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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Monster trucks, politics, emotions: The new movies to screen this summer

Photo Illustration by Jordan Tovin | Assistant Photo Editor
A moviegoer buys popcorn before enjoying a film.

With swarms of moviegoers decked out in pink and viral memes dominating every social media feed last year, it’s hard to top the Barbenheimer phenomenon of summer 2023. 

But this summer’s lineup of dynamic blockbusters and captivating indie flicks could give “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” a run for their money. From high-budget prequels and sequels to a film festival of documentaries investigating domestic and international political issues, here are our picks for which films are worth a trip to the cinema this summer.

“Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” – May 24

With all the key elements from the 2015 film “Fury Road” returning to this summer’s prequel, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” promises to be a worthy follow-up. “Fury Road,” directed by George Miller, is two hours of nonstop car shoot-outs and races through the desert. There’s literally a character whose exclusive role is to play heavy metal electric guitar during fight scenes.

At the center of that film is Furiosa, a monster-truck-driving warrior played by Charlize Theron. In “Furiosa,” releasing Friday, Anya Taylor-Joy takes on a younger version of Furiosa, 45 years after the collapse that created the series’ apocalyptic wasteland setting. After a horde of bikers kidnaps her from her home, Furiosa sets off on a gasoline-fueled path of vengeance against the warlord Dementus, the leader of the bikers played by Chris Hemsworth, and tries to find her way back to her family.

With Miller back in the director’s chair and two of the most charming action stars in the cast, “Furiosa” promises to be a wild ride of smash-cut action and staggering set pieces.

DC/DOX Film Festival – June 13 to 16

It can seem like politics and other pressing international issues are all anyone in D.C. thinks about. The DC/DOX 24 festival brings the discussion of these topics onto the silver screen.

The festival, which is in its second year and takes place from June 13 to 16, features documentaries from around the world that cover topics like the creation of art during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, how a neighborhood in Brooklyn became a microcosm of America, and — a special treat for politically minded GW students — a look inside a real-world political crisis simulation.

The screenings represent a premiere of some sort for nearly every movie, whether it’s the film’s debut in D.C., the United States or even the world. Individual tickets range from $10 to $15, but if you’d rather complete a movie marathon inside the air conditioned Landmark E Street Cinema, one of the 10 venues participating in the event, all-access passes are available for $195 — granting access to every festival event.

“Inside Out 2” – June 14

Disney is again offering moviegoers a chance to steep their summers in emotions with the sequel to its 2015 film “Inside Out,” releasing on June 14. 

Like its predecessor, “Inside Out 2” will follow the central emotions — Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger — that govern the life of a young girl named Riley, two years after the events of the first film. But as Riley turns 13 and heads off to hockey camp, four new, more complicated emotions arise: Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment and Ennui — a feeling of boredom, dissatisfaction and tiredness. The new emotions make Riley’s life more strenuous and the central emotions from the first “Inside Out” film find themselves bottled up in Riley’s mind. 

Riley’s struggle to navigate the new feelings will be relatable for anyone who experienced the trials and tribulations of growing up in the nine years since the first film’s premiere. This summer, new and old fans alike shouldn’t miss “Inside Out 2.”

“Kinds of Kindness” – June 21

Jumping off the award-winning success of his Oscar-winning 2023 film “Poor Things,” director Yorgos Lanthimos is back this summer with another surrealist film that revels in morbidity and debauchery. “Kinds of Kindness” is a “triptych fable” covering three loosely connected stories — a man taking control of his life, a police officer who grows suspicious of his wife and a woman on the hunt for a spiritual leader, according to its official synopsis.

Lanthimos has a knack for pulling absurd yet grounded performances out of his actors, placing the cruelties of human nature under a microscope. “Kinds of Kindness,” which is set to release June 21, marks his fifth collaboration with Emma Stone, who always seems to flex her comedic and dramatic chops the best on a Lanthimos set. From the film’s teaser, it seems like Stone will also pull out her “La La Land” dance skills as she breaks it down to Swedish rapper Cobrah’s song “Brand New B*tch.”

Along with Stone, “Kinds of Kindness” includes a stacked, ensemble cast of actors, like Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe, who are naturals at confronting dark subject matter and deliver singular performances.

“MaXXXine” – July 5

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has called sex and death “eternal themes” in cinema, and if the first two films in his “X” trilogy are any indication, filmmaker Ti West has taken Almodovar’s idea to heart. In “MaXXXine,” the third movie in the trilogy following 2022’s “X” and “Pearl,” West reunites with up-and-coming actress Mia Goth in a crime noir set in the 1980s Los Angeles underground adult film scene.

“MaXXXine” picks up where “X” left off, with Goth’s Maxine finally breaking out as a Hollywood star, as the investigation into the Night Stalker — a serial killer terrorizing Los Angeles, California — starts to connect to her troubled past. As Goth’s “Pearl” character declared in a soundbite that has since risen to prominence on social media, the actress is a star. Any film featuring Goth is a must-watch.

West and Goth’s first two collaborations bridged genres from slasher to borderline porno parodies to intense psychological thrillers. Given the sheer quantity of ideas bouncing around in the “MaXXXine” trailer, featuring famed LA killers and debates over which rando actors kickstarted their careers out making horror movies, the new film, releasing July 5, promises West’s signature blend of styles.

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