Currently browsing the "Indie" category.

Review: Les Nôtres

In the small town of Sainte-Adeline, Quebec, 13-year-old Magalie (Émilie Bierre) seems like the quintessential teenager – sullen, social media addicted, smitten with a secret boyfriend she won’t even tell her closest friends much about. But her life changes dramatically when it is discovered that she’s pregnant, and pretty far along at that. Suddenly she’s slut shamed by everyone at school, and her single mother is at wit’s end, especially because Magalie refuses to reveal the father’s name. And soon everyone is pretty certain that it’s her friend Manu (Léon Diconca Pelletier) who lives across the street with his parents,  Jean-Marc (Paul Doucet) the popular mayor of the town and his wife Chantal (Judith Baribeau). But it isn’t what it appears to be at all.

Review: Take Me Somewhere Nice

First time writer/director Ena Sendijarević is a Bosnian refugee raised in Holland and her coming-of-age road trip movie is informed by that detached perspective. It’s the story of Alma (Sara Luna Zoric), still a teen, but already grappling with womanhood. She’s a Dutch Bosnian who heads back to her homeland to see the father she never knew who’s in the hospital dying. She’s counting on her cousin Emir (Ernad Prnjavorac) to help her out, but he’s got other things to do, sort of. However, his friend Denis (Lazar Dragojevic) takes an immediate interest in her, up to a point. But when neither of them will take her to see her father she hops a bus, but gets left at a rest stop, losing her suitcase and her money. And she suddenly becomes dependent on the kindness of Bosnian strangers. And as she faces one debacle after another she moves closer and closer to finding herself.

Review: Two Lottery Tickets

This little comedy is one of the biggest box office hits of all time in its native Romania. And it’s easy to see why. It’s the story of three friends who buy a couple of lottery tickets and hit it big. Six million euros big! Only wrinkle in their millionaire dream is that the one keeping the tickets is robbed. And that kicks the trio into gear to track down the thieves before they cash in. What follows is a humorous buddy odyssey that revels in the absurdity of modern Romanian society.

Review: Drunk Bus

Slacker comedies aren’t usually my thing. So I approached this little indie with a dose of skepticism about being its target audience. But it’s not at all what I feared. It’s a heartwarming flick about an odd couple comprised of a recently graduated artist who’s pining for his lost girlfriend while driving a campus bus at night, and a heavily tattooed Samoan bodyguard who is hired to ride along with him after the kids on the bus get too rowdy, while offering him advice on how to move on with his life. Fortunately the script doesn’t go exactly where you’d expect from that setup.

Review: The Independents

There are no big stars in this musical dramedy. It’s a total indie flick. And it’s a lot of fun. It tells the tale of three singer/songwriters all struggling to find a way forward, who bump into one another by chance and team up for one last stab at making it in the music world. It’s no A Star is Born take though. It’s a heart-felt buddy movie with some fine three part harmonies and well-drawn characters.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 9

Week Nine of films that I remember fondly. It’s amazing how many great films come to mind when I go down my cinematic memory lane. A lot of this week’s picks are from the 80s. The oldest is from 1979. And the newest from 2003. So it’s a fairly modern bunch. No black and white. No foreign films this time. We’ve got comedy, war, feminism, even a Western in the mix. Big films and indies. But all of them are highly recommended.

 

The films are: Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Thin Red Line, Silverado, Broadcast News, Ordinary People, The Station Agent, My Brilliant Career

 

Review: Saint Frances

Written by and starring Kelly O’Sullivan Saint Frances is a small dark comedy that centers on the expectations women live with and one young woman’s choices. Bridget (O’Sullivan) is in her 30s and constantly reminded that everyone around her is having kids, succeeding in their careers, and generally being a better grown-up than she is. She’s a server in a restaurant, even though she was a rising star at Northwestern before she dropped out. But things start looking better when she lands a summer job as a nanny to Frances (aka Frannie), a six-year-old in the upper middle class Chicago suburbs whose Moms are expecting another baby.

Cinema Clash Podcast Reviews: Holidate, Come Play, The True Adventures of Wolfboy

Happy Halloween and Pre-Election Day Weekend! On this quaranstream edition of the Cinema Clash, I chat about Holidate, the bawdy holiday romcom now on Netflix, Charlie talks about the horror movie Come Play (which I opted to skip ’cause it’s really not my genre of choice), and we both weigh in on a quirky coming of age indie called The True Adventures of Wolfboy.  Tune in!

Quickie Review: Synchronic

Synchronic is the type of film (a horror sci-fi drama) that I would have likely skipped if not for the appeal of its two stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan. I’d never heard of the filmmaking team of “Moorhead & Benson” (aka Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead) who apparently made a name for themselves with films described as “quietly mythic.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, until now. Synchronic certainly fits that bill. And, to my surprise, I rather liked it – especially the second half, which is dominated by Mackie’s performance. He plays Steve, a terminally-ill paramedic who takes a mysterious hallucinogenic drug in the hopes it will help him find/rescue the missing daughter of his partner and longtime best friend Dennis (Dornan). It’s a high-concept mindbender shot with a total independent film vibe, brimming with atmosphere.

Quickie Review: S#!%HOUSE

Okay, so maybe the title piqued my curiosity more than it deserved to. But I simply had to know if a little indie called Sh*thouse might be worth a sh*t. Fortunately, the film is not as crappy as its title. And it obviously struck a chord with judges of the (COVID-canceled) SXSW film festival, where it won the 2020 Grand Jury Prize for Narrative Film, probably for its ‘Before Sunset on a college campus’ vibe. The film skews arty and didn’t really float my mainstream boat, but I can see how it might appeal to up-and-coming auteurs who relate to young filmmaker Cooper Raiff who wrote, directed, produced and stars in Sh*thouse (aka S#!%HOUSE).