- Left, Paul Dano in the South Korean fantasy, “Okja.”Center, Salma Hayek in “Beatriz at Dinner.” Right, ElleFanning in Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled.”
Once again we're heading into the summer blockbuster season, but it means a lot less than it used to. Superhero movies, Vin Diesel franchises and giant monster flicks are released year round now instead of during the small summer window. Over the last decade, Hollywood has been in the franchise business more than ever before, so it's become quite easy to become fatigued with all the explosions and robots. With that said, here's a look at some of the releases that aren't the typical summer fare.
Dean: The brilliant Demetri Martin writes, directs and stars in this dramedy about an illustrator who tries reconnecting with his father after the abrupt death of his mother. Also starring Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen.
Beatriz at Dinner: From Miguel Arteta and Mike White, the team behind the underrated "Chuck and Buck" and "The Good Girl," comes the story of a Mexican massage therapist and a billionaire hotelier who butt heads at a dinner party. Advanced word from Sundance says this is a biting and savage satire designed to make audiences very uncomfortable.
It Comes at Night: Already being hailed as the scariest horror movie of the last few years, "It Comes at Night" stars Joel Edgerton as a patriarch who will do anything to protect his family from an unknown danger. Try not to get chills watching the trailer, I dare you!
The Beguiled: If the word from Cannes is true, this remake of a Clint Eastwood vehicle from the 1970s is Sofia Coppola's strongest work since "Lost in Translation." Starring Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst, the film follows a Union soldier hiding in a boarding school filled with intelligent and powerful women. It will be worth the price of admission alone just to see how Coppola inverts the gender politics.
The Big Sick: This is the romantic comedy of the year to beat. Married comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote the screenplay that mildly fictionalizes the story of how they met and fell in love. This was the breakout comedy of Sundance and, in a just world, "The Big Sick" will explode in pop culture like "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Juno."
Baby Driver: This might be considered a blockbuster, but it's the new movie by Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead" and "Scott Pilgrim"), so a list without mentioning his new movie would be incomplete. This action comedy follows a getaway driver with tinnitus who always has music playing while he speeds through the city streets.
Okja: The genius Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho ("Snowpiercer" and "The Host") returns with a fantastical monster movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. If the advanced word is true, this should be a groundbreaking work of pure imagination.
City of Ghosts: Matthew Heineman, the documentarian behind the Oscar-nominated "Cartel Land" returns with this look at citizen journalists in Syria risking death documenting ISIS's reign of terror in Raqqa. This will be a guaranteed powerhouse of a documentary.
Lady Macbeth: A young bride is trapped in an arranged marriage and begins a torrid affair with a stable hand. Based on the title alone, I think we can assume things get awfully bloody. One of the best trailers of the year.
Landline: From Gillian Robespierre, the filmmaker behind the wonderful "Obvious Child," this dysfunctional family comedy teams Jenny Slate and Abby Quinn as sisters who think their father is cheating on their mother. "Obvious Child" re-invented the romantic comedy while paying tribute to the genre, so expect "Landline" to do the same with the family dramedy genre.
Detroit: Kathryn Bigelow ('Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Hurt Locker") re-teams with Mark Boal for this powerful drama focused on the Detroit riots of 1967. Expect Bigelow to make a spellbinding look at a time when our country was tearing itself apart.