It sure has been an eventful summer, superheroes, sequels, and epic set pieces have once again dominated the cinematic landscape, but not here, here at From The Projection Room we have given you alternatives to the blockbuster season and now it’s time to look at August. Traditionally August is slower on the blockbuster front but it doesn’t mean there are mainstream films that over shadow some incredible indie fare. Because of that I’m going to give you three more indie alternatives to the studio produced films of the main stream, let’s get started.
Since these posts have largely been about the lack of original concepts in the mainstream blockbuster films and this month is no different. We’re going to look at two remakes and a sequel that all have the chance to try something new but I feel will simply retread a number of tropes we’ve seen a million times.
First up is Fantastic Four, the story of four friends who acquire super human abilities because of a scientific experiment gone wrong. For those keeping track this is the forth live action Fantastic Four film, the first, The Fantastic Four famously produced by Roger Corman in 1994 it was completed and promoted but then pulled from the release schedule, because of this most people have never seen it but those who have often talk about how bad it was. Eleven years later Hollywood decided it was time again and release Fantastic Four directed by Tim Story, for those keeping count this is now two incarnations of this super team. The 2005 film wasn’t received particularly well but did receive a sequel in 2007’s Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer. The sequel performed so poorly that it ended this incarnation of the team. This year we receive Fantastic Four directed by Josh Trank, the third origin story film we’ve seen for the team in 20 years. By the time this article is released we’ll know whether this film is going to receive the hate that it’s predecessors have but my guess is it will. Why would you put yourself through that when you can watch a truly original super hero film that doesn’t have a multi million dollar budget. Instead of watching Reed Richards and his team get their powers, again, how about checking out the 2012 independend superhero film Alter Egos. Written and directed by Jordan Galland Alter Egos is the story of a hero, Fridge, having an existential crisis involving his alter ego Brendan and his interactions with his girlfriend Claudel. This film is low budget, fun, inventive, and while it’s not perfect it’s definitely something worth watching. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say if the girl you’re dating has a crush on your alter ego is it cheating?
The second film we’re looking at this week is Hitman: Agent 47, because I did for Fantastic Four, let’s look at the history of this reboot. Hitman started as a successful video game franchise developed by IO Interactive with it’s first release in 2000. The game and it’s narrative structure seemed like the perfect video game for a film so in 2007 we got one with Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant the film did not perform particularly well in theaters so of course Hollywood decided a reboot was in order. It’s only been 8 years since the first Hitman film failed to make a splash at the cinemas but this year we’re getting the reboot Hitman: Agent 47 starring Rupert Friend and Zachary Quinto. Why watch the same old secret agent assassin film with chaotic camera work and a plot that feels like a photocopy when you can watch the amazing 2011 Indonesian action film The Raid. For those of you who haven’t seen The Raid stop reading this and go watch it because it is that good. Fast paced, violent, and exciting this film is what action movies are meant to be. Written and directed by British film maker Gareth Evans The Raid tells the story of a S.W.A.T. unit infiltrating an apartment complex filled with drug dealers, gangsters, and all around bad dudes in order to bring down the head of a criminal organization. While the story doesn’t seem like it would lend itself to much originality it is the side stories and edge of you seat action scenes that make it something special. I will warn if graphic violence is something you’re uncomfortable with you might want to skip this one but more than likely wouldn’t be a fan of Hitman: Agent 47 either so we’re ok.
Finally, to close out August and our summer of indie alternatives I’m looking at the horror sequel Sinister 2. For those not familiar with the series Sinister 2 is the follow up to Sinister a film in which a number of grizzly family murders are all some how related throughout the years by an evil entity out to collect children. A typical demon out to kill a family just because it wants to. There was very little explanation of the evil entities actions in the original and the sequel doesn’t look that interested in answering any of those questions but rather just see how many times they can make you jump. This isn’t saying it won’t be good for horror fans who just want to be scared but before you do maybe you should watch, or more than likely rewatch, my recommended indie film The Evil Dead from 1981. The Evil Dead took the friends spending the weekend in a remote cabin trope and turned it on its head. Low budget and incredible this film is so beloved that it spawned two sequels ,Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, and a recent re-imagining also called Evil Dead and a forthcoming television series Ash Vs. The Evil Dead. Starring a young Bruce Campbell and directed by then unknown Sam Raimi The Evil Dead is everything you want from a low budget horror film and is one hell of a good time.
So there it is, it’s been a hot summer, and I’m sure you’ve watch a lot of movies, I just hope I helped you find some alternatives you were able to enjoy.