5 Hot Movies to Catch Before Summer's End

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    NEWSLETTERS

    IFC
    Mason (Ellar Coltrane) at age 6 in "Boyhood"

    It's August and the summer-movie season is in full swing.

    While it's shaping up to be a tough mid-year at the box office (revenue is down 20 percent and no summer release has yet to pass the $300 million mark), all is not lost for those looking for a big screen escape on a scorching day.

    A few blockbusters and a handful of indies stand out from the warm weather glut thanks to critical response or audience favor.

    Here are five films to catch at the box office while they, and the weather, remain hot:

    "Boyhood"

    The latest from director Richard Linklater ("Dazed and Confused," "Before Sunrise") focuses on the adolescent years of Mason, who we first meet at age 6. Shot over a twelve year period and starring newcomer Ellar Coltrane, the film follows Mason as he passes from childhood to adulthood and the related stories that unfold for his family and friends. Patricia Arquette plays his mother, Ethan Hawke is occasionally absent father and Lorelei Linklater takes on the role of his sister Samantha. 

    Filmed in almost documentary style, "Boyhood" is a spare yet intimate portrait of the years that profoundly shape us. Check out the trailer:

    "Maleficent"

    Angelina Jolie dominates the screen in the titular role of this movie that addresses the "Sleeping Beauty" tale from the point of view of the self-proclaimed Mistress of All Evil. While her physical presence is to be reckoned with (all curled, pointy horns and razor-sharp cheekbones), it's the dialogue – delivered with evil relish and clipped tones – and the obvious good time Jolie is having with the role that has pushed "Maleficent" past the $230 million mark at the domestic box office. Check out the trailer:

     "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"

    A sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and set before the original 1968 "Planet of the Apes" starring Charlton Heston, the latest installment in the humans vs. primates saga picks up a decade after a devastating virus was unleashed on humankind. A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) is threatened by a band of human survivors as the battle for who will ultimately rule the Earth begins to rage. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" also stars Keri Russell, Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman. Check out the trailer:

     "Snowpiercer"

    It’s been 18 years since humankind inadvertently froze the earth and the few remaining survivors live on the Snowpiercer, a non-stop train the circles the globe. Those living in the front section enjoy luxuries and an abundance of comfort. Those in the rear face a short and cruel life. But a change is coming in this tale of haves and have-nots when Curtis (Chris Evans) inspires his fellow passengers at the back of the train to rise up and head towards the "sacred engine." Based on the 1982 French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige," "Snowpiercer" features an all-star cast including John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris and Jamie Bell. But it's Tilda Swinton as the evil Minister Mason–all false teeth, thick glasses and '60s school matron pronouncements–that steals the show. Visually sumptuous, "Snowpiercer" is also available on demand as well as appearing in select theaters. Check out the trailer:

     "Get On Up"

    Distilling the exuberant life and times of James Brown into one film is a major feat, with the key to success being the casting of an actor who is able to capture the essence of the Godfather of Soul. Chadwick Boseman ("42") brings the funk, soul, energy and trademark dance moves to his portrayal of the hardest working man in show business and delivers a visceral performance that will likely be remembered when award season kicks-off later this year. Vocals in "Get On Up" are provided by the subject himself, but the moves and emotions are all Boseman's. Check out the trailer: