11:00 pm - 04/24/2014

15 (5) 'under-the-radar' movies to keep summer interesting

It's nearly that time of year. The hot months, when popcorn fare tear through the multiplex on the way to massive box office receipts. The result, for most, is a shortlist of must-sees throughout the next couple of months, lists typically dominated by franchise entries, anticipated sequels and high concept spectacle. But as always, there are a number of counter-programming options, if you will, gems — or potential gems — lurking beneath the radar.

With that in mind, a few of us put our heads together to come up with a list of 15 films we'd humbly suggest giving a spin amid the torrent of the usual this summer. Whether they're holdovers from the fall festival circuit looking to spark as something different or indies staking out their own little piece of turf, there's something for everyone on this list.

In theaters: July 11
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane
Why it's a must see: Casual movie-goers may or may not be aware of Richard Linklater's 12-years-in-the-making epic spanning the childhood and early adolescence of a boy as his parents do their best to raise him. It made a huge splash at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals and represents a truly unique break from the norm this summer. If you have kept up with Linklater's on-going series of films, "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight," you know he has a particular affinity for telling stories on such a scale. And if you've liked those movies, there's no reason you shouldn't be first in line for "Boyhood."

"Night Moves"
In theaters: May 30 (limited release)
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard
Why it's a must-see: Anyone familiar with Reichardt's previous films -- including "Wendy and Lucy" and "Meek's Cutoff" -- should know that a "thriller" from the director isn't exactly going to be a rollercoaster ride, but this slow-burning mood piece is riveting and unsettling in sneakier ways. Building a tangled drama of ethics and dark human impulse around the botched actions of three environmental terrorists, it's a film that lingers in the mind for months afterward. In an uncharacteristically chilly role, Dakota Fanning may be in the best form of her career here; Eisenberg, delivering his strongest work since "The Social Network," is equally impressive.

"The Rover"
In theaters: June 13 (limited release)
Director: David Michôd
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy,
Why it's a must see: Michôd set the indie world on fire after his directorial debut "Animal Kingdom" was the surprise hit of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. That buzz translated to box office and earned Jacki Weaver her first Oscar nomination. Now he's back with "Kingdom" star Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson happily free of any future "Twilight" commitments. Michôd knows many will see parallels between "The Rover's" post-apocalyptic desert setting and "Mad Max," but he doesn't seem to care. More importantly, the film will be a Midnight screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival, adding a certain level of prestige to an already buzz-worthy mix.

"The Sacrament"
In theaters: June 6 (limited release)
Director: Ti West
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, AJ Bowen, Gene Jones
Why it's a must-see: Ti West is one of the smartest directors currently working in the horror genre, bringing immaculate craft and a high scare count to the low-fi premises of "House of the Devil" and "The Innkeepers" -- so leave it to him to find new mileage in the seemingly played-out found-footage trend. Well, that's one critic's opinion anyway: "The Sacrament" has been West's most divisive film to date, with many taking issue with its heavy appropriation of the true-life Jonestown Massacre story in its otherwise fictional docu-style investigation of a sinister Christian cult. It worked for me: West knows how to wring tension even out of the inevitable, and the film delivers both short-term jolts and long-term disquiet.

"Let's Be Cops"
In theaters: August 15
Director: Luke Greenfield
Cast: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Nina Dobrev
Why it's a must see: It hasn't gotten the hype that "Neighbors" or "22 Jump Street" have received, but Fox's mistaken identities comedy looks like it could be an August surprise. It's also the last studio comedy of the summer, which means even if it's just OK (see "We're the Millers"), it could make a ton of money.

10 more @ source
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tracerbullitt 25th-Apr-2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Filth looks interesting. I wanted to read the book but never got around to it. I hope it's good!
chrisrichfan 25th-Apr-2014 03:53 am (UTC)
Filth blew my mind. It was great.
roxiful 25th-Apr-2014 06:15 am (UTC)
It's sooooooooooooooooooo good
mickjaggernaut3 25th-Apr-2014 10:13 am (UTC)
Filth is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. That being said, it was also a very hard book to read. The protagonist, Bruce, is such a wretched, loathsome, and dirty (literally) human being it can be hard to take at times. There are reasons for his behaviour, some of it anyway, but still...there were times I put the book down and walked away.
grotesque_xxx 25th-Apr-2014 10:23 am (UTC)
it was great !
goldengal1193 25th-Apr-2014 03:11 am (UTC)
Mia(and her acting) is so deadpan and yet I try to watch every movie she's in.

There's something that I absolutely love about her acting though.

