Hasidic drug mules. Serial-killing sheriffs. Genetically engineered mutants. The summer slate of independent films should be diverse and compelling enough to supplement (or even replace) your multiplex visits until Labor Day. With upcoming films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Michael Winterbottom, Rodrigo Garcia and a slew of talented new directors, 'Iron Man 2' and 'The A-Team' don't have to take up all of your moviegoing budget for the next four months.

Putting together this list was like having to choose our favorite child, so consider this more of a primer than a definitive guide. But we've whittled down this season's crop to 15 movies that, with its creativity, range and intelligence, should be worth your hard-earned dollars.