It’s very easy to know when a blockbuster film is released. There’s a 78% chance that at least 59% of your Facebook friends will each post a check-in when they go to the cinema in order to watch the new Avengers film, the hundredth Fast and Furious sequel, and similar flicks. They will also be in the highest grossing top of the IMDb homepage for what seems like an eternity, so the chances that you’ll miss such a release, even if you couldn’t care less about it, are very slim to non-existent.
But what about when an actually interesting, more niche-oriented film sees the light of day? It’s much easier to slip by undetected. And since we don’t want you to miss quality cinema, here’s a couple of very recently released films that you might have missed in-between the Oscar buzz and the spring blockbuster releases.
Written by Alex Garland, the man behind the excellent Ex Machina, and starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac, I was really looking forward to seeing this on the big screen. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it had no theatrical release outside North America – being considered a bit too intellectual for a mass audience and thus not making the investment of getting it in cinemas. It can only be found on streaming platforms, Netflix included.
After enjoying great success with the excellent, colourful and atypical The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson decided to make an animated film. About dogs. Set on an island. Hence, Isle of Dogs. With voice actors including Bryan Cranston, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Scarlett Johansson, the star-studded film has so far been watched by few, but praised by many.
Sure, The Death of Stalin was indeed nominated for two BAFTA awards this winter (it won neither), but it still didn’t get any major buzz. I was initially put off by the fact that hardened members of Stalin’s inner circle, as well as all other Soviets spoke perfect English (with either American or British accents), but then I conditioned myself to look at it as the parody it is, and enjoyed it very much as a result.
Over the last three years, we saw an influx of actually good horror films. The Witch, Don’t Breathe, Get Out and now this one. It is in a way similar to Don’t Breathe – both rely on a generally quiet ambiance to build atmosphere, and sound plays a key element. Most notably starring Emily Blunt, it is a very promising inroad in John Krasinski’s directorial career, who was previously best known for directing two episodes of The Office.
Foxtrot is a drama from the very successful Israeli director Samuel Maoz. It tells the story of a troubled family who have to come to terms with a surprising upturn at their son’s military post.
A nightmare-ish thriller, You Were Never Really Here centres around Joaquin Phoenix’s character, a traumatised war veteran who is now employed as a private investigator, who has to track down missing persons. Phoenix gives an amazing performance that should definitely get him noticed for some awards.