Flying Under the Radar: Summer 2012

As usual this summer at the cineplexes will be a crowded place with plenty of options for you to choose from. While 2012 has certainly put its bid in for the geekiest year ever with the one two punch of two of the biggest comic book movies ever (The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises) it is also marked by Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi with Prometheus, the return of everyone's favorite web slinger with Marc Webb's re-imagined The Amazing Spider-Man, and a slew of big name comedy tentpoles and remakes that look surprisingly credible. While these will all most likely make the most money there will also be a nice line up of smaller films coming out over the summer months as well. The following list is in no particular order (other than release date) of anticipation but thats not to say I'm not looking forward to some of these more than others. some of them still do not have trailers and so it is hard to tell when all we have to go on is a plot synopsis and a few stills. We can only hope the final product lives up to the promise. Usually more thought goes into the story being told when you don't have as much money to spend on explosions and set design though and so if you find yourself tired of all the big budget things going on in theaters this summer and need a break you should definitely check your local indie cinema and see if any of the following are playing near you.

God Bless America-May 11

Loveless, jobless and possibly terminally ill, Frank (Joel Murray) has had enough of the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank takes his gun and decides to off the stupidest, cruelest and most repellent members of society with an unusual accomplice: 16-year-old Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement. From stand-up comedian and director Bobcat Goldthwait comes a scathing and hilarious attack on all that is sacred in the United States of America. This is on demand now and in theaters on May 11th but you can check out the trailer here.

Hysteria-May 18

It is unclear how this small victorian film will go over with its subject yet somewhat famous cast. Gyllenhaal might pull some intrigue as she is known for making more indies than mainstream films and I am anxious to take a look as I will get to see a screening of it, but have doubts this will be branded as one of the summer indies to see. If the cast sounds appealing though here is a plot synopsis: A romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world's first electro-mechanical vibrator in the name of medical science. Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy headline in this untold tale of a young Victorian doctor's quest to figure out the key to women's happiness. The film also stars Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones.

Moonrise Kingdom-May 25

Wes Anderson is back with his first live action feature since 2007's "The Darjeeling Limited", "Moonrise Kingdom" is set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s and follows a young boy and girl falling in love. When they are moved to run away together, various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down; which might not be such a bad thing. Bruce Willis plays the town sheriff; two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton is cast as a camp leader; Academy Award nominee and Anderson regular Bill Murray and Academy Award winner Frances McDormand portray the young girl’s parents; the cast also includes Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton and another Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman. Check out the trailer here.

Safety Not Guaranteed-June 8

I have been anxious to see this since first hearing the plot of the film and once the trailer was released I think I might be even more excited. "Safety Not Guaranteed is about an unusual classified ad that inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth (a busy Mark Duplass), who is a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes hes solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. This looks like a hilarious and smart little picture that also stars "Parks & Recs" Aubrey Plaza and "New Girl's" jake M. Johnson. Check out the trailer here.

To Rome With Love-June 22

After his massive success with last years "Midnight in Paris" Woody Allen probably isn't trying too hard to follow it up with anything different than he would have had "Midnight" been just another film in the director's track record. "To Rome with Love" tells the story of a number of people in Italy-some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into. The first trailer makes it look very similiar in tone to his previous hit and the cast is very impressive. This may be the same film Allen would have made no matter the circumstances, but it feels more people will be paying attention to his film this year than might normally do. Check out the first trailer here.

Seeking A Friend For the End of the World-June 22

With the star power on this one I was hesitant to even add it to the list, but the tone is clearly that of a small, independent film. Steve Carell headlines in what looks like a continuation of his thoughtful comedy pictures and co-stars a non-corsetted Kiera Knightly which could be fun. The trailer looks great and the story seems to be running amok of all the "end of days" films that are crowding the theaters. The synopsis goes a little something like this: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan. Check out the trailer here.

Beasts of the Southern Wild-June 27

There has not been much released about this film but the plot and few still shots that have been released look engaging. The story is focused around Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl who lives with her father, Wink, in a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink's tough love prepares Hushpuppy for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack--temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother. I don't know what to expect, but I'm excited to see how this turns out and I think most of you will be as well.

People Like Us-June 29

A drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers the secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about this family and re-examine his own life choices in the process. The film also co-stars Olivia Wilde. Check out the trailer here.

Your Sister's Sister-June 29

Emily Blunt has certainly been making a splash this year with both "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and "The Five Year Engagement" hitting theaters in the first half of the year and having this Tornto film festival that deals with relationships, death, siblings, betrayal in a refreshing way will certainly not hurt her career. The story focuses on a man still mourning the recent death of his brother, who finds love and direction in a most unexpected place. With a supporting cast that features "Melancholia's" Rosemarie DeWitt and "Safety Not Guaranteed's" Mark Duplass this is sure to be one to check out given the opportunity.

Lawless-August 31

Since I first caught wind of this project the cast alone has been enough to engage anyone. Starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Guy Pearce, and Jessica Chastain this film formerly titled "The Wettest County is based on the true story of the freewheelin' Bondurants brothers. Bootlegging siblings taking the law into their own hands; this is the story of the rural hard-men that created the big city gangsters. Brazen and fearless, these young rebel brothers helped build the American Dream in this exuberant tale of what was to become crime's first major gold rush. It is set in depression-era Virginia and the conflict arises when the gang is threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits. The cast alone makes this one of my more anticipated films overall this summer and the few stills we have seen give a rough, southern gothic tone that is sure to please anyone that enjoys the genre.

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