The Place For Everything Movies
If you are not a fan of the many grand blockbusters set for release in the coming months do not fret for there is still plenty to look forward to. With the Oscar season over, film enthusiasts can sometimes feel slighted by the mindless films that plague the first few months of each year, however, now as we inch closer to summer we prepare to be spoiled with the many film festivals that will give us our first taste of the movies that will define 2012. Independent film is a special ingredient in the film industry recipe, and without it film would be as bitter as cake without sugar. Therefore, before we indulge in the loud, popcorn flicks of the summer days let’s take a look at a few indie darlings that cinephiles everywhere will be buzzing about.
Anyone who refuses to see this film based upon Kristen Stewart’s role better stop reading right now. Yes, the Twilight saga is a disgrace but K-Stew has given a number of noteworthy performances from Panic Room to Into the Wild to Welcome to the Rileys, and it is possible that she will give her best performance in the big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s iconic novel, On the Road. Stewart joins a respectable cast of Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, and the two stars of tomorrow who helm the film: Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund. The novel is one of the defining works of the Beat Generation and therefore has a strong following behind it. While this following will cause plenty of cynics declaring that it “doesn’t do justice to the book,” the movie seems to be heading in the right direction. The film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month which is splendid news for any indie but unfortunately means I still have to wait another month while I get goosebumps from the trailer.
By far the quirkiest film of the bunch, Whit Stillman gives us his first film in over a decade. The film closed the Venice Film Festival last year and was embraced with plenty of enthusiastic reviews. Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody lead the film with Analeigh Tipton, who brings her comedic chops to the big screen again as she did in the scene stealing role of Jessica from Crazy, Stupid, Love. Clever beyond belief, this indie darling follows a group of college girls who attempt to alter the male-dominance of their campus all while attempting to rescue their fellow students from depression and other low standards in life. Both newcomers and fanatics of Stillman’s style will be pleased with this refreshing and delightful comedy. Also, ignore that the release date for this has gotten continually delayed, this is still a must-see.
Wes Anderson’s first live action film since 2007’s Darjeeling Limited, I’m already popping my popcorn! As usual he gives us an eclectic cast of Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and Anderson staples: Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. This is sizing up to be the biggest indie of the summer with only the cast of To Rome With Love (see below) to rival. While this may not be a huge box office hit, Anderson isn’t known for that anyways, art house theaters everywhere will be cramming fans every weekend. This is also another film that gets a prime Cannes premiere which boast well for getting the word out about this potential classic. Receiving a wide-release during the prime superhero season, Moonrise Kingdom will offer a great escape to anyway looking for a witty, eccentric getaway.
To Rome With Love
Woody Allen graces the screen for the first time since his 2006 stinker Scoop. Not only is there buzz about his return to acting, the writer-director’s new film is also receiving hype as it comes after his most financially successful film, Midnight in Paris. Usually Allen’s film peak a little over $1 million domestically, yet Midnight in Paris earned a staggering $56.8 million in just the US. Can the film legend make lightning strike twice? The cast is intriguing enough with Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis, Allison Pill, Allen himself, and Penelope Cruz making her Allen return after her Vicky Christina Barcelona’s Oscar win. This may not be a repeat of Midnight in Paris but it has the potential to be another hit for Allen. With all the stinkers he turned out in the past decade, it will be a breath of fresh air to get two good Allen films in a row. I wish you the best of luck!
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Could this be as big a gamble for Sony as some are speculating? A film that boasts Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as its lead must do pretty good at the box office. Lorene Scafaria had a sizable hit in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist but this marks the her first time behind the camera which could be a risky move. The cutsey romance in Nick and Nora worked, however, I have my fair of skepticism of how much chemistry Carell and Knightley will end up having. Both actors have proven their ability to work with a wide array of actors in varying genres so I still have faith in them. The lack of romantic comedies this summer will also work in the film’s favor and each time I watch the trailer I doubt this will be a gamble in any sense.
Independent films may not be for everyone, but they are always worth checking out. Take a break from the many big blockbusters this summer and check out something more simple. Happy moviegoing!