Sundance Invades The Summer of 2011

Everyone’s talked ad nauseam about how the summer of 2011 is going to be a blockbuster bloodbath. Week after week of high concept, big budget sequels featuring superheroes, robots and wizards. But those aren’t the only movies that’ll be playing at your local theater during the long, hot months of May, June, July and August. A huge chunk of movies we reviewed in January at the Sundance Film Festival – from award winners to our personal favorites – are also finding their way into theaters during that time. As the heat quickly approaches, we’ve decided to highlight over 20 Sundance films that are scheduled to open opposite the traditional Hollywood fare. See images, read reviews and find release dates all below.

Some of our favorite films, like Win Win, Cedar Rapids, I Saw the Devil and POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold are already out or coming out in the next week or two. You can link to those reviews above. Others, like the award winning Like Crazy, are being held for awards seasons. But the majority are summer movies. Here they are.

Hobo With A Shotgun – Limited release May 6

Hobo With A Shotgun is so incredibly over the top with its excess, fans of this genre are going to be bowing to it.” Read our review here.

Hesher – Limited release May 13

Though Hesher played Sundance in 2010, it’s finally getting a much deserved theatrical release in the Summer or 2011. “Joseph Gordon-Levitt again transforms himself into a character like-nothing you’ve seen him play before.” Read our review here.

Skateland- Limited release May 13

Another Sundance 2010 hold over features Ashley Greene in a ’80s period piece. Didn’t get the best reviews, but check the trailer out here.

Submarine – Limited release June 3

“Richard Ayoade’s Submarine…. [is a] humorous depiction of a young man struggling to get through his teenage years was so authentic, heartfelt, and moving that it vividly evoked all the trials, tribulations, and thrills of my own younger years in a way I was not prepared for.” Read our review here.

Troll Hunter – Limited release June 10

While none of the /Film crew saw this movie at Sundance, it played there and really got some genre fans excited. Watch the trailer here.

Kidnapped – Limited release June 15

Okay, I’m cheating. This film didn’t play at Sundance, it played at Fantastic Fest, but that’s not for lack of quality. It’s a Spanish home invasion movie told in less than 10 shots that’s both technically impressive and gut-wrenchingly disturbing. Seek it out. Read my review here.

The Art of Getting By (formerly titled Homework) – Limited release June 17

“While the movie doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel (not even a little bit), Homework is a comfortable break from the depressing dramas, bloody horror thrillers and entertaining documentaries that have comprised my Sundance experience this year.” Starring Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore, read our review here.

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times – Limited release June 17

“If you’re a fan of reporting, or media in general, Page One is a gold mine of ideas, awesome scenes and quotes. Even when it veers off the path – if there ever was a path beyond the promise of the title – it’s still rich in almost every way.” Read our review here.

Terri – Limited release July 1

We missed it, and it didn’t generate much buzz, but this John C. Reilly comedy still fits into our mold of Sundance films being released in the summer. Read more here.

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest – Limited release July 8

“The only way someone wouldn’t find something to enjoy in Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest is if you hate hip hop as a musical genre. Even people with an open mind who aren’t fans will enjoy the interpersonal relationships, the great characters and the classic story of hard work.” Read our review here.

The Ledge – Limited release July 8

“While The Ledge is filled with interesting characters, solid performances and even some smart, thought-provoking dialogue, the story itself wanders around like leaf in the wind, at times totally unaware of the driving force of the movie.” Starring Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard and Charlie Hunnam, read our review here.

Project Nim – Limited release July 8

“A heartbreaking portrait of a chimp whose life was never his own. And while that last sentence might sound a bit silly, if anything, this film will instill a renewed appreciation for the psychological life and capacity of animals.” Read our review here.

Salvation Boulevard – Limited release July 15

Another film we totally missed and while the buzz wasn’t great, the cast is: Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosman, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris. Read more here.

Another Earth – Limited release July 22

I liked it more than Peter, but here’s what he said: “If you’re willing to accept the sci-fi conceit, the film works as a compelling drama. But the sci-fi elements just feel out of place (as cool as they might be).” Starring William Mapother and Brit Marling, read the review here.

The Devil’s Double – Limited release July 29

One of the biggest films we all missed at Sundance this year was this off the wall thriller starring Domenic Cooper as Saddam Hussen’s son. Read another’s opinion here.

The Future – Limited release July 29

“Like Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, The Future is an artist’s deep meditations on growing old and all the scary possibilities an undefined future may hold.” Directed by and starring Miranda July, read our review here.

The Guard – Limited release July 29

The Guard is one of those movies you’re going to be quoting and turning your friends on to. Though it seems pretty surface based on a general description, once you see it, you realize it’s a truly special movie complete with humor, action, heart and one of the most memorable characters in recent years.” Read our review here.

Life in a Day – Limited release July 29

“There’s emotion, creation, destruction and while today might be mundane for you, it’s likely momentous for others. In 90 minutes, Life in a Day conveys all of this through breathtaking imagery or real people in real places doing real things.” Read our review here.

Bellflower – Limited release August 5

“Definitely not for everyone, Bellflower is unlike any relationship film you’ve probably ever seen — and in that respect, is reason enough to make it worth your while.” Read our review here.

Magic Trip – Limited release August 5

The last film on this list that we missed is a documentary about LSD in the 1960s. Read more here.

Higher Ground – Limited release August 12

Higher Ground is a subtle, but funny and rewarding film. It demands a lot from its audience, which is both its best and worst attribute.” Directed by and starring Vera Farmiga, read our review here.

Circumstance – Limited release August 19

Circumstance is an increasingly claustrophobic love story set against impossible odds told with a frightening cultural context. Of the thirty plus films I’d seen at Sundance before it, it was the first film to get a legitimate standing ovation.” Read our review here.

Our Idiot Brother (formerly My Idiot Brother) Limited release August 26

“It isn’t until the second half of the film, when My Idiot Brother establishes itself as primarily a family drama with some occasional, awkwardness-induced humor, that the film really finds its footing.” Starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel, read our review here.

And that’s that. As you can see, a whole bunch of great, smaller stuff is heading to cinemas this summer. Which are you most looking forward to?

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