10 Alternative Summer Movies to look forward to

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By this time each year, plenty of lists containing the ten blockbusters to look forward to during the summer have hit websites. As such, I wanted to do something a little bit different and let you all know about some counter programming that might be a welcome tonic during the summer months to the big tentpoles that are opening. Yes, Godzilla is out now and is really good, but they all won’t be like that, so the films to come in this piece could be a nice change of pace. As a lucky bonus, some of them might even contend for Oscar nominations as well.

Below you’ll find ten alternative summer movies to look forward to between now and the end of August. They might not all be amazing flicks when all is said and done, but they’ll be mostly free of explosions and $100 million budgets, so there’s that. Take a look…

10. Trust Me – I saw Clark Gregg’s sophomore directorial effort last year at the Tribeca Film Festival and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a Hollywood satire with some interesting ambition, especially in the third act. This is one definitely to keep an eye out for when it opens in June.

9. A Long Way Down – I’m a fan of the novel by Nick Hornby, so I’m cautiously optimistic that this could be a nice little dramedy. Pierce Brosnan, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Rosamund Pike, and Toni Collette make for a solid cast, no doubt about that. If you like Hornby’s work, this could be one to make time for in June.

8. Snowpiercer – May folks are far more excited for this sci-fi flick than I am (mainly due to it being the English language debut of Bong Joon-ho), but I’m certainly curious and will be seeing it in a few days actually, so if it’s anything special, I’ll be sure to report in before it comes out this June.

7. What If – Pretty much anything Zoe Kazan does is noteworthy for me, so this relationship dramedy has a lot of appeal in my eyes. Here, she’s paired with Daniel Radcliffe, and sparks definitely could fly. It’s an August release, so we’re a ways off, but I’m very much looking forward to it, and you should too.

6. Calvary – I loved John Michael McDonagh’s prior film The Guard and here he’s once again working with Brendan Gleeson for what looks to be a very dry comedy. It’s another August release, but it’s another one that I can’t wait to see.

5. Begin Again – Once upon a time this musical romance was called Can a Song Save Your Life, but more notably it’s from Once filmmaker John Carney. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo are a great pair, and while I missed this at Tribeca this year, I’ll definitely be seeing it in advance of its release this July.

4. Life Itself – Documentaries don’t usually get people excited during the summer months, but this is a unique one, about the late film critic Roger Ebert. I’m going to be seeing it next week and am very hopeful for something special. Steve James is certainly a well respected documentarian, so this July release should have a decently high profile.

3. The Fault in Our Stars – This is one romantic drama that needs no introduction, as a legion of teens are eagerly awaiting it. For a broader audience though, this is still a smaller indie flick with Shailene Woodley potentially in line to give a nomination worthy performance. We’ll find out next month when it opens.

2. Wish I Was Here – Garden State is an all time favorite of mine, so I’m very eager to see what Zach Braff does behind the camera this time. It’s a July release and pretty ideal dramedy counter programming, so count me in as someone very excited for this one. The trailer was a terrific whetting of my appetite.

1. Boyhood – In a few days I’ll finally be getting a look at Richard Linklater’s long in development coming of age story and I can’t wait. It’s potentially going to be an awards player, so this July release will be a must see for Oscar nuts like me, but really just should be a must see for everyone. Ambition like this deserves to be seen, plain and simple.

Stay tuned this summer to see which of these turn out to be winners!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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