Films

This summer’s non-superhero, non-explosiony films you need to see

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Mike Rampton
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This summer's non-superhero, non-explosiony films 1

Dramas, comedies and horror for anyone suffering superhero fatigue

While everyone enjoys a big-ass blockbuster, a giant screen where everyone has silly armour on and is punching explosions though each other’s faces, sometimes you want to watch something different. Something smaller, based around, like, human relationships and shit. Right? That’s almost definitely true probably. 

Luckily there are a bunch of films coming out this summer that might not blow you through the back of the cinema like Avengers: Infinity War or whatever, but will still entertain, inform and in some cases terrify.

And here are the best ones:

Tully (May 4th)

Charlize Theron reunites with Young Adult writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman, starring as an exhausted mother of three who suddenly finds herself assisted by a “night nanny” (Mackenzie Davis). Warm, funny and sad, it’s an affectionate, sometimes brutal look at the mechanisms we need just to get from day to day.

I Feel Pretty (May 4th)

Amy Schumer’s comedy about a woman who becomes convinced she’s absurdly beautiful has drawn criticism for the usual exhausting reasons - half of the people criticising her think she’s too attractive for the story, the other half think she’s hideous and shouldn’t be on screen. Neither criticism would be leveled at her if she were a man, obviously, which is sort of the point of this high-concept, head-trauma-heavy comedy.

The Strangers: Prey At Night (May 4th)

Ten years after the Liv Tyler original comes this similarly scary followup. Violent, terrifying and backed by an awesome soundtrack, this masked-murderer horror stars Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks and some killy killy killers.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties (May 11th)

A sci-fi rom-com based on a short story by Neil Gaiman, this is directed by John Cameron Mitchell of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame, stars Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman and somehow expands the original story’s 18 or so pages into a full-length film. 

On Chesil Beach (May 18th)

Adapted by Ian McEwan from his own novel and genuinely filmed on the right beach, Saoirse Ronan stars in this ‘60s-set story of the complicated relationship between a young couple. It’s, er, less romantic than you might think based on the poster. 

Eighth Grade (June 2nd)

The directorial debut of excellent stand-up Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade earned rave reviews at film festivals, sitting at an impressive 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. A warts-and-all look at adolescence, it looks like something of an instant coming-of-age classic.

Leave No Trace (June 3rd)

Winter’s Bone director Debora Granik helms this bleak watch about a father and daughter living off the grid, and what happens when society refuses to let them live outside of it. Granik’s last film propelled a completely unknown Jennifer Lawrence to stardom - time will tell if the same thing happens to Thomasin Harcourt Mackenzie.

Super Troopers 2 (June 15th)

Released on 4/20 in the States, this long-awaited sequel to the 2003 original promises more of what made the first movie such a cult success 15 years ago. More weed! More cat noises! More litres of cola! This time the state troopers are in Canada, which means about a third of the runtime seems to be dedicated to jokes about politeness and the word “aboot”. 

Hereditary (June 15th)

Not only does this look incredibly scary, we know it’s incredibly scary - it was accidentally shown to a cinema of Australian schoolchildren who all got really upset. 

Under The Silver Lake (June 22nd) (US)

Did you see It Follows? See it if not, it’s really good, and this followup (wahey) from writer-director David Robert Mitchell looks like it’s ramped up the weirdness. Andrew Garfield stars as Sam, whose neighbour (Riley Keough) mysteriously vanishes, leading him into a mysterious, surreal adventure that looks trippy as all hell. This is the US release date - at the moment there isn’t a UK one set, but hope springs eternal because this looks excellent.

Blindspotting (August 10th)

Gathering rave reviews everywhere it’s been seen, Blindspotting follows two lifelong friends (played by real-life BFFs and the film’s co-writers, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal) as one nears the end of his probation trying to stay out of trouble and the other seems determined to find it. Part buddy comedy, part harrowing drama, it’s been called “a film to open America’s eyes” by Variety

Crazy Rich Asians (August 17th)

Based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel, CRA is a romcom starring Fresh Off The Boat’s Constance Wu as a woman who discovers her boyfriend is from an outrageously wealthy and powerful Singaporean family. Michelle Yeoh is in it and magnificent, and it’s a look at a part of the world you don’t see a lot of from over here.

BlacKkKlansman (August 24th)

This summer's non-superhero, non-explosiony films

Directed by Spike Lee and produced by Get Out’s Jordan PeeleBlacKkKlansman is based on the true story of an African-American detective going undercover to investigate the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan and ending up as head of it. Starring John David Washington and Adam Driver, a featuring That ‘70s Show’s Topher Grace as KKK leader and bona-fide shithead David Duke, it looks like it could be Lee’s best film in years.

Slender Man (August 24th)

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Mike Rampton

Mike Rampton will be a ghost one day. A really big one.

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