With all the publicity and fanfare that all the big budget superhero flicks and summer planned sequels have been getting, it can be pretty easy to not give second notice to a lot of the sleeper films that are set to premiere alongside Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. While those films are sure to be widely appealing and likely fantastic, today we take a look at five films that will also be premiering throughout the summer film schedule. Theses films have seen a lot less publicity and have garnered even less notoriety even though they have more than enough potential to be successful. Here are five under the radar films that will be premiering this summer which everyone should check out and consider adding to their ever growing must see list.
Release Date- April 15
Whether it’s a classic cops versus criminals showdown or two unblinking gunslingers waiting for the stroke of noon, there is something about a standoff aspect in film that always raises our pulses and spikes our adrenaline. The indie award winner Green Room is not just a bloody standoff though, but a gritty backwoods survival which pits our young protagonists against a group of white supremacist Neo-Nazis. Following young punk-rocker group The Aint Rights, Green Room finds the band down and out as they finish an unsuccessful tour of the Pacific Northwest, with nothing to show for it. Desperate for even a little extra cash, the band accepts a gig at a Nazi bar in backwoods Oregon. That’s not even their biggest mistake though, and upon returning to their green room, they not only find a dead body, but that their hosts don’t plan on letting them leave with that information either. With such a young cast of indie actors, it is clear why this film has fallen by the wayside, but if you can stomach it, then Green Room is well worth a trip to the theater to check out.
Release Date May 1
It was only recently that the upcoming sci-fi drama High Rise began finding praise from critics, and it begs the question as to why this movie is has been hidden from the public eye, especially since the film is not only about social injustice, but sports an A-list cast. Similar to 2013s Snowpiercer, High Rise takes a look at class warfare in the equally fascinating setting of a state of the art high rise building, equipped with everything from a school, to a fully equipped emergency service, and even a grocery store. Taking up residence on the luxurious twenty-fifth floor is the newest resident Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who not only discovers a world of decadence and shifting loyalties amongst his wealthy neighbors, but also a slippery slope of social discord that second floor resident Richard Wild (Luke Evans) is intent on documenting for film, turning the escalating situation into a violent one. It may come as no surprise that the wealthy live far better than the rest of society, but High Rise seems to go one step further, and examines what people are willing to do to keep their lifestyle in balance, and keep control of the power that they have grown used to. Whatever motivates you to get to the theatre, hopefully the intriguing views and survivalist nature of High Rise will get you there.
Free State of Jones
Release date- June 24
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Academy Award winning performance from The Revenant may be wearing off by now, but not to fear, premiering at the end of June is another film based on the journey of an extraordinary man history has also tended to overlook, this time it being Newt Knight. For those unfamiliar with the man, Newt Knight was a farmer who went on to become a famed outlaw in Mississippi after he rebelled against the Confederate States and declared Jones County Mississippi independent of the Confederacy during the years of the American Civil War. With Matthew McCaughey helming the lead as Knight himself, Free State of Jones looks like far more than your Hollywood historical drama, and promises to be about the ultimate struggles of love, loss, and freedom that the residents of Jones County proudly fought for. Much like Hugh glass, Knight is just a small piece of American history, but his story is a fascinating one. Everyone has seen how powerful historical war dramas can be, and Free State of Jones should be next on the list for all those who watched The Revenant and supported it so feverishly.
Release Date- June 24
Films that pit a sole human against a force or act of nature such as 127 Hours or The Martian are usually viewed by many crowds as boring, but there is a select crowd who find the thrill in these types of movies, and watch in awe as the characters struggles for survival against all odds. Premiering this summer is The Shallows, is the terrifying survival story of one woman, Nancy (Blake Lively), who is attacked by a Great white Shark while surfing on a secluded beach. Wounded, Nancy finds herself stranded on a rock only two hundred yards from shore, an easy swimming distance, except the shark isn’t quite finished either, thus setting in motion the ultimate test of wills. The phycology behind humans versus nature is exciting enough alone, but paired with a concept of fear that one of the world’s deadliest predators bestows in people, and there is a movie that could truly grip people, whether they find entertainment in this type of film or not. With so many outlandish fictional stories of survival circulating, there is no better time than the present to bring audiences back to something more organic and something realistically entertaining.
The Purge: Election Year
Release Date- July 1
Many people might turn a blind eye to a film like The Purge, and simply wait for it to be available at the video store so that they can chalk it up as part of a movie night reserved for something shameless or a guilty pleasure film. Yet The Purge has come a long way from the not-so-stellar home invasion that the first film was, and has not only evolved into a thrilling anything can happen next film, but also takes an extreme look at how society divides us and segregates the wealthy, who can fend for themselves, against the less fortunate, who are prone to the violence and suffering of purge night. Picking up two years after the second film Anarchy, Election Year centers on recurring anti-hero Sergeant (Frank Grillo), who is now head of security for Senator Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), the frontrunner for the presidency due to her promise to end the purge, a one night event where all crime is legal and all emergency services halted. As we all know politics can be pretty cut-throat, and Sergeant and Roan soon find themselves amidst the insanity of purge night, after being sold out by her political enemies. In a time when films are either too philosophical to be fun, or too over the top to be taken seriously, The Purge: Election Year look to be a thrilling and finite mix of both popular ideals and bloody good fun.