ENTERTAINMENT

22 Movies That Will Relieve Your Summer Blockbuster Fatigue

05/01/2015 09:02 am ET | Updated May 01, 2015

summer indie preview

After upping your eyeglass prescription to accommodate the swarm of CGI effects hurled around in just about every summer blockbuster, try taking it down a peg with a few smaller-scale movies. This summer's indie slate serves up several comedies (many revolving around sex), a few unconventional biopics (Brian Wilson! David Foster Wallace!) and some stirring documentaries that are well worth your time. Sadly, if you don't reside in a major city, there's a chance some of these films won't open at your nearest theater, but have no fear: Many come with On Demand release plans, and those that don't should be on your radar for future streaming purposes. With "Avengers: Age of Ultron" officially kicking off summer movie season this weekend, behold these 22 titles that will save your weary eyes from the next few months' potential $1 billion spectacles:

  • "Welcome to Me" (May 1)
    Alchemy
    Directed by Shira Piven • Written by Eliot Laurence

    Starring Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Robbins

    What to expect: Kristen Wiig's post-"SNL" career is earning its indie crown this year, with "Welcome to Me" easily becoming her best role since "Bridesmaids." Wiig plays an Oprah obsessive with borderline personality disorder who uses her $86 million lottery winnings to fund her own nutty daytime talk show. [Trailer]
  • "The D Train" (May 8)
    Focus Features
    Written and directed by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel

    Starring Jack Black, James Marsden, Kathryn Hahn, Jeffrey Tambor and Mike White

    What to expect: What sounds like a rowdy bro comedy -- Jack Black and James Marsden get up to shenanigans before attending their high school reunion -- has been heralded as a warm, if far-fetched, confection. [Trailer]
  • "I'll See You In My Dreams" (May 15)
    Bleecker Street
    Directed by Brett Haley • Written by Marc Basch and Brett Haley

    Starring Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Martin Starr, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman and Mary Kay Place

    What to expect: Blythe Danner scores her best screen role in years with this affectionate film about a widow who starts a new chapter after her beloved dog's death causes her to lose some zest. [Trailer]
  • "Slow West" (May 15)
    A24
    Written and directed by John Maclean

    Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius and Rory McCann

    What to expect: This Coen brothers-esque Western is part absurdist thriller and part coming-of-age quest. Follow a naïve 16-year-old (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as he and a mysterious bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) cross the post-Civil War West in pursuit of the former's romantic interest. "Slow West" won the Sundance Film Festival's World Cinema Grand Jury Prize. [Trailer]
  • "Love & Mercy" (June 5)
    Roadside Attractions
    Directed by Bill Pohlad • Written by Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner

    Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti

    What to expect: Critics have championed "Love & Mercy" as a spirited respite from paint-by-numbers music biopics. Paul Dano plays Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson during the height of his fame in the '60s, while John Cusack takes over during the '80s, after Wilson's spotlight had dimmed. Variety characterized Atticus Ross' original score as a hybrid of the Beach Boys and Animal Collective. [Trailer]
  • "Live From New York!" (June 12)
    Abramorama
    Directed by Bao Nguyen

    What to expect: "Live From New York!" doesn't pack as much juiciness as the book of the same name, but even a rudimentary look at the cultural impact of "Saturday Night Live" is delightful, especially with a veritable who's-who of cast members, writers and hosts from the series' 40-year run on hand. [Trailer]
  • "The Wolfpack" (June 12)
    Magnolia Pictures
    Directed by Crystal Moselle

    What to expect: The winner of Sundance's top documentary prize, "The Wolfpack" introduces us to six kids who've never left their New York City apartment. Their only entree into the outside world is through the movies they watch -- until one brother escapes. Consider the movie a sort of "Grey Gardens" for the modern age.
  • "Dope" (June 19)
    Open Road Films
    Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa

    Starring Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons, Tony Revolori, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky and Blake Anderson

    What to expect: We promise you do not want to miss this rousing comedy, which may be summer's funniest and most heartfelt film. Keep Shameik Moore's name handy, too -- he's the star of "Dope" today (playing a nerdy high schooler who gets caught up in an Inglewood drug dealer's inner circle after attending a rowdy birthday party) and the star of all of Hollywood tomorrow. [Trailer]
  • "The Overnight" (June 19)
    The Orchard
    Written and directed by Patrick Brice

    Starring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche

    What to expect: We were huge fans of "The Overnight" after seeing it at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals, where the impeccably cast comedy played to raves. At the center are a young couple (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) whose child is invited to the home of their new neighbors (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche) for a so-called playdate. But when the kids are put to bed, the real party begins, with increasingly eccentric results. [Trailer]
  • "Infinitely Polar Bear" (June 19)
    Paper Street Films
    Written and directed by Maya Forbes

    Starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana

    What to expect: This warmly received dramedy has made the festival rounds since premiering at Sundance in 2014. At last, we'll get to see Mark Ruffalo portray a manic-depressive father who attempts to win back his wife (Zoe Saldana) by taking responsibility for their two rowdy young daughters. [Trailer]
  • "Tangerine" (July 10)
    Magnolia Pictures
    Directed by Sean S. Baker • Written by Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch

    Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, James Ransone

    What to expect: Two transgender prostitutes roam Los Angeles to track down a pimp boyfriend who is cheating on one of them. Shot entirely on iPhones and produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, "Tangerine" is one of the summer's most unique offerings. [Trailer]
  • "The Stanford Prison Experiment" (July 17)
    IFC
    Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez • Written by Tim Talbott

    Starring Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Logan Miller, Nelsan Ellis, Tye Sheridan and Michael Angarano

    What to expect: This slow-burning psychological thriller chronicles the explosive 1971 experiment in which college students simulated roles as prisoners and prison guards. Things didn't end well for the real-life exercise, but they did for this film, which won Sundance's screenplay prize in January.
  • "Mr. Holmes" (July 17)
    Roadside Attractions
    Directed by Bill Condon • Written by Bill Condon and Jeffrey Hatcher

    Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney and Colin Starkey

    What to expect: Based on Mitch Cullin's novel "A Slight Trick of the Mind," Ian McKellen plays a long-retired Sherlock Holmes, who, at 93, explores the circumstances of one final unsolved case. [Trailer]
  • "The Look of Silence" (July 17)
    Drafthouse
    Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

    What to expect: A sequel to the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary "The Act of Killing," "The Look of Silence" explores a surviving family of the Indonesian genocide as they confront the men who killed their brother. [Trailer]
  • "Irrational Man" (July 17)
    Sony Pictures Classics
    Written and directed by Woody Allen

    Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, Emma Stone and Jamie Blackley

    What to expect: If you can still stomach Woody Allen's May-December romance films, then know that "Irrational Man" is, well, another Woody Allen May-December romance film. At the center is a disillusioned philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls for a student (Emma Stone) and can finally address the existential quandaries that plague straight white men. [Trailer]
  • "The End of the Tour" (July 31)
    A24
    Directed by James Ponsoldt • Written by Donald Margulies

    Starring Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Ron Livingston, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer and Anna Chlumsky

    What to expect: James Ponsoldt made a name for himself with "Smashed" and "The Spectacular Now," but this David Foster Wallace portrait is his true calling. Based on a Rolling Stone journalist's five-day road trip with the "Infinite Jest" author, "The End of the Tour" is a revelation for Jason Segel, who portrays Wallace, as well as another successful tally mark for the biopic genre. Keep it on your radar throughout Oscar season.
  • "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" (Aug. 7)
    Sony Pictures Classics
    Written and directed by Marielle Heller

    Starring Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård and Christopher Meloni

    What to expect: One of the most inspired coming-of-age tales in years, the '70s-set "Diary of a Teenage Girl" introduces us to Bel Powley, who is remarkable as a dumpy teenager engaging in an affair with her mother's boyfriend. That mother is portrayed by Kristen Wiig, who might just one-up her "Welcome to Me" performance with this self-absorbed, Patty Hearst-obsessed character, and the boyfriend is Alexander Skarsgård, whose delicate turn underscores the movie's sketch of the post-hippie unrest that broiled through American culture.
  • "The Gift" (Aug. 7)
    STX Entertainment
    Written and directed by Joel Edgerton

    Starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton and Allison Tolman

    What to expect: Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut with a thriller about a young couple hoodwinked by an old acquaintance who shows up bearing secrets. [Trailer]
  • "Grandma" (Aug. 21)
    Sony Pictures Classics
    Written and directed by Paul Weitz

    Starring Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Nat Wolff and Sam Elliott

    What to expect: It's time for The Lilisance, because Lily Tomlin, at 75, has earned what may be the role of her career, playing a lesbian poet helping her granddaughter accrue money for an abortion. Humorous and poignant, "Grandma" deserves to kick-start Tomlin's Oscar talk.
  • "Sleeping with Other People" (Aug. 21)
    IFC
    Written and directed by Leslye Headland

    Starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Natasha Lyonne, Amanda Peet and Adam Scott

    What to expect: The director of 2013's raunchy "Bachelorette" is back with a movie that's perhaps even raunchier. But "Sleeping with Other People" is also an ode to romantic comedies, with a womanizer (Jason Sudeikis) and a serial cheater (Alison Brie) struggling to make sense of their platonic relationship. Come for a mustachioed Adam Scott as Brie's romantic hangup, stay for Sudeikis using an empty plastic bottle to teach Brie to masturbate.
  • "She's Funny That Way" (Aug. 21)
    Clarius Entertainment
    Directed by Peter Bogdanovich • Written by Peter Bogdanovich and Louise Stratten

    Starring Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Kathryn Hahn, Will Forte, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Aniston and Cybill Shepherd

    What to expect: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach backed Peter Bogdanovich's first big-screen release in 14 years simply to ensure it got made. The results offer a troop of A-listers whose monogamy-handicapped characters intersect amid the backdrop of the Broadway community. [Trailer]
  • "American Ultra" (Aug. 21)
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Directed by Nima Nourizadeh • Written by Max Landis

    Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman and Tony Hale

    What to expect: Lionsgate announced the release of this buzzy film just in time to make our summer preview, describing the plot thusly: "A stoner and his girlfriend's sleepy, small-town existence is disrupted when his past comes back to haunt him in the form of a government operation set to wipe him out." We're in.

Related on HuffPost:

  • "Avengers: Age of Ultron" (May 1)
    Marvel
    Writen and directed by Joss Whedon

    Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba and Samuel L. Jackson

    What to expect: The first blockbuster out of the gate could bulldoze the entire summer lineup. The original "Avengers," released in 2012, raked in $1.5 billion worldwide and became the third highest-grossing movie of all time. Its follow-up looks much grimmer, but the ever-expanding cast -- which this time includes James Spader as Ultron, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue -- won't leave Marvel's merry brand of superheroes hunting for loose change. [Trailer]
  • "Hot Pursuit" (May 8)
    Warner Bros.
    Directed by Anne Fletcher • Written by David Feeney and John Quaintance

    Starring Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Robert Kazinsky and John Carroll Lynch

    What to expect: The trailer didn't overwhelm us, but we'll buy tickets for anything that signals Reese Witherspoon's return to comedy. She plays a bumbling police officer who's called upon to protect the wife of a drug dealer (Sofia Vergara). [Trailer]
  • "Mad Max: Fury Road" (May 15)
    Warner Bros.
    Directed by George Miller • Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris

    Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Riley Keough and Zoë Kravitz

    What to expect: C'mon, have you seen the trailer? It is a smoking hot post-apocalyptic thrill ride with enough adrenaline to fuel a small nation. Directed by the same guy who made the 1979 original starring Mel Gibson, "Mad Max" looks like the summer's most promising reboot. [Trailer]
  • "Pitch Perfect 2" (May 15)
    Universal
    Directed by Elizabeth Banks • Written by Kay Cannon

    Starring Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Anna Camp and Hailee Steinfeld

