Summer is the holy grail for blockbusters and this year is far from an exception. Audiences have already indulged in superheros (“Avengers: Infinity War”) and space cowboys (“Solo: A Star Wars Story”), but this season is also typical in that it offers several hidden gems of the independent variety. This June, moviegoers are presented with a highly-anticipated Pixar sequel, a probable horror hit, a pair of Cannes and Sundance premieres and a documentary about an old friend.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” - June 8
Fred Rogers made a career out of breaking down current events and thorny subjects like divorce, death and war for children. Morgan Neville, director of the Academy Award winning “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” made a documentary that celebrates the efforts of an iconic television host, Mr. Rogers. The film might sound like a run-of-the-mill tribute to a beloved public figure, but it comes at a time in our nation’s history when the subject’s wisdom is much-needed. Hollywood knows this; Tom Hanks has signed on to portray Rogers in an upcoming biography from Marielle Heller. The trailer alone is enough to make you cry, but this film is bound to go deeper. It has earned raves at film festivals across the country, including Columbia’s own True/False Film Festival.
“Leave No Trace” - June 29
It has been eight years since Debra Granik stormed through Sundance with her Ozarks-set thriller. “Winter’s Bone” was a country noir that featured a star-making turn by Jennifer Lawrence. While that’s an immense amount of pressure to put on newcomer Thomasin McKenzie, she is said to give an outstanding performance opposite Ben Foster. The story centers around a father and daughter who live off the grid in the forests of Portland, OR. One minor mishap alters the pair’s quiet existence forever in this survivalist drama.
“Under the Silver Lake” - June 22
Andrew Garfield stars in this neo-noir from rising auteur, David Robert Mitchell. His last film, “It Follows,” was a wildly inventive horror contrivance, so I’m hoping his latest will explore a new genre with that same potential. A Cannes premiere, it tells of a man who scavenges through Los Angeles in search of his beautiful missing neighbor. In the process, he learns of a sinister conspiracy involving billionaires, celebrities, urban myth and pop culture at large. This kind of loopy premise sounds like a unmissable sun-drenched mystery in the vein of David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock.
“Hereditary” - June 8
Every few months or so, it seems like a new movie comes along and mines interest out of the ever-evolving horror genre. First came “It,” second was “Get Out,” followed by “A Quiet Place.” Now, first-time filmmaker Ari Aster might just make his own mark on the trend. “Hereditary” deals with a series of events in the aftermath of a family matriarch’s death. These hauntings threaten to unravel the daughter’s family as well as the Graham’s cryptic ancestry. Toni Collette’s lead performance is being praised as a standout that may have the potential for awards conversation later this year.
“The Incredibles 2” - June 15
Pixar is at its best when creating bold classics like their recent “Inside Out,” yet one can’t help but think this installment is overdue in an era defined by reboots, remakes and sequels. Economically, it makes sense now that we’ve reached peak superhero saturation even if these are different kinds of heroes. Nevertheless, Brad Bird continues his saga about an ordinary family with powers of their own. This one should be an event that, like “Finding Dory,” attracts audiences of a certain age and beyond to make a splash at the summer box office.
June 1 - “Adrift;” “American Animals” June 8 - “Ocean’s 8;” “Hotel Artemis” June 15 - “SuperFly;” “Tag” June 22 - “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” June 29 - “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”
Edited by Siena DeBolt | email@example.com