This week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Summer Preview, including offerings that span genres, a look at the various trends driving the box office, and special attention to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed summer movie-going season. Check back throughout the week for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up.
Today — a selection of features directed (or co-directed) by female filmmakers to get excited about seeing, including works from rising stars, indie favorites and one of Hollywood’s most lauded directors.
READ MORE: IndieWire’s Complete 2017 Summer Preview
“Wonder Woman,” June 2
It’s a big year for the darkness-loving (and scenery-chewing) DC Universe, but before we plunge back into what terrible delights Zack Snyder and co. have cooked up for their “Justice League,” we’ve got to go back, back in time, to learn about the curious origins of Diana Prince and her Wonder Woman persona. “Fast and Furious” franchise star Gal Gadot returns to the role she introduced in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” for a time-spanning look at the past, present and possibly even the future of DC’s most beloved superheroine. Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film promises to inject a blazing shot of feminine energy into a genre woefully in need of it, all while expanding outward a mythology that’s still playing catch-up with the MCU. -KE
“Band Aid,” June 2
A couple finds musical inspiration from their arguments in this offbeat romantic comedy from writer/director Zoe Lister-Jones, a comedic television actress who makes her directorial debut after writing two features with her husband, Daryl Wein (“Lola Versus” and “Breaking Upwards”). Drawing from their creative partnership as inspiration, Lister-Jones plays uptight, baby-hungry Anna opposite Adam Pally’s video game-playing man-child, Ben. When an explosive fight suddenly erupts into song, they realize they might be onto something. The once wayward couple find new partnership as bandmates, along with their neighbor as drummer, played by Fred Armisen (a punk rock drummer before his “Saturday Night Live” days). Charming and witty more than laugh-out-loud funny, the chemistry between Anna and Ben anchors this Sundance favorite is a sincere music comedy about a relationship in need of a crescendo. -Jude Dry
“The Bad Batch,” June 23
“The Bad Batch”
The second feature film from “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour, “The Bad Batch” follows a young woman who has been exiled to the desert and must find a way to survive a world run by cannibals. Starring Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey and produced by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures. “The Bad Batch” has earned comparisons to both “Mad Max” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” IndieWire’s Eric Kohn praised the movie for the way it “turns a completely ridiculous premise — dystopian warfare in a sun-bleached desert filled with cannibals, a raving cult leader, desperate thieves and LSD — into a warm, at times even elegant salute to the transformative power of companionship.” -Graham Winfrey
“The Beguiled,” June 23
Nothing says “summer movie season” quite like a Sofia Coppola movie! In all seriousness, a new film from the “Somewhere” writer-director is most welcome at any time of year, especially because it’s been a long — practically endless — four years since she last graced us with the Hollywood hijinks of “The Bling Ring.” But “The Beguiled,” which Coppola has adapted from the same Thomas P. Cullinan novel that inspired the 1971 Clint Eastwood/Don Siegel joint of the same name, is a sweltering erotic drama that should be perfect viewing for those long June nights. Colin Farrell stars as a wounded Union soldier who seeks shelter at a boarding school for girls in rural Mississippi, where headmistress Nicole Kidman rules the roost. Of course, being cooped up during a war can wreak havoc on the mind (and inspire all sorts of horniness from the body), and it isn’t long before the school turns into a veritable powder keg that’s brimming with sexy, sexy violence. -David Ehrlich
“Landline,” July 21
Writer-director Gillian Robespierre’s follow-up to 2014’s “Obvious Child” is another starring vehicle for comedy it-girl Jenny Slate, and has a strong cast in John Turturro, Edie Falco and indie film multi-hyphenate Jay Duplass. The story focuses on two sisters in ’90s New York who discover their father’s affair at a time when cell phones don’t yet exist. This time around, Slate has a an even stronger supporting cast around her, including newcomer Abby Quinn in a breakthrough role. -GW
“An Inconvenient Sequel,” July 28
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
Courtesy of Sundance
This year’s Sundance Film Festival kicked off with its traditionally packed opening night offerings on full display — four double features playing at different venues around the festival — but the hottest ticket was unquestionably the world premiere of Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” which bowed at the Eccles Theatre to a packed crowd, picking up a standing ovation at its conclusion. The late surprise entry to the festival picks up a ten years after Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” which saw former U.S. vice president Al Gore getting brutally honest with audiences, aided by photos, charts and scores of of data that illuminated the impacts of the global climate crisis, the sequel finds a mostly upbeat Gore continuing to work on his mission to spread information about the issue. -KE
“Detroit,” August 4
Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow link forces again (“Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker”) to explore how a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar triggered what became known as the 1967 Detroit Riot. At this point there isn’t a better director than Bigelow at taking her audience inside what feels like to be forced to make snap decisions in the middle of pressure cooker situations, while Boal’s knack for finding the small, pertinent cause-and-effect details give Bigelow’s action staging the feel of historical authenticity. Let’s just hope the portrayal of explosive racial tension due to the actions of racist cops in the middle summer doesn’t feel “particularly relevant” once again this August. -Chris O’Falt
“Step,” August 4
Courtesy of Sundance
This moving documentary about a high school step-dancing team at a girls’ high school in Baltimore gets a shiny Fox Searchlight release that ensures it will find its audience — and they are ready. The rhythmic clapping and stomping hallmarks of step-dancing is the kind of live performance that makes you want to jump out of your seat, it’s such a dynamic form of expression that even on film, the energy is contagious. Following three main subjects as they prepare for the big competition while trying to maintain their grades and get into college, first-time director Amanda Lipitz does not sugarcoat the realities these poor black girls must face every day. Like “20 Feet From Stardom” with teenage girls, the dance scenes in “Step” introduce this thrilling art form to the masses, while reflecting for many Americans a little piece of their own community. Now that’s cause to celebrate. -JD
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