    What to expect: The Barden Bellas are taking their act global, competing in a worldwide competition that no American group has ever won. If the trailers are reliable, prepare to hear "Before He Cheats," "Bootylicious," "Wrecking Ball" and “Run the World (Girls)" Don't miss it: "Pitch Perfect 3" is already warming up. [Trailer]
  • "Poltergeist" (May 22)
    20th Century Fox
    Directed by Gil Kenan • Written by David Lindsay-Abaire

    Starring Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino and Kyle Catlett

    What to expect: Jared Harris is no Zelda Rubinstein, but we're intrigued by this cast nonetheless -- not to mention screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire, who won the Pulitzer for "Rabbit Hole." The trouble will come in offering a fresh take on the 1982 original, which helped to set the template for haunted-house thrillers. [Trailer]
  • "Tomorrowland" (May 22)
    Disney
    Directed by Brad Bird • Written by Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird

    Starring Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw, Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer

    What to expect: Inspired by the Disney theme parks' futuristic vision of the same name, "Tomorrowland" casts George Clooney as an inventor who teams up with a curious teenager (Britt Robertson) to explore a mysterious place that transcends space and time. Disney has been teasing this movie since 2011, and it wasn't until last month's trailer teased something about parallel realities and fixing the future (nice to see you again, "Interstellar") that we got legitimate clues regarding the strange world(s) this movie inhabits. [Trailer]
  • "San Andreas" (May 29)
    Warner Bros.
    Directed by Brad Peyton • Written by Allan Loeb, Carlton Cuse, Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, Jeremy Passmore and Andre Fabrizio

    Starring Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatt, Kylie Minogue, Carla Gugino and Colton Haynes

    What to expect: Can Dwayne Johnson topline an action blockbuster as lucratively as he has the "Fast & Furious" sequels and brand-name fare like "Hercules" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation"? He's pretty much selling this movie solo style, unless people are naturally inclined to see a $100 million disaster flick about a California earthquake. What's that you say? "The Day After Tomorrow" grossed $544 million? Oh, okay. [Trailer]
  • "Aloha" (May 29)
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Written and directed by Cameron Crowe

    Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray and John Krasinski

    What to expect: Aloha, Cameron Crowe! The "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous" director's Hawaii-set romantic dramedy has been in the offing since 2008, when Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon were cast and the movie was going to be called "Deep Tiki." Seven years later, "Aloha" probably won't provide the box office's sunniest receipts, but with a cast this great, don't discount it as a potential sleeper hit -- that is, if Amy Pascal's hacked condemnation doesn't bode poorly for its performance. [Trailer]
  • "Entourage" (June 3)
    Warner Bros.
    Written and directed by Doug Ellin

    Starring Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and a trillion other people

    What to expect: You know the drill. The on-again, off-again big-screen update of the HBO comedy is finally here. The movie is expected to pick up six months after the events of 2011's series finale, with Ari footing the bill for Vince's costly directorial debut. The guys filmed footage at January's Golden Globes, so we'll see what all of that was about soon enough. [Trailer]
  • "Spy" (June 5)
    20th Century Fox
    Written and directed by Paul Feig

    Starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Jude Law and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

    What to expect: The action comedy is Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig's third movie together following "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat." Early reviews out of South by Southwest were largely glowing, praising the dynamic between McCarthy and the ever-funny Rose Byrne. [Trailer]
  • "Insidious: Chapter 3" (June 5)
    Focus Features
    Written and directed by Leigh Whannell

    Starring Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye

    What to expect: This is the first "Insidious" entry not directed by James Wan. Also out of commission are Patrick Wilson and Rose Bryne, which makes sense because we're now in prequel territory. You will, however, see medium Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) alive again after appearing as a ghost in "Insidious: Chapter 2." In this one, a teenage girl faces paranormal hauntings. [Trailer]
  • "Jurassic World" (June 12)
    Universal
    Directed by Colin Trevorrow • Written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly

    Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Omar Sy, Jake Johnson and B. D. Wong

    What to expect: After 14 years of endless development rumors, a new "Jurassic Park" is finally upon us -- and it stars Mr. Movie Star 2015 himself, Chris Pratt. We'll see what "Safety Not Guaranteed" director Colin Trevorrow -- the latest in a long line of indie auteurs who've transitioned to big-budget spectacles -- can cook up in Steven Spielberg's prehistoric lab. [Trailer]
  • "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" (June 12)
    Fox Searchlight
    Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon • Written by Jesse Andrews

