Notable films: The Kings of Summer (2013)
It'd be easy to pigeonhole Jordan Vogt-Roberts' The Kings of Summer as another coming-of-age teen comedy based on its premise and trailer. Three teenagers, tired of their controlling parents and looking for a change of pace, spend their summer vacation living in a house they've built in the woods. Fueling any Superbad-minded connections is the presence of an eccentric, McLovin-esque kid named Biaggio (Moises Arias).
But a strange, unexpected thing happens while you're watching The Kings of Summer: The tone moves from slacker comedy to scenic wonderment, something like early David Gordon Green, then back to wacky comedy and suddenly into avant-garde strangeness.
First-time director Vogt-Roberts uses the familiar kids-are-funny bit as a lynchpin for experimentation, subverting preconceptions and directing his characters into unpredictable, sometimes painfully dark places. That he's consistently able to undercut all of The Kings of Summer's quirkiness with a strong sense of warmth and heart makes Vogt-Roberts a filmmaker to watch. —MB