Film & TV

Under-The-Radar Projects Will Dominate Summer Film Releases

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Head to your local movie theater and prepare to be amazed — the summer movie season is here. With blockbuster titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spiderman: Homecoming” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the next four months are sure to be thrilling for theatergoers. Among those epic on-screen spectacles are some fantastic independent films that often get lost in the shuffle. The PHOENIX looks to shed some light on those titles with its top 10 independent films to see this summer.

“Dean” (June 2)

Written and directed by Demetri Martin, “Dean” stars the comedian in his directorial debut about an illustrator who falls in love. Martin also tries to prevent his father from selling his childhood home in the wake of his mother’s death. The film looks to blend comedy and drama in what looks to be an impressive first feature from Martin.

“It Comes At Night” (June 9)

Pull out your calendars, horror fans. “It Comes At Night” is shaping up to be one of the most refreshing horror films in years. From 2016 breakout director Trey Edwards Shults (“Krisha”), the film revolves around a man (Joel Edgerton) secure in a desolate home with his family when terrors outside become increasingly threatening. “It Comes At Night” has a thick, dreadful atmosphere that is likely to chill audiences to their core.

“The Book of Henry” (June 16)

The newest film from director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World,” “Safety Not Guaranteed”), “The Book of Henry” tells the story of Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy-genius who discovers something sinister happening next door. With Trevorrow set to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” there are many eager eyes on him to deliver a fun and thrilling experience with “The Book of Henry.”

“All Eyez On Me” (June 16)

The biopic so many have been waiting for is finally here. “All Eyez On Me” traces the fascinating story of rap legend Tupac Shakur. The film follows everything from the artist’s rise to fame to his widely controversial murder. “All Eyez On Me” stars newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the cultural icon and comes out next month.

“Baby Driver” (June 28)

The top film on the list is a true summer movie. A fast-paced, action-packed ride about a getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who tries to leave the transportation business after meeting the woman of his dreams (Lily James), “Baby Driver” has been riding a wave of positive buzz from various film festivals. Viewers can expect Edgar Wright’s signature editing and a killer soundtrack to rival that of “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

“Okja” (June 28)

From acclaimed South Korean director Bong-Ho Joon (“Snowpiercer,” “Memories of a Murder”) comes “Okja,” a film about a young girl who risks everything to save a mysterious animal from a powerful, domineering company. With a star-studded cast that includes Tilda Swinton (“Doctor Strange,” “Adaptation”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Donnie Darko,” “Nightcrawler”) and Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood,” “Swiss Army Man”), “Okja” looks to provide a delightful experience.

“A Ghost Story” (July 7)

Probably the oddest but most intriguing film on the list, “A Ghost Story” stars Academy-Award winner Casey Affleck (“Manchester By the Sea”) and Rooney Mara (“The Social Network,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) as a couple dealing with grief. The film may not be for everyone due to its slow pacing and surreal visuals, but early word of mouth is calling it a profound examination of the passage of time that beckons to be seen.

“The Big Sick” (July 14)

A huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival, “The Big Sick” is a comedy-drama starring Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley,” “Fist Fight”) and Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks,” “What If ”). The film looks to touch upon how cultural differences can affect a relationship and appears to be a poignant mix of melancholy and humor

“Wind River” (August 4)

Taylor Sheridan’s (“Hell or High Water,” “Sicario”) “Wind River” is a nail-biting thriller about a murder on a Native American reservation. The FBI sends in rookie agent Jane Banner played by Elizabeth Olsen (“Captain America: Civil War,” “I Saw The Light”), but she’s unprepared for the difficulties created by the oppressive weather and isolation of the Wyoming winter. The film stars Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers,” “The Hurt Locker”) and marks a directorial debut for Sheridan.

“The Glass Castle” (August 11)

Brie Larson (“Room,” “Short Term 12”) and director Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”) collaborate again for the upcoming adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ memoir, “The Glass Castle.” The film re-tells the touching story of two parents’ struggle to keep their children’s imaginations thriving amid their poverty-stricken lives.

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