It’s been a good year so far for movies. And while audiences are plugged into online streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu (and with good reason—have you seen Wild Wild Country yet?!), it can be hard to pay attention to what’s coming to the big screen, too. That’s why I’ve come up with this short indie film guide of what to see this summer. Fear not, introverts, there’s a couple of online streaming releases included here, too.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
The follow-up to Denis Villaneuve’s cartel thriller, Day of the Soldado brings back stars Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin in an escalating war between terrorists across the U.S.-Mexico border. Directed by Stefano Sollima—though sadly lacking Emily Blunt—this sequel aims to up the ante in suspense, action, and Brolin and Del Toro squinting through black sunglasses as a hitman/soldier team. (Projected release: June 29, nationwide.)
Sorry to Bother You
Boots Riley’s feature film tackles race in an irreverent, satirical way. Lakeith Stanfield plays Cassius Green, a down-on-his-luck young man trying to make a dollar who takes a job as a telemarketer. But the key to success, according to his older, fellow African-American co-worker (Danny Glover), is to use a fake white accent to rack up numbers in sales. Rising up the corporate ladder in quick succession, Cassius discovers the dark underbelly of the business world he has now found himself a part of. (Projected release: July 6, nationwide.)
Toronto underground director Bruce La Bruce has had a long career of making subversive, sexually transgressive films that provoke thought as much as they shock. Sticking to the same low-budget, punk, DIY ethos since the ’90s, his latest piece of cinema seems relevant in this time of heightened feminist consciousness. In The Misandrists, a militant lesbian cult aims to dismantle the patriarchy by any means necessary, but one member takes in a male stowaway with whom she has fallen in love. Sounds like a perfect film to screen at the Frida Cinema, no? Hi, Logan! (Projected release: to be announced.)
Never Goin’ Back
This comedy, released by A24, was welcomed at the Newport Beach Film Festival in April. Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone star as two young best friends waitressing at the same Texas diner. Burnt out by their dreary surroundings, the two precocious high-school drop-outs plot to make extra money for a trip to the beach. Wholesome, this film is not, as the teens spend plenty of their time getting wasted at parties, pranking each other with penis drawings on each other’s faces, and thumbing their nose at the hapless adults around them. As writer/director Augustine Frizzell’s feature debut, this uproarious ode to teenage mischief is one to look out for. (Projected release: Aug. 3, nationwide.)
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot
Gus Van Sant’s latest stars Joaquin Phoenix as the late humorist and cartoonist John Callahan, who based much of his comedy on his physical disabilities. The film tracks John’s life before and after the auto accident that rendered him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, featuring the cathartic, gallows humor that got him through it. Other stars appearing in their hippy-dippy best are Rooney Mara, Jonah Hill, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Gordon, Jack Black, Beth Ditto and Heather Matarazzo. (Projected release: July 13, Amazon.)
The Sisters Brothers
Just thought I’d drop one early fall film release, as it’s likely to get some hype over the next few months. This dark comedy/western stars John C. Reilly and—hey, Joaquin Phoenix again—as the titular brothers, an assassin duo who are on one last assignment before they can retire for good. Riz Ahmed and Jake Gyllenhaal play partners who have stolen from the Sisters brothers’ boss, thus the next targets being hunted. The on-screen dynamic between Reilly and Phoenix works surprisingly well, making their mission across Oregon an enjoyable one. (Projected release: fall 2018.)
Aimee Murillo is calendar editor and frequently covers the Orange County DIY music scene, film, arts, Latino culture and currently pens the long-running column Trendzilla. Born, raised, and based in Santa Ana, she loves bad movies, punk shows, raising her plants, eating tacos, Selena, and puns.