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Indie Snapshot: The Raid 2

by Ethan Alter March 26, 2014 3:13 pm
Indie Snapshot: The Raid 2

It brings me no great pleasure to report that the The Raid 2 is to The Raid as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was to the first Transformers: it's longer, flashier and bloated well past the point of tedium.

Indie Snapshot: Jodorowksy’s Dune

by Ethan Alter March 21, 2014 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: Jodorowksy’s Dune

See the greatest movie never made. According to its director, anyway.

Indie Snapshot: Bad Chemistry

by Ethan Alter March 14, 2014 2:54 pm
Indie Snapshot: Bad Chemistry

Don't let the attractiveness of Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde seduce you into watching the terrible Better Living Through Chemistry. You'd do better with any of these other three indie movies instead.

Indie Snapshot: Bagged Lunch

by Ethan Alter February 28, 2014 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: Bagged Lunch

Which movie will satisfy your hunger for good indie fare: The Lunchbox or The Bag Man?

Indie Snapshot: Adult World

by Ethan Alter February 14, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: Adult World

Remember the John Cusack who made you think kickboxing and putting "In Your Eyes" on boombox blast was the height of cool? The John Cusack who warmed your heart by helping out young runaway Natty Gann? Or, hell, even the John Cusack who took you on a weird, wild trip through John Malkovich's brain? Well, that John Cusack is mostly gone, but for the first time in a very long time, remnants of him can be seen in Adult World, the sophomore feature from actor Scott Coffey, whose career dates back to the '80s when Cusack was a king of Young Hollywood. Though they never appeared in a film together in that era, Coffey clearly remembers the dashing figure that Cusack once cut and he draws on some of that nostalgia for the role the actor is playing here: a once-hot, now-not poet named Rat Billings, who has spent the past decade or so neglecting his talent by teaching classes and editing anthologies he doesn't really care about and in general holding the world at arm's length via a curt, caustic attitude. In fact, if he hadn't already called the movie Adult World, The John Cusack Story would be an appropriate title.

Indie Snapshot: The Pretty One

by Ethan Alter February 7, 2014 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: The Pretty One

When an actor hits it big on a TV series, he or she oftentimes tries to parlay that success into an A-list feature film career, following in the illustrious footsteps of George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston and Tina Fey. So it's been interesting to see how breakout New Girl star Jake Johnson has so far used his increased visibility to become a major player not in Hollywood, but Indiewood. He started off by stealing scenes in the offbeat low-budget Aubrey Plaza vehicle Safety Not Guaranteed and then went toe-to-toe with a rejuvenated Olivia Wilde in Joe Swanberg's more polished mumblecore talkathon, Drinking Buddies last year. Now he's the leading man in the romantic comedy The Pretty One, which boasts a high-concept, studio-ready premise that's been translated into the indie realm. That means that the film goes for quirky comedy over big laughs, features a soundtrack filled with indie rock instead of Top 40 pop and stars Zoe Kazan instead of Zooey Deschanel.

Indie Snapshot: Someone Marry Barry

by Aly Semigran February 7, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: Someone Marry Barry

The new comedy (and I'm using the word "comedy" very loosely here) Someone Marry Barry is one of those movies destined to be buried in the depths of Netflix Instant -- one of those movies that you ponder out loud, "What the hell is this?", notice its dismal one-star rating, and if you're feeling especially bored (or desperate) actually dare to watch. And then you'll know, within the first two minutes, why this is a bottom-of-the-barrel, grotesque and unfathomably stupid movie no one paid any attention to.

Indie Snapshot: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2014 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There's some good (12 O'Clock Boys), some bad (Love is in the Air) and a lotta ugly (Somewhere Slow and The Wait) invading art houses this weekend.

Indie Snapshot: On the Waterfront

by Ethan Alter January 24, 2014 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: On the Waterfront

Fed up with that Polar Vortex? Put yourself in a warm weather state of mind with the lakeside thrillers Enemies Closer and Stranger by the Lake.

Indie Snapshot: Raze

by Ethan Alter January 10, 2014 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: Raze

For his entrée into the world of cult filmmaking, Josh C. Waller revives two dormant forms of grindhouse fare: the '70s-era Women in Cages prison pictures from Roger Corman and the '80s-era Bloodsport beatdown brawls starring the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme. It's an irresistible exploitation-fusion that's guaranteed to make Raze a must-see amongst the sizeable audience of B-movie lovers, who will further be lured into Waller's web by his savvy choice of leading lady: New Zealand stuntwoman (and Quentin Tarantino muse) Zoë Bell. Too bad the film itself doesn't measure up to what must have been a killer pitch session.

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