The summer movie season is finally here! That means it’s time for everyone to gather at your local movie theater and watch the biggest movies of the year. These films feature everything, from superheroes to dinosaurs to those rambunctious Minions.
But, for every $ 100 + million summer blockbuster, there are just as many smaller scale movies that run the risk of slipping under the radar. Indie films are boundless wells of creativity and originality: if blockbusters aren’t doing it for you anymore, then small-budget, independent films might be the change of pace you need.
‘I Love My Dad’
Sometimes, with the unpredictability of the modern world, we need a reminder of what is really important, namely, the relationships we have with those close to us. The parent-child relationship can be especially important, and at the same time, incredibly complicated. I Love My Dadwritten by, directed by and starring James Morosinicaptures just how hilariously complicated the father-son relationship can be.
Wanting to re-connect with his estranged son Franklin (Morosini) who has blocked his father on social media, Chuck (Patton Oswalt) catfishes his son by posing as a girl named Becca online. When Franklin asks his father to drive him to meet Becca in real life, Chuck agrees, seeing it as the last chance for them to really bond.
‘Mr. Malcolm’s List ‘
People love a good Victorian-era romance. Look no further than Bridgerton: it’s proof that the genre is alive and well. In that spirit, Mr. Malcolm’s List is a Victorian era romance with people of color in the primary roles, something that has not been seen nearly enough. The film is based on the novel by Suzanne Allainwho also wrote the screenplay.
The film stars Freida Pinto as Selina Dalton, a woman who decides to help her friend get revenge against the extremely popular Mr. Jeremiah Malcolm (Sope Dirisu), who rejects women if they do not meet his list of requirements. As Freida gets closer to Jeremiah, she begins to wonder if they just might be the one for each other.
‘Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris’
Between all the world-ending action blockbusters and the dark, messed up horror movies, going to the movie theater can be a pretty intense experience. That’s why we need more movies like Mrs. Harris Goes To Parisa gentle, romantic movie about a woman making the decision to carry on with her life after the death of her husband.
The movie is based on the beloved classic British novel. Mrs. ‘Arris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico and stars the great Leslie Manville as the titular Mrs. Harris. Finally deciding to use the money she got after her husband’s death, Mrs. Harris goes to Paris in order to get a special dress from Dior. Being a humble cleaning lady, Mrs. Harris runs into unfair judgment from the French aristocrats and maybe even finds a second shot at love. Her adventure in Paris is going to be one you do not want to miss.
‘The Black Phone’
Ethan Hawke is having quite a year. After his powerful supporting role in The Northmanand after he entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney + ‘s Moon Knighthe is continuing his streak with the Scott Derrickson-directed, Joe Hill horror adaptation, The Black Phone.
In the film, Hawke plays a demented child abductor called The Grabber who wears a creepy mask and locks children in his basement. After becoming The Grabber’s latest victim, 13-year-old Finney (Mason Thames) discovers a mysterious phone in his basement that seemingly allows him to communicate with The Grabber’s previous victims. Working together with the voices, Finney sets out to become the one that gets away from The Grabber.
Rebecca Hall is one of those actors who consistently turns in truly incredible performances, but does not get nearly the attention she deserves. The latest example of this unfortunate phenomenon is her newest film, Resurrection. When it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, her performance was hailed by many as one of the best of the festival.
Resurrection stars Hall as Margaret. A disciplined woman with a comfortable life with her daughter. That is, until her abusive ex-boyfriend David, played by the also incredible Tim Roth, returns to town, bringing with him the horrors of her past. The film will be hitting the Shudder streaming service after a limited theatrical run, so be sure to check it out before Rebecca Hall inevitably ends up on another list of “Best Performances Snubbed By The Oscars”.
‘Brian and Charles’
Sometimes, you just want to watch a movie about a lonely and awkward inventor and his big, clunky, robot best friend. That’s what Brian and Charles is all about. It’s an endearing and hilarious story about two beings who learn to need each other.
The film stars the hilarious David Earlknown for his Ricky Gervais collaborations After Life and Derek, as the shy Brian, and Chris Hayward as the voice of his robot companion Charles. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the audience favorite award and received positive reviews.
‘Crimes Of The Future’
Currently playing in theaters, Crimes Of The Future is the newest movie from the master of body horror, David Cronenberg. You know you’re in for a wild ride when the first movie referenced in the trailer is Cronenberg’s Crash. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it received a six-minute standing ovation and has been met with acclaim from critics.
The film takes place in a world where humans have evolved to start growing new organs and have stopped feeling pain. Surgery has become performance art, which has allowed it to mean whatever you want it to. Surgery is sex, life, death, love, it’s a political and social statement. It’s a genuinely fascinating world unlike any other you’ve ever seen on the big screen, inhabited by a who’s who of weirdly engaging actors like Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydouxand Kristen Stewart.
BJ Novakbest known for his role as Ryan on the global phenomenon, The Officemakes his feature directorial debut with the comedy noir Vengeance. The movie tackles the world of true-crime podcasts, a fast-growing part of the pop culture landscape that puts the average person in the shoes of a detective.
The film stars Novak as Ben, a podcast host from New York City who travels down to Texas to look into the murder of a girl he hooked up with. Unfortunately, her family believes that the two of them were much more serious than they were, and they expect him to help find her killer and seek vengeance for her death. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim and will surely meet the same fate when it hits theaters in July.
‘Marcel The Shell With Shoes On’
In today’s dark and scary world, sometimes you just want a movie that will make you feel good. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is that movie. This PG-rated heartfelt comedy is probably the closest a studio like A24 will ever get to a family film.
Based on the animated short film of the same name, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On follows the titular talking shell, voiced by Jenny Slate, as he goes on an adventure to find his family and bring innocent, pure joy to people all around the world. It’s going to be a movie that will make you feel for a shell. If that’s not a cinematic accomplishment, I do not know what is.
‘Where The Crawdads Sing’
Based on the bestselling novel by Delia Owens, Where The Crawdads Sing is a murder mystery set in the North Carolina marshland during the late 1950s to the early 1970s. The book is a lot of things: romantic, thrilling, poignant, and incredibly emotional. From the looks of the trailers, the Reese Witherspoon-produced film adaptation is going to bring all of that to the big screen.
Where The Crawdads Sing centers on Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a girl who grew up all by herself in the marsh, only to be accused of murder by the townspeople who shunned her from civilized society. The story covers Kya’s life, from being abandoned by her family as a child, to discovering her first love in Tate (Taylor John Smith), to form a connection with the deceased, Chase (Harris Dickinson). Much like the book, the movie has the potential to become a cultural phenomenon that you won’t want to miss.
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