.
Get your dollar bills out everybody because word on the street is that this “extended” sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s sexy 2012 hit has everything that got you out of your house the first time — which is mostly just the promise of some nude flesh courtesy of stars Channing Tatum (who wrote the original based on his own experience as a male stripper), Joe Manganiello, Matt Boner…um, Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and Kevin Nash – but doubles down on the heat by taking the boy show on the road to a big Florida strip-off and adding the taut moves and abs of Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss to the lineup of man candy. Jada Pinkett Smith fills in for Matthew McConaughey as Rome, a mother lion to her cut cubs and the ringleader to this cinematic circus of hot-assery. Magic Mike XXL knows exactly who its audience is this time and they’re coming for you ladies…and gentlemen. For added sensation, the Alamo Drafthouse will have separate “rowdy” late-night screenings of the sequel where the audience can hoot, holler, and toss their panties at the screen (please don’t toss your drawers anywhere) if you feel so inclined. Check Fandango.com for theaters and showtimes.
9) A Film For All Seasons: The ‘70s
Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m. through August 5 at the Mayan Theatre
Landmark’s classics program, featuring great digital restorations of the best in repertory film, is headed back to the 1970s this month to dig deep into some of the most risk-taking and revolutionary films that Hollywood ever dared to turn out. July’s offerings include Badlands, Blazing Saddles, Jaws, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall and The Deer Hunter as shining examples of a bygone era where cinema really bared its teeth and dug deep into the cultural zeitgeist. Visit landmarktheatres.com for more info.
8) Film On The Rocks: Jaws
Tuesday, July 7 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Everyone knows that the best outdoor venue for screening films is Red Rocks Amphitheatre; nothing beats the view, the atmosphere or the feeling of sharing your favorite film with thousands of other fans. Due to a change on the concert front, a space opened up and Film On The Riocks is now here to fill it with a just-announced screening of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 shocker, Jaws. Though there won’t be a patch of water anywhere in sight, sitting under the stars watching this classic thriller will be as tense as ever, and John Williams’s legendary “duh-na, DUH-NA” score will shred your nerves raw on the venue’s epic soundsystem. You’re gonna need a bigger boat… to fit everyone in who wants to go see it, so maybe consider buying party bus tickets to the show so you don’t have to worry about hitting any land sharks on the late drive home. Tickets and more info at denverfilm.org.
Opens July 10 at Landmark’s Esquire Theatre
The idea of producing a documentary about the life and terrible death of singer Amy Winehouse that doesn’t just hover in the sensationalistic territory of a Behind The Music entry is tough. But director Asif Kapadia (Senna) has done the near impossible with this thrilling and heart-shattering portrait of an artist who succumbed to the price of fame right before all of our eyes. Kapadia was granted access to scads of footage of Amy as she first sang her way into a record deal — fresh-faced, cheeky, but undeniably talented. It follows her as she climbed the charts, the world as her oyster, but Winehouse then fell into a relationship with a man whose love may have broke Amy but gave her fuel for her legendary “Back To Black” album which the world gobbled up despite her lyrics painting a picture of a woman whose demons were just starting to come for her. An amazing portrait of a vibrant flame extinguished too soon. Get tickets and showtimes at landmarktheaters.com.
6) Christmas In July: Christmas Vacation
Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Sie FilmCenter
Right about now is when the heat becomes too much and we begin dreaming of a white Christmas to come and cool us all down. So what better way to mark that there are 168 shopping days left until December 25 than with a screening of a true holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; to help, the FilmCenter will turn the thermostat all the way down and try to make some snow. Ugly Xmas attire is recommended and a Santa-riffic DJ will be spinning only the best holiday tunes for your ears before and after the film. The screening is also a frosty nod to the upcoming Vacation sequel that debuts July 31 and picks up with Rusty Griswold, all grown up and played by Ed Helms, as he leads his brood on a nightmare road trip of his own. Get tickets for Christmas In July at denverfilm.org.
