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THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: A Good ‘Summer’ Indie Film

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Harry Potter mania
will continue right on into this weekend. It already opened big and some fans are still waiting in line to get the best seats (I hope they remember to eat and sleep at some point). What’s a movie goer who cares little about the J.K. Rowling franchise to do? Or on the flip side, what if you already saw Half-Blood Prince three times but still feel like going to the theater for a new flick?

Well, fear not, as there are lots of other options… actually, some pretty great options. A gang of all excellent-reviewed indie counter-programs are hitting select theaters today, none of them wizard-related. The most anticipated of the bunch is the Sundance favorite (500) Days of Summer, directed by Mark Webb and written by Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber.

Its buzz has been good. Robert Wilonsky of the Village Voice found the film effective despite its light-weight material:

The director introduces us to Tom and Summer mid-breakup, then takes us back to the moment when they share their first glance, then back and forth and back and forth and beyond, till each glimpse is recontextualized, and thus reconsidered. Very Sundance-y. But the real surprise of (500) Days of Summer isn’t the presentation—this isn’t exactly Steven Soderbergh or Alejandro González Iñárritu territory here. It’s more like a love story in a blender. What is unexpected is the sincerity beneath the modest conceit that, yup, love hurts.

So if you’re in the mood for a more creative, less conventional rom-com, Summer is the one to see. Especially if you’re a fan of She & Him beauty Zooey Deschanel.

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The other indie films opening this weekend are Shane Meadows’ Somers Town, a celebrated coming-of-age comedy about two London teenagers forging a unique friendship over the course of their summer vacation

The Way We Get By, a bittersweet documentary about elders who greet soldiers at the airport as they return from war.

A Woman in Berlin, a German WWII drama written and directed by Max Färberböck

And, closing out the bunch, is this weekend’s sole turkey Homecoming, a thriller that’s a ripoff of Fatal Attraction, Misery and the recent hit Obsessed. It’s directed by Morgan J. Freeman (not to be confused with everybody’s favorite actor from The Shawshank Redemption) and starring Mishca Barton. It’s been a while since Barton had a legitimate project to promote (the O.C., I think). Maybe this movie can propel her back to the A-List and out of the tabloids. Here’s hopin’.

All trailers posted below:


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