While there are plenty of big-budget high profile experiences we can’t wait to see (Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated follow-up to Interstellar: Dunkirk, being one of them). Here’s a list of some of the most exciting independent film offerings from the low-budget or offbeat cinema scene:
THE BAD BATCH – Dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer/Director Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow up to her debut horror feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is near the top of my most anticipated films of 2017. Following the cool, spaghetti-western influenced horror that earned her both critical acclaim and a budding cult following will be no easy task, but many of the early reviews for the film are already glowing reviews. The cast is star-studded featuring, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, and Giovanni Ribsi. Amirpour also introduces model Suki Waterhouse in her first starring role as the films protagonist. Much like A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Bad Batch seems poised to deliver another irresistible genre mashup as it tells the story of a woman, Suki Waterhouse, who gets caught up in a community of cannibals. Behind the camera, Ana Lily Amirpour once again collaborates with cinematographer Lyle Vincent. The film has already screened at the Venice Film Festival, where it competed for the “Golden Lion”.
WIND RIVER– Dir. Taylor Sheridan
Taylor Sheridan has quickly made a name for himself, by penning both the highly acclaimed and Oscar nominated film, Sicario (2015) which was directed by Denis Villeneuve, and also the highly acclaimed modern-western Hell or High Water (2016) which netted him numerous “best screenplay” nominations, including at the Oscars. Sheridan now introduces his first film that he has both written and directed. The film has generated rave reviews and press following its Sundance Premiere and has even earned him comparisons to the Coen Brothers. With a cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olson, and Jon Berenthal, Wind River could potentially be the next big step in his artistic journey. Also, keep an eye out for the score which was composed by the great team Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
THE BEGUILED– Dir. Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola returns to cinemas with her take on the novel A Painted Devil. Famously, the book was previously adapted by Don Siegal and starred Clint Eastwood. The film will star Colin Ferrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning. Her production has already been noted for its largely female driven cast (Ferrall was one of the only men on set). It also reteams Kirsten Dunst and her Virgin Suicides director. It’s been rumored that Coppola’s newest venture may even debut at the Cannes Film Festival. She’s also been very vocal in public statements saying this is a film that demands to viewed in Cinema and hopes audiences will view the film in the theater.
I, DANIEL BLAKE – Dir. Ken Loach
Ken Loach newest film took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year (his second time winning). The film generated some controversy among British politicians who both praised and criticized the film for his portrayal of the Job Centre Staff. Since winning the Cannes Film Festival, Loach’s latest has earned him near universal praise from critics. A director who has received a lot of acclaim over his long career, it is tremendously exciting that his newest effort will be arriving in the States, at last, this summer.
ATOMIC BLONDE – Dir. David Leitech
David Leiech was put on the map by being one-half of the directing duo behind cult favorite Keanu Reeves vehicle, John Wick. Choosing to fly solo for his next venture, David Leitech is helming the adaptation of the Graphic Novel, The Coldest City. With a star-studded cast led by Charlize Theron, with supporting roles assumed by James McAvoy and John Goodman, Atomic Blonde will hopefully be jam-packed with the visual and action driven inventiveness that made John Wick so lovable.
ROUGH NIGHT – Dir. Lucia Anienllo
The Premise of Peter Berg’s delightfully dark and twisted comedy Very Bad Things has been gender-swapped in the dark comedy Rough Night. With a star-studded female cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, and Ilana Glazer of Broad City fame. Fans of the Comedy Central series Broad City will also be thrilled to know that the film is directed by veteran writer and director Lucia Aniello who also helped penned the script. Interestingly enough, the film has already generated some controversy over its subject matter, which tells the story of a group of friends have to contend with the gruesome consequences of a bachelorette party gone awry.
THE BIG SICK – Dir. Michael Showalter
One of the biggest stories to come out of Sundance this past year was Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick. The script was penned by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordan based on the true story of their budding romance. The film made headlines thanks to Amazon Studios purchasing it for a whopping $12 Million dollars. Showalter is best known for penning the cult comedy favorite Wet Hot American Summer and also They Came Together. Fans will know Kunail Nanjiani from the hit HBO comedy series Silicon Valley.
