12 essential films to release on July 4th

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July 4 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and therefore the birth of America. It initially meant freedom from tyranny and the ability to rule us, but it also meant everything from hot dogs and fireworks and summer days to the true American dream itself – the ability to improve ourselves. , to become what we want, and maybe to make the world a better place for those who will come after us. This selection of films celebrates all aspects of America, from appreciating all that it is to our freedom to criticize its flaws in the hope of improving ourselves. Happy fourth!

All the president’s men

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Netflix

July 1 all male presidents jma Warner Bros.

You could say this is a very unpatriotic film, as two journalists are working to overthrow the President of the United States. Or, you could say it’s a very patriotic film, in which two journalists use the powers given to them by the founding fathers to maintain justice and a sense of the law. All the president’s men (1976) begins when Washington post Journalists Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) are tasked with covering a burglary in the Watergate building, home of the Democratic National Committee, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.

Written by William Goldman and directed by Alan J. Pakula, this is one of the great films in journalism, illustrating the many hours spent on the phone, taking notes, talking to sources, looking for leads and finding this second always elusive source to confirm a fact. Gordon Willis’ grand cinematography frames the characters in emotionally resonating spaces, such as the newspaper offices, divided by huge columns, as well as the infamous parking lot where the encounters with “Deep Throat” took place. Jason Robards looks great and won an Oscar, as To post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee.

The big red

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Rental — Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and more — starting at $ 2.99

July 2 bigredone jma United artists

The great journalist and soldier turned filmmaker Samuel Fuller (1912-1997) waited years to be able to make this superb film about his experiences during World War II. Lee Marvin has one of his biggest roles as a grizzled veteran, leading a platoon of novices through weird and devastating adventures, told in various small, disconnected stories. Fuller doesn’t bother to explain, apologize, or lecture; it simply tells the stories as they are, showing both the beauty and the sadness of war.

Mark Hamill (in The Empire Strikes Back the same year) plays one of the Young Soldiers, accompanied by Bobby Di Cicco, Kelly Ward, and Robert Carradine as the writer, presumably based on Fuller himself. Unfortunately, the studio cut out Fuller’s final cut and released a 113-minute version, and despite a masterful 163-minute restoration released in 2004, the digital version available today on all platforms is still the shortest, at 113. minutes. Either way, the abridged version is still worth seeing, showcasing an American original at its best.

Borat: America’s Cultural Learnings for the Benefit of the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

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Hulu

July 3 fourth borat jma 20th century fox

Very irreverent but still very funny, Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Borat-subtitle America’s Cultural Learnings for the Benefit of the Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – (2006) celebrates all that is both awesome and embarrassing about America. With gleeful ignorance, Kazakh television personality Borat comes to the United States to make a documentary on the world’s largest country. Instead, he sees an episode of Baywatch, falls in love with Pamela Anderson and begins a trip across the country to find her.

Along the way, he interviews many people and manages to offend just about everyone, crossing the line of racial, sexual, religious and cultural taboos. Yet his shock value also somehow sheds light on his own absurd behavior and, presumably, the behavior of anyone who discriminates against anyone and anything different from themselves; it’s a straightforward approach, but very effective and seriously hilarious. One highlight we can never ignore is a naked fight and chase through a hotel lobby between Borat and his producer Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian).

Cap Fear

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Rental — Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and more — starting at $ 3.99

July 4 July 4 capefear jma Universal

One of Martin Scorsese’s only attempts at pure genre cinema, Cap Fear (1991), is all about style, the visual and sound creation of suspense, and very little to do with reality. You just have to sit back and follow his edgy madness. In remaking the 1962 film, Scorsese gave original stars Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum small roles and asked composer Elmer Bernstein to recreate Bernard Herrmann’s famous and sinister score.

Nick Nolte plays Sam Bowden, a lawyer who may not have done his best to defend the intimidating Max Cady (Robert De Niro) against a rape and brutality charge some 13 years earlier. Now the wily heavily tattooed Cady has come out and vowed revenge on Sam and his family. Even though the film was dismissed as a “simple” thriller with no real weight, De Niro received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and Juliette Lewis also got one for her incredibly powerful supporting performance as a girl. teenage girl. A scene takes place on July 4, with fireworks!

Captain America: The First Avenger

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Rental — Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and more — starting at $ 2.99

July 5 fourth captain america firstavenger jma Marvel / disney

It’s hard to go wrong with everyone’s favorite starry superhero. Played by Chris Evans, he’s now appeared in seven films, but this origin story set during WWII is most suitable for the holidays. Skinny Steve Rogers wants nothing more than to serve his country, but he’s too frail and is rejected. A scientist (Stanley Tucci) offers to perform a “super-soldier” experiment on him, and he is given new muscles and super speed. He begins by becoming a sort of artist who supports the troops, until he learns that his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is missing and uses his powers to find him and, ultimately, to stop the Red Skull ( Hugo Weaving).

Director Joe Johnston was previously a visual effects man, winning an Oscar for The Raiders of the Lost Ark; the design and energy of this film seems to have been a huge inspiration for Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Everything looks great and the action is clean and smooth. Hayley Atwell plays Cap’s lover Peggy Carter, and Tommy Lee Jones brings a salty crunch to the film as Colonel Chester Phillips.

Coming to America

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Sling, Location — Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and more — starting at $ 2.99

July 6, comingtoamerica jma Primordial

This Eddie Murphy’s comedy was released just before July 4, 1988 and celebrates his own take on the American Dream. In Coming to America (1988), Murphy plays the wealthy Prince Akeem, of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. When he learned of his impending arranged marriage, he fled to America. There, accompanied by his friend and valet Semmi (Arsenio Hall), he pretends to be poor in the hopes of finding a wife who will love him for who he is. (Although Shari Headley’s love interest falls in love and get rich instantly!)

Murphy and Hall both play several makeup characters, most notably in the famous barbershop sequence. Director John Landis was at the peak of his powers here, tuning in his unique comedic timing – weird little pauses, wide shots, and more. (Quickly look for a reference to the pair’s previous hit Stock markets.) James Earl Jones stars as Akeem’s father, the king, and Samuel L. Jackson is a robber. It was one of the biggest hits of the year and received two Oscar nominations, for costume design and makeup.


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