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2013 Summer Movie Preview: Part 2

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With my most-anticipated 2013 summer blockbusters countdown out of the way, it’s time to get to the good stuff. I can’t remember a year when my excitement for a crop of indie films has exceeded my excitement for Hollywood stuff by this much. Where I struggled to find ten big studio titles to list on part one of my summer movie preview, it kills me to leave films like The East, Much Ado About Nothing, Something in the Air, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints off part two.

I’ve always been high on the summer as a platform for quality independent, foreign, and documentary cinema, and whether it’s merely coincidence at work or some larger shift in the landscape, I can’t remember such a strong crop of summer indies.

With the honorable mentions out of the way, then, I give you my top ten:

10.) The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola is a damn tease. Since Lost in Translation, she promises a great new movie every few years. And every few years, I find myself thoroughly disappointed by something that’s downright awful (Marie Antoinette, Somewhere). Her latest is slated to premiere at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard category, and here I am, excited again. She’s a great filmmaker, and even when we don’t click, I recognize the talent going on behind the scenes. I hope (and suspect) this one will have a compelling enough subject matter to carry the day.

9.) I’m So Excited

Almodovar, baby. This film looks like it’s going to be utterly ridiculous, but after The Skin I Live In, I’m in for whatever this guy puts forth.

8.) The Spectacular Now

Though I wasn’t quite as taken with Smashed, director James Ponsoldt’s vehicle for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as most, his follow-up floored a great many Sundance attendees this past January. It’s hard to ignore a film with the kind of love this one has, and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) is a young guy overdue for a major breakout.

7.) We Steal Stories: The Story of WikiLeaks

Alex Gibney is the Energizer Bunny of documentary filmmakers. It seems every year brings a new Gibney film, and rarely (including last year’s searing Mea Maxima Culpa) do they disappoint. He turns his camera toward the impossibly cinematic story of Julian Assange (it’s so cinematic that the story is becoming a narrative feature later this year).

6.) Blue Jasmine

The annual Woody Allen, “your guess is as good as mine when it comes to quality” entry on this list. The cast is good. He got the bad out of his system with To Rome with Love last year, so maybe this is another Midnight in Paris…or at least another acceptable Woody Allen a la Whatever Works.

5.) Only God Forgives

While I’m nowhere near as high on Drive as most others, I recognize Nicolas Winding Refn’s unique eye for cinema, and Ryan Gosling is arguably the most exciting actor working today. Can’t miss that reunion (especially when it’s heading to Cannes).

4.) Fruitvale Station

The darling of Sundance 2013 was this based-on-a-true-story tragedy starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. It’s also heading to Cannes to play Un Certain Regard. Could this be the summer’s big Oscar play?

3.) Frances Ha

Lots of directors on this list so far who I respect, but maybe not as much as other cinephiles I know. Noah Baumbach flips that idea on its head. I think he’s one of his generation’s most talented filmmakers. He certainly has a voice all his own. Teaming with indie darling and girlfriend Greta Gerwig sounds promising, and the reviews out of the fall’s festival circuit were overwhelmingly positive.

2.) Before Midnight

Speaking of great reviews, meet your best-reviewed film of 2013. It has to be. Folks flipped shit for Richard Linklater’s trilogy ender in January, and they’ve continued to do so as it’s screened here and there. Come May, the world will know where Celine and Jesse stand. I’ve been in for this film for ten years. Cannot wait.

1.) Stories We Tell

After last year’s Take This Waltz, a new Sarah Polley film is a good bet to place at or near the top of any sort of “most-anticipated” list for the foreseeable future. Throw in the fact that Stories We Tell sounds incredibly fascinating and has earned its fair share of true rave reviews, and this choice feels like a rock-solid one.

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