The 10 Indie Films You Must See This June

The 10 Indie Films You Must See This June
The 10 Indie Films You Must See This June

June is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers, with over 30 films listed on Indiewire’s June calendar.

As an extension of our recent summer movie preview,
Indiewire is offering the first of four monthly summer “must-see” lists
to make cinematic decision-making as easy as possible this summer.

From William Shakespeare by way of Joss Whedon to Paris Hilton by way of Sofia Coppola (sort of), check
out Indiewire’s picks for your 10 best options, and then check out June’s full calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn’t end up making this list (including some studio efforts).

1. Much Ado About Nothing (June 7)

Director: Joss Whedon
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Spencer Treat Clark
Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Criticwire Average: 21 critics gave it a B+ average.

Why is it a “Must See”? After directing one of the biggest box office hits
of all time with last year’s “The Avengers,” it’s hard to blame Joss
Whedon for wanting to return to his indie roots for his next film, but
just how far he went remains surprising for the man who brought us
“Buffy” and “Firefly.” Shot over 12 days at his Los Angeles home, the
film, shot in black and white and starring many of his close friends, is
a reworking of The Bard’s classic comedy in modern day and just about
as far away from the excess of Marvel’s multiple-film master plan as
possible. It’s also one of the most fun and sexy Shakespeare adaptations
in years and a stark reminder of Whedon’s directorial abilities, and
after receiving raves at Toronto and SXSW is finally receiving a
theatrical release this June.

Check out the film’s trailer:

2. The Bling Ring (June 14)

Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast:  Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga and Claire Julien.
Distributor: A24

Criticwire Average: 17 critics gave it a B- average

Why is it a “Must See”?  Following her Venice award-winning
character study “Somewhere,” Sofia Coppola is back with “The Bling
Ring,” a film that on paper seems like new territory for the
Oscar-winner. While still centered on the wealthy class like “Lost in
Translation,” “Marie Antoinette” and “Somewhere,” “The Bling Ring” is
essentially a crime caper, a genre Coppola has never mined before. The
film is based on the true story of a group of rich Californian teens who
decided to start a heist gang and begin robbing celebrity’s houses
(including those of Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox). Lohan doesn’t star,
but Emma Watson does, along with Leslie Mann in a project that’s has
nothing to do with Judd Apatow. It opened the Un Certain Regard program
in Cannes two weeks ago, but US audiences will get to see for themselves
soon after when it opens this month.

Check out the film’s trailer:

3. I’m So Excited (June 28)

Director: Pedro Almodovar
Cast:  Javier Cámara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas, Raúl Arévalo, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Criticwire Average: 5 critics gave it a B average.

Why is it a “Must See”? How could you not be so excited for
Pedro Almodovar’s new film? A narrative is set almost entirely on an
airplane, it reteams Almodovar with Javier Cámara (“Talk To Her”),
Cecilia Roth (“All About My Mother”), Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas
(though the latter two in cameo roles) and judging from the below
trailer it looks a campy return to Almodovar’s delightfully comic roots.
The film is already a hit in Almodovar’s native Spain, and will open
the LA Film Festival before heading into theaters on June 28th.

Check out the film’s trailer:

4. A Hijacking (June 21)

Tobias Lindholm 
Cast: Pilou Asbæk, Søren Malling, Dar Salim, Roland Møller, Gary Skjoldmose Porter, Abdihakin Asgar, Amalie Alstrup
Distributor: Magnolia

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

Why is it a “Must See”? Tobias Lindholm’s story of a Danish ship
attacked by Somali pirates, “A Hijacking,” has won awards at festivals
around the world.  A thriller with contemplative moments, the film
teases out anticipation as the pirates must negotiate with officials in
Copenhagen.  The film — which leads with a fairly unknown cast from an
internationally untested director — has proven to be a breakout for
Lindholm.  Whether American audiences embrace it remains to be seen, but
we certainly recommend they do.

Check out the film’s trailer:

5. Laurence Anyways (June 28)

Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Susanne Clement, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri
Distributor: Breaking Glass

Criticwire Average: 27 critics gave it a B average

Why is it a “Must See”? The young Canadian filmmaker dazzled us
with his unique, honest style in his breakout film “I Killed My Mother”
in 2009 and with his gorgeous follow-up “Heartbeats.” While Xavier Dolan
has only released two films so far, we’re all still dying to see what
he’s bringing next with his latest film “Laurence Anyways,” which comes
to theaters this summer after premiering at Cannes a year ago.
Continuing Dolan’s style of following the lives of LGBT characters and
the struggles they encounter with their identity, “Laurence” is a
portrait of a male-to-female transexual in the 80s. Melvil Poupaud plays
Laurence, a high school teacher who decides to undergo a sex change all
while fighting to hold on to his relationship with girlfriend Fred
(Suzanne Clément) — Dolan keeps switching up gender norms and we love
it! Whether you’re already a part of the Dolan craze or you haven’t
heard of him yet, “Laurence Anyways” is sure to get you hooked.

