‘Desperado’ (June 30)
The director Robert Rodriguez is best known these days for family entertainment like the “Spy Kids” franchise and sci-fi efforts like “Alita: Battle Angel.” But he broke through as a master of hyperkinetic action, first on the self-financed indie “El Mariachi,” and then with this follow-up, which injected that film’s Spaghetti Western style and filmmaking bravado with studio resources and the stars Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. Banderas is an enigmatic musician, strolling from one border town to the next with a guitar case full of guns, looking for the man who killed the woman he loved; Hayek is a bookstore owner who bandages his wounds and steals his heart. Their chemistry is off the charts, the action beats are rip-roaring and the cameos are delightful.
‘The Exorcist’ (June 30)
Very few films can be said to have “changed everything,” but William Friedkin’s 1973 adaptation of the novel by William Peter Blatty is certainly one of them — a box office smash, a critical success and a certified cultural phenomenon. A haunted Ellen Burstyn stars as a Georgetown actress whose daughter (a powerful Linda Blair) seems controlled by evil forces. Once a sensitive priest (Jason Miller) determines she has been possessed by the devil, a specialist (Max von Sydow) is brought in to rescue her soul. So many of the film’s big moments — the green vomit, the devil voice, the incantations of the exorcism — have been recycled and satirized that you’d think the film would lose its bite, but “The Exorcist” has lost none of its ability to scare and shock.
‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ (June 30)
The actor turned screenwriter Jason Segel and his “Muppets” and “Five Year Engagement” collaborator Nicholas Stoller first teamed up for this 2008 romantic comedy from the producer Judd Apatow. Segal is Peter, a sad-sack composer in a perpetual funk after his breakup with the title character (Kristen Bell), a famous TV actress. In an attempt to escape his depression, he takes a Hawaiian vacation — only to find Sarah at the same resort with her new beau (Russell Brand), a pretentious British pop star. Mila Kunis co-stars as the resort receptionist who presents a new opportunity for love; Bill Hader, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, and Jack McBrayer turn up in small but uproarious supporting roles.
‘Her’ (June 30)
The idea of falling in love with a virtual assistant might have seemed like pure science fiction when this comedy-drama from the writer and director Spike Jonze hit theaters in 2013; today, the growing ubiquity and sophistication of Siri and Alexa are perhaps making it inevitable. The assistant here is named Samantha and voiced by Scarlett Johansson; her “user” is Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), who is particularly wounded because of a pending divorce. Jonze’s touching script bypasses the easy, cheap jokes for a penetrating exploration of loneliness and companionship, and Phoenix’s performance is an astonishing symphony of vulnerability and pain.
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (June 30)
This 2010 adaptation of the book by Cressida Cowell was one of the family franchise success stories of the decade, spawning two sequels, a TV series, video games and even a live “arena spectacular.” But it is, at its heart, a simple story — something like the “boy and his dog” stories of old, in which the meek young Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), intimidated by his dragon-slaying dad (Gerald Butler) teaches himself how to tame the beasts instead. Kids will appreciate the gorgeous animation and the “be yourself” messaging; grown-ups will enjoy the comic supporting cast, which includes Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Kristen Wiig.
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