The movies are a great way to enjoy summer in the city. Depending on the weather (and your mood), you can head to your local neighborhood movie theater, enjoy some outdoor cinema or stay home and savor some new DVD/Blu-ray releases.
It’s been a slow summer for the mainstream box office, but there are two new films of note this weekend. For adults, especially here in Washington, there’s “Zero Days,” the new documentary by Alex Gibney. After tackling Enron, Steve Jobs, the Church of Scientology, WikiLeaks and Frank Sinatra, the Academy Award-winning director turns his lens on the controversial Stuxnet program, a cyber security attack launched by Israeli and American operatives against nuclear centrifuges in Iran.
On the lighter side, there’s “The Secret Life of Pets,” an animated comedy for the entire family about a mismatched pair of dogs who are forced to work together and protect their owner from a sinister attack.
The July 22nd weekend is shaping up to be huge for gay movies. Catch up with Patsy and Edina in “Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie,” which will be in theaters. Then on Saturday, July 23 “Looking: the Movie,” a feature-length treatment of the popular but short-lived TV series, premiers at 10 p.m. on HBO. In it, Patrick (Jonathan Groff) returns to San Francisco for the first time in nearly a year to catch up with old friends.
At AFI Silver in downtown Silver Spring, the mood this weekend is retro. As part of its tribute to Academy Award-winning Production Designer Ken Adam, they’re showing two James Bond classics. “Dr. No” (screening on Saturday) was the first Bond film to star Sean Connery as 007 and features Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, one of the most famous Bond girls. “Goldfinger” (screening on Sunday) gets off to a steamy start with the famous theme song by Shirley Bassey. The cast includes Connery, Gert Fröbe and Harold Sakata as the famous villains Auric Goldfinger and his creepy henchman Oddjob, and Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore.
As part of a tribute to legendary composer John Williams, AFI Silver will be showing “Jaws” (July 8, 10, 12 and 14) and the “director’s cut” of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (July 9 and 13).
Also on a retro note, the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market (angelikafilmcenter.com/dc) is throwing an ‘80s Prom Party. On Saturday, July 9 from 6:30-9 p.m., attendees can dance to Madonna, Prince and the other great artists of the 1980s; prizes will be awarded for best costumes. At 9 p.m., party-goers will head into “Seoul Searching” (2015) by Korean writer/director Benson Lee. During the 1980s, the South Korean government set up special summer camps to introduce foreign-born Korean teens to the culture of their motherland. Based on his own experiences at one of these camps, and inspired by the films of John Hughes, Lee follows a wild group of teens as they explore life and love, and maybe even learn a little bit about their cultural heritage. The film features spot-on vintage costuming and a soundtrack of international hits from the ‘80s. Admission to the Prom Party is free with a movie ticket.
The recently renovated Landmark Theatres West End Cinema just opened a new outdoor patio where movie-goers can enjoy pre- or post-movie snacks, curated beer and wine selections and complimentary board games (all available at the concessions counter). Right now, they’re showing the lively comedy of manners “Maggie’s Plan,” the excellent thriller “Eye in the Sky” and “Independence Day: Resurgence,” but check landmarktheatres.com for updated shows and showtimes.
Weather permitting, outdoor screens will be springing up all over the region this summer. The site dcoutdoorfilms.com is a good place to start. This weekend you can catch “Inside Out” at the Capital Riverfront (July 9), “Fantastic Four” at the Outdoor Movies at Penrose Square on Columbia Pike in Arlington (July 9) or “The Smurfs” (July 10) at the National Harbor Movies on the Potomac.
During the week, you can also catch great outdoor films at NoMa Summer Screen in Storey Park, Sunset Cinema at the Georgetown Waterfront Park, Dinner & A Movie at the Market Common in Clarendon, the Roslyn Cinema at Gateway Park, Bethesda Outdoor Movies in Woodmont Triangle and Columbia’s Lakefront Summer Festival Movies at Columbia Town Center.
Finally, if you want to bring the beach volleyball action into your living room, there’s the recent 40th anniversary DVD/Blu-ray release of “Top Gun.” The movie features the sizzling homoerotic rivalry between rival pilots Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, a soundtrack stuffed with iconic pop songs, dazzling airplay and the sultry volleyball game.
Or, if you need a movie right away, WolfeOnDemand, includes both classic LGBT movies and recent releases such as “Those People,” “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party,” “All About E” and “Portrait of a Serial Monogamist.”