It's officially Summer Blockbuster Season. It's that time of the year to gather friends and family to book cinema tickets. Apart from summer's tent-pole releases, there are some films that are worthy of your attention.
The Dead Don't Die
The plot of this arthouse zombie film examines the rise of the undead in a normally peaceful small town. This horror/comedy features a starring lineup that includes Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, and Bill Murray should be enough to entice curious filmgoers. The film is helmed by Jim Jarmusch, the auteur indie director whose offbeat genre movies include Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, and Only Lovers Left Alive.
This may or may not be the Uber-driver-picks-up-grizzled-cop-and-helps-him-solve-a-dangerous-case movie we've all been waiting for. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) team up for this mid-summer comedy. If it's good (or, at the very least, makes money), expect an Airbnb hostage sequel next year!
If you're into more sophisticated comedy, this film written by Mindy Kaling (The Office, The Mindy Project, Ocean's 8) might fit the bill. Emma Thompson stars as a female late-night talk show host whose popularity (and talent) is questioned when the press reveals that her writing staff is all male. Will her newly hired female writer survive and revive the writers' room and the show? Find out on June 7.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
The first novel from the American short-story master George Saunders is a tour-de-force of highly original historical fiction. Poignant, funny, and consistently morbid, this novel imaginatively chronicles the days following the death of Abraham Lincoln's eleven-year-old son, Willie. Set in a graveyard populated by spirits caught in bardo—the Tibetan Buddhist idea of a transitional state between death and rebirth—Lincoln in the Bardo combines real historical accounts of Willie's death with the dialogue of fictional ghosts to present a deeply moving and unsettling philosophical exploration of grief, death, and the perplexing questions of the afterlife.
The writer of Love, Actually and the director of Trainspotting team up to deliver an oddly premised film. It's the story of Jack, a singer/songwriter who wakes up to learn that everyone in the world—save for him—has no memory of The Beatles. He begins to perform the band's songs and becomes an international superstar. This could be a syrupy nostalgic love letter of a film, but the talent behind it makes you wonder as to how the façade will end.
Not every comic book movie released this summer features costume-clad superheroes. This graphic novel adaptation follows Claire Walsh (Elisabeth Moss), Ruby O'Carroll (Tiffany Haddish), and Kathy McGuire (Melissa McCarthy) as they carry on the criminal enterprises of their imprisoned spouses. Dark comedy is at its best when it's subversive—hope this satire can deliver.
John Plantus is a professor in the School of Language and Liberal Studies at Fanshawe College. He teaches courses in film theory, genres, and Hollywood cinema. In addition to watching and recommending movies, he also enjoys watching and recommending television shows.