Eight Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Films to Break Through the Blockbuster Blues

A list of what our writer is most excited about this summer.

A lot of exciting independents, documentaries, and foreign films now completely skip most American theaters. We know that every man, woman and child will get a chance to see tentpole summer blockbusters like Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond on as many screens as they please, but many of the best movies of the season may never make it to mainstream America. Keeping that in mind, the East Bay typically is lucky enough to get all of the indie and foreign fare. Here’s a list of what I’m most excited about:

De Palma: A revealing documentary sit-down with the obsessive and often misunderstood maestro Brian De Palma, directed by De Palma fanboys Jake Paltrow and Noah Baumbach. This film is playing now in the Bay.

The Fits: Anna Rose Holmer’s festival darling features a potential breakthrough performance from newcomer Royalty Hightower (pictured), playing a tomboy boxer who joins a dance troupe. This film is also playing now in the Bay.

Chevalier: Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s darkly comic sendup of male competition concerns a group of men engaging in an unfathomable contest on a luxury yacht.

The Neon Demon: I was one of 11 people in the world who actually liked Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, and The Neon Demon looks like a double-down on that film’s seedy beauty.

Wiener-Dog: Writer-director Todd Solondz revisits his Welcome to the Dollhouse protagonist Dawn Wiener as an adult, now played by the wonderful Greta Gerwig.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: This is Taika Waititi’s follow-up to What We Do in the Shadows, and if those words don’t mean anything to you, stop screwing around and get to a VOD platform immediately.

Hell or High Water: A bank heist movie starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster sure doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, but I’m willing to give Starred Up director David Mackenzie the benefit of the doubt.

Gleason: Finders Keepers director J. Clay Tweel delivers this documentary about Steve Gleason, a former NFL player diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34.


Newsletter sign-up

eLert sign-up

clear sky
45.2 ° F
50 °
42 °
92 %
3 %
59 °
59 °
59 °
55 °
55 °