July is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers, and not just if you're into superheroes and sequels. As an extension of our recent summer movie preview, Indiewire is offering the third of four monthly summer indie "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making as easy as possible this summer.
From Woody Allen to Ryan Gosling to a whopping four films of (at least partial) Danish descent, check out Indiewire's picks for your 9 best options, and then check out July's full calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn't end up making this list (including some studio efforts).
1. Fruitvale Station (July 26)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Why is it a "Must See"? The film formerly known just as "Fruitvale" heads into its release with the considerable status of having won both the grand jury prize and audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The Weinstein Company -- who acquired the film at the fest -- pushed up its date from October to July, a strategy that certainly helped last year's big Sundance winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (which also went to Cannes before heading to theaters, which "Fruitvale Station" will do next month). The film tells the story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and his experiences on the last day of his life, before he was fatally shot in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009. Of all the films of the summer it's perhaps the one most likely to be remembered come Oscar season time (save maybe "Before Midnight"), particularly for the standout performances of Jordan, Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz. [Peter Knegt]
Check out he trailer below:
2. The Act of Killing (July 19)
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer (co-directed by Anonymous and Christine Cynn)
Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Why is it a "Must See"? One of the (if not the) most acclaimed and controversial documentaries of the past year's festival circuit arrives in theaters this month, "The Act of Killing" examines a country where death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes,
challenging them to reenact their real-life mass killings in the style
of the American movies they love. Executive produced by doc legends Errol Morris ("The Fog of War") and Werner Herzog ("Grizzly Man"), the Danish-British-Norwegian co-production blew away audiences in Toronto, Telluride, IDFA, CPH:DOX and Berlin (among countless others), winning award after award after award. Indiewire called it "the most unsettling movie about mass killing since 'Shoah.'" Sure, that doesn't sound like feel-good summer movie fare (because it is the opposite of that), but don't let that stop you from taking in one of the most inventive documentaries to come along in some time. [Peter Knegt]
Check out the film's trailer:
3. 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]
Check out the trailer below: