BY NATHAN DUKE
The summer movie season is in full swing—and you know what that means. Comic book movies! Sequels! Sequels to comic book movies!
In May, during which Hollywood launches its summer tentpole season, the studios released two Marvel movies—Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2—and a new Star Wars prequel spinoff, Solo.
From now until Labor Day weekend, even more sequels are on the horizon, including Ocean’s Eight (June 8) Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 (June 15), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22), Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29), The First Purge (July 4), Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6), Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (July 13), The Equalizer 2 (July 20), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20) and Mission Impossible: Fallout (July 27).
But there are also some hidden gems to be found amid all the explosions and franchises. Here are five movies—a few independents and several possible sleepers—to seek out at the multiplex this summer.
• Hereditary (June 8)
This horror movie, which stars Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, traumatized audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Critics noted that Ari Aster’s feature debut was not just a great genre exercise, but also a remarkable movie. In the film, a matriarch dies, causing her family to unravel as horrifying secrets come to the surface. Reviews have cited it as one of the best horror films of the 21st century.
• Under the Silver Lake (June 22)
Director David Robert Mitchell follows up his acclaimed horror movie It Follows with this unusual L.A. noir about a man (Andrew Garfield) who becomes obsessed with a billionaire mogul’s murder and the kidnapping of a girl. The film played at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it received comparisons to everything from David Lynch and Inherent Vice to The Big Lebowski.
• Leave No Trace (June 29)
Eight summers ago, director Debra Granik scored an indie hit that went on to become an Oscar nominee—and, in turn, launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career—with Winter’s Bone. The director’s latest is her first feature film since, and stars Ben Foster as a man who lives in an urban park in Portland, Oregon with his 13-year-old daughter.
• Sorry To Bother You (July 6)
This offbeat comedy also made a splash at Sundance, where critics described it as “anything but safe.” In the film, an Oakland-based telemarketer discovers a magical key to professional success that propels him into an unusual universe. The social satire tackles everything from race to corporate greed and stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, Armie Hammer and Danny Glover.
• BlacKkKlansman (Aug. 10)
Hailed as director Spike Lee’s best film in years, this incendiary crime comedy—which is apparently based on a true story—received a standing ovation at Cannes. The film follows the story of an African American police officer from Colorado who successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and became the head of its local chapter. The movie also stars Adam Driver and Topher Grace.
But that’s not all. Moviegoers might also want to check out Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (July 13), which is director Gus Van Sant’s biopic of disabled cartoonist John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix); the acclaimed middle school drama Eighth Grade (July 13); and the well received—and bizarre—Madeline’s Madeline (Aug. 10).
For more mainstream fare, there’s also the Die Hard-inspired Skyscraper, which stars Dwayne Johnson (July 13); Melissa McCarthy and a bunch of foul-mouthed puppets in The Happytime Murders (Aug. 17); and the creepy Slender Man (Aug. 24). In the What-Will-They-Think-Of-Next category is Tag (June 15), which is based on a true story and revolves around the popular children’s game.