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Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 4)

Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 4)

Indiewire’s epic summer movie preview continues today with part 3 of our
5-part series highlighting 50 indie films we think you should see this
summer. Head back over to part 1 for a full introduction and the first batch of films and to part 2 and part 3 for the previous sets (all of which are, like below, listed in alphabetical order).

Mud (April 26)

Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Reese Witherspoon
Distributor: Lionsgate

Criticwire Average: 38 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? Jeff Nichols’ first two features, “Shotgun Stories” and “Take Shelter,” helped catapult Michael Shannon to fame with two ferocious performances, and temporarily filled the void of Malick-inspired southern gothic dramas left by David Gordon Green’s foray into studio comedy. His third feature, “Mud,” also packs the most star power by contributing to the so-called “Matthew McConaughy renaissance” and finding a rare substantial role for Reese Witherspoon alongside “The Tree of Life’s” Tye Sheridan. More lighthearted than his previous efforts, “Mud” tells the story of two teenagers who try and help an outlaw reunite with his true love. Hopefully the more uplifting story and the presence of the stars can help “Mud” connect to audiences and give Nichols the mainstream recognition he deserves. [Mark E. Lukenbill]

Check out the film’s trailer:

Only God Forgives (July 19)

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm
Distributor: RADiUS-TWC

Criticwire Average: No grades yet, but check back after the film premieres in Cannes.

Why is it a “Must See”? Danish director Refn and omnipresent heartthrob Ryan Gosling’s last team-up, “Drive,” has since become one of the most hotly debated films of the last few years; a slick, stylized blood fest that has earned lovers and deriders in equal measure. Their second outing seems to be delivering more of the same, with its neon-dappled cinematography and hip Cliff Martinez score. But after two dazzling trailers, we can’t really blame them. A revenge thriller set in the world of underground Thai boxing, we’d expect Gosling to be back in silent, brooding anti-hero mode, but the more footage we see the more it looks like Kristin Scott Thomas is going to steal the show as Gosling’s bloodthirsty gangster mother. The film is set to debut at Cannes, but it’ll hit theaters mid summer, so you won’t have to wait too long to see if Refn’s latest helping of pulp is as sweet as the last. [Mark E. Lukenbill]

Check out the film’s trailer:

Passion (June 7)

Director: Brian DePalma
Cast:  Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfuth, Paul Anderson, Rainer Bock, Benjamin Sadler
Distributor: eONE

Criticwire Average: 36 critics gave it a C+ average

Why is it a “Must See”? The last decade hasn’t been kind to Brian De Palma, with reactions to his last four films (“Redacted,” “The Black Dahlia,” “Femme Fatale,” and “Mission To Mars”) ranging from mixed to downright horrendous. But “Passion,” De Palma’s upcoming psychosexual thriller sees the director once again inhabiting the space of Hitchcock-tinged insanity that made him one of the most talked about and controversial directors of the 1970s and 80s, and in the process looks to be the closest chance the director has had at a comeback in quite some time. The film follows Noomi Rapace as Isabelle, a young businesswoman who plots revenge on her idea-stealing boss (Rachel McAdams), setting in motion a series of humiliation, violence, and sexuality. If there’s one thing that’s clear from the film’s advertising, “Passion” will be a hell of a ride, and even if it doesn’t return De Palma to the highs of his career, it promises at least to be a crazed throwback from one of the genre’s greats. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film’s trailer:


Pieta (May 17)

Director: Kim Ki-duk
Cast:  Min-soo Cho, Jung-jin Lee, Eunjin Kang, Jae-rok Kim, Jin Yong-Ok
Distributor: Drafthouse

Criticwire Average: 22 critics gave it a B average.

Why is it a “Must See”?  Winner of the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival (topping “The Master,” “To The Wonder” and “Spring Breakers”), the latest film from controversial Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk follows a man employed by a loanshark who is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother. Indiewire wrote in our review last fall: “‘Pieta,’ a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor. The entire narrative focuses on a pair of tortured characters unraveling the demons of their past. Kim’s intense portrait is enhanced by the closeness he maintains to his subjects’ fluctuating emotions. The movie looks blatantly frugal but, as it sounds a deeply sorrowful note, never cheap.” [Peter Knegt]

Check out the film’s trailer:

Populaire (May 17)

