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The 5 Indie Films You Must See This July

The 5 Indie Films You Must See This July

There’s a whopping 29 films listed on indieWIRE’s July calendar, which is why iW is offering monthly must-see lists to make cinematic decision-making as easy as possible. From Miranda July to Errol Morris, John C. Reilly to a very special monkey, check out indieWIRE‘s picks for the five best options, and then check out the full calendar or iW’s summer movie preview; there’s many worthy films that didn’t make this list.

1. The Interrupters (July 29; The Cinema Guild)

What’s The Deal? “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James gives audiences one of the most acclaimed films to come out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in “The Interrupters.” Capturing a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for violence in America, it tells the stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their communities from the violence they once employed.

Who’s Already Seen It? 11 critics gave it an average of A- on the film’s criticWIRE page.

Why is it a “Must See”? Don’t let its 142 minute running time scare you off (cut down 20 minutes from Sundance). As Eric Kohn wrote in his review at Sundance: “Conventional standards would imply that, at 2 hours and 42 minutes, the movie runs too long. But the lengthy middle section allows for a fascinating immersion in the details of the interrupters’ efforts, and the final scenes wind down with a series of reconciliations between reformed criminals and their victims. The entire movie is one long resolution to a widespread problem and ends with the lingering feeling that the work has just begun.”

2. The Future (July 29; Roadside Attractions)

What’s The Deal? Miranda July follows up her 2005 indie hit “Me and You and Everyone We Know” with “The Future,” hitting theaters this July after a warmly received festival debut at Sundance. An oddly charming, whimsical take on thirtysomething romance, the film stars July alongside Hamish Linklater as a couple whose relationship grows troubled with the arrival of an adopted cat.

Who’s Already Seen It? 24 critics gave “The Future” average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page

Why Is It a “Must See”? Check out indieWIRE’s review of “The Future” here, which confirms it as the hipster date movies of the summer (save for maybe “Beginners,” oddly enough directed by July’s husband Mike Mills.

3. Project Nim (July 8; Roadside Attractions)

What’s The Deal? Continuing a parade of substantial doc options this summer, James Marsh’s follow up to his Oscar-winning “Man on Wire” takes on Nim, a chimpanzee who became the focus of a landmark 1970s experiment that aimed to prove an ape could learn to communicate using sign language if raised and nurtured like a human child.

Who’s Already Seen It? 30 critics gave it an average of A- on the film’s criticWIRE page.

Why is it a “Must See”? Just as it did at its Sundance premiere, “Nim” should arrive in theaters with considerable buzz surrounding it. It should produce a lot of dialogue about animal rights and could potentially break out well beyond traditional doc audiences. “Animal lovers and psychology buffs will flock to the movie based solely on curiosity about its premise, while audiences sympathetic to endangered animals may turn out in droves in much the same fashion that they did for “The Cove,'” indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn wrote in his Sundance review.

4. Terri (July 1; ATO Pictures)

What’s The Deal? Azazel Jacobs’ “Terri” will give the summer a nice jolt of awkward teen angst with its unique coming-of-age narrative. It stars newcomer Jacob Wysocki in director Jacobs’ considerably more accessible follow-up to 2008’s “Momma’s Man.” Wysocki plays Terri, an overweight teenager whose life takes a positive turn when his assistant principal (John C. Reilly) decides to take him on, leading them both on a path to self-discovery.

Who’s Already Seen It? 23 critics gave “Terri” average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page

Why Is It a “Must See”? One of the freshest and distinctively clever teen tales to head our way in some time, “Terri” should also give us one of this summer’s big indie actor breakouts in Wysocki.

5. Tabloid (July 15; IFC Films)

What’s The Deal? “The Fog of War” director Errol Morris’s latest tells the tale former Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney and the infamous “Case of the Manacles Mormon.” Part black comedy, part film noir, “Tabloid” tracks McKinney’s strange life in the British tabloids.

Who’s Already Seen It? 31 critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.

Why is it a “Must See”? Named as one the top five undistributed films of 2010 in indieWIRE’s annual critic’s survey, “Tabloid” is finally getting a theatrical release this summer, and – like all of Morris’ work – deserves attention. “The enjoyably wacky scenario of Errol Morris’s ‘Tabloid’ is cookie cutter material for the documentarian, but Morris wields his personalized cookie cutter like a pro,” Eric Kohn wrote in his Toronto Film Fest review. “Doing penance for the grim, sterile polemics of “Standard Operating Procedure,” Morris bounces back with the sort of phenomenally surreal weird-but-true tale expected of him.”

The full calendar:
May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011.

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE’s Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

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