This summer in cinema
The best movies you might have missed
By Colin Macgillivray, Arts Editor
Oh, summer time. The time of year where we foolhardily tell ourselves we will save our money, get in shape and make the most of the precious reprieve from studying and exams.
Whether you stuck to your summer goals or lackadaisically roamed your basement without a care in the world, one constant during summertime is the abundance of blockbuster flicks and independent hits that have made their way to movie theatres and streaming services.
The warm months are often riddled with movies that have a penchant for style, rather than substance. But, there are always those films that leave an impression even when it is ridiculously hot out or the city is covered in smoke.
Whether you watched 100 movies this summer or completely missed out, here are some of the best cinematic moments you might have missed so you can catch up before the school year really gets underway.
Despite only having two feature length films under his belt, Bart Layton has already emerged as a true-crime documentary tour-de-force. With American Animals — a film based on the true story of a library heist that happened at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 2004 — Layton seamlessly weaves a compelling mix of documentary-style interviews and cinematic crime-drama flare.
In an interesting decision, Layton frequently jumps between interviews with real people and the events themselves performed by actors. It’s never jarring, and legitimizes the otherwise unbelievable heist that the film is based on.
A witty, tense and ultimately entertaining narrative drama that has its roots in documentary filmmaking, American Animals is one of the most underrated films of the summer.
Ari Aster’s directorial debut, the psychological-horror Hereditary will be the best horror movie this year.
As premature as that statement may seem, I can’t imagine seeing another horror film this year that so expertly brings the classic paranormal, haunting framework into the modern era of horror.
Following a family who are haunted by the death of their secretive grandmother, Hereditary boasts some legitimate award calibre performances. Toni Collette is particularly notable in her role as Annie Graham, the tortured matriarch of the family. Caricature-like performances are often littered through horror movies, but luckily, every member of the cast delivers human, emotionally-charged performances that make Hereditary stand out.
Hereditary is brimming with brilliant performances, haunting cinematography, an inventive story and arguably one of the most horrific visuals I’ve seen in quite a while. If you haven’t seen it yet, wait for Halloween and enjoy some nightmare-fuel.
It pains me to say it, but the soul-sucking, scientologist, superstar Tom Cruise might be a part of one of the greatest action movies of all time, with Mission: Impossible – Fallout serving as the epitome of the summer blockbuster.
Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie clearly treated the sixth installment into the Mission: Impossible franchise as his baby, taking an almost a ludicrous amount of care while crafting some of the most jaw-dropping and heart-stopping action sequences I have ever seen.
The plot itself is predictable, formulaic and honestly not that exciting in and of itself, but there are just enough ridiculous stunts and intense action set-pieces to make this more than your run-of-the-mill action movie.
See this on the biggest screen you can, you won’t regret it.
One of the most human, realistic and cringeworthy — in the best way possible — realizations of the titular time period on screen, Eighth Grade manages to break from conventional Hollywood tropes, making it a refreshing, nuanced approach to junior high.
Fans of Burnham’s standup comedy work will definitely appreciate the humour that is strewn throughout arguably one of the most honest depictions of those awkward years we have all gone through.
Elsie Fisher will most likely be forgotten come award season, but her seemingly effortless performance as 13-year-old Kayla Day is certainly star-making. In a few months time, Burnham’s script, too, may be lost in the awards-shuffle, but it should definitely be in the conversation.
If you’ve ever been in eighth grade, this movie is for you.
Won’t You Be My Neighbour?
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville intimately approaches the storied life of Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers fame with grace and respect. Rogers isn’t treated as a god, but his achievements, life and ultimately his genuine goodness are presented masterfully.
Even if you never grew up watching Mister Rogers as a kid, learning about the television pioneer and being awestruck by his kind personality is refreshing. Especially in a day and age where we are bombarded by horrific people, horrific things and nonsense on a daily basis, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? allows us to take a step back and understand someone who truly wanted to do good.
This summer was shockingly good. As a film lover, I occasionally dread summertime because there is usually nothing to watch, other than superhero flicks, unnecessary sequels or terrible comedies.
But, both Sicario: Day of the Soldado and the long-awaited Incredibles 2 managed to stay fresh and have a unique voice as sequels, all the while staying true and paying homage to the worlds built in the first movies.
Upgrade was a hit with fans of violent action and buckets of blood and gore. As an occasionally clichéd action-horror, Upgrade offers some disgustingly-cool imagery while giving us a glimpse into a grisly, sci-fi future.
Avengers: Infinity War was certainly a superhero movie. Although the internet collectively lost their marbles at the ending, the relationships between characters from different films really made this a bit better than typical Marvel garbage. Either way, it was a ridiculously entertaining movie-going experience.
Then, there are all the movies I haven’t even seen yet!
Crazy Rich Asians, Sorry To Bother You and BlacKkKlansman are all films that came out in the past month that are on my radar, and thats in addition to the countless movies I’ve likely missed out on as well.
All in all, the summer was pretty great for movies. So, instead of starting your first essay of the semester, go watch a couple of these. You’ll regret it, but you’ll hopefully have a good time.