    Starring Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon and Connie Britton

    What to expect: Praised at Sundance as this summer's "The Fault in Our Stars," the twee "Me and Early and the Dying Girl" notched one of the festival's most lucrative distribution deals and won the grand jury prize. Based on Jesse Andrews' 2012 young-adult novel, this may just be the movie to rescue you from the summer's high-octane lineup. [Trailer]
  • "Inside Out" (June 19)
    Pixar
    Directed by Pete Docter • Written by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley

    Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader. Mindy Kaling. Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan and John Ratzenberger

    What to expect: The season's most charming film, of course. Pixar's first new movie in two years will take us inside the mind of a teenage girl as she battles with the emotions that populate her head, each of whom is a distinct character (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust). Get ready: "Inside Out" will probably one of summer's highest-grossing releases. [Trailer]
  • "Ted 2" (June 26)
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Directed by Seth MacFarlane • Written by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild

    Starring Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman and Jessica Barth

    What to expect: Seth MacFarlane was dreaming up a "Ted" sequel before his dreadful hosting stint at the 2013 Oscars could convince anyone to turn their backs. So here we are. [Trailer]
  • "Terminator Genisys" (July 1)
    Paramount
    Directed by Alan Taylor • Written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier

    Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Matt Smith and J. K. Simmons

    What to expect: Arnold is back, this time with a new John Connor (Jason Clarke), Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). The war against the machines rages on in the franchise's time-travelling fifth installment, which has yet to explain why it thinks "Genisys" is a word. [Trailer]
  • "Magic Mike XXL" (July 1)
    Warner Bros.
    Directed by Gregory Jacobs • Written by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum

    Starring Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Andie Macdowell, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith and Elizabeth Banks

    What to expect: Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey and Steven Soderbergh have bid Xquisite adieu, but we have faith that "XXL" will indeed be a super-sized sequel. This one finds the boys traveling to a stripping convention in South Carolina. Along the way, raise a glass to Channing Tatum, Screenwriter. [Trailer]
  • "Minions" (July 10)
    Universal
    Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda • Written by Brian Lynch

    Starring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney and Steve Coogan

    What to expect: MONEY. Monumental foreign grosses left "Despicable Me 2" just shy of $1 billion. Expect the franchise's third outing -- technically a spin-off -- to be one of summer's most profitable titles, even without Steve Carell's Felonious Gru on hand. [Trailer]
  • "Ant-Man" (July 17)
    Marvel
    Directed by Peyton Reed • Written by Adam McKay and Paul Rudd

    Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Judy Greer and Michael Douglas

    What to expect: "Ant-Man" is Marvel's second title of the summer, and all eyes will be looking to glean whether its box-office haul lives up to the studio's precedent. After the movie gestated for 13 years, director Edgar Wright dropped out due to reported battles with Marvel president Kevin Feige. But who are we kidding? This is Paul Rudd in a comic-book movie. It's safe to assume people will buy tickets. [Trailer]
  • "Trainwreck" (July 17)
    Michael Buckner via Getty Images
    Directed by Judd Apatow • Written by Amy Schumer

    Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, Vanessa Bayer, Brie Larson and Colin Quinn

    What to expect: Amy Schumer is making her big-screen debut in this comedy about a commitment-phobic magazine writer who may have to rethink her approach to dating after she meets a winning gent (Bill Hader). "Trainwreck" was a hit at its South by Southwest premiere, giving us summer's best hope for a traditional rom-com. Oh, and say hello to LeBron James, Movie Star. [Trailer]
  • "Pan" (July 24)
    Warner Bros.
    UPDATE, April 20: Never mind, Warner Bros. has delayed this movie until Oct. 9 to avoid competing with the others on this list.

