The Summer Movie season is officially upon us, but those who don’t want to limit their cinematic menu to Hollywood’s high-calorie, low-nutrition, mega-budget spectacles, do have alternatives. Here are some cool flicks that are fighting for attention amidst the media blitz that Hollywood lays down for their wannabe blockbusters.
ADORATION (June 5)
Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica) master of the cinematic puzzle, returns with another fractured tale of politics, guilt and the media. When a teenager’s made-up story that his father was a terrorist becomes an Internet-fueled phenomenon, he discovers he has unwittingly affected many lives and ends up uncovering the real hidden secrets of his family. Adoration is a mesmerizing exploration of the complex ties that bind us together and pull us apart.
BIG MAN JAPAN (June)
Daisatou is a quiet, unassuming guy who lives in a rundown Tokyo neighborhood. He’d like to get back together with his wife and spend more time with his daughter. Unfortunately, his job fighting giant monsters keeps getting in the way. Whenever those big critters that love attacking Japan so much turn up, Daisato has to blast himself with electricity and expand into a giant to fight them off. Hitoshi Matsumoto’s mockumentary is at once a delightfully deadpan satire of Japan’s legendary obsession with giant monsters and a surprisingly moving comedy about a man whose life is falling apart.
AWAY WE GO (June 19)
Working from a screenplay co-written by cult novelist Dave Eggers, filmmaker Sam Mendes has created a loose-limbed comedy about the fears and responsibilities of impending parenthood. Saturday Night Live’s Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski of The Office star as a pair of not-quite-grown-up folks who suddenly discover they are expecting a child. They set out on a cross-country trip supposedly in search of the right place to live but really, it’s an attempt to figure out what kind of life they want for themselves and their child.
FOOD INC. (June 29)
Most folks will eat almost anything that’s sold to them, but if you’d like to really know what you’re putting in your mouth, see Robert Kenner’s eye-opening exposé of our industrial food system. Kenner looks behind the rosy picture painted by the food industry to reveal the nightmare of factory farming, contaminated food, genetically-altered animals and vegetables, and also what individuals can do to fight the powers that be. This is the tasty revolution!
SOUL POWER (July 31)
When Muhammad Ali and George Foreman went to Zaire to fight their famous “Rumble in the Jungle,” a massive 3-day music festival was organized around the boxing match. The concert featured a stellar line-up of African-American, Latino and African musicians, including James Brown, BB King, Celia Cruz, The Spinners, Miriam Makeba and Tabu Ley Rochereau. The concert was filmed but the footage was tied up in legal issues for years. Now, filmmaker Jeffrey Levy-Hinte has cleared the rights and created a thrilling documentary that combines amazing performances, along with the gripping behind-the-scenes story of putting on a landmark music festival.
Dylan Skolnick loves all kinds of movies, from mindless Hollywood blockbusters to the most challenging art films, and everything in between. He hopes you’ll be just as adventurous. Dylan can be found most days and some nights at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, where he is a Co-Director.