Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ten Smaller Summer Films to Look Out For

As industry watchers continue to bemoan the quality of the latest crop of summer tentpoles, here are ten alternative films to keep an eye out for, coming soon in limited release to your local art house, foreign, and independent theaters:

* "Best Worst Movie" - A look at the cult fandom spawned by "Troll 2," the notoriously horrible horror film that reputedly has a good claim on the title of "Worst Movie Ever." The documentary was put together by Michael Stephenson, former "Troll 2" child star, who interviews fans, co-stars, and the director who's still not in on the joke.

* "Cairo Time" - Wincing at the rampant cultural insensitivity of "Sex and the City 2"? You may want to hold out for this grown-up romance, where Patricial Clarkson plays a American writer stranded in Egypt while waiting for her husband, trying not to fall for her charming local host, Alexander Siddig.

* "Agora" - A lavishly produced historical epic set during the waning days of the Roman Empire, when social and religious turmoil lead to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the rise of Christian rule. Stars Rachel Wiesz as the philosopher Hypatia, and Alejandro Amenabar ("The Sea Inside," "The Others") directs.

* "Micmacs" - Jean Pierre Jeunet, best known for "Amelie" and "The City of Lost Children," tries his hand at a caper film, wherein a pack of junk-salvaging oddballs with various surprising talents - including a contortionist and a human cannonball - decide to help a friend get revenge on some unscrupulous weapons manufacturers.

* "The Kids are All Right" - Annette Bening and Julianne Moore have seven Academy Award nominations between them. In this film, they join forces to play a lesbian couple whose teenage children, conceived by artificial insemination, go searching for their sperm donor. Is the father Mark Ruffalo? And what happens when the kids bring him home?

* "Winter's Bone" - This year's Grand Jury Prize for Drama winner at Sundance. A teenage girl searches for her criminally inclined father in the isolated Ozarks after he abandons her and her siblings. Reviews describe it as a thematically dark, chilly, neo-noir mystery with a grimly realistic style.

* "The Killer Inside Me" - Director Michael Winterbottom's latest is a new adaptation of the classic Jim Thompson crime novel. Casey Affleck stars as a small town Texas sheriff who is also a sociopathic killer. There's been some controversy from recent screenings regarding the film's explicit content, so viewer be wary.

* "Restrepo" - A war documentary that chronicles the experiences of American journalist Sebastian Junger and British photographer Tim Hetherington, who went on assignment for "Vanity Fair" in 2008, following an American battalion for a year as they were stationed in one of the deadliest parts of Afghanistan.

* "The Girl Who Played With Fire" - The second film in the Swedish action trilogy kicked off by "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." See it before the inevitable English-language remake.

* "Love Ranch" - In this film, Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci run a brothel. Let me repeat that. Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci run a brothel.

Happy watching!

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