Indie Snapshot: Bully and Goon

by Ethan Alter March 30, 2012 5:02 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Bully</i> and <I>Goon</i>

Hey teacher, leave them kids alone!

Indie Snapshot: The Raid: Redemption

by Ethan Alter March 23, 2012 5:19 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Raid: Redemption</i>

Wonder if Katniss knows Pencak Silat?

Indie Snapshot: Seeking Justice and The FP

by Ethan Alter March 16, 2012 5:31 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Seeking Justice</i> and <I>The FP</i>

Requiem for a weirdo.

Indie Snapshot: Friends With Kids and More

by Ethan Alter March 9, 2012 5:58 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Friends With Kids</i> and More

Not interested in fighting aliens alongside John Carter or freaking out at Silent House? We've got an indie movie to fit your particular state of mind.

Indie Snapshot: Being Flynn

by Ethan Alter March 2, 2012 6:01 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Being Flynn</i>

Don't feel bad if you spend the first five minutes of Being Flynn wondering if you've wandered into Taxi Driver 2 by mistake. Director Paul Weitz unavoidably invites comparisons to Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic with an opening scene that features his star Robert De Niro -- playing Jonathan Flynn, one of the movie's three titular Flynns -- walking into a parking garage and taking a swig of an alcohol-laced drink before firing up the yellow cab he pilots for a living. The Travis Bickle resemblance grows eerier a few scenes later, when we glimpse Jonathan sitting in his cramped studio apartment, scribbling his thoughts on paper while speaking to us in voice-over. (Based on what we hear though, Jonathan's mind is a considerably less scary place than Travis's.) This clearly isn't accidental, as both De Niro and Weitz are too savvy to not recognize the iconography they're referencing. Instead, it seems like a cheeky inside joke to the movie buffs in the audience, as well as a tip-off that this won't be a Little Fockers-style phoned-in paycheck part for De Niro, but rather a role where he'll be required to actually act.

Indie Snapshot: <i>Albert Nobbs</i>, <i>We Need to Talk About Kevin</i> and <i>After Fall, Winter</i>

Two great actresses, but only one good movie

Indie Snapshot: The Iron Lady, Pariah and A Separation

by Ethan Alter January 6, 2012 1:56 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>The Iron Lady</i>, <i>Pariah</i> and <i>A Separation</i>

For the love of God, skip The Devil Inside this weekend and check out some of these independent and foreign releases instead.

Indie Snapshot: Carnage

by Ethan Alter December 16, 2011 5:58 am
Indie Snapshot: <I>Carnage</i>

To borrow the title of the opening number from March of the Falsettos, Roman Polanski's new film Carnage could also be entitled Four A-Holes in a Room Bitching. An adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, the film unfolds in a single location in real time with an exceptional quartet of actors (Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly) circling each other like hungry sharks, biding their time before going in for the kill. Thanks to the cast's nuanced performances and Polanski's fluid camerawork, the movie never tips its hand too strongly towards its stagebound origins. By the time Carnage's 80 minutes are over, the space these characters share -- a sizeable Brooklyn apartment -- has practically become their (and our) whole world. Life may exist beyond its walls, but all that matters is what's taking place in that room.

Indie Snapshot: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

by Ethan Alter December 9, 2011 3:50 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy</i>

Originally published in 1974, John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is generally regarded as one of the author's finest books, as well as one of the most gripping and accurate depictions of the spy game ever committed to paper. It certainly serves as a striking contrast to the globe-trotting heroics of secret agents like James Bond and Jason Bourne. Le Carré's protagonist, veteran MI6 spook George Smiley, may not peel around corners in Aston Martins, challenge international criminals to heated games of baccarat or bed every woman in sight, but in his own quiet, methodical way, he always gets the job done.

Indie Snapshot: Shame and Coriolanus

by Ethan Alter December 2, 2011 6:00 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Shame</i> and <I>Coriolanus</i>

Don't let the NC-17 rating scare you off -- Shame is one of 2011's very best movies.

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