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Kosmo EsplanI’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but summer is here. Sunburn, mosquitoes, insufferable heat…this is what Minnesotans anticipate year-round. But there are at least two good things to accompany this new solstice: the popsicles and the movies!

I’ll be writing on the latter this month, though I’d also be more than willing to put my popsicle passion to use at some point. Last month’s film releases rocked the box office, with notable films such as Spider-Man, Transformers and The Flash raking in a hefty supply of overall cash, let alone the addition of Indiana Jones swooping in on the last day of June. But the summer movie season is far from over, as evidenced by the ample amount of films ready to make their debut in July.

A few smaller films will debut early in the month, but July’s movie season doesn’t kick into full gear until Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One arrives in theaters on July 12. Tom Cruise returns in the seventh Mission: Impossible installment, which will serve as the first half of a two-part sendoff for Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt. Featuring the riveting action and aptly layered plot the franchise is known for, Dead Reckoning’s storyline sees protagonist Hunt and his allies facing their biggest threat yet as they dash around the world to prevent humanity’s fate from falling into the wrong hands – and the mission is, one presumes based on the title, impossible. Probably. (The previous six movies were actually possible, as it turns out.) But, we know there’s going to be a reckoning. A deadly one. So…there you go. Cruise is as dedicated as usual, driving a motorcycle off a cliff just to thrill the audience. (Yes, really.)

Another massive summer movie guaranteed to take up screens is Oppenheimer. Described as a historical drama or a biographical thriller, the Universal-produced project is based on the intensely absorbing story of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s attempts to design the first atomic bomb amid World War II chaos. Though there’s plenty to be excited about with Christopher Nolan – a personal favorite director of mine – behind the camera. Cillian Murphy leads as the titular physicist, with Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh co-starring as part of the three-dozen-plus ensemble cast. Like Mission: Impossible, this film is made specifically for the big screen, in part due to both films’ stunning use of practical effects. (A practical effect is a special effect produced physically, without computer-generated imagery or other post-production techniques, FYI.) If all that isn’t enough convincing, here’s the mic drop: Oppenheimer is my Must-See Movie of the Month! The producers should be very happy about this right now: the Korner’s influence, after all, is rather potent. Check out Oppenheimer when it makes a cinematic explosion on July 21.

For those who may want something a bit more playful to accompany July’s dramatic releases, Barbie should do the trick. To the kids who’ve been waiting to see Barbie brought to life since age seven, your lifelong wish has been fulfilled. And it only took 64 years! Acclaimed director Greta Gerwig provides a fantastical and comedic take on the iconic doll and her adventures. In the film, Barbie is dismissed from her home world of Barbieland and, with best friend Ken, travels to the human world in search of prosperity. Packed with color, humor and heart, not to mention Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling playing the leads, Barbie rolls up in its pink corvette on July 21.

Rounding out July’s releases is Haunted Mansion, the next Disney feature hitting theaters as the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Inspired by the classic Disneyland ride of the same name, Haunted Mansion has popular actors taking on ghosts in, you guessed it, a haunted mansion (organ sound effect). When a mother and her son move into said creepy home, they discover intrusive ghosts. The pair decide to battle the evil phantasms with the help of an eclectic group. Maybe the home owners should just try moving first? The Disney real estate market must not be that bad if all the unfulfilled princesses can afford those less-than-modest towers. Enter your spooky local cinema, if you dare, when Haunted Mansion casts its curse on July 28.

Isn’t it great having films to be excited about this summer? Thanks to so many movies gracing the silver screen this month, we can all sit in a theater and watch a motion picture together. 

Kosmo Esplan

Kosmo’s Korner July 2023

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but summer is here. Sunburn, mosquitoes, insufferable heat…this is what Minnesotans anticipate year-round. But there are at least two

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