We hear you. This summer's blockbuster offerings have been disappointing. So when you finally have some free time -- you landed a babysitter, or that person you've been dying to ask out finally said yes -- you scan the listings on Fandango and can't find ANYTHING that looks appealing. We're trying to help. We're looking off the beaten path and reminding you of titles that are in theaters right now that are worth your time, but that probably don't leap to mind once you've considered The Legend of Tarzan or a second screening of Finding Dory. Heading to the movies? Take a chance on one of these:
The Nice Guys
The real dynamic duo at multiplexes this summer has been Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in this throwback detective noir from writer-director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Drenched in period detail and blessed with a crackling script, The Nice Guys reminds us how much fun a shockingly violent crime comedy can be, and the chemistry between the leads is pure fire.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Catch up with Taika Waititi before he heads down to Australia to direct Thor: Ragnarok. This coming-of-age comedy finds an orphan (Julian Dennison) really fitting in with his new foster family. Only, the star of Wilderpeople sounds like Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), who our own Eric Eisenberg says gives the performance of his career in this laugh-out-loud crowdpleaser.
An early sleeper win of 2016, Sing Street is making its way back to theaters because critical demand is doing everything it can to wake Weinstein Company up and let them know they botched the marketing on this wonderful movie. Seriously, this should be a smash hit, as John Carney (Once) follows a group of outcast Irish teens who form an original rock band in the 1980s. With a killer soundtrack and all the right coming-of-age teen buttons being pressed just right, Sing Street is a total blast, and one of the most fun times you can have in a theater this summer.
Swiss Army Man
Yes, the farting corpse movie. But there's a reason Swiss Army Man has generated such buzz. The combination of a lonely Paul Dano (good in these types of roles) and a deceased Daniel Radcliffe (doing what he can to distance himself from Harry Potter) make for an interesting experiment at the movies... even if you can't quite get past how silly the concept of Swiss Army Man happens to be. The real reason to see this in a theater? The score is fantastic, and will sound amazing at your local multiplex.
If you have even a passing interest in the film industry -- and film history -- then you need to find a theater showing De Palma, a new documentary that's, essentially, director Brian De Palma being interviewed about the movies on his resume. But damn, that resume! De Palma dishes on the obstacles he had to overcome to make movies like Carrie, Blow Out, Dressed to Kill, Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, Carlito's Way, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and more. He's proud of his accomplishments, candid about his mistakes, open about the lessons he has learned, and acts a wealth of knowledge for anyone fascinated by the progress of film. A must see.
The Neon Demon
This one's a little more experimental, though definitely an antidote to the cookie-cutter CGI tentpoles that usually prop up the summer season. Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Bronson) is back with a searing commentary about appearances, and how they play into the way we are judged. But it's also a riff on life in Southern California, and the specific nature of that culture. Our own Greg Wakeman admits that The Neon Demon is designed to polarize audiences. Will you be one of the people checking it out, to pass your own critique?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.