Indie Snapshot: Hours

by Aly Semigran December 13, 2013 6:15 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Hours</i>

Since his tragic death on November 30 at the far-too-young age of 40, much has been written about Paul Walker, praising not only the actor's magnetic presence on screen, but his generous nature off-screen. Walker was a compassionate everyman who just so happened to have movie star looks. He was a father, a friend and someone that fans felt they could relate to. It's all of those things -- and so much more -- that make watching Hours, one of Walker's final screen performances (not to mention one of his most personal ones) such a bittersweet experience. Hours seems to capture much of Walker's spirit -- as well as challenged the actor in ways we hadn't really seen before -- but you're watching with the knowledge that the actor had so much more to give us, and that just feels unfairly cruel. When Walker's character utters in disbelief, "I don't get it. This wasn't supposed to happen" that is a sentiment that feels all too familiar in the wake of his passing.

Indie Snapshot: The Crash Reel

by Aly Semigran December 13, 2013 5:50 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Crash Reel</i>

To simply label The Crash Reel as a sports documentary doesn't do it proper justice. Director Lucy Walker's chronicle of the events that led to snowboarder Kevin Pearce's devastating head injury prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the dramatic turn his life took afterwards is so much more than that.

Indie Snapshot: Three New Movies by Three Masters

by Ethan Alter November 8, 2013 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: Three New Movies by Three Masters

See the latest films from two working masters and the last movie from one about to retire.

Indie Snapshot: Blue is the Warmest Color

by Ethan Alter October 25, 2013 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Blue is the Warmest Color</i>

You can't get more art house than a Palme d'Or winning, three-hour long, sexually explicit French film chronicling the rise and fall of a lesbian love affair. (If Seinfeld were still on the air, that sounds like it would be the logline to the inevitable Rochelle, Rochelle sequel). But Blue Is the Warmest Color mostly defies such easy designations, telling an absorbing, relatable story while also achieving an intimacy and raw emotional power that has deservedly made it a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic… though not always for reasons stemming from the movie's quality. Ever since Blue's triumphant Cannes premiere in May, controversy has dogged the production, as the behind-the-scenes tensions between director Abdellatif Kechiche and stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux has spilled into the public arena. (As if that's not enough, the author of the graphic novel the movie is based on, Julie Maroh, has repeatedly expressed her dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the film.) As juicy as those stories are, try not to let it distract from the film itself, which succeeds (and, in some ways, fails) entirely on its own merits.

Indie Snapshot: Paradise

by Ethan Alter October 18, 2013 2:06 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Paradise</i>

When it comes to Diablo Cody, author of such offbeat endeavors as Juno, Young Adult, Jennifer's Body and The United States of Tara, it's generally best to expect the unexpected. But what to do when this clever (sometimes too clever) scribe delivers precisely what's expected? That's the case with Cody's directorial debut, Paradise, a Vegas-set dramedy that begins as a spikey comedy only to evolve into precisely the kind of banal, self-improvement seminar that one of her edgy heroines would snark endlessly through. It's as if Cody experienced one of Tara Gregson's personality switches midway through production on the film, suddenly morphing from Diablo Cody into Gary Marshall.

Indie Snapshot: Kill Your Darlings and CBGB

by Ethan Alter October 16, 2013 1:17 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Kill Your Darlings</i> and <i>CBGB</i>

The former Hogwarts pals go their own ways in two new (and not very good) movies.

Five Things to Know About Escape From Tomorrow

by Ethan Alter October 11, 2013 5:55 am
Five Things to Know About <I>Escape From Tomorrow</i>

Escape from Tomorrow -- in which a seemingly ordinary man loses his mind at the Happiest Place on EarthTM Disney World -- was one of the buzziest titles from this year's Sundance Film Festival (and a movie that many thought would never be released). It's now available for general audiences in limited theatrical release and on VOD. If you opt to journey to this particular Magic Kingdom, here are five things you should know.

Indie Snapshot: Parkland

by Ethan Alter October 4, 2013 12:24 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Parkland</i>

Sneaking into theaters before the impending wave of news reports and documentaries tied to the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination next month, Peter Landesman's Parkland is a dramatic recreation of the events of November 22, 1963 with a variety of big-name actors playing individuals (both real-life and fictionalized) who were on the ground in Dallas when Lee Harvey Oswald fired his fatal bullet at the President's motorcade. In that way, it's not entirely dissimilar to the all-star disaster movies of the '70s, when A-listers like Steve McQueen, Gene Hackman, Dene Martin and Faye Dunaway played out cataclysmic scenarios for our enjoyment. For obvious reasons, Parkland isn't focused on entertainment value, instead treating Kennedy's death and its impact on both the movie's characters and the country as a whole with the appropriate respect and resonance. But there's also little insight to be gleaned from this stolid docudrama that wouldn't be covered in one of those soon-to-arrive non-fiction accounts.

Indie Snapshot: A.C.O.D.

by Ethan Alter October 4, 2013 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>A.C.O.D.</i>

When spelled out in full, A.C.O.D., the acronym that doubles as the title of Stu Zicherman's feature filmmaking debut stands for "Adult Children of Divorce," referring to grown-ups like the movie's central character, Carter (Adam Scott), who is still wrestling with the emotional fall-out of watching his parents go their separate ways when he was still a young'un. Despite feeling as though he's emerged from that particular fire unscathed, during the course of the movie, Carter learns that's he not so okay after all. And it's a good thing that he's played by an actor as likable as Scott, because on the basis of the pedestrian script anyway, there's no reason for the audience to care about this guy's seriocomic breakdown.

Indie Snapshot: Morning Doesn’t Shed Much New Light on Mourning

by Aly Semigran September 27, 2013 12:00 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Morning</i> Doesn’t Shed Much New Light on Mourning

The long-delayed drama Morning, which began to hit the film circuit back in 2010, is finally being released in limited release this weekend. And if you wondered what took the harrowing, but humanistic film so long to see the light of day, it's probably because distributors had no idea what to do with it. After all, who wants to sit through 95 minutes of watching people experience the worst, most crushing grief of their lives with almost no hope or resolution for the characters?

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