The summer movie season is always dominated by big studio blockbusters. But in between ‘Avengers’ and ‘Jurassic World,’ Hollywood makes room for smaller films worth seeing. From Ian McKellen in ‘Mr. Holmes’ to Michael Fassbender in the Western ‘Slow West,’ here are 13 don't-miss indies coming soon to a theater near you.
Far from the Madding Crowd (May 1)
This adaptation of the classic Thomas Hardy novel – his fourth – stars Carey Mulligan as an independent farm owner torn over three suitors jockeying for her affection. Michael Sheen costars.
Maggie (May 8)
When you hear the phrase “Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in a zombie movie,” you probably picture a lot of explosions and one-liners. But ‘Maggie’ focuses more on the human drama as Ahnuld plays a desperate father struggling to protect his daughter (Abigail Breslin) after she becomes infected with a zombie virus.
Welcome to Me (May 8)
Kristen Wiig continues her trend of taking on outside-the-box comedic roles with her latest film, where she plays a mentally troubled woman who wins the lottery and uses her newfound fortune to create her own talk show.
Slow West (May 15)
At this point, any film starring Michael Fassbender is a safe bet. Here, the versatile leading man plays a rugged cowboy who chaperones a young, naive immigrant (Kodi Smit-McPhee) across the American West. Early reviews indicate that ‘Slow West’ has sleeper hit potential.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (June 12)
This comedic drama was a big hit on the festival circuit, and on June 12, audiences get to see what all the hype is about. It stars Thomas Mann as an awkward high schooler and aspiring filmmaker who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a terminal cancer patient (Olivia Cooke). Bring lots of tissues.
Dope (June 19)
If you're nostalgic about “the golden age of hip-hop” and all the trappings of early '90s music and fashion, this stylish coming-of-age movie is for you. Shameik Moore stars as Malcolm, an ambitious high school student dealing with the perils and temptations of Inglewood. Producer Forest Whitaker also narrates the film.
Infinitely Polar Bear (June 19)
Shortly after smashing his way through 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' Mark Ruffalo returns to theaters playing a father struggling with mental illness. Fellow Marvel alum Zoe Saldana (‘Guardians of the Galaxy’) plays Ruffalo’s estranged wife.
The Gallows (July 10)
If the recently released teaser is any indication, ‘The Gallows’ won’t just scare you. It will scar you for life. The low-budget horror film centers on a group of high schoolers who attempt to revive a play that resulted in a student's death 20 years before. Predictably, things go really bad again.
Self/less (July 10)
This intriguing sci-fi thriller is set in a world where science can transfer the consciousness of a dying person into a fresh, young body. Ben Kingsley plays a dying architect given the opportunity to restart his life in a skin suit that looks like Ryan Reynolds. Soon, the guy starts asking where his new body came from and men with guns show up.
Mr. Holmes (July 17)
Is there room for another take on Sherlock Holmes? If anyone can pull it off, it's Sir Ian McKellen. ‘Mr. Holmes’ focuses on the twilight of the great detective's career, as he struggles to maintain his once formidable mind while reopening a case from his past.
Paper Towns (July 24)
Following last summer's 'The Fault in Our Stars,' the latest film based on a John Green novel aims to hit big with the YA crowd too. Nat Wolff stars as Quentin, a teen who briefly reconnects with his childhood friend (Cara Delevingne) and is then compelled to solve the mystery of her sudden disappearance.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend (August 28)
Fifteen years after the original, 'Crouching Tiger' fans can finally get a sequel. Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as master swordswoman Yu Shu Lien, while 'Ip Man' star Donnie Yen costars. This film also has the distinction of being the first to hit theaters and Netflix on the same day.
Regression (August 28)
The trailer makes this look like another generic horror film, but 'Regression' is shaping up to be a promising psychological drama. The film focuses on a father accused of sexually abusing his daughter (Emma Watson). As a detective (Ethan Hawke) digs into the case, he uncovers signs of a larger conspiracy and the possible involvement of a satanic cult.