Depending on who you ask 2012 is either on target to be a great year for movies or an underwhelming one. It’s worth noting though that anyone who answers with the latter is a complete and utter tool. There have already been several fantastic movies in theaters over the past six and a half months including The Grey, The Avengers, The Raid: Redemption, 21 Jump StreetThe Cabin In the Woods, Moonrise Kingdom and more.

In addition to being fantastic entertainment though, most of those movies also had studio support to increase awareness and help make them big hits. As for The Raid and Cabin, well, you can’t say the internet didn’t do its damnedest to get the word out on just how awesome they are. Not our fault if American moviegoers didn’t listen…

But a third group of great movies exists this year too. Ones that had little to no push from studios or distributors, a minimal presence on movie blogs and a near negligible presence at the box-office. The year’s only half over, but we wanted to share our choices for the best movies you’ve most likely missed this year…so far.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Panos Cosmatos’ feature film debut is a psychedelic nightmare that chronicles the mysterious tale of a young girl experimented on by a malevolent corporation and hunted down by an obsessive loner with a few secrets of his own. Beyond the Black Rainbow is a deliberately paced, deeply hypnotic film whose thick layers of style make for a strange, mesmerizing, and truly unique experience. This is not a film that concerned with conventional cinematic logic, but is instead made up of equal parts science-fiction and avant garde accumulating into an expertly-crafted, dense atmosphere which envelops the viewer within the imagination of a visionary filmmaker. Beyond the Black Rainbow is set in an alternative 1983, and in a summer full of prequels and studio-fed nostalgia, it’s a relief to see a movie that looks to the past and returns with something wholly original and unexpected. – Landon Palmer

Damsels In Distress

Being Whit Stillman‘s return to the big screen after an overlong hiatus, Damsels in Distress should have made a bigger impression than it did. Stillman’s style isn’t for everyone, but if you’re into clever characters only capable of saying clever things, this is about as good as a comedy can get. Damsels in Distress is an uncynical, kind-hearted tale of misguided college youth. – Jack Giroux

Headhunters

One of the breakouts of Fantastic Fest 2011, Headhunters is a tense, intelligent thriller that makes the best left turns it possibly can to drive the story forward in interesting ways. It’s no shock they’re already planning an American remake, but you shouldn’t risk it. Check out the Norwegian original, which remains a highly suspenseful film loaded with interesting characters all of whom help add to the already engaging narrative. From beginning to thrilling end, it’s a winner through and through that shouldn’t be left on “movies you didn’t see but should have” lists. – Jeremy Kirk 


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