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The Antidote to Summer Blockbusters: Ten other films to seek out this summer

Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson give you something different this summer
Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson give you something different this summer
A24

I doubt anyone needs to tell you about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers 4, or any of the other numerous sequels coming out this summer, designed to blow you away with special effects and blockbuster budgets. However, this summer also will usher in the release of plenty of other high-quality films, films without superheroes, giant CGI creations, or numbers at the end of their titles. Here are ten films you need to seek out this summer when your eyes are tired of 3D and your brain is tired of half-baked scripts.

The Double
The Double Magnolia Pictures

The Double

Richard Ayoade, after a promising directorial debut with 2010's Submarine, received critical raves at last year's Toronto International Film Festival for The Double, a Dostoevsky adaptation starring dual performances from Jesse Eisenberg as a man being tormented by his exact doppelganger. (May 9- limited release)

The Immigrant
The Immigrant Radius-TWC

The Immigrant

James Gray's tale of an immigrant arriving in New York in the 1920s doesn't only look impressive due to its talented cast-- it's also Gray's fourth collaboration with Joaquin Phoenix, and anyone who has seen the previous three (especially We Own The Night and Two Lovers) knows that this is a cause for celebration. (May 16- NY, LA)

The Rover
The Rover The Rover

The Rover

This "futuristic Western" from David Michod, following his terrific feature debut, Animal Kingdom, boasts a terrific cast with Guy Pearce, Scoot McNairy, and Robert Pattinson, who has been committed to fascinating small projects since the end of the Twilight series-- 2012's Cosmopolis, upcoming collaborations with David Cronenberg, Werner Herzog, Anton Corbijn, James Gray, and this. (June 13- NY, LA; June 20- wide release)

They Came Together
They Came Together Lionsgate

They Came Together

David Wain's last parody, Wet Hot American Summer, has since been recognized as one of the classic comedies of the last twenty years. He returns with two cast members from Wet Hot American Summer, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, to make a parody of the romantic comedy genre, making this an early contender for the funniest film of the year. (June 27- limited release)

Boyhood
Boyhood IFC Films

Boyhood

Richard Linklater, one of the best living filmmakers in America, has dedicated the last twelve years to shooting a coming-of-age film with the same cast, so that we watch the actors (including Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) age as the characters age. We've never seen a child grow up before our eyes in a work of fiction like this before-- this is groundbreaking cinema. (July 11- limited release)

Life Itself
Life Itself Magnolia Pictures

Life Itself

Roger Ebert, widely considered the most beloved film critic of all time, gets a film dedicated to his life-- a documentary, helmed by Steve James, creator of the greatest documentary ever made, Hoop Dreams (a film Ebert championed and helped shove into the spotlight). It should be a tear-jerker for anyone who grew up reading him the way I did. (July 11- limited release)

A Most Wanted Man
A Most Wanted Man Roadside Attractions

A Most Wanted Man

Combine the heady spy antics of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with the slow burn of The American, and you get A Most Wanted Man, Anton Corbijn's adaptation of the John Le Carre novel, featuring one of the final performances of essential American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. (July 25- limited release)

Calvary
Calvary Fox Searchlight

Calvary

Following 2011's terrific dark comedy The Guard, writer/director John Michael McDonagh and star Brendan Gleeson reunite for Calvary, a tale of a struggling Irish priest. It received raves at this year's Sundance Festival, making it seem as if The Guard was no fluke. (August 1- wide release)

The Trip to Italy
The Trip to Italy IFC Films

The Trip to Italy

Anyone who saw the original film The Trip (or the BBC series it's cut together from) should know why this is at the very top of my Most Anticipated list. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back touring restaurants, sure to once again trade barbs. The TV series has already begun to air, but I'm exercising restraint, waiting for the film, another possible candidate for the funniest film of the year. (August 15- limited release)

Love is Strange
Love is Strange Sony Pictures Classics

Love is Strange

There have been nothing but raves from everyone who has seen Ira Sachs' Love is Strange, the tale of a gay couple going through changes late in life. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow play the couple, two of the best character actors of their respective ages, which should excite any fans of powerhouse acting. The summer usually plays host to tacky manipulative romance-- it should be nice to see something more tender and grounded. (August 22- limited release)