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Top 3 Critic’s Picks In Theaters this June: Corpo Celeste, Your Sister’s Sister, Beasts of the Southern Wild

It’ll be slim pickings in the month of June as there isn’t much in terms of U.S. indie, foreign and documentary films that stand out. There are exceptions as pointed out in the top 3 below, and then there are indie items dating back to TIFF of last year with Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz (06.29 – Magnolia Pictures) and/or Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse (06.12 – Brainstorm Media) and then more recent break-outs from Sundance 2012 in docu item Searching for Sugarman (06.27 – Sony Pictures Classics) and a sci-fi comedy that the fans boys liked and which I didn’t care much for is also a Park City item that could essentially be the beginning of a “Mark Duplass”a-thon. Safety Not Guaranteed (06.08 – FilmDistrict) could be book-ended with the July release of The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, but right dab in the middle I strongly suggest his performance in Lynn Shelton’s best work to date. Here’s the Top 3 U.S. theatrical picks for this month:

Corpo Celeste – Alice Rohrwacher
Film Movement: – June 8th – New York release
What the critic’s are saying?: Selected for the Directors’ Fortnight section in 2011 and then sailing on towards numerous film festival appearances including NYFF, and Sundance earlier in the year, Rohrwacher’s feature debut comes well praised: Variety’s Boyd van Hoeij called Rohrwacher’s piece a “Dardennes-esque look at a working-class teen’s growing pains in a backwater parish in southern Italy” and that the “minor tonal inconsistencies are overcome by this intimate tale’s naturalistic thesping and loose lensing style” while The Hollywood Reporter is also complementary about the look stating “shot with a raw, documentary aesthetic that recalls the early work of Ken Loach and Barbara Kopple“. I think we can consider our own Blake Williams to be a fan, mentioning that “the lasting effect is that Corpo Celeste has a lot less on its mind – and says far fewer things about adolescence and spirituality – than it thinks it does. The experience of watching it, though, is hardly unpleasant.”

Your Sister’s Sister – Lynn Shelton
IFC Films: – June 15th – NY/LA release
What the critic’s are saying?: Well-received at both the Sundance and Toronto Int. Film Festivals (where it was extremely well received during its world premiere stint), Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister is (apologies to Humpday fans) the filmmaker’s best work to date. Gone are ugly look, tonality and tiring dialogue imperfections that we found in the mumblecore format, instead Shelton makes delivers not one, not two but three fully fledged out imperfect characters – Variety’s Justin Chang highlights the perfs stating “three leads are pitch-perfect here, loose and low-key yet fully in character. Duplass is on firm footing as a fun, talkative dude who goes amusingly into panic mode, while Blunt endears as the bubbly, optimistic gal with a knack for bringing people together. But it’s Dewitt who delivers the most moving performance as the quieter, more abrasive of the two sisters, her somewhat sharp manner barely concealing deep reserves of heartache and quiet desperation.” And while this isn’t a sweepingly effective dramedy, The Hollywood Reporter sorts out my overall impression of the film: “the sober, reflective scenes that follow are convincing, and if the movie’s sweetly earnest resolution scene plays a bit too easily, we like the characters too much to object.” Despite the unpolished look, I’m hoping that this gets some indie award fest love from Gotham and Indie Spirits.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Benh Zeitlin
Fox Searchlight: – June 27th – Limited Release
What the critic’s are saying?: We’ve been tracking the pic since it was running in the labs and much to our delight, all the promise found in Zeitlin’s Glory at Sea panned out when he explored some of the same settings, themes with a debut that was selected for and a winner at both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals. Variety calls the film “a stunning debut that finds its dandelion-haired heroine fighting rising tides and fantastic creatures in a mythic battle against modernity” and The Hollywood Reporter raves about how this indie film could cross into the mainstream claiming that the helmer. “Zeitlin’s directorial debut could serve as a poster child for everything American independent cinema aspires to be but so seldom is. A handcrafted look at the struggles of some of the poorest people in the U.S. is no prescription for commercial success, but the presence of a dynamite little girl at the center of things could push this entirely elating drama into a successful specialized theatrical release.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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