Finding The Summer Movies That Are (Well) Off The Beaten Path

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Joan Rivers i

Joan Rivers in A Piece of Work Seth Keal/IFC Films hide caption

toggle caption Seth Keal/IFC Films
Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers in A Piece of Work

Seth Keal/IFC Films

With the the Sex And The City gals and the Prince of Persia, and all those Agora(n) pagans turning cineplexes into a Middle Eastern film bazaar, the summer movie season is certifiably underway. That means the usual action flicks, comedies, and action-comedies — but take heart. Sprinkled in, there’s a bit of counterprogramming here and there.

So find your way to the smallest house in the multiplex, down the hall past the rom-coms and the gross-out-coms and the super-sleuth-on-the-run flicks that are being played for comedy (Knight And Day), drama (Salt), and sci-fi thrills (Inception), and see what the indie folks have managed to sneak past the gatekeepers.

One thing you’ll find is a suburban crime flick from Australia: Animal Kingdom is about a 17-year-old kid trying to steer clear of his criminal uncles, and it’ll knock you back on your heels. In August, look for a sweet South African comedy called White Wedding that’s sort of a gentle road-trip version of The Hangover.


Or maybe check out that rarest of rarities, a hot-weather documentary. Two that take a “year-in-the-life-of” approach this summer are pretty stellar:  Restrepo is a portrait of American soldiers who take hostile fire every day for months at an isolated outpost in Afghanistan. (The title is what they called the camp, after a soldier named Restrepo died there). And Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work finds the laughs you’d expect (along with a bit of unexpected pathos) in the ferocious drive of a groundbreaking septuagenarian comic best known these days as a poster-child for cosmetic surgery.


Of course, no one’ll blame you if you succumb to the season and plunk down cash for the Karate Kid remake because you just can’t resist Will Smith’s son Jaden taking martial arts instruction from Jackie Chan. The trailers look adorrrrrable. And hope springs eternal.



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