Thursday, April 16, 2015

Summer 2015 Indie Movie Preview

Summer is going to feature the debut of some truly exciting titles like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation. I previewed those titles in my Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2015 list, but in a season dominated by superheroes and action stars, it can all get a little overwhelming after a while. That's why the independent film market exists and there are some potentially awesome independent films that will be hitting theaters over the summer frame. These movies won't gain as much momentum as the big blockbusters, but there is still an immense amount of excitement over many of these titles. Here is the list of indies that I'm looking forward to seeing and some smaller studio films that will also be hitting theaters over the summer:

MAGGIE- I know that a lot of people are excited for this one, but I'm still wary. Arnold Schwarzanegger in a zombie movie is a stroke of genius, but there's no action in this movie. It's a father-daughter drama with Abigail Breslin and it's going to give Schwarzaneggger his biggest test yet. It was initially supposed to play at TIFF last year, but was moved to the Tribeca Film Festival. We'll see if this has a chance to break out during the early summer months. MAY 8

I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS- A buzzy Sundance title starring Blythe Danner, I'll See You In My Dreams is a title that I'm very excited to see at the River Run Film Festival in a week. The reaction has been great so far and with the success of Danny Collins, the box office potential for this one is pretty big. It may only connect with the older set, but that's the same audience that drove The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to be a big hit. So you never know. MAY 15

ALOHA- Aloha had the disadvantage of starting out of the gate with some really atrocious buzz. The film was impacted by the leaked Sony emails between Amy Pascal and other executives, with Pascal deeming Aloha a mess that couldn't be saved. Then the first trailer debuted and the movie looked.......good. This is a film with a stunning cast and it appears to be a sweet, fun time at the movies. Plus, it's directed by Cameron Crowe who brought us modern classics like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. The early buzz might be bad, but don't write this one off yet. MAY 29

LOVE AND MERCY- Love and Mercy has received stellar reviews at all of the festivals and it's the story of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. It doesn't seem like a typical musical biopic too and that seems like a very refreshing idea. Should be a very interesting and engaging film. JUNE 5

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL- Sundance always brings out one major hit each year, and in 2015, it was Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The teen cancer dramedy had a good trailer and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the completed project. Although it does appear to be a lot like The Fault in Our Stars, it's already an early Oscar favorite and the buzz has been deafening. JUNE 12

DOPE- The marketing campaign for this one has focused on style and tone over plot and that has worked out well so far. While I'm definitely interested in seeing more from the film, the ads have gotten people talking and that's exactly what Open Road Films wants. Dope looks funny and fresh and I can't wait to see if it lives up to the hype. Another Sundance smash that appears to be a fun, energetic ride, Dope could be this year's Chef- a true summer treat. JUNE 19

BIG GAME- This TIFF title received an interestingly mixed reaction, but with Samuel L. Jackson as the President of the United States, I don't see how this one can't be entertaining. Nobody who has seen it says that it's a great film, but most seem to certify that it is a fun action film that everyone can enjoy. With strong early buzz and a cool premise, Big Game is one indie action flick that I can't wait to see this summer. JUNE 26

THE GALLOWS- Just like with Aloha, I'm cheating a bit on this one. The Gallows is being distributed by New Line and Warner Bros., but it was independently made and financed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing. The story follows a group of teens who attempt to put on a revival of a school play after a tragic incident 20 years prior. That seems like a great idea for a horror film and I'm excited to see how this one came together. It has the potential to be the big horror hit of the late summer. JULY 10

SELF/LESS- Self/Less features an absurdly good cast, with Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley and Matthew Goode starring in the film. But in the end, the concept is what's exciting about this film. I won't say too much for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but this truly looks like a fascinating movie. Tarsem Singh is a visionary director and I can see him making a truly mind boggling cult classic with this flick. JULY 10

MR. HOLMES- This was one of the most buzzed about films at Sundance and it admittedly feels out of place in the summer season. With Ian McKellen in the lead role, this British period piece follows a 93-year old Sherlock Holmes as he grapples with his life and unsolved cases. And with great early reviews, this is looking like a career rebound for Bill Condon and a potential sleeper hit. JULY 17

THE LOOK OF SILENCE- The companion piece to Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of KillingThe Look of Silence continues his investigation into genocide and the long-lasting impacts on society. I'll be seeing this one at the River Run Film Festival in a week and I'm very interested to see how it turns out. Early word is that it's spectacular. JULY 17

IRRATIONAL MAN- We've only seen one picture from this film, but it automatically shoots to the top of any list because of the director: Woody Allen. It's about an existential crisis that befalls a philosophy teacher (Joaquin Phoenix) and the relationship that he enters with his student (Emma Stone). It could be a milquetoast misfire like Magic in the Moonlight, but never count Allen out. He always has the ability to surprise us. JULY 24

SOUTHPAW- This Jake Gyllenhaal boxing drama had a so-so first trailer, but never count Gyllenhaal out. He appears to bring another virtuoso performance to the table in a gritty, intense flick. After the success of Nightcrawler, everybody has to be excited to see what Gyllenhaal is going to tackle next. JULY 24

Those are the indie flicks that I'm looking forward to over the summer. I'm sure a few more will come out of nowhere (like It Follows), but for now, these are the major titles. Come back later in the month for Part 2 of my Summer Box Office Predictions, which will close out my Summer Movie Preview.

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