From Jurassic World: the Fallen Kingdom chopping away dollars to Avengers: Infinity War destroying the box office with the snap of a finger, it's hard to escape Hollywood's obsession with the norm. However, there are some great smaller films that have been released that deserve attention. Here are just 10 smaller films that you should try to see.
1. Drive (2011)
Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night. After one mission goes wrong, the driver is forced to fight for his life. Nicolas Winding Refn's drama is a great piece about crime in Los Angeles while also showcasing the beauty of the city at night with great cinematography. The film is also carried by a star-studded cast performance by Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Ron Pearlman, and an unrecognizable Albert Brooks.
2. Under the Skin (2013)
Loosely based on a novel by Michael Faber, this film stars Scarlett Johansson as a creature who roams the streets of Scotland praying on men. Every scene and every shot in this film is filled with doubt and tension due to the mystery surrounding Johansson's character. Through fantastic and haunting visuals, chilling music and a fantastic performance by Johansson, this is a story that will haunt and amaze all viewers.
3. Her (2013)
Spike Jonze's piece is about Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a love note writer who is depressed following his recent divorce, falling in love with an operating system he installed on his phone (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Not only are the performances fantastic, but the film is a great discussion on the boundaries of love and about people finding their humanity. Not to mention the film is very well shot, has a great score and a mesmerizing futuristic society.
4. Love and Mercy (2014)
This film takes a look at Brian Wilson, the leader of the Beach Boys, in the 1960s writing his hit album "Pet Sounds" and in the 1980s recovering from the abuse of his therapist played by Paul Giamatti. Paul Dano and John Cusack excel as Wilson in two very formative stages of his live, as he is faced with abuse, depression and, ultimately, the love and comfort he deserves.
5. Nightcrawler (2014)
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a psychotic con-man who jumps into the field of L.A. crime journalism, filming dangerous stories that jeopardize his safety and morals. This look at the state of journalism and the types of stories portrayed by the media is lifted by a chilling performance by Gyllenhaal.
6. Anomalisa (2015)
From writer-director Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation.), the film tells the story of a depressed man who is looking for uniqueness. With great stop-motion animation and fantastic voice work from David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan, Kaufman has crafted a thought-provoking existentialist film that is more than just a simple mid-life crisis. While a little slow at times, the dialogue and animation alone is enough to warrant a watch.
7. Sing Street (2016)
From the director of Once and Begin Again, this is the tale of a musician in a poor home who makes a band with his classmates to impress a girl. While a simple premise, this homage to the 1980s is a great coming-of-age film with fantastic music, great child performances, and a ton of heart.
8. Hell or High Water (2018)
Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as two brothers who rob money from the Texas banks in order to keep their family's ranch. Writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Wind River) crafts a great character study of two brothers with difficult lives that want to support each other. Not to mention the film features another great performance by Jeff Bridges as an aging cop making the most out of his final cases, a great sense of humor and fantastic technical that make you feel like you're in the heart of Texas.
9. Annihilation (2018)
After her husband (Oscar Isaac) fall into a coma after an expedition, Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist, volunteers to take the mission that rendered her husband comatose. Ex Machina director Alex Garland crafts a beautiful, strange and horrifying world that raises many great questions about life and the impact of man that will keep you thinking the more times you see the film.
10. Three Identical Strangers (2018)
A recent documentary, this tells the story of three identical twins who were separated at birth. The three met each other as adults, changing their lives forever – for better and for worse. The film is an interesting look at the three brothers who became celebrities overnight and the tragedy about their separation that will definitely spark discussion for years to come.