When you think about the summer movie season, you think of sequels, prequels, and bloated budgets. Granted, some of this season’s blockbusters — like Prometheus and The Avengers — were pretty good. But if you’re sick of superheroes and don’t want to check your brain at the multiplex door, here are five summer films to look out for.
In theaters now is Your Sister’s Sister, an insightful and often adorable indie comedy about three thirtysomethings (Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, and Rosemarie DeWitt) who become personally entangled during a short stay at a Pacific Northwest cottage. See it before your friends tell you all the surprising plot twists.
One of this summer’s rare intimate big-studio films is the Disney/DreamWorks release People Like Us, about a cocky salesman (Chris Pine) who discovers upon his father’s death that he has a half-sister he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). It delivers one of the most emotionally satisfying endings of the year. It comes out nationwide this Friday, June 29.
Next month sees the release of the Lauren Greenfield’s Sundance prize-winning documentary The Queen of Versailles, about a wealthy couple who were in the middle of building the biggest home in the United States when the economy crashed in 2008. The film is hilarious, maddening, and unforgettable.
Perhaps the best movie I’ve seen this year is Ruby Sparks, actress/writer Zoe Kazan’s wonderfully whimsical romance about a novelist (Paul Dano) who creates his dream girlfriend only to have her come to life. It’s directed by the Little Miss Sunshine couple Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and it feels like a cross between Beginners and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. As I watched the film, I thought to myself, “Whoever wrote this is a genius.” When it ended and I saw that it was Kazan herself, my jaw hit the floor. It’s out July 27.
Finally, there’s another Sundance entry, the droll comedy Hello, I Must Be Going, starring ace character actress Melanie Lynskey as a 35-year-old divorcee who moves back in with her parents (including a priceless Blythe Danner) and falls in love with the 18-year-0ld son of her father’s business associate. Delightful, quirky, and true, it was my favorite of the films I saw in Utah this year. As it’s not coming out until just after Labor Day (technically still summer, right?) there’s no trailer just yet, but here’s director Todd Louiso discussing the movie.
And you thought all summer movies were mindless.
Dave on Twitter: @davekarger