Words: Rob DeStefano

Friday, June 22
Theme: Lost Souls

See: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

There are some immediate red flags. Remember when Steve Carell stuck his face in pancakes and syrup for the Dan in Real Life poster? Or when Keira Knightley couldn’t escape those damn pirate movies? But past this is an apocalyptic spin from Focus Features and Indian Paintbrush, production-distribution companies with generally positive track records, minus Greenberg, of course. The concept of the world’s end forcing two unlikely figures to partner as vagabonds seems somewhat charming here. Its executive producer Nathan Kahane served films like Drag Me to Hell, 50/50, and Juno, which gives reason to believe that Seeking a Friend will receive proper treatment as a dramady. The film’s “R” rating also means it will probably be just like Melancholia.

Avoid: Brave
Putting down a Pixar product while supporting a Carell vehicle? Yes. It’s contradictory to boast Focus Features and not Pixar, but I’ve had to bare the trailer for this coming-of-age fairytale before almost all summer flicks, and it has informed me of two things: if I saw Walle-E/Toy Story 3/Up, then I must see Brave, and if I deem red hair or heavy set men swirling their asses hilarious, then this is definitely for me! Drop the bow, Katniss does it better. This outing looks like it will share more in common with Cars 2 than the studio’s aforementioned accomplishments.

DVD Pairing (Release June 19): You can count on the Duplass brothers for a fine mix of comedy and drama. Seek out Jeff, Who Lives at Home, which sets Jason Segel against the peculiar workings of destiny and place in this world.

Netflix Pairing: If you haven’t seen Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, now is a good time to catch-up. Charlie Kaufman’s delirious script and Cage’s nutty performance create an original ride about purpose and its accompanying struggle.

Friday, June 29
Theme: Weight of the World

See: Beasts of the Southern Wild

After taking home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Benh Zeitlin’s feature debut has been enshrouded with praise. The story is set in a bayou community where six-year-old Hushpuppy (Wallis) supports her ailing father and collapsing environment – nature is threatened by prehistoric beasts known as aurochs. Wallis looks magnetic in this Cajun locale, and the integration of the creatures promises a unique vision of childhood fantasy.

Avoid: Ted
Mark Wahlberg wasn’t happy about That’s My Boy co-star Andy Samberg’s impression of him talking to animals, but here Wahlberg is conversing with a stuffed one, or worse, with Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane’s shtick has overstayed its welcome – our earth will still turn without a live action transcription of “Family Guy” and “American Dad!” Younger audiences will fail to recognize it as recycled goods, but everyone would be better off watching Gooby spliced with episodes of “Wilfred.”

DVD Pairing (Release June 26): Since Soderbergh’s Magic Mike was left unmentioned, we support The Tatum –who’s having a good year – in 21 Jump Street. Two undercover cops take on the stresses of high school clicks, drug cartels, and friendship. It’s one of 2012’s better flicks.

Netflix Pairing: In 1940’s Italy, a bicycle was more than just a device for transport. It was the tool necessary to hold a job, make a living, and support your family. In Vittorio De Sica’s classic The Bicycle Thief, the weight of the world comes crushing down on a father trying to protect his son. Check out Ebert’s retrospective essay.

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