Austenland (August 16)

Director: Jerusha Hess
Cast: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Georgia King, James Callis
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Criticwire Average: 7 critics gave it a B- average.

Why is it a "Must See"? Jerusha Hess -- who co-wrote "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Nacho Libre" with her husband Jared Hess, who directed both -- makes her directorial debut in this adaptation of Shannon Hale's 2007 novel of the same name. It stars Keri Russell as Jane Hayes, a single thirtysomething obsessed with Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" who heads off to a British resort (the titular Austenland) where the Austen era is re-created. Picked up out of Sundance by Sony Pictures Classics, the well-received rom-com is exactly the kind of film that has turned into a summer sleeper hit in the past (see "Becoming Jane," for example). And it should offer a nice alternative to August's characteristically male-centric studio slate. [Peter Knegt]

Check out a clip from the film below:

Before Midnight (May 24)

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Criticwire Average: 38 critics gave it an A average.

Why is it a "Must See"? This might just be the must see of the summer, as far as we and probably a lot of other folks are concerned. The second sequel to Richard Linklater's beloved 1995 "Before Sunrise" (and first to his perhaps even more beloved 2004 film "Before Sunset"), "Before Midnight" reunites us with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) almost two decades after they met on a train bound for Vienna. Now in their early 40s, "Midnight" finds the couple reuniting in Greece and likely facing a time constraint related to 12am, though try not to let yourself know much more than that going in.  The less known the better as we enter the third chapter of one of the great love stories of American indie cinema (which is coming off of extremely well received screenings in Sundance, Berlin and SXSW). [Peter Knegt]

We's prefer not to post the film's trailer (it gives away more than we'd want you to see), so check out this interview Indiewire did with the "Midnight" team at Sundance:

The Bling Ring (June 14)

Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast:  Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga and Claire Julien.
Distributor: A24

Criticwire Average: No critics have scored it yet, but check back after it premieres in Cannes.

Why is it a "Must See"?  Following her Venice award-winning character study "Somewhere," Sofia Coppola is back with "The Bling Ring," a film that on paper seems like new territory for the Oscar-winner. While still centered on the wealthy class like "Lost in Translation," "Marie Antoinette" and "Somewhere," "The Bling Ring" is essentially a crime caper, a genre Coppola has never mined before. The film is based on the true story of a group of rich Californian teens who decided to start a heist gang and begin robbing celebrity's houses (including those of Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox). Lohan doesn't star, but Emma Watson does, along with Leslie Mann in a project that's has nothing to do with Judd Apatow. It opens the Un Certain Regard program in Cannes next month, but US audiences will get to see for themselves soon after when it opens mid-June. [Nigel M. Smith]

Check out the film's trailer:

Blue Jasmine (July 26)

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis CK, Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Criticwire Average: No critics have scored it yet, but check back.

Why is it a "Must See"? It's been a good long while since Woody Allen's name alone simply made something a must see. For every "Midnight in Paris" there's a "From Rome With Love," though his latest feature -- his whopping 43rd -- offers a cast that exceeds even Allen's standards for hard-to-argue-against: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Louis CK, Bobby Cannavale and, well, Andrew Dice Clay. It also returns Allen to a Stateside film for the first time since 2009's "Whatever Works." The story of the final stages of an acute crisis and the life of a fashionable housewife (Blanchett), it's set in both New York and San Francisco. Sony Classics is releasing it as summer counterprogramming, a tactic that worked wonders with "Midnight in Paris" and -- to a lesser but still respectable degree -- last year's "To Rome With Love." [Peter Knegt]

The film doesn't have a trailer yet, but check back and we'll add.