Indie Cinema 2014: Films That Matter

This year’s notable breakout indies include Fox Searchlight’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which opened in March, but continued to ride a wave of critical plaudits through May and early June to earn $157.6 million worldwide

Roadside Attractions’ “Chef,” which has cooked up a tasty $7.5 million since opening in limited release last month.

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League says summer can be a good time for indie movies. “There are a lot of cinephiles who aren’t as excited about the next ‘X-Men,’ ” he says.

But Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula warns that in a genre in which films must be unique and distinctive, it can be tough to stand out amid a busy season.

Indies to Watch

Begin Again 

Release Date: June 27

“Once” director Carney returns to the music world with this romantic drama. Weinstein has positioned the film opposite “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

The film, which stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, world premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Fest to nice response.

Boyhood

(IFC)

Release Date: July 11

Shot over 12 years, this film, tracing a boy’s coming of age, is original, funny, and frank.

Danger Signs: Linklater is an indie icon, but aside from studio films like “School of Rock,” his popularity is decidedly arthouse. “Boyhood” is nearly 3 hour long.

Calvary
(Fox Searchlight)

John Michael McDonagh (writer-director), Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd

Release Date: Aug. 1

This dark comedy about an Irish priest threatened by a parishioner has earned rave reviews. Plus, Fox Searchlight (“Little Miss Sunshine”) has a track record of backing indie summer hits.

Gleeson is sublime, but he’s no household name. Word-of-mouth will be crucial.

Magic in the Moonlight
(Sony Classics)

Stars: Emma Stone and Colin Firth

Release Date: July 25

Allen has become a summer institution, with “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine” all receiving a warm response.

What If
(CBS)

Key Talent: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan

Release Date: Aug. 8

Daniel Radcliffe has honed his craft and broadened his fanbase past Hogwarts by appearing on Broadway and in the horror hit “The Woman in Black.”

Wish I Was Here
(Focus)

Zach Braff (director-star),

Release Date: July 18

Braff raised $3 million from fans to back this family drama, which stars Kate Hudson and Mandy Patinkin.