Director: Regis Roinsard
Cast: Romain Duris, Deborah Francois, Berenice Bejo, Shaun Benson
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Criticwire Average: 4 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? Amid the flurry of dramatic releases from the world’s leading filmmakers, Regis Roinsard’s French comedy “Populaire,” has stood out for the sheer sense of delight emanating from every still and video released of the film. A hit when it was released in France last Novemeber, the film stars Romain Duris and Deborah Francois, along with “The Artist”‘s Berenice Bejo, with Francois starring as a typist whose boss aims to make her into the world’s fastest typer. Distributor The Weinstein Company seems to be aiming at a success inline with their previous releases of recent French box office (and Oscar) successes “The Artist” and “The Intouchables,” but “Populaire”‘s candy-colored aesthetic and breezy charm suggests an entirely different kind of experience that should be a perfect counterpoint to the summer’s other Indie fare. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film’s (French-language) trailer below:


Post Tenebras Lux (May 1)

Director: Carlos Reygadas
Cast: Adolfo Jimenez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo, Willebaldo Torres
Distributor: Strand Releasing

Criticwire Average: 32 critics gave it a B average.

Why is it a “Must See”? Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux,” was one of the more controversial Cannes winners in recent memory when Reygadas took home a Best Director trophy at last year’s festival, following a reception that earned its fair share of praise and an equal (if not larger) amount of derision from those attending its premiere. Using his own life as a structuring method, the film follows a rural couple living in Mexico who own a wealthy estate with their children and various workers. What seems at first to be the director’s most linear film yet quickly descends into a series of inexplicable events, mixing the real with the supernatural within his heavily textured visual style.

IW’s Eric Kohn called the film “at turns wildly beautiful and pointlessly nonsensical,” in his Cannes review, and wherever you end up siding on the film, it’s sure to be one of the more fascinating films you’ll see all summer. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film’s trailer:

Prince Avalanche (August 16)

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast:  Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne, Gina Grande, Lynn Shelton
Distributor: Magnolia

Criticwire Average: 19 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? A big winner at this year’s Berlinale, taking home the Silver Bear for Best Director, David Gordon Green’s new film “Prince Avalanche” follows two highway workers (played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) in 1988 as they head away from their city lives and deal with what they left behind.  The film is an American adaptation of the Icelandic film “Either Way,” and is set in Austin suburb Bastrop.  [Bryce J. Renninger]

The film hasn’t released a trailer yet.

Short Term 12 (August TBD)

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Melora Walters, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez, Melora Walters, Stephanie Beatriz, Lydia Du Veaux, Alex Calloway
Distributor: Cinedigm

Criticwire Average: 5 critics gave it an A average.

Why is it a “Must See”? Broadway star John Gallagher Jr. and up-and-coming actress Brie Larson star in this film about a supervisor at a foster care facility who is navigating her stressful work and managing her relationship. The film won big at this year’s SXSW, taking the Grand Jury and Audience Prizes.  The film is Destin Daniel Crettin’s follow up to his Sundance film “I Am Not a Hipster.”  [Bryce J. Renninger]

The film has yet to release a trailer.

Sightseers (May 10)

Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram
Distributor: IFC Films

Criticwire Average: 37 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? Anyone who was irreparably disturbed by British weirdo auteur Ben Wheatley’s last effort, the intensely haunting “Kill List,” can breath a sigh of relief. Wheatley has gone for something decidedly more comedic this time around, and in doing so seems to have hit the sweet spot between horror and comedy, based on the serious amount of praise it earned at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. The film stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram as a pair of bumbling lovers who take a roadtrip through the Yorkshire countryside that inadvertently turns into a killing spree, so it’s a perfect fit for Wheatley’s twisted sense of humor. It also bears the mark of executive producer (and “Shaun of the Dead” director) Edgar Wright, who has a penchant for picking out fresh and original voices in British genre comedy, as seen with Joe Cornish’s brilliant “Attack the Block.” [Mark E Lukenbill]

Check out the film’s trailer:

Something In The Air (May 3)

Director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Clement Metayer, Lola Creton, Felix Armand, Carole Combes, India Menuez
Distributor: IFC Films

Criticwire Average: 33 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? On the heels of the international acclaim of his five-hour 2010 epic “Carlos,” Olivier Assayas appears to be returning to the extremely personal dramas that first gained him a following with “Something in the Air,” an autobiographical account of a young filmmaker’s experience in the world of radical activism in 1971 France. A standout on the 2012 festival circuit after its Venice premiere, where Assayas received an award for best screenplay, the film has consistently received raves for its sense of revolutionary atmosphere and gorgeous style, with many likening it to the director’s earlier “Summer Hours.” The film’s young cast, starring Clement Metayer and Lola Creton have also received their raves for their portrayals of teens pulled into the radical political climate, purportedly heavily influenced by Assayas’ own activism-filled youth. [Cameron Sinz]

Check out the film’s trailer:

READ MORE: Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 1)

READ MORE: Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 2)

READ MORE: Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 3)

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