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This image released by The Weinstein Company shows Marion Cotillard in a scene from ‘The Immigrant.’ (AP)
‘Magic’ promises romantic lightness 10 anticipated indies this summer

NEW YORK, April 24, (Agencies): More exotic creatures thrive in the shadows of summer blockbusters. Here are 10 of the most anticipated indie films due this summer, nary a caped superhero or city-crushing monster among them.

1. “The Rover” (June 13) — David Michod’s follow-up to his Aussie crime drama “Animal Kingdom” qualifies as a must-see because of the rare quality of his feature film debut. This one, which will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson and is set in a near-future Australia where the world economy has collapsed and bandits roam the Outback.

2. “Boyhood” (July 11) — Richard Linklater spent 12 years making this wholly unique film. It charts a fictional family over that time (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play divorced parents) and, remarkably, shows the maturation of 6-year-old Ellar Coltrane (playing their son) from boy to man.

3. “The Immigrant” (May 16) — Tales of immigrants arriving through Ellis Island are a well-trod genre, but James Gray’s 1920s drama is distinct in its portrait of the American Dream as both myth and reality. With Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix.

4. “Life Itself” (July 11) — Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) presents a documentary and tribute to the late film critic Roger Ebert.

5. “Begin Again” (July 4) — Much like John Carney’s “Once,” this is a naturalistic, street-level drama of musicians. Keira Knightley stars as a British singer-songwriter discovered in New York by a down-on-his-luck music executive (Mark Ruffalo).

6. “Magic in the Moonlight” (July 25) — Woody Allen’s annual offering this year is a comedy set on the French Riviera in the ’20s starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone. It promises a romantic lightness, but the question will be how audiences respond to Allen following the renewed allegation of sexual abuse.

7. “The Trip to Italy” (Aug. 15) — Michael Winterbottom reconvenes Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for impressions-heavy conversation over fine dining. As they showed in “The Trip,” sometimes that’s all a movie needs.

8. “A Most Wanted Man” (July 25) — Anton Corbijn’s adaption of John le Carre’s novel is one of two posthumous releases for Philip Seymour Hoffman. The late actor also stars in “God’s Pocket” (May 9), the directing debut of John Slattery (“Mad Men”).

9. “Wish I Was Here” (July 18) — Zach Braff took a lot of criticism for his use of Kickstarter to help fund his second directorial effort following 2004’s “Garden State.” Braff stars as a struggling actor who homeschools his kids.

10. “They Came Together” (June 27) — David Wain and Michael Showalter deconstruct the romantic comedy with a cast led by Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler.

On “Chef,” Jon Favreau got to cook with his own ingredients and set his own menu.
The parallels for Favreau and the film are unmistakable. In the movie, which he wrote and directed, he plays a creativity-stifled restaurant chef who’s fired for going off-menu, but is reborn when he opens his own food truck. After years directing big summer blockbusters (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “Cowboys & Aliens”), “Chef” is a return to Favreau’s indie roots. (He wrote and starred in 1996’s “Swingers.”) “Chef” is Favreau’s own personal food truck.

“After doing a lot of big movies with a lot of concerns revolving around the studios and the politics of marketing and release schedules, it was nice to do something very small where I didn’t have to answer to anybody but myself,” says Favreau. The 47-year-old filmmaker says it was a relief not having to justify a story point, a joke or a piece of casting to studio executives. He says “Chef,” which opens May 9, is “like singing right from your heart.” “When you’re hung up on marketing, tracking, budgets and box office, it can steal the satisfaction from doing for a living what you’ve always dreamed of doing,” says Favreau.

Favreau, though, has returned to tentpole making. He’s currently on pre-production for Disney’s live-action remake of “The Jungle Book.” But making “Chef” has clearly altered Favreau, rejuvenating him as a filmmaker and inspiring him as an aspiring cook. In the film, his truck makes stops at foodie destinations like Franklin’s Barbeque in Austin, Texas. “It’s a quest,” he says. “When I get off the phone with you and go home, I will once again be trying to recreate Franklin’s smoked brisket.”

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” is getting another sequel, as Alloy Entertainment is developing “Sisterhood Everlasting,” which is based on the book of the same title by bestselling author Ann Brashares, the company announced Wednesday. While there are no deals in place with the original cast, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara and Amber Tamblyn have expressed interest in reprising their roles and are in various stages of discussions to return, an individual familiar with the sequel told TheWrap.

One member of the original “Sisterhood” is set to return, as Ken Kwapis will return to direct from a screenplay by Liz Garcia, who will adapt Brashares’ novel. “Sisterhood Everlasting” finds that the four friends have grown apart in the ten years since the last film in the franchise, though Tibby tries to bridge the distance by reuniting the girls for a trip that will change their lives forever.

“The Sisterhood series is one of Alloy’s most cherished properties and we are looking forward to continuing its legacy with ‘Sisterhood Everlasting’ nearly a decade after the first film was released,” said Alloy president Leslie Morgenstein, who will produce with Elysa Dutton and Christine Sacani. “The original film brought together an incredible group of talent who we hope to unite for fans once again.” Along with Alcon Entertainment, Alloy was responsible for the first two “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” films that were released in 2005 and 2008.

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