    Directed by Joe Wright • Written by Jason Fuchs

    Starring Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried and Cara Delevingne

    What to expect: Joe Wright is known for sweeping period pieces like "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement," and it doesn't appear that he's abandoned those sensibilities for this live-action "Peter Pan" update. It offers origin stories for the titular boy and Captain Hook, played in his younger days by Garrett Hedlund. [Trailer]
  • "Paper Towns" (July 24)
    20th Century Fox
    Directed by Jake Schreier • Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

    Starring Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Justice Smith and Austin Abrams

    What to expect: We already christened "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" the next "Fault in Our Stars," so let's call "Paper Towns" the next "Godfather" -- if Nat Wolff is to be believed. Teens (and adults alike) will line up once again at the John Green Tabernacle, this time with fewer tear-drenched reactions. [Trailer]
  • "Pixels" (July 24)
    Columbia
    Directed by Chris Columbus • Written by Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling

    Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Jane Krakowski

    What to expect: We're dubious of anything that asks Adam Sandler and Kevin James to share screentime, but the premise of "Pixels" -- in which Pac-Man and other arcade characters rampage Earth -- sounds too fun to pass up. Plus, it has Peter Dinklage with a mullet and a laser canon. [Trailer]
  • "Southpaw" (July 24)
    The Weinstein Company
    Directed by Antoine Fuqua • Written by Kurt Sutter and Richard Wenk

    Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson

    What to expect: After the triple threat of "Prisoners," "Enemy" and "Nightcrawler," we will follow Jake Gyllenhaal into the day after tomorrow (and every day after that). In "Southpaw," he plays a onetime, wildly jacked boxer attempting to stage a career comeback. [Trailer]
  • "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" (July 31)
    Paramount
    Directed by Christopher McQuarrie • Written by Drew Pearce and Will Staples

    Starring Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames and Alec Baldwin

    What to expect: If all you operating thetans out there can still stomach Tom Cruise movies, here's Ethan Hunt assembling his crew to take down an enigmatic group of assassins known as the Syndicate. [Trailer]
  • "Vacation" (July 31)
    Warner Bros.
    Written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

    Starring Starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann, Chris Hemsworth and Charlie Day

    What to expect: Rusty Griswold is all grown up, but he's staying true to good ol' dad by road-tripping across the country to Walley World, which is about to close its doors forever. Whether the "National Lampoon's Vacation" franchise still has juice in it will soon be seen, but fear not: The elder Griswolds (Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo) do make a cameo.
  • "Fantastic Four" (Aug. 7)
    20th Century Fox
    Directed by Josh Trank • Written by Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater

    Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey and Tim Blake Nelson

    What to expect: Milers Teller has teased a "more mature approach" to this particular "Fantastic Four" reboot, which offers origin stories for Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) and Sue Storm (Kate Mara). [Trailer]
  • "Ricki and the Flash" (Aug. 7)
    TriStar
    Directed by Jonathan Demme • Written by Diablo Cody

    Starring Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Kevin Kline, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield and Audra McDonald

    What to expect: We'll have to endure a lot of supersized visual effects before getting to this summer's real highlight: Meryl Streep singing Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen hits as the frontwoman of a cover band -- in a movie from Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") and Diablo Cody ("Juno"), no less. We would give up every summer movie for this one. Every. Single. One.
  • "Straight Outta Compton" (Aug. 14)
    Universal
    Directed by F. Gary Gray • Written by Jonathan Herman, Alan Wenkus, S. Leigh Savidge and Andrea Berloff

    Starring Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr, Paul Giamatti and Keith Stanfield

    What to expect: In a time when racist police brutality is at the fore of America's culture wars, a biopic about N.W.A. -- whose debut album, "Straight Outta Compton," rebelled against authoritative abuse -- is especially timely. The film will chronicle the seminal hip-hop group's rise and fall. [Trailer]
  • "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." (Aug. 14)
    Warner Bros.
    Directed by Guy Ritchie • Written by Lionel Wigram and Guy Ritchie

    Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Debicki and Alicia Vikander

    What to expect: So many big-name directors (Steven Soderbergh!) and stars (Ryan Gosling! Leonardo DiCaprio!) were considered for this film at one point or another that we can't help but remain curious. Henry Cavill hasn't made a movie since "Man of Steel," but let's see if his comedic chops pay proper tribute to the 1960s spy classic. [Trailer]
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