May 19, 2012


2 days

Now that Memorial Day is right around the corner and ‘The Avengers’ has already made $1/2 billion worldwide, it is officially summer movie season.  Now granted, the summer is traditionally a time for blockbuster after blockbuster and we are all aware of such little films as ‘The Dark Knight Rises, ‘Prometheus’, ‘The Amazing Spider Man’, ‘Men in Black 3’, and so on and so on, the summer also is a time for some indie favorites, and recent festival successes to gain release as well.  We here at Indiewood/Hollywoodn’t went through the slate of summer releases and picked a few indie’s, foreign films and docs for the more mature viewer to catch at their local theater this summer.

1.  ‘God Bless America’May 11

Comedy legend Bobcat Goldthwait returns with writing and directing duties on this blistering satire of contemporary American culture.  When a lonely, middle-aged man finds himself jobless and alone he decides the only thing left to do is go on a country wide killing spree targeting the most appalling members of our modern culture.  Along the way he finds a surprising accomplice in a 16-year-old travel companion, equally as disenchanted with the world.  This one is sure to offend, enlighten and has us look at exactly where we as a people and a culture.

2.  ‘Polisse’ May 13

Busting child molester’s, interrogating abusive parents, treating underage drug users are all parts of a particular Parisian police precinct Juvenile Protection Unit daily routine.  Furthermore, all those involved with such emotionally rich activities, must also find the proper way at balancing their own personal lives, freedoms and ideas.  A little ‘Law & Order’, a little ‘The Class’ and elements of ‘A Separation’ all come together in this festival stunner from writer/director Maïwenn Le Besco.

3.  ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ May 25

What proper Independent Film list would be complete without the new Cannes Film Festival opening, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton staring Wes Anderson vehicle?  This time, a gang of loveable misfits goes into the woods in search of a pair of young adventurers.  This one is sure to be a hit for Anderson lovers and haters alike.

4.  ‘To Rome with Love’ – June 22

After the wonderful ‘Midnight in Paris’, Woody Allen travels to yet another hugely romantic city rich with aesthetically pleasing locales and cinephile pleasing shot possibilities.  The usual ensemble cast including Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Allen, himself frolicking around Rome in a series of location-centric vignettes.  Can Allen continue his return to form in a city other then New York or Paris? We shall see this summer.

5. ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ – June 27

Winner of the 2012 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for US Narrative Filmmaking, ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ marks the emergence of a major new narrative talent in director Benh Zeitlin.  This journey of a six year old named Hushpuppy, in the face of environmental doom, the fading health of her father and disappearance of her mother has been a universal crowd pleaser, and conversation piece with virtually every audience who has already seen it.

6.  ‘Take this Waltz’ – June 29

It’s been six year’s since Sarah Polley showed everyone her strong directing chops with ‘Away From Her’.  Now she returns with this ensemble dramedy.  The story of a love triangle, set against the backdrop of nihilism and art, Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby and Sarah Silverman (in a very revealing performance) pack the strong performances on in this Tribeca favorite.

7.  ‘Ruby Sparks’ – July 25

‘Ruby Sparks’ marks another 6 year hiatus, this time from the duo behind ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris.   This quirky comedy about writer’s block, loneliness and lost love features a return to form for ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘There Will be Blood’ Paul Dano and, especially Zoe Kazan as a writer’s character and muse, willed to life.

8.  ‘Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry” – July 29

Another much talked about Sundance documentary, follows controversial artist, architect and human rights activist Ai WeiWei as he gives exclusive access to his one of a kind life.  The creative process, personal struggle and political pressures which Ai WeiWei has been subjected to over his decades are all masterfully worked in this documentary that is the definition of the phrase “all access”.

9. ‘2 Days in New York’ – August 10

A little ‘2 Days in Paris’ (also featuring Julie Delpy), a little Woody Allen and a lot of ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, ‘2 Days in new York’ follows Delpy as she resides in New York City with her son and new boyfriend (Chris Rock).  This Sundance favorite

10.  ‘Lawless’ – August 31

Another official Cannes 2012 selection, ‘Lawless’ rounds out our list (and the summer) with a violent bang.  The stellar cast of roughnecks and acting heavyweights (Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowa) take this prohibition era, bootlegging gone wrong gangster flick from director John Hillcoat (‘The Road’).

By: Steve Rickinson


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