Films to See This Summer
The Beguiled (June 23rd)
Sofia Coppola is back. Finally premiering a new movie at Cannes after the underwhelming premiere of her movie The Bling Ring. The Beguiled could be Coppola’s best and the thing to put her right back in the Oscar race. A Focus Features Production, it follows a group of women at a Southern boarding house who shelter a Union soldier played by Colin Farrell during the Civil War. Unfortunately tensions rise amongst the women played by Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning in this story of intense sexual repression. Though this is a remake of the forgotten Clint Eastwood film of the same name, Coppola takes it in a different direction with a bigger focus on the psyche of the women rather than the men. This shift could create a Southern Gothic to remember for all time.
The Big Sick (June 23rd)
According to the Indiewire Sundance Review, The Big Sick looks to be the best romantic comedy we have seen in awhile. It follows Kumail Nanjiani (the star of Silicon Valley and a recurring guest on Portlandia) who cowrote the film with his wife Emily V. Gordon. The film is based on their own love story as its starting conflict is that Emily (played by Zoe Kazan) is not Muslim much to the dismay of his family but when she falls into a coma, he begins to get to know her parents played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano in a sort of dark and platonic rom-com meet cute situation. Directed by Michael Showalter of Wet Hot American Summer and Hello My Name is Doris fame, this looks to be the funny and realistic rom-com we have been readily waiting for.
The Little Hours (June 30th)
If you didn’t think that nuns could be hilariously raunchy, just watch the red band trailer for The Little Hours and you’ll change your tune. Another Sundance hit, it stars the new queen of deadpan comedy, Aubrey Plaza, Garfunkel and Oates star Kate Micucci, and Community star Alison Brie as three nuns who take in a servant on the run (Dave Franco). Directed and written by Jeff Baena, Aubrey Plaza’s real life boyfriend, this is an adaptation of the classic collection of novellas, The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Previously adapted by Pier Paolo Pasolini, this looks to be a more approachable and laugh out loud adaptation that will bring the 14th century humor into the present.
A Ghost Story (July 7)
Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck are back together again! They previously worked together on what will be an essentially American classic of cinéma called Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. It followed Mara and Affleck as Bonnie and Clyde type lovers who have to live past the cool American notion of dying in a blaze of glory and instead lead their lives. The same director, David Lowery, has reunited them for this Sundance hit. It follows a recently deceased ghost (white cloak and all) who returns to his home to console his wife only to become unstuck from time and watch on as his life with his wife drifts past him. Influenced by the Alain Resnais classic Je T’Aime, Je T’Aime, this could be the film that finally gives Lowery the awards attention that he deserves.
Landline (July 21st)
Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate are also back together again this summer. After the success of the indie rom-com Obvious Child which follows a young stand up comedian struggling with how to tell her new crush that she is having his abortion. Yet another Sundance hit from the two, Landline follows a teenage girl in 1995 Manhattan who lives with her older sister (Jenny Slate) and finds that her father (John Turturro) is cheating on her mother (Edie Falco). According to Robespierre, this film should be a delight for anybody who is a fan of 90s nostalgia (hence the name Landline) without the oversaturation of 90s culture. In other words, I don’t think “Wonderwall” plays for the full 90 minutes. Accompanied by great cinematography and a breakout performance by Abby Quinn, this should be one to look out for.
Detroit (August 4th)
After a series of movies based in the American military, Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow is returning to the home front with Detroit. It follows the true story of the events of 1967 in Detroit. The summer of racially charged violence in Detroit suppressed by military and police intervention is finally coming to the big screen. Bigelow has been capturing violence on screen for a while now and understands how to do it without exploiting the stories of the real life people who lived through these events. Teaming up with the writer of her films The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, for what could be another early Oscar contender but this one with a more angry and political edge.
Wind River (August 4th)
In the past couple of years, the darkest and funnest thrillers have been Sicario with its powerful performance from Benicio del Toro and Hell or High Water, a film to put westerns back into the mainstream. What do these films have in common? They were both written by Taylor Sheridan who with his new script is making his directorial debut this summer. Premiering at Sundance to rave reviews, it follows an FBI agent who teams up with a veteran game tracker in order to investigate a murder that takes place on a Native American reservation. Like his previous script, I am sure that Sheridan will use this opportunity to address the little discussed Native situation and draw comparison to the Peter Weir classic, The Last Wave. The film stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.