Typically, when you think of summer movies, you conjure up images of big budget superhero flicks laced with explosions and special effects starring mega superstar A-list talent. If you’re more than a little sick of seeing the litany of sequels barraging your eyeballs, IndieWIRE released its list of the 20 must-see indie films of Summer 2011 that you might want to check out. After this, you can ask out that hipster environmentalist chick you’ve been blabbering about. See IndieWIRE’s picks below.
Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times
(June 17; Magnolia Pictures)
Sixteen critics gave it an average of A- on the film’s criticWIRE page and it was very well received at its Sundance debut.
(July 8; Focus Features)
Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as a not-quite-couple who first meet as they graduate from the University of Edinburgh on July 15th (St. Swithin’s Day), and decide to meet again on that same day every year for the next two decades.
Midnight in Paris
(May 20; Sony Pictures Classics)
Woody Allen’s 41st annual feature film has an all-star cast including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Owen Wilson, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody, and Kathy Bates.
(July 15; IFC Films)
“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.” Twenty-seven critics gave it an average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page. It was also named as one the top five undistributed films of 2010 in indieWIRE’s annual critic’s survey.
(June 3; The Weinstein Company)
This 1980s-set tale features a boy on a mission to save his parents from the dissolution of their marriage and to lose his virginity before he turns 16. Nineteen critics also gave “Submarine” an average of A- on the film’s criticWIRE page.
(July 1; ATO Pictures)
An overweight teenager’s 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. 20 critics gave “Terri” average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
(June 10; IFC Films)
This story follows fictionalized versions of actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trying to one-up each other with dueling impersonations of Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Sean Connery and Woody Allen as they venture through northern England’s best restaurants and inns. Fifteen critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
(May 6; Summit Entertainment)
Mel Gibson stars as a clinically depressed toy company CEO who finds solace through a beaver hand puppet that he begins to use to communicate to his estranged wife (played by Jodie Foster). Ten critics gave it an average of B- on the film’s criticWIRE page. It also garnered fairly positive reviews out of SXSW. All this despite the trainwreck that is Mad Max… which, oddly enough, might HELP the film.
(July 8; Roadside Attractions)
Story follows 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. Twenty-three critics gave it an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page. Reminds of that ape Amy in the movie Congo.
(June 3; Focus)
Ewan McGregor struggles to overcome the death of his father (played by an Oscar-nomination worthy Christopher Plummer in flashbacks) through a budding romance with Melanie Laurent. Sixteen critics also gave “Beginners” an average of B+ on the film’s criticWIRE page.
(July 29; Roadside Attractions)
A couple whose relationship grows troubled with the arrival of an adopted cat. Thirteen critics gave “The Future” average of B on the film’s criticWIRE page. IN THE YEEEEEEAR 2000!
(Summer TBA; The Cinema Guild)
One of the most acclaimed films to come out of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival tells the stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their communities from the violence they once employed. Eight critics gave it an average of A- on the film’s criticWIRE page.
The Tree of Life
(May 27; Fox Searchlight)
Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, this 1950s family drama somehow deals with dinosaurs and the meaning of life. Director Terrence Malick has only made 5 films in his near 40 year career, and the four that came before “Life” have all been heralded by critics and often end up on best-film-ever type lists.
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