Summer Viewing List

Summer Reading Lists have begun to sprout everywhere. Some prefer lighter beach reads, and others use this time to catch up on heavier non-fiction works.

While I love book lists and recommendations, as a cinephile, I also have my list… films to be watched, those I highly anticipate to come around hopefully soon to my city. Here’s my TBV (To Be Viewed) list for this summer on the big screen:

Frances Ha – A NYC set black and white film in 2013? The trailer evokes Woody Allen’s Manhattan. I know Noah Baumbach has his own style, considering some of my favourite films are his works, The Squid and the Whale, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Co-writer and star Greta Gerwig, who is a good balance to Ben Stiller in Greenberg and distinctive in To Rome With Love albeit in a minor role, should be a delight. This I highly anticipate.

Before Midnight – The third and final instalment of Richard Linklater’s chance encounters of Before Sunrise, and Before Sunset. Real time, dialogue driven films almost created a genre of their own in the first two instalments. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy regroup nine years later in Greece. Whatever had happened in their lives between years?

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine…

Before Midnight

Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare and summer go hand-in-hand. Not in the park, this one’s shot right in director/screenwriter, of Avengers’ fame Joss Whedon’s own backyard in Santa Monica, CA. A postmodern take, and … black and white? Keeping the original work handy can help to reveal what’s Shakespeare’s and what’s Whedon’s.

Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen has been bringing us a new film a year over the past four decades. Can you not admire the stamina and creativity of this man, now 78. Allen’s 2013 instalment brings him home to NY and CA. Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard star. I highly anticipate his 2014 work though, already announced and in pre-production. This time, back to France with Colin Firth. Yes folks, just another year.

Blowing through the jasmine in my mind…


Gambit – scheduled to come out later this year, Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz reprise the 1966 British comedy that starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Alan Rickman also in this new remake. Much ado about a fake Monet painting. Should be another breezy flick but probably after summer, if it ever comes this way.

To The Wonder – Terrence Malick’s 2012 work just one year after The Tree of Life still hasn’t arrived here, albeit screened months ago in other more major cities. Not as highly acclaimed as the mesmerizing Tree of Life, To The Wonder is still alluring for me, a Malick fan. Good to see that the reclusive director seems to be busier now so we don’t have to wait for a decade to see his next work.

What Maisie Knew – Again, still not here albeit has been screened in other more major cities. Just rubs it in once more as to where I’m living. Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård lead the cast in this newest Henry James adaptation. I’ve enjoyed previous James’ work on screen like The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl, and The Portrait of a Lady. What Maisie Knew seems like a smaller work, looking at the novel. So would like to read that before seeing the film.

Summer in February – After Downton Abbey, Dan Steven’s new film … looks like an artsy romance. Alas, don’t think it will come to North America though. But hopefully PBS or HBO or the Movie Channel will one day pick it up. Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens fall for the same girl in an Edwardian artist colony in Cornwall. From the trailer, looks very artsy and Downtony.

Inside Llewyn Davies – Coen Brothers’ newest film on 1960’s NY folk music scene. Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake star. And they all sing… Music and singing play a key role in many Coen films. Now this one focuses on a musical period I love, and follows the erratic life of a fictional folk singer/songwriter. Just found out it is scheduled to be released in December. Long wait, but considering the timing, this one is bound to show up as a contender comes next Award Season.

And, while waiting for all these to come on the big screen (yes, I still feel movies ought to be viewed on the big screen, at least the first time), summer is also the best time to catch up on some classics I’ve missed in past years/decades. This list can be unending. Another post.


Related posts you might like:

Upcoming Books to Movie Adaptations

Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris movie review

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life movie review

True Grit: A Cool Summer Read and Movie


Jasmine photo from Wikipedia Commons, Movie Poster original source unknown

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

34 thoughts on “Summer Viewing List”

  1. Wow — there’s lots to like here — a touch of Woody, a little Dan Stevens, a little more of Colin Firth, a lot of France and a Coen Brothers musical? I am SO there! Thanks, Arti — I will be looking for a lot of these this summer. What a great list and good write-up.


  2. I’ve never seen any of Malick’s films, but I have a feeling I should …
    Tomorrow I’m off to see “Broken” (Rufus Norris), do you know it?


    1. Sigrun,

      Yes, I’ve heard of Broken, and want to see it too. But I’m afraid that’s the kind of films that won’t come here… well, maybe in a year or two down the road. Hope you enjoy it. It has won some awards too. As for Malick, a very different kind of filmmaking. Do check out his works.


  3. Dear Arti,
    I love getting your blog and always enjoy what you have to say about movies and books or actors, directors and authors. You are a kindred spirit with your love of nature (you birder you), hiking and architecture; and your eye for photography is brilliant.
    I want to share a small project that my friend and I put together called “From Shadow to Seen” – it is a venue for women to write and create (flash memoir, poetry or photograph of an art piece) and express a shadowy time in their life. It is about getting something out and moving forward to a lighter place. Maybe you could find a moment to read the: About, Submission Details, and the Blog ( We have a page on Facebook, as well, if you do social media. I feel with your amazing writing talent and clear voice you might want to submit something interesting! This week we were blessed to have poetry submitted by Mary Doria Russell (“The Sparrow” “Dreamers of the Day” “Doc”) which speak to the loss of a beloved mother.
    I look forward to hearing from you if it works for you.


