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Five must-see films

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Boyhood (July 11, limited)

An adventure 12 years in the making, “Boyhood” is director Richard Linklater’s magnum opus, a humanistic epic that merges his loves of time and youth’s everyday drama. Young Mason is played by Ellar Coltrane, who grew up right along with his character through more than a decade of filmmaking, which was eventually condensed to 164 minutes. Co-starring Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as Mason’s mom and dad, the poignant result is something truly unprecedented.

Lucy (July 25)

Boosting her status as a female lead to be reckoned with, Scarlett Johansson follows her eerie turn in “Under the Skin” with a role as a drug mule turned superwoman in “Lucy,” the latest femme-fatale actioner from genre master Luc Besson. The conceit of ingesting a drug that boosts one’s brain from 10 percent usage to 100 percent usage has been done before (see 2011’s “Limitless”), but likely not with Besson and Johansson’s badass panache.

Frank (Aug. 15, limited)

The Sundance sensation “Frank,” and the buzz surrounding the lead performance by Michael Fassbender, probably has some folks confused, considering the actor spends the film’s entirety wearing a papier-mâché mask. But the oddity is all the more reason to catch this rock-music flick, which costars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhnall Gleeson as musicians.

The Giver (Aug. 15)

Lois Lowry’s classic novel finally gets the big screen treatment, with no shortage of star power in tow. Alongside rising heartthrob Brenton Thwaites are bigwigs Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, who play the at-odds elders in Lowry’s dystopian meditation on memory. Also on board is Taylor Swift (yes, that one).

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Aug. 22)

Nearly 10 years after the original upended the way green-screen thrillers could be stylized, directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller return with the sequel to “Sin City,” with some cast members reprising their roles and new faces joining the violent-noir mix. Back on the rain-soaked streets are Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis, while Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt get their first taste of a graphic world that’s black, white and red all over. 

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