Check out the film’s trailer:

6. Twenty Feet From Stardom (June 14)

Director: Morgan Neville
Distributor: RADiUS-TWC

Criticwire Average: 4 critics gave it a B+ average

Why is it a “Must See”? A crowdpleasing doc that got a lot of attention when it debuted at Sundance earlier this year, Morgan Neville’s “Twenty Feet From Stardom” follows Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Judith Hill and Claudia Lennear. It’s unlikely you’ve heard of any of them by name, but you’ve very likely heard their voices. They are the backup singers behind some of the world’s biggest musicians (including Bruce Springsteen and Bette Midler), and their stories make “Twenty Feet From a Stardom” both a heartbreaking and heartwarming documentary that’s a perfect antidote to summer blockbuster fare.

Check out the film’s trailer:

7. Berberian Sound Studio (June 14)

Director: Peter Strickland
Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappellaro, Cosimo Fusco, Eugenia Caruso
Distributor: IFC Films

Criticwire Average: 33 critics gave it a B average

Why is it a “Must See”? Already an indie hit in its native Britain (it won Best Director and Best Actor at last year’s 2012 British Independent Film Awards), Peter Strickland’s follow-up to his directorial debut “Katalin Varga”  is heading Stateside this June.  A psychological thriller set in a 1970s Italian horror film studio, it stars Toby Jones as a British foley artist working on the audio track for an Italian giallo film called “The Equestrian Vortex.” When it had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival last summer, Indiewire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a rave review, calling it “a largely satisfying enigma in terms of both its story and its structure.” You can see for yourself on June 14th.

Check out the film’s trailer:

8. Byzantium (June 28)

Director: Neil Jordan
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Saoirse Ronan
Distributor: IFC Films

Criticwire Average: 17 critics gave it a B- average

Why is it a “Must See”? “Interview With a Vampire” director Neil
Jordan returns to the bloodsucker genre with “Byzantium,” his most
commercial vehicle in years that premiered to solid notices last year in
Toronto. The story centers on two female vampires (Saoirse Ronan and
Gemma Arterton) who wreak havoc on an unsuspecting seaside community.
Given Jordan’s track record since helming the Tom Cruise-starring
“Interview” — he has since directed “Michael Collins,” “The End of the
Affair” and “Breakfast on Pluto,” among many others — don’t expect a
“Twilight” knockoff, but something for the adult set with more on its
mind than lust and blood.

Check out the film’s trailer:

9. Call Me Kuchu (June 14)

Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Distributor: Cinedigm

Criticwire Average: 7 critics gave it an A average

Why is it a “Must See”?
Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright’s Ugandan LGBT rights doc “Call Me Kuchu” has been winning accolades left and right in its lengthy run on the festival circuit. Upon its world premiere way back at the 2012 Berlinale, the film won the Teddy Award for best LGBT documentary. Then when it made its North American debut at last year’s Hot Docs, it won the prize for best international feature. Specifically focused around LGBT people and activists in Uganda, “Call Me Kuchu” (gay and transgendered citizens are called “kuchus”) centers around the life and tragic death of David Kato, a veteran activist who spent years fighting against his country’s insanely homophobic society.  Among other terrifying things, an anti-homosexuality bill proposing death for HIV-positive gay men is introduced and Kato is one of the few brave enough to try and stop it. Unfortunately, after courageously changing the face of LGBT rights in the country, Kato was brutually murdered in 2011. Canonizing Kato’s life and shedding light on the remarkable efforts of people like him, their first film as feature directors is a powerful and important one that should not be missed.

Check out the film’s trailer:

10. Violet and Daisy (June 7)

Director: Geoffrey Fletcher
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel, James Gandolfini, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Danny Trejo
Distributor: Cinedigm

Criticwire Average: 6 critics gave it a C average.

Why is it a “Must See”?  Geoffrey Fletcher — who won an Oscar
for writing “Precious: Based o the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire” — makes
his directorial debut with this tale of a pair of teenage assassins
(played by Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel), who find themselves with a
target who isn’t who they expected (James Gandolfini). Coming to
theaters after a premiere at 2011’s Toronto Film Festival, “Violet and
Daisy” gives the assassin genre a nice dose of female energy.

Check out the film’s trailer:

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