10 films to beat the 2015 blockbuster fatigue

Fed up of summer blockbusters, and looking for some more diverse films to watch in the month ahead? Here are some recommendations...

If you haven’t seen it yet, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is the kind of film that ruins you for other blockbusters. Handily, it was deployed right at the end of July, right around the time that most of us have had our blocks thoroughly busted. As we’ve noted around this time in recent years, you might even be feeling a little fatigued with the smashy-bangy of it all.

But the big movies will keep coming through August. Still to come this month, as blockbuster season winds down, are films like Adam Sandler’s video game-themed sci-fi comedy Pixels, horror sequel Sinister 2, and reboots galore in the form of Fantastic Four, Hitman: Agent 47, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

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Before you know it, it’ll be time to get excited about the huge movies that are still to come in 2015, including SPECTRE, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, and, of course, Star Wars – The Force Awakens. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something more low-key in the cinema this month we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 films to look out for in cinemas in the cool-down period of this hectic summer season.

Maggie

We hope that it wouldn’t be damning Maggie with faint praise to say that it’s the best film Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in this century, but arriving in cinemas a few weeks after the widespread disappointment with Terminator Genisys, this one is a marked change of pace for the star. Surprisingly, Arnie plus zombies does not necessarily equal blockbuster action and this is his lowest-budgeted film since the original Terminator, back in 1984.

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The world is already saved from a recent outbreak of zombification when the film begins and Henry Hobson’s film is a measured and often moving take on what it will cost one family to get back to normal. Schwarzenegger plays a loving father who brings his infected daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin) home and the film follows her last days at home as she gradually turns gribbly.

Where can I see it? It’s still playing in selected cinemas nationwide and it’s well worth a look if it’s showing near you.

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The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

We bet you didn’t expect to see a comic book movie on this list. But far from the Marvel cinematic universe, this is more in line with indie adaptations like Blue Is The Warmest Color or Ghost World from this coming-of-age comedy, which is adapted from Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel. It’s another film festival favourite and it arrives in cinemas garlanded with rave reviews following its debut at this year’s Sundance.

In the film, Bel Powley, who stole the show as Princess Margaret in May’s under-seen regal romp A Royal Night Out, plays Minnie Goetze, a teenage cartoonist whose sexual awakening in 1970s San Francisco is complicated by Monroe, (Alexander Skarsgård) a 35-year-old man who’s dating her mother (Kristen Wiig). For those who enjoyed The DUFF earlier this year, this looks to be another fresh and funny teen sex comedy, with buckets of indie cred for good measure.

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Where can I see it? In selected cinemas nationwide from Friday.

The Gift

2015 has already seen directorial débuts from seasoned actors like Robert Carlyle, Russell Crowe, and Ryan Gosling, and now it’s Joel Edgerton’s turn. The Gift is a psychological thriller produced by the mainstream horror maestros at Blumhouse, (who will also be giving us Sinister 2 later this month) which will be looking to chill our spines this week.

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Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall star as Simon and Robyn, a couple who have got it made until one of Simon’s classmates from high school, Gordo, (Edgerton) shows up on their doorstep. Although he seems friendly enough, offering gifts and hanging out with the couple socially, things quickly spiral out of control with Robyn caught in the middle of a mysterious grudge between her neighbour and her husband.

Where can I see it? In cinemas nationwide from Friday.

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Marshland

If you’ve seen the second season of True Detective as a let-down, Marshland is here to… well, not cheer you up, that’s for sure. This acclaimed drama won ten Goyas at this year’s Spanish Academy Awards comes with laden with comparisons to HBO’s moody detective noir from all quarters.

Set in the wetlands of Andalusia at the start of Spain’s transition to democracy in the 1980s, the film follows two homicide detectives- one a seasoned cynic and the other an outspoken progressive – who have to put aside their differences and catch the predator who has been kidnapping and murdering young girls in a backwater community. It’s a much darker film than is typical for this time of year, but it’s an undeniably effective procedural chiller.

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Where can I see it? In selected cinemas nationwide from Friday.

Absolutely Anything

In terms of British comedy, we’ve been looking forward to Bill, the William Shakespeare comedy from the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland, for quite some time and although it was due to arrive this month, its release date now seems to be up in the air, or it would certainly have made this list. Happily, we’ve got the new film from Monty Python, Absolutely Anything to look forward to instead.