    1. Heather,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind words. I’ll definitely check out your site. Thanks for the heads up and info. 😉


    1. Diane,

      Yes, I do look forward to seeing them hopefully all in the theatre. Enough of the booms and blasts from action movies that saturate our screens in the summer months. Good to have these more quiet alternatives.


  4. Thanks Arti. More ideas to put some of your suggestions on my watchlist! I heard about the Before Sunrise etc.. I think I will start from the very first one. Happy summer! 🙂


    1. JoV,

      Yes, I think starting from the beginning is good for this trilogy. Be prepared for something totally different. Have a wonderful summer too! 😉


    1. Erik,

      I haven’t heard of Dear Zachary, will look out for it. You see, on this post I’m listing the films coming out this summer. Your recommendation would definitely be on my ‘catch up’ list of films I missed in the past. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment! Hope to hear from you again.


  5. The irony is that you’re not alone in pining for some of these films to come around to your place in the world. It’s rather amazing how many films don’t come to Houston, or come only to one or two theatres “in town”. That’s how I ended up with my very own copy of “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. It was the only way to see it without sandwiching the film itself in between hour-and-a-half drives, the cost and hassle of parking, and so on. Of course, as it turned out having the DVD was just fine. I was pleased to have another chance to go back and explore my reaction (“What was that?!)

    I hope you end up having plenty to view in the next months. Depending on how things go, we may end up with some governmental scandals to watch that beat anything Hollywood could come up with!


    1. Linda,

      I was in Vancouver the past weekend. Glad I was able to catch “Before Midnight” there, since that film isn’t being shown here in Cowtown. Well maybe some time down the road it will. But so true, Cowtown is just not important enough, the many films, cultural events, concerts, art shows…etc. that I miss. Lucky I live just one hr. plane ride from Vancouver.

      Also, I got to see a half dozen of Great Blue Herons at a beach while in Van. That’s a marvellous sighting for me. I know, they are so common at your Gulf Coast too.


  6. I always love your choices, Arti. A few films I might actually watch! (They are few and far between for me). I didn’t realise Woody Allen was 78, though. Goodness! I own a DVD copy of Midnight in Paris I must get around to viewing. I’m sure that’s a good summer movie.


    1. litlove,

      Oh you must see Midnight In Paris, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Yes, that will make a wonderful summer movie. I can’t wait to hear from you again after you’ve watched it. Do come by the pond and throw in your two pebbles. 😉


  7. Someone was just asking me what I’d hoped to do this summer and I suddenly realized I had no answer. I suppose when one’s plate is piled high, it’s hard to look beyond. Thanks for your list of summer viewing — it’s given me a glimpse into what’s ahead. Hope you catch some of them when you get to A Major City.


    1. nikkipolani,

      Summer is usually a time for big, loud, action, superheroes, sci-fi mega productions to appeal to the young, just out of school, like Star Trek, Iron Man, etc. I look forward to these more quiet and smaller films.


  8. Interesting list Arti … we’ve seen the trailers for Much ado about nothing in the cinemas here, not that that means much in terms of imminence of release it seems. I’ve also heard a little about the Coen movie … looking forward to that one. And to many of the others too, of course!


    1. WG,

      While in Vancouver last week, I saw Before Midnight. Glad I could catch that one since it’s not showing here in my own city. And… just today, hauled back some books from the annual book sale. So you know what I’ll be doing this summer (like many of us i think) if not in the theatre, I’ll be lying on the couch reading. 😉


  9. Finally saw Much ado about nothing. Enjoyed it immensely, though my husband felt he could have done without the B&W. I loved how, once again, we see how universal Shakespeare is, though I didn’t think the political drama fully worked. Greatly enjoyed the music too. That Whedon is a talented fellow. I hope you get to see it as I want to see your review! Meanwhile, the trailers for Blue Jasmine are showing …


    1. WG,

      It’s been a while since I saw it, and I’m afraid I don’t feel qualified enough to write a review on it. Don’t know too much about Whedon’s works, heard of them, but haven’t seen them to have a proper perspective to critique on his Shakespeare. And that’s why, I hope YOU would write a review on it. 😉

      Yes, looking forward to Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett is getting a lot of Oscar buzz. Have you seen Frances Ha? That’s another one you should see.


      1. LOL Arti … I’m afraid I can’t oblige re Much ado. Am overloaded at present with other blog posts and life! Now if Luhrmann had done it!? No, haven’t seen Frances Ha .. Don’t think it’s bee here yet but will look out.


    2. O what a thought! If Luhrmann had done it… we’d have to put on 3D glasses and he just might have used Gatsby’s mansion for the setting… killing two birds with one stone, sort of. And oh, definitely not in B/W. Your husband would have loved that. 😉


    3. Right, Macbeth would suit him. He could have used a bit more dramatic stuff like blood and gore. As for music… Can’t offer much. Not a contemporary music listener, still a die-hard classical music fan. Come to think of it, classical music to juxtapose with the violence might work for Luhrmann if he did Macbeth, something like A Clockwork Orange.


      1. oh yes … that would work. I’m not a big contemporary music listener with some exceptions – such as folk and sometimes jazz. My regular concertgoing is classical.

        I do always notice the music in a movie. Whedon composed the music I believe for Much Ado …


    4. Yes, you’re right. Whedon wrote the music. He’s very talented. I remember now, I liked it a lot. I got mixed up with Gatsby’s music, which I wasn’t too fond of. Folk and jazz, my favorites too. That’s why I’m looking forward to Coen Bros’ Inside Llewyn Davis based on a fictional folk singer in the 60’s. I like Carey Mulligan.


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