The 2016 Summer Blockbuster Season continues to unload popular franchises with Star Trek Beyond and Ice Age: Collision Course sharing multiplex screens with increasingly rare original stories like Lights Out, a PG-13 thriller about a family battling a female ghost in the dark from veteran horror producer James Wan.
Of course, this is also San Diego Comic-Con week with genre fans turning their attention to select footage from upcoming blockbusters such as Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, Kong: Skull Island and Justice League.
Comic-Con rightfully grabs the spotlight from the mid-summer releases. Really, can anything playing in cinemas match the comic book mythology of the Wonder Woman trailer? With that in mind, maybe this weekend is a good time to go off multiplex and spend time with some indie fare.
Actor Brady Corbet channels his career-long commitment to smart, independent cinema with his feature filmmaking debut with The Childhood of a Leader, a thriller about a young boy with the power to manipulate the people around him and set during World War I. Robert Pattinson and Bérénice Bejo co-star with Corbet co-writing the film with Mona Fastvold.
The Childhood of a Leader, from IFC Films, opens in choice art houses as well as VOD and multiple streaming platforms.
It’s 1971 and a young woman named Delphine (Izïa Higelin) relocates to Paris from her family’s rural farm. Helping her adjust to big city life is Carol, an older feminist (Cécile de France) who becomes her Parisian guide, friend, lover, and eventually follows Delphine back to rural France to help manage her family’s farm.
After success on the festival circuit, director Catherine Corsini’s drama Summertime (La belle saison) opens in select art houses like Manhattan’s IFC Center via Strand Releasing.
Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, makers of the popular animated feature A Cat In Paris, return with their latest cartoon noir, Phantom Boy, about a young New Yorker named Leo who can leave his body and travel like a ghost thanks to his phantom powers. When a gangster takes over the city’s power grid, Leo teams up with an injured police officer to save the day.
Phantom Boy, a welcome alternative to Hollywood fare like The Secret Life of Pets, continues to expand nationwide via the distributor Gkids.
Executive Producer Chris Eyre and director Jack Pettibone Riccobono present their documentary The Seventh Fire at New York City’s Metrograph. The Native American drama centers on Rob Brpwn, an Ojibwe Native American, and his friend Kevin, as they deal with drugs and gang culture on their White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota.
Chicago film buffs have a rare chance to see the Dept. Q Trilogy, a series of Scandi-crime films compared to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo stories at the Siskel Film Center. The Keeper of Lost Causes, The Absent One and A Conspiracy of Faith tell the stories of a disgraced police detective named Carl (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his younger partner (Fares Fares).
Finally, would-be franchise Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reignites the popular British TV comedy featuring the antics of publicist Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and her best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley). Fashion celebs like Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Lily Cole round out the cast of Mandi Fletcher’s Fox Searchlight release.