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The 9 Indie Films You Must See This June

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire June 2, 2014 at 10:57AM

June is here and with it comes a considerable month for specialty film releases. Here are 9 we think you should check out.
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"Hellion"

June is here and with it comes a considerable month for specialty film releases. Here are 9 we think you should check out:

1. "Snowpiercer" (June 27)
Director: Joon-ho Bong
Cast: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill, Song Kang-ho
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Current Criticwire average: A- (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? Joon-ho Bong definitely knows how to make a thriller. His monster movie, "The Host," is a testament to the director’s ability to bring on the suspense. That’s why his latest film, "Snowpiercer," which showed at the Berlin Film Festival, is a "must see." For one, the film has a pretty intriguing plot—taking place on a train in a post-apocalyptic future. "Snowpiercer" stars Chris Evans as one of the few survivors of a global disaster that wiped out almost every living creature. Evans' character, along with the other survivors, live on a forever-moving train. The problem? Well, a strict class system is implemented, with the lower class residing in the back of the locomotive. Evans starts a rebellion against the front passengers, who are led by a heavily made-up and scary-looking Tilda Swinton. Whether it ends up being the biggest hit of the year or it stays rather small, "Snowpiercer" looks to be an engaging feature that Bong can add to his already impressive filmography. 

Watch the trailer below:


2."Borgman" (June 6)
Director: Alexander van Warmerdam
Cast: Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Eva van de Wijdeven, Annet Malherbe, Tom Dewispelaere, and Alex van Warmerdam
Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Current Criticwire Average: B (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? A creepy thriller hailing from the Netherlands, this film is sure to spark the zany fire that most Dutch comedies do only with a very demented twist. The film follows the lone vagrant, Camiel Borgman, as he settles into life with a simple-enough, upper-middle class family. His haunting, 'other-worldy' qualities become dramatized as the film's narrative progresses into chaos, leaving the family's suburban lives in shambles. It's a Dutch thriller! What could go wrong?

Watch the trailer below:


3. "Obvious Child" (June 6)
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Gabe Liedman, Richard Kind 
Distributor: A24
Current Criticwire average: B+ (see all grades)


Why Is It a "Must See"? If you aren't already familiar with Jenny Slate from her stint on "Saturday Night Live," you probably know her as the voice behind the title character in "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On," the stop-motion short she made with her husband Dean Fleischer-Camp that became a viral smash and screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. She also appeared on TV in "Parks and Recreation" and "Girls." In Gillian Robespierre's hit Sundance comedy "Obvious Child," Slate proves she can carry a project solo, playing a Brooklyn comedian who refuses to grow up. Think "Frances Ha" with bigger laughs.

Watch the trailer below:


4. "The Rover" (June 13)Director: David Michôd
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy 

Distributor: A24
Current Criticwire average: B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? While Indiewire's Eric Kohn noted that the "movie barely amounts to more than a homage," he still complimented the performances of the lead actors as well as the gritty landscape that serves as the Australian film's backdrop. Anyway, we were a huge fan of Michôd’s last feature, "Animal Kingdom" and that at least makes "The Rover" worth giving a try. This film takes place in a desolate Australian desert. Pearce stars as man, who having nothing, breaks down when his car is stolen by a group of criminals. Pattinson plays one of the thugs who is left behind after he's injured. "Animal Kingdom" launched the mainstream career of Jacki Weaver, who was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role. If anything, "The Rover" is an opportunity to see wonderful performances by the consistent Pearce and Pattinson, who is desperate to leave behind his "Twilight" fame. 

Watch the trailer below:


5. "Begin Again" (June 27)
Director:John Carney 
Cast:
Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, Catherine Keener, Cee Lo Green 
Distributor: The Weinstein Co.
Current Criticwire average: B (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? John Carney's low budget 2006 musical romance "Once" was a breakout hit that foregrounded the emotional complexities of its central lovers with delicate tunes. By contrast, "Begin Again," which contains several high profile actors, revolves around the exploitation of that very same feeling. The story centers on forlorn aspiring British songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley) adrift in Manhattan after getting dumped by her philandering rock star boyfriend (Adam Levine) and being discovered by struggling music producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo). Eager for a fresh discovery, Dan pushes Gretta to sign with him and record an ambitious outdoors album all across the city. She's initially reticent; songwriting is just something that she does. "Begin Again" explores this tension with a blithe attitude that foregrounds several enjoyable melodies performed throughout the movie. 

