As the summer draws near, so does the release of blockbusters and cash-grabbers meant to draw in excited fans and earn millions of dollars. With highly anticipated franchise films like, Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad or sequels such as, Finding Dory and X Men: Apocalypse set to hit theatres, it is sometimes easy to overlook new and original ideas coming to the big screen at this time. I’ve taken some time to find a few original releases set to hit the theatres this summer, serving as a bookend to my first article this year about the lack of originality in modern cinema. I began this article with the intention of helping to give readers an advantage when promotional mediums seem to only tell part of the story. However, the further I went, the more I realized that many of the “original movies” set for theatres this summer seem very familiar, leaving viewers to judge for themselves whether or not these films really offer something new to audiences.
The Nice Guys: A conspiracy comes to light when a private eye looks into the suicide of a porn star. The film is set in the1970s, and while the 70s crime thriller aesthetic is not necessarily unique in recent years, following films like American Hustle and Inherent Vice, it still stands apart from the type of action in the many comic book films set for release this summer. The trailer also promises a lot of witty and charming humour. This film stars the likes of Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer and Kim Basinger and is directed by Shane Black, director of Iron Man.
The Shallows: A young woman, attacked by a great white shark, must fight for survival and find her way to safety. This one sounds a lot like The Revenant, which featured a now famous scene where the protagonist is attacked by a bear before being forced to fight for survival. This movie doesn’t have the historical significance or the star power of The Revenant to boost it, but if it bodes well with viewers and critics alike, it could mean a huge leap for its star Blake Lively (one of three actors credited in the cast thus far) and director Jaume Collet-Serra, currently best known for the likes of House of Wax, Orphan, Unknown and Non-Stop.
The Secret Life of Pets: This film takes us behind the scenes to show us what goes on when human pet owners leave the house. In this film, an alpha pet is offset in their place when the owner brings a new pet home, but they must overcome their differences in order to defeat a common enemy. Replace the word “pet” with “toy” in that last description and one might think that Toy Story will be re-released to theatres this summer. It is produced by Illumination Entertainment in collaboration with Universal Pictures and co-directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, so on the one hand we could get another Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2; but on the other hand, we risk another Minions all the same. Nevertheless, the movie features the voices of Lake Bell, Jenny Slate, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Louie C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Steve Coogan, so we can at least expect some good laughs along the way.
Don’t Breathe: A group of teens mistakenly think that they can con a local blind man after breaking into his home. I probably don’t have to explain the lack of originality behind the concept of a horror film where foolish young people think that they can take advantage of a social outsider and must fight for survival after they realize that they are wrong, so I’ll just jump to the major credits. This movie stars Jane Levy, best known for the 2013 Evil Dead remake, and Stephen Lang, probably best remembered as the villain in Avatar, and is directed by Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez. With horror movies, it is important to go in expecting consistency and fear at best. Horror movies are like mandatory courses: you don’t go in expecting to be really impressed or even enjoy them, but it’s a pleasant surprise when you do.