5) The Last Dragon with Taimak in person
Friday, July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse
If you’ve never seen the ‘80s kung-fu masterpiece known as The Last Dragon then tonight is your night. The 1985 film, produced by Motown’s Barry Gordy, tells the tale of Bruce Leroy Green (Taimak), a kung fu-obsessed young man who discovers that he holds the power of “the glow,” a mysterious force that he needs to rescue the love of his life, Laura (Vanity), from crazed evil villain Sho’nuff (Julius Carry). The fight scenes are amazing and the love this film holds for a bygone genre is immense, but tonight’s screening will hold extra power as Taimak, the actor behind Leroy Green, will be in-person to celebrate this cult gem and possibly drop kick some people across the room, ya dig? Tickets and more at drafthouse.com.
Opens July 17 at multiple theaters
No one is having a greater year than comedy genius Amy Schumer, whose talent is in high demand. She of the sweet, politically incorrect examination of society’s norms for women and just everyone in general was in fact so smart that she filmed this movie last year, knowing that she needed a delicious main course for the rest of her 2015 comedy buffet. Written by Shumer and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck follows a very Schumer-like heroine named Amy who is having the time of her life working for a men’s magazine with a kooky boss (Tilda Swinton), drinking the night away and sleeping with as many mistakes as her birth control can keep up with. Things go awry though when Amy meets a fun sports doctor (Bill Hader) who proves to be more than just a one-night stand, which is totally what she doesn’t need right now. Despite its typical rom-com trappings fans of Schumer know that she’s not going to leave this film without a takedown of the genre and probably break some new ground. Also, get ready to get to know LeBron James as a new comedy straight man because he delivers some of the film’s best moments. Check Fandango.com for theaters and showtimes.
3) Cinema Q
July 23-26 at the Sie FilmCenter
The Denver Film Society’s annual festival of the newest and most important voices in queer films gets off to a big start this year with its Opening Night film, Back On Board, a documentary about the life and travails of openly gay Olympic diver, Greg Louganis, who will be in-person to present the film alongside its director. From there, fifteen additional titles will vie for your attention, be it a portrait of famed actor Tab Hunter (Tab Hunter: Confidential), a classic examination of the drag lifestyle (Paris Is Burning) or the fabulous return to form of one of cinema’s gayest filmmakers, Peter Greenaway (Eisenstein In Guanajuato), Cinema Q has some of the most original tales to tell in this year’s edition. Given recent rulings and, you know, history, “gay” isn’t going away any time soon, so you might as well join the pride parade and see what all of the fuss is about. Get a festival badge or individual tickets at denverfilm.org.
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Opens July 24 at a TBD Landmark Theatre
Deserving to be featured in Cinema Q for its astonishing spunk and vigor, but opening at the same time nonetheless, Tangerine is one queer indie that you must not let slip through your fingers this month. The Christmas Eve set tale of Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) a trans sexworker who gets out of the clink just in time for the holiday in Hollywood but discovers through her best friend Alex (the also electric Mya Taylor) that her pimp boyfriend is hooking up behind her back. This sets in motion Sin-dee’s rip-roaring odyssey through Los Angeles as she hunts down her man for the truth and maybe a nugget of respect for herself. Tangerine’s comic rawness and intimacy is a testament to its director Sean Baker (Prince Of Broadway, Starlet) and his genius idea to shoot the entire film on an iPhone with a wide lens adapter that gives this juicy fruit of story and performance its own crisp look and variety of colors. Take a bite and get your tickets at landmarktheatres.com.
1) A Lego Brickumentary
Opens July 31 at the Sie FilmCenter
Co-directed and edited by Colorado’s own Academy Award winning duo Daniel Junge and Davis Coombe (alongside co-director Kief Davidson) this documentary takes you deep into the world of Lego to uncover things that you’ve never heard before about the popular tiny building blocks. From its inception and history to its current place on the throne as the king of toys to fans of all ages including adults who spend six figures on Legos and one man who has built an entire house out of millions of the tiny plastic imagination blocks. Narrated by Jason Bateman, who also stars as a Lego version of himself in the film, this documentary will spill everything you ever wanted to know about Legos, brick by brick. Get tickets and showtimes at denverfilm.org.