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Taking a cue or two from Douglas Adams, the long-gestating film project is about a group of aliens (voiced by the Python crew) who decide that the Earth will be demolished unless an ordinary man called Neil (Simon Pegg) can prove that he can use absolute power for good. The stellar cast of comedians also includes Joanna Lumley, Eddie Izzard, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal, Rob Riggle and the voice of the late, great Robin Williams – for the cast alone, it’s a must-see.

Where can I see it? In cinemas nationwide from 14th August.

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Trainwreck

It shouldn’t be so surprising that Trainwreck has been such a big sleeper hit at the US box office. Anyone who’s seen Inside Amy Schumer or sampled any of the star’s comedy elsewhere should know that she’s funny, but in domestic figures, the film is snapping at the heels of some of the year’s expected box office smashes like Terminator Genisys. Put simply, it could be the most financially successful film on our list when all is said and done – the audience is obviously there for it.

Schumer wrote the film, and stars in it as a woman who doesn’t believe in monogamy, while Judd Apatow takes the director’s chair. Aside from the always brilliant Bill Hader as the romantic lead, the film also boasts an unusual turn from John Cena, a supporting role from Brie Larson, and a nigh-unrecognisable Tilda Swinton amongst its cast. 

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Where can I see it? Now playing!

Paper Towns

One of the biggest hits of last summer, financially speaking, was The Fault In Our Stars, which made the most of counter-programming and the loyal fanbase of John Green’s bestselling novel. Fox hopes for another hit with Paper Towns, again adapted from one of Green’s books by TFIOS screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.

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Quentin (Nat Wolff) has always been in love with his neighbour Margo (Cara Delevingne) from afar, but spends one memorable night with her as she takes elaborate revenge on her cheating boyfriend. By the next morning, Margo has mysteriously disappeared, leaving Quentin and his friends to follow the clues she left behind.

Where can I see it? Now playing!

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The Wolfpack

We’re all movie geeks here and this documentary follows a unique bunch of movie geeks in an extraordinary situation. In 2010, director Crystal Moselle bumped into six teenage kids with waist-long hair, dressed in suits and sunglasses like the bank robbers from Reservoir Dogs.

As it turned out, these siblings had been confined to an apartment in Manhattan for the last 14 years, with their only understanding of the outside world coming from movies like Reservoir Dogs. While the true story is fascinating enough by itself, it’s the movie aspect that pays testament to the power of pop culture to unite us, no matter what our experiences.

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American Ultra

Last year, we included Luc Besson’s Lucy in our list, as an action movie that blipped on our radar as something very different to the kind of action movies we’d seen up to that point in the summer. Audiences went with it all the same and it went on to be a worldwide hit, seemingly based on word of mouth from those who were wowed by its fight scenes and tonal surrealness.

This year, we’re hoping that American Ultra will give action cinema a shot in the arm, in between tentpoles. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and written by Max Landis, (Chronicle) the film stars Jesse Eisenberg as a stoned sleeper agent who is activated just as his handlers decide to write him off, resulting in shooting, fighting and general carnage. Although it’s another actioner, the trailer for this one looks like nothing else that’s coming out, so we’ve got high hopes.

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Where can I see it? Opens August 21st.

45 Years

Finally, if you’re looking to get the jump on next year’s awards season, this would be the one for you. Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling play Geoff and Kate, a couple who are about to celebrate their 45th anniversary when some terrible news about an old flame of Geoff’s throws their entire relationship into doubt and uncertainty.

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From Andrew Haigh, the director of the wonderful romantic drama Weekend, we’re excited to see if this one measures up to the hype. 45 Years made a splash at the Berlin Film Festival where both Rampling and Courtenay scooped Silver Bear awards for their performances and it’s going to be released simultaneously on VOD along with its cinema release, making for an easy transition out of the summer and into the more prestigious fare that will populate the release calendar between now and next February.

Where can I see it? In selected cinemas nationwide and on video on demand services from 28th August

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Tell us what you’re looking forward to in the comments – be sure to let us know if you think we’ve missed out on any films that might deserve a bit more attention in cinemas and on VOD this month.

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