EDITORIALS

Don't Forget This Summer's Indie Niche Hits!

by
April 26, 2007

In a great article over at MSNBC it mentions a number of this year's niche summer films that are hoping to attract an audience, despite competing against such heavy hitting blockbusters as Spider-Man, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean. After seeing most of these independent films at Sundance and abroad, I've got to stress not to forget these little indie niche hits this summer, as they're all fantastic films! Almost all of these mentioned below are some of the best movies you'll see all year, guaranteed.

When I was writing this and thinking back on all of these, I kept being reminded how wonderful each one was and smiled again to myself. If the least I can do is get just one person to see one of these great movies, then I've done my job. But any rightful cinema aficionado will make sure they catch every last one, whether they personally like them or not in the end.

Waitress
Opens May 2nd
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
The cutest, heartfelt, down-to-earth romantic comedy that guys and girls both will love. One of the greatest romantic comedies at Sundance this year, Waitress is about a waitress (played by the beautiful Keri Russell) and her two friends, who gets pregnant with a baby she doesn't want and must live with it. Not only does it have some great commentary about life and romance and being pregnant, but it's such an enjoyable film that you'll smile at the entire way through.

Once
Opens May 16th
Watch the Trailer
The only film I haven't seen on this list, it won the Audience Award at Sundance and since then I've heard nothing but great things. It's a musical about two people who fall in love, and is a very small, foreign independent film that is struggling to get recognized and be embraced. I have a feeling it's just going to be wonderful no matter who sees it, the problem is you just need to get out to see it. Take a look at the trailer and if you're interested, give it a spin, I think you'll find there's a lot more to it that you'll fall in love with.

Angel-A
Opens May 25th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
Damn this movie was so good! It may be the only one that makes you reflect back on your life and think about the world unlike anything else this summer. Filmmaker Luc Besson (who you may know best from Fifth Element) gives us a black and white cinematic experience about two unlikely people who bump into each other just as they're about to jump off of a bridge. Together they each go on a journey of discovery, through some great comedy and in the serene French language. Disregard any negative feedback you hear, Angel-A is the film to see for cinephiles and those looking for a masterful creation that's far out of the ordinary from the explosive blockbusters of the summer.

Fido
Opens June 15th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
The next Shaun of the Dead zombie comedy that is on the same level of excellence as Shaun of the Dead IS Fido. And I'm not overplaying it here, this movie is the most fun you'll have with zombies all year. Set in a different past where zombies have been domesticated and trained to help around the house, one of them (oh yes, played by Billy Connolly) befriends little Timmy and starts to get a little out of control. This is the most original, breath of fresh air vision you'll see all year. I really can't wait to get all of you joining in on the ZomCon invasion across America!

Death at a Funeral
Opens June 29th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
Forget Evan Almighty, forget Knocked Up, forget any of the other "blockbuster" comedies this year, THIS is the best comedy of 2007! It's the most hilarious thing I've seen in the last few years and ranks up there as being one of my all time favorite comedies ever. Directed by Frank Oz, the story, to put it simply, is that it's a British comedy about a funeral and all that occurs at it, which is quite a bit of madness. It keeps going on and on the entire time and every scene has something new to laugh at, it's never washed up and reused comedy. If there is one movie I really suggest you this summer, it HAS to be Death at a Funeral!

Eagle vs Shark
Opens June 29th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
This year's quirky and just-as-funny version of Napoleon Dynamite, but set in New Zealand and entirely about a relationship between these two awkward individuals than one guy himself. It's rare that you can laugh out loud at such nerdy, awkward people without getting in trouble, but Eagle vs Shark let's you do that the whole way through and still have a good time. If you need a bit more insight, catch the trailer, but otherwise be ready for one of the nerdiest, gut-busting experiences ever.

Clubland
Opens July 4th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
After the name change debacle, I'm hesitant to even mention this film anymore, but when I remember just how amazing it was, I forgot all of that. It's an Australian romantic comedy drama that is more about the romance and drama than about the comedy, but still delivers on all fronts. Not only is this one of those films that will make you want to fall in love (or cuddle with your loved one), but you'll be laughing out loud in some scenes and nearly crying in others. This is the first time I've seen such a mix of… everything that's pulled off so damn well. I'll be pushing this one hard when it comes around to its July 4th release that coincides with Transformers.

Interview
Opens July 13th
No Trailer Yet (Read the Review)
One of the most niche, artistic films you'll probably see all year, Interview is just a story about a journalist and a celebrity (Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller) who spend one night together in a long interview in her studio apartment. It's funny and entertaining, and I thought they could never pull it off. Boy was I wrong. At first thought you wouldn't believe you really could enjoy a movie with only two people talking the entire time, but it's the incredible chemistry and utter realism that the two bring to it that make it so damn good. If you have a chance, catch this, you won't regret it.

Talk to Me
Opens July 13th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
This was another delightful surprise as one of the most enjoyable indie films so far. It's a real true life story about a radio DJ (named Ralph "Petey" Greene and played exquisitely by Don Cheadle) in Washington DC during the 1960s who helps unite a community through his charming and often hilarious ramblings on the air. Not only is it a very powerful and political film, but the character of "Petey" Greene is so well played by Cheadle that it may actually be his best performance to date. This movie is even better than Dreamgirls and is worth a shot if you really want to see something powerful and entertaining all rolled into one.

Son of Rambow
Opens July 20th
No Trailer Yet (Read the Review)
Along with Rocket Science, this is another guaranteed sleeper hit that is going to be swept up by the nation. It's a British film from Garth Jennings (who last directed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) and is about two elementary school kids who, after watching a bootleg of Rambo, decide to recreate their own Rambo themselves, and go truly all out. Besides being absolutely hilarious, it's such a unique comedic vision and very down-to-earth, that nothing else compares with it. And if what I've said isn't enough, just remember that Bono from U2 attended the world premiere in support of this great film.

Rocket Science
Opens August 10th
No Trailer Yet (Read the Review)
The sleeper comedy hit of the year, some are already calling it the next Rushmore, Rocket Science is a fun little "high school" dramedy. The story is about a kid with a stuttering problem who decides to join the debate team in pursuit of a girl. Ah yes, that romantic pursuit, something almost all of us have done at one point in our life! There really isn't a better story than this and you'll definitely want to catch this when it hits at the end of the summer.

King of California
Opens August 17th
Watch the Trailer (Read the Review)
This was one of my most highly anticipated films before I went to Sundance, and it lived up to almost all of my expectations. It's another dramatic comedy starring Michael Douglas as a just-out-of-the-hospital slighty crazy dad of Evan Rachel Wood who starts to believe gold is buried underneath suburban California and goes on an adventure to dig it up. His quest leads him to a CostCo, and you can only imagine what happens next when he tries to find buried gold underneath CostCo. This really was a fantastic film and is probably one of the ones I smile at most when I think about it. It's a movie you won't want to miss and I guarantee you'll have a good time at this summer.

I really can't stress enough how fantastic every one of these movies are! Whether you're a big movie-goer or not, or just want to see some great films this summer, please make sure you don't forget this summer's indie niche hits!

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