And yaaaas at The Sacrament. I've been waiting to see that.
la_petite_singe 25th-Apr-2014 03:13 am (UTC)
Please believe me when I say that I was like

through a lot of Under the Skin. ...But yes, you should still see it. And ugh, I can't WAIT for Filth; the book is insane and I know James has won awards for it, so I'm just like !!!!!! YAS. I know it leaked online ages ago, but somehow I really wanna wait & see it in the theatre/support the box office. (I told James I would, after all.)
wheresandrae 25th-Apr-2014 03:15 am (UTC)
Under The Skin had some of the most genuinely haunting shit I've seen in years tbh. I'm not easily shaken but fucking christ! I can't scrub that last scene in the forest out of my brain
la_petite_singe 25th-Apr-2014 03:18 am (UTC)
Seriously. I'm still trying to decide what that meant:
like, was that it? She's just dead? Or was the kinda lingering shot of the smoke going into the sky meant to imply that she's alive in some way and is going to, like, take another form? I couldn't decide. I wasn't sure what it was saying in that moment--like, does she 'deserve' to die because of what she did to all those men (and the kid on the beach, holy shit), or was it sort of not judging her/allowing her to 'live on' because she began to question herself and develop emotions?

IDK. Apparently I have a lot of feelings about this movie.
purplepeoplepop 25th-Apr-2014 03:14 am (UTC)
I went into watching Under The Skin with an open mind knowing it would be weird but I'm sorry I just couldn't get into it. I wanted more from what I was watching. It was just Scarlett naked for most of it :/
wheresandrae 25th-Apr-2014 03:20 am (UTC)
Yeah after I saw it I was amazed its critical response has been so positive. Its very slow, but the structure of the whole thing was where a lot of its genius was imo. I swear I didn't breathe through at least half of it. I was so immersed in it, more so than anything I've seen in a while.
purplepeoplepop 25th-Apr-2014 04:29 am (UTC)
I was the opposite. I was interested in the beginning and then just got tired of it.
hadefuldtkind 25th-Apr-2014 03:15 am (UTC)
really interested in The Sacrament, Cold in July, A Most Wanted man and Boyhood

i LOVED Filth
so_chic_doll 25th-Apr-2014 03:16 am (UTC)
I want to see "Obvious Child" for Jenny Slate. <3
barnabys_bane 25th-Apr-2014 03:18 am (UTC)
Torn on whether or not I want to see Filth. McAvoy's one of my favorite actors, but after reading through the premise of the book and being thoroughly put off by it, I don't know that I want to spend my time on the film. Snowpiercer seems really interesting, though.
sallgoodman 25th-Apr-2014 03:35 am (UTC)
It was weird seeing him in a role like that
walkintowalls99 25th-Apr-2014 04:18 am (UTC)
Your icon is still flawless.
barnabys_bane 25th-Apr-2014 05:54 am (UTC)
Why thank you. ♥
so_chic_doll 25th-Apr-2014 03:18 am (UTC)
Not on the list, but They Came Together is FINALLY getting released in June!

scriptedending 25th-Apr-2014 04:36 am (UTC)
oh good!
redheadbynight 25th-Apr-2014 03:20 am (UTC)
Filth was awesome

I forget what a good actor McAvoy is sometimes
revertigo 25th-Apr-2014 03:20 am (UTC)
kelly reichardt, my queen. night moves is right up my alley rn because i'm going through an eco-terrorism phase or w/e.

and under the skin was weird, creepy, thrilling and everything i needed it to be lol. the five people in my theatre seemed confused tho :( they reminded me of how how i felt when i saw drive (still hatin, don't care)

Edited at 2014-04-25 03:33 am (UTC)
glittergary 25th-Apr-2014 03:33 am (UTC)
glad you liked under the skin!! what did you dislike about drive though jw
revertigo 25th-Apr-2014 03:35 am (UTC)
everything except the violence

idk it just felt cold and shallow
kissoffools 25th-Apr-2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
Night Moves is good!! slow and unsettling. i loved it.
redleigh86 25th-Apr-2014 03:22 am (UTC)
I really like Damon Wayans JR but I've got my doubts about Let's Be Cops tbh... I'm gonna wait and see what people say about it and then maybe, maybe, I'll dl it lol
logan_lerman 25th-Apr-2014 03:54 am (UTC)
he was really hilarious in it tbh
milkradio 25th-Apr-2014 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm excited to see Filth for the fact that it's set in Edinburgh alone :')
glittergary 25th-Apr-2014 03:31 am (UTC)
definitely checking out boyhood & snowpiercer
i thought filth hit theatres a while ago but i guess not
brownxeyedxdork 25th-Apr-2014 03:33 am (UTC)
It's been out for a while, but not in the states.
chrisrichfan 25th-Apr-2014 03:56 am (UTC)
Save your money on Snowpiercer omg. Self entitled incredibly ambitious piece of shit.
deadpresident 25th-Apr-2014 08:51 am (UTC)
yeah, i found Snowpiercer to be incredibly lacking

i felt like the film should have never revealed what the outside world looked like (and did it so much) and maintained a sort of claustrophobic dread of not knowing what lay beyond. once it showed all that glaring brightness, it completely killed the tone for me. it should have been perpetual night or nothing imo
sallgoodman 25th-Apr-2014 03:36 am (UTC)
I need to watch Filth again with subtitles. The copy I got a few months ago didn't have subtitles so I had to stop after 20 minutes. I couldn't understand most of what they were saying
callmeperhaps 25th-Apr-2014 03:41 am (UTC)
I need to watch under the skin.
i used to like Jesse (even watched the movie where he played a religious boy), but now he's kind of boring to me :-(
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