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The 9 Indie Films You Must See This July

The 9 Indie Films You Must See This July

With June behind us, here are 9 indies on our radar that will be hitting theaters this month.

1. “Boyhood” (July 11)

Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater
Distributor: IFC Films
Current Criticwire Average: A 
Why Is It a “Must See”? Richard Linklater has arguably never created anything mediocre in his career. His “Before” trilogy is miraculous, “Dazed and Confused” is a cult-classic and even “Slacker” has its fair share of fans. “Boyhood,” however, is undoubtedly his most innovative project yet. The film was made over a twelve-year period and chronicles a boy’s life from the ages 6 to 18. Using the same actors throughout, Linklater’s film explores growing up, the highs and lows of parenthood and overall the way time effects us all. There’s probably nothing else like it, which is reason enough to see it this July. 

Watch the trailer below:

2. “Magic in the Moonlight” (July 25)

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics 
Why Is It a “Must See”? Although Woody Allen’s films (at least the more recent ones) are either a hit or miss, his latest project looks promising enough. Following right after his heavy and dark “Blue Jasmine,” “Magic in the Moonlight” takes us to Europe, specifically the French Riviera in the 1920s. “Magic in the Moonlight is a comedy that stars Colin Firth as a magician who is called to the Riviera in an attempt to defraud Emma Stone’s character, a young woman who claims to be a spiritualist. The film looks to be a light and refreshing picture and it helps that it features performances by two of todays most sought after actors. 

Watch the trailer below:

3. “Life Itself” (July 4)

Director: Steve James
Cast: N/A
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Current Criticwire Average: A-

Why Is It a “Must See”? Roger Ebert is the face of film criticism. Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013, he was truly an icon and undoubtedly inspired generations of film lovers. “Life Itself” is based on his memoirs of the same name and documents the great accomplishments of his career, as well as his final struggles to stay alive (it began production months before he knew he was going to die). Directed by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”), the film is a fitting tribute and is sure to move those who watch it. It features interviews with Ebert’s wife, Chaz, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris and Ava DuVernay. 

Watch the trailer below:

4. “Closed Curtain” (July 9)

Directors: Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi
Cast: Kambozia Partovi, Maryam Moqadam, Jafar Panahi
Distributor: Variance Films
Criticwire Criticwire Average: A-
Why Is It a “Must See”? Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director most known for his acclaimed “White Ballon” has returned with a deeply personal and strange project, “Closed Curtain.” Co-directed by revered director Kambuzia Partovia, the drama, which won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for its script, follows a writer and his dog named Boy who arrive at a villa by the Caspian Sea. Panahi, who was issued a 20-year ban on filmmaking by the Iranian government, made the film in secret at his own beachfront resort. It’s a must-see drama not only because of the forbidden and rebellious elements behind it’s production, but also because its a bizarre metaphysical and existential effort by two of highly regarded international directors. 

Watch the trailer below: 

5. “A Most Wanted Man” (July 25)

Director: Anton Corbijn
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl, Nina Hoss, Grigoriy Dobrygin
Distributor: Roadside Attractions 
Current Criticwire Average: B
Why Is It a “Must See”? Anton Corbijn plus John Le Carre is a match made in heaven. Corbijn’s last outing in the cinematic arena was with the 2010 “The American,” starring George Clooney as a contract killer hiding out of Castel del Monte, Abruzzo. Leonard Maltin described the drama as “a slowly-paced, European-style mood piece, short on dialogue and action and long on atmosphere.” John Le Carre, on the other hand, has written some of the greatest espionage novels of all time, including the likes of “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold,” “The Constant Gardener” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” which was recently adapted by Tomas Alfredson. “A Most Wanted Man” therefore, a product of both men, is bound to knock your socks off and keep you glued to the edge of your chair. Based on Le Carre’s 2008 novel of the same name, the film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (in one of his last performances), Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl and Nina Hoss. In it, Hoffman plays Gunter Bachmann, a hard-drinking, smart-as-a-tack Spy-chief who reaches out to a young lawyer (Rachel McAdams) and a banker (Willem Dafoe) as they try to unravel a mystery surrounding a bruised and battered immigrant.

Watch the trailer below:

6. “Mood Indigo” (July 18)

Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, Omar Sy
Distributor: Drafthouse 
Current Criticwire Average: B+
Why Is It a “Must See”? Michel Gondry is a genius. His filmography, including the much-beloved “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Science of Sleep” and “Be Kind Rewind,” exemplifies some of the most unique and inventive filmmaking of the 21st century. His latest film “Mood Indigo” is based on the novel “Froth on the Daydream” by Boris Vian. It stars Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou (their fourth film together) as couple, Colin and Chloe, whose budding romance is tested when an unusual illness plagues Chloe; a flower begins to grow in her lungs. It’s clearly a seasonal summer flick for all.

Watch the trailer below:

7. “Land Ho” (July 11)

Director: Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz
Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Current Criticwire Average: B+

Why Is It a “Must See”? Our critic said, “This unassuming, elegantly shot collaboration…actively avoids any melodramatic confrontations or cheesy subplots. A gentle meditation on growing old and bored, ‘Land Ho!’ never rises to the level of narrative engagement found in the filmmakers’ previous efforts, but it doesn’t take much to make it sufficiently insightful, carried along by a pair of actors so inherently likable from the outset that ‘Land Ho!’ hardly requires a lot of story to set their adventure in motion.”

Watch the trailer below:

8. “I, Origins” (July 18)

Director: Mike Cahill
Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi 
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Current Criticwire Average: B+

Why Is It a “Must See”? Director Mike Cahill got everyone’s attention with his Sundance sci-fi hit “Another Earth,” which won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize. His second feature, “I Origins” also won the prize and continues to establish Cahill as an innovative director who molds hardcore science with spirituality. “I Origins” stars Michael Pitt as Ian Gray, a scientist who studies the human eye. When he and his lab partner (played by Cahill’s longtime friend and colleague Brit Marling) uncover something groundbreaking, Gray starts to question everything he believes. It’s interesting and rather vague premise makes the film a must-watch. 

Watch the trailer below:


9. “Happy Christmas” (July 25)

Director: Joe Swanberg
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Criticwire Average: B+

Why Is It a “Must See”? Mumblecore maven Joe Swanberg surprised us all last year with his delightful and star-studded drama-comedy “Drinking Buddies,” and his most recent film, “Happy Christmas” appears to be just as delightful. It stars Anna Kendrick as 20-something suffering from a severe case of arrested development. She goes to live with her brother and his wife, played by Swanberg and Melanie Lynskey, and shakes up their lives. The film seems like another delightful Swanberg venture, and undoubtedly features wonderful performances by the always reliably Kendrick and Lynskey. Plus, Lena Dunham also stars so it’s sure to be fun.  

Watch the trailer below:

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