Watch the trailer below:


6. "The Case Against 8" (June 6)
Directors: Ben Cotner and Ryan White

Distributor: HBO Docuemantary Films
Current Criticwire Average: B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? A year after the Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage comes the documentary that explores the beginnings of the fight for marriage equality. This Sundance Award winner for best-directed U.S. doc takes a look at where it all began, with proposition 8 and California's battle to establish marriage equality. The filmmakers followed the fight for five years, tracing and tracking the many paths and struggles from the infamous Prop 8 to the the high-profile trial that first made headlines. Meanwhile, the story follows two gay couples whose families are at the center of the struggle and who spearhead the fight against marriage discrimination. 

Watch the trailer below:


7. "Venus in Fur" (June 20)
Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric 
Distributor: Sundance Selects/IFC Films 
Current Criticwire Average: B (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? The last time Roman Polanski adapted a play, it was a sloppy and rather forgettable version of Yasmina Reza’s "God of Carnage." Now, just a couple of years later, the renowned director ("Chinatown" and "Rosemary’s Baby") brings us "Venus in Fur," a two-person work about a jaded playwright, Thomas, who is unable to find the right actress to play a role in his upcoming production—that is until he finds Vanda, a woman who soon becomes his obsession. Polanski, never one to shy away from dark, creepy and sexy seems to be in his element here. Yes, Polanski’s "Carnage" had similar potential, but the source material, which didn’t allow for much movement (it all takes place in one apartment), was too limiting for the filmmaker. "Venus in Fur," on the other hand, is the type of project, both tonally and thematically, that we love to see from the director. 

Watch the trailer below:

8. "Ping Pong Summer" (June 6)

Director: Michael Tully
Cast: Marcello Conte, Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, John Hannah and Judah Friedlander
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Current Criticwire Average: B+ (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"?  It's 1985 and Susan Sarandon is here. Need anyone say more? Michael Tully's (“Cocaine Angel,” “Septien”) summer fun film "Ping Pong Summer" is a must-see if only for the appropriately-seasoned release date and its amazing cast. Lea Thompson and Amy Sedaris grace the screen, as well as the always beautiful, always talented Susan Sarandon whose quoted by Indiewire's own Kyle Burton as being the film's "Miyagi-like ping pong sensei". The film follows a boy and amateur ping pong enthusiast (Marcello Conte) who sets out to have the time of his life during his family's summer vacation in Ocean City. Adolescent trials and coming-of-age romances sprinkle the screen with a fun cinematic throwback to what life was like in the era of hip-hop and short-shorts. 

Watch the trailer below:


9. "Hellion" (June 13) Director: Kat Candler 

Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, Walt Roberts
Distributor: IFC Films
Current Criticwire average: B (see all grades)

Why Is It a "Must See"? "Hellion," a film about a father and son trying to get their life together, captivated audiences when it first premiered at Sundance earlier this year. The film's director, Kat Chandler, then went on to win acclaim at SXSW. "Hellion" follows 13-year-old Jacob Wilson (Josh Wiggins in his feature film debut). Obsessed with heavy metal, dirt bike racing and partaking in the occasional act of vandalism with his band of delinquents, Jacob’s behavior has begun to raise concerns around town, especially when it starts to involve his younger brother Wes. Jacob's father, Hollis (Aaron Paul), must deal with his problematic son while navigating the heart-breaking emotional fallout of his wife's recent death. 

Watch the trailer below:

This article is related to: Movie Lists, Lists, Hellion, The Rover, Snowpiercer, Venus in Fur, Begin Again, Obvious Child, Borgman, Ping Pong Summer, The Case Against 8