• ‘Frances Ha’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> May 17 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver, Mickey Sumner <strong>What It’s About:</strong> An aimless young woman in Brooklyn (Gerwig) loses some of the joy in her life when her BFF roommate (Sumner) decides to move out. No, it’s not an episode of “Girls.” Never mind that Driver co-stars. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Noah Baumbach, director of “The Squid and the Whale” and sometime writing partner of Wes Anderson (“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”) is back with his leading lady from “Greenberg,” and here she’s co-written the script. Gerwig still reigns as the queen of indie cinema with her talent for overlapping and balancing comedy and drama, and the reviews the film has received since its Telluride premiere last fall confirm she’s still a delight to watch.

  • ‘Stories We Tell’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> May 17 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Sarah Polley, Michael Polley, Mark Polley <strong>What It’s About: </strong>The story of the Polley family and the secrets that come out when the youngest child embarks on a personal yet very playful investigation. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley made one of the best indie films of last year (“Take This Waltz”), and now she makes her documentary debut with an intimate work that’s been wowing audiences everywhere. Cleverly structured and full of surprises, it’s sure to be one of the most absorbing and unforgettable movies you see all year.

  • ‘Before Midnight’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> May 24 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy <strong>What It’s About: </strong>With this third film in the trilogy that started with “Before Sunrise” and continued in “Before Sunset,” we revisit Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) now in Greece, nearly 20 years after that first night together in Vienna and almost a decade since we last saw saw them in Paris. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Richard Linklater’s “Before” films are not only some of the most romantic ever made, they’re also some of the smartest takes on life and love. And who isn’t anxious to find out what happened after the cliffhanger ending of the last movie?

  • ‘The Kings of Summer’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> May 31 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Nick Offerman, Nick Robinson, Moises Arias, Gabriel Basso, Megan Mullally, Alison Brie <strong>What It’s About:</strong> A coming-of-age story about three teenage boys who run away from home and live in the woods for the summer. Seeking independence and escape from their parents’ rules and responsibilities of growing up, they build a house of their own and try to live off the land. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Having received enormous buzz at Sundance, where it was titled “Toy’s House,” this looks to be the breakout indie comedy of the season — if not the year, especially if younger audiences are into it. And the trailer promises at least one scene of Ron Swanson spatting with Tammy #2 (his wife in real life), which should satisfy those of us missing “Parks and Recreation” until the fall.

  • ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> June 7 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Amy Acker, Tom Lenk <strong>What It’s About:</strong> A modernized take on Shakespeare’s play sets the romantic tale of two couples in contemporary Los Angeles. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Joss Whedon. Yes, the director of “The Avengers” has a new movie out this summer, and like those of us looking for smaller fare, he’s also taking a break from the blockbusters with this adaptation of the Bard. Let’s join him as we all wait for his next effort with Marvel’s mighty heroes while also appreciating his reunion with his “Firefly” star.

  • ‘The Bling Ring’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> June 14 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, Erin Daniels, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Georgia Rock, and Gavin Rossdale <strong>What It’s About: </strong>Based on a true story, a group of teenage girls go on a crime spree through Los Angeles, stealing luxury goods from the homes of the rich and famous. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> It’s the latest from director Sofia Coppola and sounds like a perfect project for the person who previously gave us “Marie Antoinette” and “Somewhere.” But who are we kidding? Most of the audience will be there to see Hermione being bad, especially after the recent teaser clip showing her pole dancing.

  • ‘Twenty Feet From Stardom’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> June 14 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Judith Hill, Mick Jagger, Sting, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Darlene Love <strong>What It’s About:</strong> Backup singers are brought front and center in this music-filled documentary that introduces us to a number of voices we know by ear but not sight nor name. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Another festival crowd-pleaser that we’re told can only be dismissed if you’ve never in your life enjoyed a good tune. Since its Sundance debut, though, it’s gained more appeal: one of the subjects, former Michael Jackson backer Judith Hill, is now a contestant on “The Voice.” Interestingly enough, that show’s season finale is the week after the release of this film.

  • ‘The Way, Way Back’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> July 5 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Sam Rockwell, Liam James, AnnaSophia Robb, Steve Carell, Amanda Peet, Toni Collette, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Allison Janney <strong>What It’s About:</strong> A teenage boy (James) stuck on vacation with his parents (Carell and Collette) comes of age while working at a water park thanks to a friendship he strikes up with his boss (Rockwell). <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Sam Rockwell is the best thing to happen to any movie, and the rest of the ensemble is enticing on its own. It looks like an aquatic repeat of “Adventureland,” in a good way, and something we can go on a double date with our parents to. OK, just kidding about the last part.

  • ‘Fruitvale Station’

    <strong>Release Date: </strong>July 26 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Kevin Durand <strong>What It’s About:</strong> A true story depicting a day in the life of a young man (Jordan) on the last day of 2008, which is also his birthday, leading up to a tragic New Year’s. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> It won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance, an uncommon double feat of pleasing the crowd and the experts. We like to consider ourselves a bit of both here, so we’re two times as excited as we normally would be. And we suspect this could be Jordan’s big breakout to stardom.

  • ‘The Spectacular Now’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> August 2 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Bob Odinkirk, Jennifer Jason Leigh <strong>What It’s About:</strong> Alcoholic high school senior Sutter (Teller) turns his life around after meeting shy “nice girl” Aimee (Woodley). <strong>Why We’re Excited: </strong>We’re hearing it’s a new classic for teen romance films and a real star-maker for Teller (“Footloose”). Meanwhile, Woodley apparently is staying spectacular now between her breakthrough in “The Descendants” and her role as Mary Jane in next summer’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

  • ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> August 16 <strong>Who’s In It: </strong>Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine <strong>What It’s About:</strong> Four years after outlaw couple Bob and Ruth (Affleck and Mara) are apprehended in a shootout, he escapes from prison to find her and their daughter. <strong>Why We’re Excited</strong>: Writer-director David Lowery (who also edited this year’s indie hit “Upstream Color”) is one of the most exciting filmmakers on the rise right now (he’s just been tapped for a “Pete’s Dragon” remake and is taking over the graphic novel adaptation “Torso”). This feature debut already received knockout reviews at Sundance, and even if it hadn’t we’d look forward to seeing the talented young cast in a modern “Bonnie and Clyde” story.

  • ‘Drinking Buddies’

    <strong>Release Date:</strong> August 23 <strong>Who’s In It:</strong> Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, Ti West <strong>What It’s About:</strong> Two brewery employees (Wilde and Johnson) flirt on the job while attempting to just be friends since each is in a serious relationship. But they drink a lot of the beer at work, and that might be trouble. <strong>Why We’re Excited:</strong> Wilde, who is gorgeous and funny but unappreciated as an actress, gets to shine with both talents, according to raves out of SXSW last month. Plus we’ve been fans of writer-director Joe Swanberg since the beginning, so we’re anxious to see what’s being called his mainstream breakout feature. Should be perfect to see with your significant other, your BFF co-worker of the opposite sex, his/her significant other and a case of cold ones.

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