Likely to be one of the biggest movies of the summer is "The Heat," Paul Feig's follow-up to "Bridesmaids." This first female buddy cop comedy features smart women doing outrageous things as Sandra Bullock makes a welcome return to physical comedy as an uptight ambitious FBI agent encroaching on the territory of foul-mouthed Melissa McCarthy as a messily anarchic local Boston cop. Hilarity and pratfalls ensue as team up to take down a drug lord. Amid a summer slate full of male-oriented dumb-coms and bromances, this escapist fun offers welcome relief.
The best specialty film opening in select cities is 24-year-old Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan's three-hour "Laurence Anyways," an unlikely love story in which the title character's sudden transition into transsexuality challenges an otherwise invincible romance. The lovers in turmoil are Laurence -- a sensitive and humane portrayal by Melvil Poupaud -- and Fred, played by Suzanne Clement, whose exuberant performance, recalling Kate Winslet's in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," nabbed her a best actress prize at Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2012.
Take a look at this week's releases below, and watch trailers after the jump.
Laurence Anyways Dir. Xavier Dolan, Canada | Breaking Glass Pictures | Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clement, Nathalie Baye | 79% Fresh | Slant: "It takes cojones for a filmmaker to chase Fassbinder's ghost, but it takes heart and talent to damn near catch up with it." | Indiewire's interview with Dolan here.
The Heat Dir. Paul Feig, USA | 20th Century Fox | Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Tony Hale | 60% Fresh | The New York Times: "The volatile chemistry between Ms. McCarthy and Ms. Bullock is something to behold, and carries 'The Heat' through its lazy conception and slapdash execution." | Our TOH! writeup from CinemaCon.
Byzantium Dir. Neil Jordan, UK | IFC Films | Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Saoirse Ronan | 59% Fresh | New York Magazine: "As is Jordan's wont, romanticism finally trumps horror, which might leave nihilist genre fiends unsatisfied. For others, these female vampires will bestow the kiss of life." | Indiewire's favorable review here.
I'm So Excited! Dir. Pedro Almodovar, Spain | Sony Pictures Classics | Cast: Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Paz Vega, Carlos Areces | 55% Fresh | Village Voice: "'I'm So Excited!' is characterized by a distinct brand of unsuccessful yet ambitious storytelling, the kind often found in minor works by major masters." | Our LA Film Festival story, review and interview.
White House Down Dir. Roland Emmerich, USA | Columbia Pictures | Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, James Woods, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins | 49% Rotten | The Hollywood Reporter: "An action thriller that doesn't know when to quit. For the most part, though, it remains preposterously entertaining." | Our TOH! review and roundup.