Sony scored a major coup a few years back by opening Spider-Man in May, and ever since then, the summer blockbuster season has begun earlier and earlier. By the time you read this, most of the major summer releases will have already bowed. But that doesn’t mean there are no more surprises in store, both from UCSB’s venerable Arts & Lectures and the love-to-hate-it Hollywood movie machine. In addition to the screenings listed below, HopeDance will be screening a variety of films on pertinent developments in socio-political issues throughout the summer season. Visit hopedance.org or call 544-9663 for further details.
Live Free or Die Hard
The fourth installment in the mother of all summer blockbuster series arrives with Bruce Willis at the helm, nearly 20 years after the original and with a controversially tame PG-13 rating. Wed., June 27, general release. Visit livefreeordiehard.com.
America’s foremost post-modern artiste Michael Bay (The Rock, Pearl Harbor) returns with a $150-million action film that revives the “classic” cartoon-cum-action-figure series and finally unites Jon Voight, Bernie Mac, and John Turturro onscreen. Tue., July 3, general release. Visit transformersmovie.com.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The fifth installment in the increasingly artful and entertaining Harry Potter series unleashes a veritable who’s-who of British actors-including Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, and Helena Bonham Carter-all in the service of one of the most thrilling fantasy narratives ever put on screen. Wed., July 11, general release.
Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol
This 1990 documentary about Andy Warhol is the first half of a one-night only double feature of Warhol-related films in conjunction with the Andy Warhol Presents exhibit at the UCSB University Art Museum, showing July 11-October 7. Wed., July 11, 7:30 pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
I Shot Andy Warhol
This part brilliant period piece, part inexplicable character study (which has little to do with Warhol himself) rounds out the evening’s screenings and features Lili Taylor in an absolutely stellar performance. It’s a rare opportunity to see Mary Harron’s (American Psycho) underrated gem on the big screen. Wed., July 11, 9:15 pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visitartsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
The Lives of Others
This is most likely your last chance to see this excellent German film on the big screen. The 2006 Oscar winner for best foreign language film explores the oppression in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall and is presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures. Wed., July 18, 7:30 pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
John Waters’s exuberant, subversive cult period piece from 1988 has been re-imagined as a surprisingly successful Broadway musical and now has been turned into a feature film starring John Travolta. The film is brought to the screen by abysmal comedy director Adam Shankman (The Pacifier, Bringing Down the House). Fri., July 20, general release. Visit hairspraymovie.com.
An Iranian film awarded the Silver Berlin Bear in 2006, Offside follows a group of women attempting to watch their country’s World Cup qualifying match. Wed., July 25, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
Cannes 2006’s Golden Palm winner about the early history of the Irish Republican Army stars Cillian Murphy and was directed by veteran Ken Loach (Kes, Sweet Sixteen). Wed., Aug. 1, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Director Paul Greengrass (United 93) returns for this third installment in the genuinely thrilling series that has Matt Damon’s titular secret agent out for revenge. Fri., Aug. 3, general release. Visit thebourneultimatum.com.
An Unreasonable Man
Ralph Nader gets his own life-chronicling documentary which charts his course from consumer advocate to professional political agitator. Wed., Aug. 8, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Days of Glory
This Academy Award-nominated film about French-trained Algerian troops who helped liberate France during World War II is a searing study of discrimination, hypocrisy, and the perpetually dehumanizing effects of war. Wed., Aug.15, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Some members of the creative team behind summer’s most impressive comedic gift, Knocked Up, return with Superbad, a tale about two high schoolers whose big party plans are foiled. Arrested Development’s Michael Cera costars. Fri., Aug. 17, general release. Visit areyousuperbad.com.
Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece is presented in a new 35mm print-not to be missed by even the most casual film buffs. Wed., Aug. 22, 7:30pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
La Dolce Vita
The finest film in Federico Fellini’s robust catalog, La Dolce Vita is a sprawling, hilarious, bizarre, and supremely entertaining epic. Wed., Aug. 29, 7:30 pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
Just in time for : the end of summer? Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of John Carpenter’s slasher film is unleashed on the public in what could either be the worst or best surprise of 2007. Fri., Aug. 31, general release. Visit imdb.com.