When thinking about the upcoming summer movie season, it’s hard to picture anything but Robert Downey Jr., Buzz & Woody, and Jake G. as a Persian with a British accent. And while we all enjoy a tasty summer club-banger (blockbuster) or two, the season always provides for a few smaller, limited-release “gems.” Many of these flicks are picked-up off the festival-circuit tours and sometimes go on to make a big cult-splash (The Wackness, Napolean Dynamite, Garden State), or even an awards-season run (The Hurt Locker, Little Miss Sunshine, Hustle & Flow).
The following are ten under-the-radar flicks that may get some extra attention/theater releases by the summer’s end:
Jay Baruchel takes break from being Paramount’s recent golden boy to star in this little comedy about high school student that believes he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. Having already screened at several major festivals (including Tribeca this week), Trotsky seems poised to grab some followers when it opens in limited release on May 14th. Check out the trailer below.
Michael Douglas plays a former baller-turned-family man out to prove he can still live the Alpa Chino lifestyle after losing everything. Wall Street 2 got pushed back, but Douglas still gets to star in a May movie as a Solitary Man. I don’t really get why he keeps working so much. If I were married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, I would leave home only to buy her cranberry juice or watch her make me some scrilla via T-Mobile. I guess having the opp to shmooze with the likes of Jenna Fischer and Mary Louise-Parker make for a reasonable excuse. Danny DeVito, Jesse Eisenberg, and Susan Sarandon probably keep things interesting on-set as well. Catch the movie in limited release May 7th.
Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Undead
How many times do we need to see a movie about staging a play based on Hamlet? Apparently one more! Though there is a vampire involved, it’s not based on the book of Mormon (sigh of relief). Also features the lovely Devon Aoki, as well as Johnny Drama’s pal, Ralph Macchio. I’m also intrigued to see if Jake Hoffman (best known for being Dustin’s son) can pull off being a leading man.
Helmer Neil Marshall returns with this historical period-piece about the roma legion in Britainia. In the vein of Apocalypto meets Gladiator, Centurion features dudes on horses chasing dudes with swords and the ALWAYS welcome Olga Kurylenko. Say what you will about Marshall’s Doomsday, but The Descent was off the chain, yo. This is one that will likely get a larger release than what it’s currently slated for and will likely do very well overseas.
You probably know the first [REC] best as it’s American doppelganger Quarantine, which is almost shot-for-shot identical. Well [Rec] 2 takes off right where the first story ended and is told from the perspective of the SWAT-team that gets sent in to clean up the mess. Look for it in theatres (likely only at the Landmark chain since it’s distributed through Magnolia/Magnet) in July and on-demand shortly after.
The Wild Hunt
LARPing gone bad?! A medieval reenactment game turns into a Shakespearean tragedy when a non-player crashes the event to win back his girlfriend. Whoever came up with this concept deserves a spot in the International Super-Geek Shrine of Nerderdom. If this thing gets a solid marketing campaign in front of it though, it screams future cult-classic. Won awards at Slamdance and Toronto.
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
Andy Serkis, a.k.a. Peter Jackson’s little monkey, stole some heavy attention and a BAFTA nomination across the pond for his portrayal of Ian Drury, a prominent figure in the evolution of British new wave music leading into the ‘80’s. Again, the Tribeca response will give us an idea as to how big or small this one will be, but Serkis is supposed to be a sight to see.
OSS 117: Lost in Rio
The second foreign sequel on this list. The first OSS 117 (Cairo, Nest of Spies), is essentially a French-Austin Powers-esque parody of 007. Though reading subtitles isn’t for everyone, the original was very simple and funny and I expect nothing less from the sequel. Opening in NY/LA on May 7th.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
The foxy Gemma Arterton continues her stellar year starring in the title role here, to go with those two other small-time flicks Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia, as the daughter of a wealthy businessman held for ransom by two ex-cons. Though the overall concept is nothing insanely original, Alice Creed had pretty positive word-of-mouth coming out of Toronto, so the Tribeca screenings will give us an idea if it’ll release wider than its planned limited engagements this August.
This might be the best known feature on this list, but since it’s still hitting the festivals, we’ll include it. Jonah Hill creeps out John C Reilley as he courts his mother (Marisa Tomei). Milfy Catherine Keener plays Reilly’s ex-wife. Drops in theaters July 9th, though the size of the release is still TBD.