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Philly Summer Movies Guide: Classics, Free Festivals and Brand-Spanking Blockbusters

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Penn's Landing does outdoor cinema

I’m on the prowl for you fine people. If it’s summer movies all day and all night that you seek, then I aim to please. In fact, just last night while I was criss-crossing Philadelphia delivering Chinese food without air-conditioning (I know some of you feel me) I realized that the very real threat of heat exhaustion and melanoma is the greatest excuse ever for spending your summer indoors in front of a glorious screen. Fortunately, Philly is the place this hot, hot summer not only for your big-budget Hollywood fare but also independent and alternative festivals and free screenings of recent releases.

June is looking good and should be an excellent warm-up for the July and August outdoor screenings of heavy-hitters like Avatar, The Blind Side, Star Trek, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox and others at Screenings Under the Stars at Penn’s Landing. Best of all you can watch these films FOR FREE- that’s right. An even though it sucks that you can’t get back the almost-20 bucks you spend on those stylish 3D shades, it will feel great to have a super cheap date option for all those summer honeys you’ve had your eye on.

For the Wanting-to-be-Air-Conditioned Set:

Upcoming releases for this week Playing at the Ritz theaters in Center City include the much buzzed about documentary Babies (PG), the Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop (R ) -for all my vandals out there, suspenseful drama The Ghost Writer (PG-13), Spanish thriller The Secret in their Eyes (R), and drama Mother and Child (R ) at the 214 Walnut Location.

a documentary about tiny people worldwide

At the 400 Ranstead Theater, horror buffs should check out George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead (R). If Zombies aren’t your speed maybe you’d enjoy City Island (PG-13) or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (NR)-this one everyone is talking about. At The Ritz East investigate Harry Brown (R), a thrill ride and Please Give (R) if you’re looking for a good comedy.

Probably Extremely Scary

Currently in progress, for those of you living in the Northern Liberties area or interested in checking it out, is a classic rock-themed film festival. On June 14th, they’ll be screening at “Rockin Reels” located at The Piazza at Schmidt’s – Cameron Crowe’s 2000 release Almost Famous starring Patrick Fugit as a very young Rolling Stone correspondent getting all wild and sixties with Kate Hudson.

Philadelphia LGBTQ families should plan on attending Philly Pride Film Night for a good time with the babies and the rest of the fam, with a full-on sing along to Maryl Streep’s instant campy classic Mamma Mia on Saturday June 12th.

For those of you with fiercely independent sensibilities the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival gets started June 23rd and runs through the 27th and is supposed to showcase truly underground and independently-made new movies as opposed to the older more established Film fests the city has to offer.

Of course local theaters will be offering new releases like Killers-the Ashton Kutcher’s suburban assassin flick and Adrien Brody in the science fair nightmare Splice. May I suggest Russell Brand and Jonah Hill in Get Him to the Greek? It looks pretty frickin funny.

That’s all for now but don’t let up. The heat is relentless and the summer is young.

Russel Brand as Aldous Snow
Russel Brand as Aldous Snow of "Infant Sorrow"