A GHOST STORY – Dir. David Lowery
Fresh off the heels of his big-budget adaptation of Pete’s Dragon, David Lowery returns to low-budget, independent cinema with A Ghost Story. Lowery will reteam with his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints actors, Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. The film was shot secretly last summer and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it earned near-universal praise.
INGRID GOES WEST -Dir. Matt Spicer
Ingrid Goes West made waves at Sundance when it, Matt Spicer, and his co-writer, David Branson Smith won the screenwriting award. Recently, a wild red-band trailer was just unveiled featuring Aubrey Plaza as the starring role in the twisted Social Media drama/comedy. Also be sure to look for co-star Elizabeth Olson in this film which releases toward the end of August.
SLACK BAY – Bruno Dumont
Originally titled Ma Loute, the French comedy Slack Bay is one of the weirdest and most quintessentially French films ever made. Set in a coastal town in the North of France in 1910, the film follows several plotlines including an incestual affluent family arriving to their summer house, a couple of odd bumbling police officers set to “solve” a string of tourist disappearances and, wait for it, cannibalism; and that’s not even all of it. Bruno Dumont’s absurdist take on the eccentricities of the lives of the bourgeoisie, slapstick comedy, genderqueer teens and flying inspectors all make for a strangely unique film that is somehow both hilarious and macabre, relevant and out of this world, bizarre and endearing all in one absurd movie.
PARIS CAN WAIT – Eleanor Coppola
80-year-old Eleanor Coppola hasn’t made a movie since 1991’s Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, a behind the scenes of the infamously difficult production of her partner Francis Ford Coppola’s cult classic Apocalypse Now (the couple has been married for over 54 years). Starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin, Coppola’s feature debut Paris Can Wait is a road comedy about a woman who leaves her husband to travel around France with another man (played by Arnaud Viard). With her husband and daughter’s impressive career as proof, we definitely know by now that the Coppola family is a talented bunch and Paris Can Wait will no doubt maintain their status as Hollywood’s royalty.
IT IT COMES AT NIGHT– Trey Edward Shults
After the incredible success of his directorial debut Krisha, Trey Edward Shults’ follow up is a highly anticipated horror It Comes at Night. With an impressive cast starring Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Carmen Ejogo, and Christopher Abbott, the film is set in a secure and desolate home in the wake of an unclear threat spread all over the world. The film follows a young family desperate for refuge as they stay in said home with the owners as mistrust and paranoia creep in and secrets and horrific events unfold. Shults’ talent for realistically portraying intimate family drama will find an interesting match with the horror genre, and we’re pretty confident he won’t disappoint.
THE BOOK OF HENRY – Colin Trevorrow
The Book of Henry is one of those movies that people have been eagerly awaiting for years. It was originally written by screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz back in 1998 and eventually Colin Trevorrow was attached to direct, but was then hired to direct 2015’s Jurassic World. Hurwitz then opted to wait for him. Finally, the story of precocious/genius eleven year old Henry will hit theaters this summer. The story follows Henry’s life with his younger brother Peter (played by last year’s most beloved child actor Jacob Tremblay) and their single mother Susan (Naomi Watts), and his growing friendship with their new neighbor Christina, whose stepfather is the town’s Police Commissioner. Once Henry believes that he is hurting Christina, his mother and Peter find his plan to save her written down in a book and they decide to follow its instructions to protect her from harm’s way, no matter the cost.
PATTI CAKE$ – Geremy Jasper
Commercial and music video director Geremy Jasper came out in the festival circuit this past year with the highly innovative and wildly entertaining film Patty Cake$, a story about a 23-year-old Jersey girl (Danielle Macdonald in a breakthrough role) trying to make it big in the rapping industry, while living her not so glamorous life and putting together a crew of misfits with the unwavering support of her grandmother. Described as a love letter to his love for rap music and tough and soulful Jersey women that Jasper grew around, Patty Cake$ will undoubtedly bring something different and fresh to the screen.