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More exotic creatures thrive in the shadows of summer blockbusters. Here are 10 of the most anticipated indie films due this summer, nary a caped superhero or city-crushing monster among them.
1. The Rover (June 13): David Michod’s follow-up to his Aussie crime drama Animal Kingdom qualifies as a must-see because of the rare quality of his feature film debut. This one, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson and is set in a near-future Australia where the world economy has collapsed and bandits roam the Outback.
2. Boyhood (July 11): Richard Linklater spent 12 years making this wholly unique film. It charts a fictional family over that time (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play divorced parents) and, remarkably, shows the maturation of 6-year-old Ellar Coltrane (playing their son) from boy to man.
3. The Immigrant (May 16): Tales of immigrants arriving through Ellis Island are a well-trod genre, but James Gray’s 1920s drama is distinct in its portrait of the American Dream as both myth and reality. With Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix.
4. Life Itself (July 11): Teve James (Hoop Dreams) presents a documentary and ode to the late film critic Roger Ebert.
5. Begin Again (July 4): Much like John Carney’s Once, this is a naturalistic, street-level drama about musicians. Keira Knightley stars as a British singer-songwriter discovered in New York by a down-on-his-luck music executive (Mark Ruffalo).
6. Magic in the Moonlight (July 25): Woody Allen’s annual offering is a comedy set on the French Riviera in the ’20s starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone. It promises a romantic lightness, but how will audiences respond to Allen following the renewed allegation of sexual abuse?
7. Tracks (May 23): Mia Wasikowska stars as Robyn Davidson, who in 1977 trekked across 1,700 miles of Australia to reach the Indian Ocean. Adam Driver (Girls) stars as the National Geographic photographer who trails her.
8. A Most Wanted Man (July 25): Anton Corbijn’s adaptation of John le Carre’s novel is one of two posthumous releases for Philip Seymour Hoffman. The late actor also stars in God’s Pocket (May 9), the directing debut of John Slattery (Mad Men).
9. Wish I Was Here (July 18): Zach Braff took a lot of criticism for his use of Kickstarter to help fund his second directorial effort following 2004’s Garden State. Braff also stars as a struggling actor who homeschools his kids.
10. They Came Together (June 27): David Wain and Michael Showalter deconstruct the romantic comedy with a cast led by Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler.