Great Indie FilmsIndie movies are always a tricky box-office ticket. You can never tell whether they’re going to blow everyone out of the water or simply sink to the bottom of the pool. Recently and despite the odds, we’ve seen an explosion of indie films clearing up at the box office, as well as getting a very agreeable critical reaction. Here are the pick of the bunch…

Admission

30 Rock creator Tina Fey and Knocked Up’s Paul Rudd star in this alternative college comedy. Genre mainstay Paul Weitz, the man behind several high-profile comedies including American Pie and About a Boy, mans the camera once again for this hugely successful take on the American education system. Although it’s had a less than warm reception from critics, audiences clearly disagree, with this foray into independent cinema raking in upwards of $18,000,000.

I’m So Excited!

The master of intellectual European fluff, Pedro Almodovar returned to our screens this year with his new movie I’m So Excited!. The plot follows the exploits of the passengers of a crashing aeroplane. The film fared pretty well with critics despite the director himself describing it as “a very, very light comedy”. The film was distributed by El Deseo, the production company owned by Almodovar and his brother, also responsible for a few other Pedro classics including Talk to Her and The Skin I Live In.

Before Midnight

This, the third entry into what is now known as the “Before” trilogy, is an enormous success with critics and viewers alike. The film’s structure remains the same as its predecessors, as we follow Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) through the beautiful landscape of a windswept Greek peninsula as they unravel the highs and lows of a long-term relationship. Directed by one of the pioneers of independent cinema Richard Linkletter and despite only having limited release in the USA, Before Midnight has grossed over $3,000,000, vastly outstripping its shoestring budget.

Warm Bodies

This soft-hearted zom-rom-com came out of left field to do astonishingly well. The film stars British TV alumus Nicholas Hoult as the zombie R, a hitherto mindless brain-muncher who finds himself falling in love with one of the living; his very alternative Juliet is played by the blonde-and-bubbly Theresa Palmer, with John Malkovich putting in a sinister turn as her father. Based on a 2010 novel of the same name, this addition to the teen-horror-romance genre cleared up at the box office, scooping more than $116, 000,000.

Mud

Another stark reminder that Matthew McConaughey is actually a good actor, Mud, after the success of Killer Joe and The Lincoln Lawyer, may be his most convincing role yet. Directed by Jeff Nichols, himself strengthening the reputation he gained after the excellent Take Shelter, has crafted a lyrical, almost supernatural tale of a drifter, the titular Mud, who befriends two teenage boys while hiding from the law, and in the process turns their lives upside down. The success of McConaughey’s performances helped Mud gross $19,000,000 and proved, even in smaller indie films, he is once again a bankable star.

Much Ado About Nothing

Shot on a next-to-nothing budget in the director’s own house, this modern twist on the Shakespeare play boasts Buffy creator and geek God Joss Whedon at the helm. Starring Whedon regulars Amy Acker, Fran Kranz and Nathan Fillion (of Firefly fame), the film saw its original premiere at the 2012 Toronto film festival, only getting its wide release this month. It’s already raking it in at the box office domestically and internationally, as well as being showered with seemingly endless critical praise.

The Place Beyond The Pines

There’s a palpable feeling while watching this movie that everybody involved was at the top of their game. Director Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to the beautifully realised Blue Valentine, it’s probably one of the least surprising entries on this list, thanks to a starry cast. At the forefront of this is Cianfrance’s muse Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, who further cements his serious actor tag playing one of two fathers on different sides of the law. It’s this star power that has seen gross $35, 000, 000 and opened Cinafrance up to a much wider audience than he’s used to.