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July movie preview: SheKnows picks the flicks

Shanee is a screenwriter and educator living in Los Angeles. She created the web series She Blinded Me w Science to encourage young girls to explore science and technology. You can also read her blog where she chronicles her filmmaking ...

Channel your inner ape

This is what we love most about summer — getting to see all the great movies that tickle, thrill and excite us, from a comedy written by Melissa McCarthy to a new installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise. We'll see you at the cinema.

1) Tammy


Funny-gal Melissa McCarthy plays Tammy, a fast-food worker who gets fired from her job the same day she discovers her husband is cheating on her. With nothing left to lose, Tammy embarks on a road trip with her boozy grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon). Tammy was directed by McCarthy's husband, Ben Falcone, from a script the two wrote together. Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd and Allison Janney also star, adding to the fun. We're hoping for some major belly laughs out of this flick. Tammy opens July 2.

Melissa McCarthy denied by big-name Oscar gown makers >>

2) Boyhood


Shot over 12 years, the film literally shows a boy and his family growing up on screen. Director Richard Linkletter (Before Midnight) takes us on a quietly powerful journey in which Mason (Ellar Coltrane) goes from being a 5-year-old babe to a young man starting college. His parents are played by the very brave Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, who also age more than a decade on film. This movie is an impressive film experiment that lingers on the subtle nuances of an imperfect but relatable childhood. Boyhood opens July 11 in limited release.

3) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


For some reason, this story of highly evolved primates who threaten Homo sapiens never gets old. Perhaps it's because gorillas are so much like us: our cousins who didn't evolve speech but are super intelligent and share 95 to 98 percent of our DNA, depending on what's counted. In this new version of the story, humans and apes are on the verge of an all-out war. Starring Keri Russell (The Americans), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Andy Serkis as Caesar the ape, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens July 11.

Keri Russell boards Dawn of the Planet of the Apes >>

4) Hercules


Dwayne Johnson's giant muscled biceps star in this movie about Hercules, the demigod from ancient Greece. We don't really care what the plot is about as long as Johnson rages into battle without wearing too much armor. Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Russian supermodel Irina Shayk also star. Hercules opens July 25.

5) Lucy


This highly anticipated thriller from French director Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita) stars Scarlett Johanson as Lucy, a woman who unknowingly becomes a drug mule. But when the drugs start to leak into her bloodstream, she finds that her brainpower has radically increased. Lucy opens July 25.

Scarlett Johansson might star as Dolly Parton in new biopic >>

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