The late-spring chill has officially lifted and summer is gearing up in full swing. Soon we’ll be following up our sun-soaked afternoons looking for a cool place to spend our evenings — and what better escape than the confines of a dark theater? BAMcinemaFest begins next week and will kick off a summer of incredible new features that highlight the best in American independent cinema, but there’s even more to choose from in the coming months. From Joshua Oppenheimer’s brave and harrowing documentary The Look of Silence and Xavier Dolan’s visceral and thrilling Tom at the Farm to Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s screwball sensation Mistress America and everything in between, we’ve rounded up Part 2 of our most anticipated summer movies.
Check out our list below, see Part 1 HERE, and stayed tuned for interviews with the filmmakers throughout the summer.
THE LOOK OF SILENCE, Joshua Oppenheimer
Release Date: July 17, 2015
In the summer of 2013, we were absolutely blown away and devastated by director Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing. The groundbreaking and evocative film explored the perpetrators behind the Indonesian genocide that occurred in the mid-1960s, a mass murdering of communists and Chinese by the death squad leaders who ushered in a regime of fear over the nation. In that film, we witnessed as Oppenheimer asked the now aged and troubled leaders to recreate their crimes in a highly theatrical and shocking way.
Now, his follow up, The Look of Silence is again a raw and extremely personal look into the terrifying psyche of the men behind the genocide. We’ve noted that both films exist “in the dichotomy of pure evil without remorse and the denial of that villainy in order to survive, and the result is a brilliantly executed exploration into a horrifying truth never before uncovered.” Here, a man whose family was destroyed by the death his brother, confronts those who committed the heinous acts and lies their veil of silence. The Look of Silence as profoundly harrowing as it stunning—perhaps even more so this time around as the perpetrators are simply speaking as themselves and not acting. It’s not a film for the faint of heart, but remains a hugely important work from one of the best documentary filmmakers we have.
Stay turned for our forthcoming interview with Oppenheimer in July.
THE END OF THE TOUR, James Ponsoldt
Release Date: July 31, 2015
There’s a sincerity and genuine touch to the films of James Ponsoldt. Whether he’s telling the story of a young alcoholic woman struggling to maintain her career and marriage or exploring the murky and confusing territory of being a high school student unsure of the future, he manages to invade these small and specific worlds with authenticity and tenderness. With his latest film, The End of the Tour, we again see feel that unique touch in the way he examines a brief period of time in the life of beloved writer David Foster Wallace.
Starring Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as writer David Lipsky, The End of the Tour begins when Lipsky decides to profile Wallace for Rolling Stone and joins him on the road for the last leg of his book tour. Mainly consisting of intimate conversations between the two men as they eat candy, chain smoke, and debate everything from artistic integrity and the pain of loneliness to Wallace’s rumored heroin addiction and his sartorial choices, Ponsoldt crafts a well-rounded and human portrait of one of the literary world’s most celebrated artists as he grapples with success.
The film will open BAMcinemaFest next Wednesday before it heads to theaters in July.
TANGERINE, Sean Baker
Release Date: July 10, 2015
After premiering at Sundance back in January, Sean Baker’s Tangerine will finally head to theaters this summer. Following up 2012’s Starlett, Baker’s latest impressive film opened to a wealth of great reviews out of the festival and brings to light a unique look at world rarely explored in cinema—and it was all shot on an iPhone. Starring newcomers Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor with James Ransone, the film goes as follows:
“It”s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (Ransone) hasn”t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity.”
Before Tangerine rolls into theaters in July, you can catch it on closing night of BAMcinemaFest.
TOM AT THE FARM, Xavier Dolan
Release Date: August 14, 2015
Xavier Dolan is not only prolific, but with each film he keeping getting better and better. Not only has he begun to hone his directorial style—and all his beautiful flourishes—but he’s always taken risks and experimented with the genre of his work. Tom at the Farm, which only found a U.S. distributor as of late, is one of Dolan’s most interesting features yet and is certainly a departure from his other work. As a haunting and psychologically stimulating thriller, the film dials down Dolan’s affinity for grandiose aesthetics and love stories—but as we’ve noted, “‘minimal’ in Dolan language still being a slightly heightened view of the world.”
Based on a stage play by Michel-Marc Bouchard, Tom at the Farm gives us, “another taste of his talents with a bizarre, kinky, and violent tale .” It’s a, online casino “nightmarish journey about a mourning young man who goes to the country to the family home of his deceased lover. Upon arriving he realizes that his man’s mother knows nothing of their relationship, while his thuggish brother won’t stop at anything to keep it that way. Set in the deep, damp farmlands of Quebec, the story of psychological manipulation plays out with cunning anxiety and bizarre tangents, finding a odd and sickly sense of humor even in its brutality.”
MISTRESS AMERICA, Noah Baumbach
Release Date: August 15, 2015
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig are at it again. Following up the success of their 2013 black-and-white wonder Frances Ha, the cinematic duo has re-teamed for their take on the screwball comedy, once again featuring the multi-talented Gerwig in the starring role. Whereas in Frances Ha Gerwig played this hapless New York post-grad amidst an existential crisis of the heart, now we see her as Brooke, a scheming “gal about town.” The film follows as Brooke becomes acquainted with her soon-to-be stepsister Tracy (played by Lola Kirke), a college freshman, and takes her under her strange and alluring wing. As evidenced by Frances Ha in comparison to While We’re Young, it seems Baumbach is at his best these days when working with Gerwig, melding their affinity for witty and intelligent dialogue and character details that draw you into their world and bring you along for the ride.
A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON, Les Blank
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Although legendary documentarian Les Blank’s Poem is Naked Person was filmed between 1972 and 1974, the previously unreleased film didn’t have its world premiere until this year’s SXSW film festival. But this summer Blank’s incredible time capsule, and first feature-length work, will have the proper theatrical release it’s due. The intimate and immersive film acts a beautiful time capsule of a generation, focusing on songwriter Leon Russell. Brimming with music from beginning the end, we’re given another taste of Blank’s fascinating cinematic style with performance footage (featuring Willie Nelson and George Jones) and fly-on-the-wall observations, all shot on gorgeous 16mm.
Described as an, “ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism,” A Poem is Naked Person, “lets us into the world of Russell and his friends and fellow artists in and around his recording studio in northeast Oklahoma, capturing intimate, off-the-cuff moments and combining them with mesmerizing scenes of Russell and his band performing live. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status; now after more than forty years it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty.”
See the film BAMcinemaFest before it heads to theaters in July.
MAGIC MIKE XXL, Gregory Jacobs
Release Date: July 1, 2015
With the release of Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, the summer of 2012 was a notch hotter than usual. The world was wooed by Channing Tatum’s dance movies, Matthew McConaughey chaps, Joe Manganiello, and the rest of the strange intricacies of male stripper world. Directed, shot, and edited by Soderbergh the film was a massive success, and naturally, demanded a followup—and this summer, Magic Mike XXL will lap dance its way into theaters.
This time around, the film is directed by frequent Soderbergh collaborator Gregory Jacobs, putting him in the hot seat and Soderbergh in the roles of cinematographer, editor, and producer. Once again starring Tatum, Manganiello, and Matt Bomer—alongside wonderful ladies Elizabeth Banks and Jada Pinkett-Smith—XXL has been described as a road-trip movie, in which the “Kings of Tampa” head to Myrtle Beach for a blow-out performance. Judging from the trailer this is sure to be just as pleasurable and steamy as the first.