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3. 'Only God Forgives'
In theaters: Friday, July 19
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Why we're excited: Ryan Gosling was a star before "Drive" came along, but Danish genre expert Nicolas Winding Refn's über-stylish fast-car thriller made him something close to an icon: even straight guys wanted a piece of him and his satin scorpion jacket. Meanwhile, the already substantial cinematic merits of the film became almost secondary to the pop-cultural value of a phenomenon that launched a thousand magazine shoots and retro-leaning imitators. So the bar has been set dauntingly high for Refn and Gosling's reunion. Still, whether or not "Only God Forgives" matches the gosh-wow impact of "Drive," it promises to be a pretty wild ride on its own terms: the star has described the script, pitched by Refn as a Far East western, as "the strangest thing [he's] ever read." The Bangkok-set revenge thriller stars The Goz as a Muai Thai boxer ordered to hunt down his brother's killers by his mother -- played, in what looks like a lip-smacking change of pace, by Euro arthouse queen Kristin Scott Thomas. Expect a lot of blood, a lot of 'tude and fight scenes you may just want to have framed on your wall.
- Guy Lodge