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Hollywood Fatigue? 10 Indie Movies You Should Check Out This Summer

Summer movies beyond Batman, from male strippers to a Depression neo-noir to Matthew McConaughey's big comeback.

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8. Killer Joe A mean-spirited plot about a guy who takes out a hit on his own mother, a delightful-sounding cast headed by the resurgent Matthew McConaughey (what a big year for him!), and an NC-17 rating. Add that all up, and this Coens-flavored tale of backwater deviance, written by playwright Tracy Letts, could finally be the comeback film that onetime Oscar-winner  William Friedkin (“The Exorcist,” “The French Connection”) has been pointing toward for decades. Mind you, like all of Friedkin’s recent movies, “Killer Joe” was made on the cheap, far away from Hollywood and its piles of money. That only makes me want to see it more, especially with Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon all along for the ride. (Scheduled to open July 27 in limited release.)

9. Premium Rush This one’s another studio movie, technically speaking — but everything about this Manhattan chase thriller screams irresistible August sleeper, from its indie-rific star (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, still a niche-oriented leading man) to its director (A-list screenwriter David Koepp, who’s made several other films, none of them hits). Gordon-Levitt plays a bike messenger who picks up a mysterious envelope that lures a dubious cop (the inimitable Michael Shannon) into an extended street pursuit, complete with BMX-style bike acrobatics and action-movie clichés galore. (Scheduled to open Aug. 24 in wide release.)

10. Lawless This bootlegging saga set in Depression-era Virginia, from the Aussie duo of director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave (yes, the post-punk music legend, who also wrote Hillcoat’s  “The Proposition”), has run through three titles during its brief existence, which often signals a troubled production. (It was previously “The Wettest County in the World” and then just “The Wettest County” — and the filmmakers only switched to “Lawless” after  Terrence Malick agreed to give it up.) Reviews and reactions at the Cannes premiere ran the gamut from raves to outrage, but with an ensemble that includes Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowska (along with the much-mocked Shia LaBeouf), I can’t believe it won’t be fascinating. (Scheduled to open Aug. 29.)

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