15 under-the-radar movies to keep summer 2014 interesting

15 under-the-radar movies to keep summer 2014 interesting

Don't sleep on these hidden gems at the multiplex

It's nearly that time of year. The hot months, when popcorn fare tear through the multiplex on the way to massive box office receipts. The result, for most, is a shortlist of must-sees throughout the next couple of months, lists typically dominated by franchise entries, anticipated sequels and high concept spectacle. But as always, there are a number of counter-programming options, if you will, gems — or potential gems — lurking beneath the radar.

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<p>&quot;Jimmy&#39;s Hall&quot;</p>

"Jimmy's Hall"

Credit: Entertainment One

Ken Loach's latest (and last?) Cannes entry 'Jimmy's Hall' gets a trailer

The Irish period drama is said to be the veteran's final narrative feature

If there was one Cannes Competition entry you could absolutely set in stone before the announcement last week, it was Ken Loach's "Jimmy's Hall." The 77-year-old king of British social realism has been in Competition 11 times before, making him the most-tapped filmmaker in the festival's history. So there was no way Thierry Fremaux and his team weren't going to make it an even dozen with the film that Loach has stated will be his final narrative feature.

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<p>Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in &quot;Foxcatcher.&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Steve Carell in "Foxcatcher."

Credit: Sony Classics

'Foxcatcher' sets sights on awards season with a November release date

The Channing Tatum-starring film premieres at Cannes next month

When it comes to "Foxcatcher," Sony Pictures Classics have certainly been playing the long game. Bennett Miller's third film was originally set to premiere on the opening night of AFI Fest in LA on November 6 last year, priming it for a 2013 awards run, before being abruptly pulled from the release schedule.

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<p>Jessica Chastain</p>

Jessica Chastain

Credit: AP Photo

Jessica Chastain to star as Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik's 'Blonde'

The director called it 'a horror film' when discussing the project with HitFix recently

I've been fascinated by Andrew Dominik's "Blonde," based on the Joyce Carol Oates book about Marilyn Monroe, for some time. A book like that, steeped in the division between myth and reality, wading into some dark corners, seems perfectly suited for the man who brought us the most complex take on the outlaw Jesse James to date with his 2007 masterpiece "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Speculation has run rampant as to who would play Monroe in the film, and today, it looks like we have an answer, and that answer is Jessica Chastain.

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<p>Michael C. Hall in &quot;Cold in July.&quot;</p>

Michael C. Hall in "Cold in July."

Credit: IFC Films

Sundance hits 'Whiplash' and 'Cold in July' chosen for Cannes Directors' Fortnight

Stacked lineup includes new works by John Boorman and Frederick Wiseman

When the Cannes Film Festival's Official Selection was unveiled last week, many were surprised not to see one carry-over from the Sundance fest in the Un Certain Regard section -- in recent years, it's been something of a tradition for a Park City sensation (often the Grand Jury Prize winner) to compete again there, with the likes of "Precious" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" getting a second surge of festival buzz on the Croisette.

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Marion Cotillard in "The Immigrant."
Marion Cotillard in "The Immigrant."
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Marion Cotillard gets the goddess treatment in 'The Immigrant' trailer

The long-delayed James Gray film gets its US release on May 16

We'd been waiting a good long while to see James Gray's "The Immigrant" even before it premiered at Cannes 11 months ago, and we've been waiting a good long while since -- split festival reviews presumably made The Weinstein Company cautious with this delicate art-house item, but those excited for it have been understandably impatient. Anyway, the wait (in the US, at least) is almost over, with the film set to hit screens on May 16 -- just as Cannes 2014 starts up, as it happens. And while the posters thus far haven't exactly sold the film, the latest trailer is rather more seductive.

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<p>Melanie Laurent</p>

Melanie Laurent

Credit: AP Photo

Mélanie Laurent one of 11 directors selected for Cannes Critics' Week

Andrea Arnold will preside over the jury for the sidebar competition

Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival is one of those institutions that generally looks impressive only in retrospect. In advance, it's hard to tell which of the films selected for the sidebar will really land, but look back at the archives, and it's remarkable how many significant films -- from Ken Loach's "Kes" to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu's "Amores Perros" -- have quietly premiered there.

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<p>Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg</p>

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg

Credit: AP Photo

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg to reunite on Cold War thriller

Hanks will play real-life attorney/badass James Donovan

As noted in last week's news about Steve Spielberg saddling up to a new Tony Kushner script, the Oscar-winning director has plenty on his plate, as always. The Film Stage recently dug through all the possibilities and came up with an ordered list of eight projects most likely to come to fruition, including a Cold War project, further details of which have bubbled up today.

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<p>Craig Zadan (left) and Neil Meron at the Academy&#39;s Governors Awards last year</p>

Craig Zadan (left) and Neil Meron at the Academy's Governors Awards last year

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar telecast producers return for third-straight year

Ratings are on the rise so they'll stick with what they have

With ratings on the rise over the last three years, the Academy is sticking with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as Oscarcast producers.

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Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard in "Night Moves."
Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard in "Night Moves."
Credit: Cinedigm

Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg are on edge in exclusive 'Night Moves' clip

Kelly Reichardt's tense eco-thriller hits theaters on May 30

As I've written before, Kelly Reichardt's "Night Moves" is a film that creeps up on you even after you've seen it -- even as a devoted Reichardt fan, after seeing it in September, I wasn't sure I'd still be thinking about it the next spring, but here we are. It's tough to sell this kind of slow-burner with a single clip, but this one -- debuting exclusively on HitFix -- gives a pretty precise indication of the indie thriller's brittle, nervous tone, with every exchange between the characters from a certain point building the fractious tension. 

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