Garbage smells even worse in the heat, and between Warcraft and the Independence Day sequel and the Purge sequel and the Alice in Wonderland sequel and Free State of Jones, mainstream movies have been a pretty sorry lot, even for this season. So it’s a relief to report that the July art-house release schedule is so fully packed, with enough indies, documentaries, and foreign films to get you through ‘till fall.
Microbe and Gasoline
Release date: July 1
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Ange Dargent, Théophile Baquet, Diane Besnier, Audrey Tautou
The latest from director Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is fairly simple and familiar, as far as storytelling goes: two school-aged outcasts, bullied and ignored, form a friendship that becomes an alliance against a world that doesn’t understand them. What’s fresh here is the immediacy of the characters and the moments – this is a film that remembers the sheer joy of an overnight with a new friend, the fear of talking to a girl you like, the way an offhand remark can threaten to dismantle an entire friendship, and the ease with which such blow-ups are forgotten. And in “Gasoline,” Gondry crafts a type of recognizable teen that seldom shows up in these movies; unquestionably obnoxious, but in a very specific and almost likable brainy teenager way. He gets on your nerves, but you can’t help but feel for him, and Microbe and Gasoline is filled that kind of vivid identification and warmth.