Summer Indie Movie Preview 2012

Last week, we presented to you a hefty list of the biggest movies opening this summer to give you an idea of what to expect this year, and today, we follow that up with a much shorter list of the most notable limited releases. These smaller-budgeted, mostly independent movies may not sport the bombastic special effects or super A-list celeb status of their blockbuster counterparts, but as any discerning movie fan will tell you, that doesn't mean they're not worth checking out. So, without further ado, here are the most intriguing movies being offered in limited release this summer!

God Bless America

Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Melinda Page Hamilton, Larry Miller
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Writer: Bobcat Goldthwait
Release Date: May 11

Remember Bobcat Goldthwait? Y'know, the guy with the really weird voice from the Police Academy movies? Well, these days he's a director, and a pretty acclaimed one at that -- his last film, World's Greatest Dad, was Certified Fresh with the critics. Now he's back with God Bless America, a subversive black comedy about a terminally ill man who's fed up with contemporary culture. His solution? Go on a cross-country trek with a like-minded high school student and murder as many reality TV stars as possible. So far, God Bless America is getting good notices from critics, who call it an energetic, viciously funny satire of our current cultural landscape.

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Girl in Progress

Cast: Cierra Ramirez, Eva Mendes, Matthew Modine, Patricia Arquette
Director: Patricia Riggen
Writers: Hiram Martinez
Release Date: May 11

A coming-of-age story about a girl learning the basic elements of a coming-of-age story, Girl in Progress sounds pretty meta at first. Mostly, though, it's the lively, sweet tale of Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez), a teenager whose single mom (Eva Mendes) is mostly preoccupied with her waitressing job and her love affair with a married man (Matthew Modine). Left to her own devices, Ansiedad learns more about the elements of rite-of-passage stories, and attempts to stake out a life independent of her mother.

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Hysteria

Cast: Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce
Director: Tanya Wexler
Writers: Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer
Release Date: May 18

Those Gyllenhaals: always making romantic comedies about erotic stimulation. First, Jake starred in Love and Other Drugs (about Viagra), and now Maggie's in Hysteria a period piece about the invention of the vibrator during the prudish Victorian era. Hugh Dancy stars as Mortimer Granville, a young doctor who labors to treat "female hysteria" with a massaging device, while Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones play sisters who take a close interest in Granville's work -- and Granville himself. Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce round out Hysteria's distinguished cast.

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Moonrise Kingdom

Cast: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Release Date: May 25

Opening the prestigious Cannes film festival, Wes Anderson's return to live action after Fantastic Mr. Fox is also his first period piece. Set in 1960s New England, it follows two kids (Gilman and Hayward) who fall in love and run off together, prompting an eclectic search party (is Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton and Bruce Willis eclectic enough for you?) to set out frantically after them. Inspired by the likes of Francois Truffaut and British coming-of-age films of the era, it looks to be right within Anderson's field of specialty -- which is precisely why we're excited.

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Safety Not Guaranteed

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni
Director: Colin Treverrow
Writer: Derek Connolly
Release Date: June 8

After supporting roles in a handful of films, Aubrey Plaza (NBC's Parks and Recreation) stars in this indie dramedy, inspired by a fake classified ad-turned-internet meme. Plaza plays magazine intern Darius Britt, who, along with writer Jeff (Jake M. Johnson) and fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni), tracks down the seemingly unhinged author (Mark Duplass) of a classified ad seeking a partner with whom to travel back in time. Both director Colin Treverrow and writer Derek Connolly are first-timers, but they've surrounded themselves with solid talent, and critics so far have been supportive, so this could be a sleeper.

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