Five Recent Independent Movies I’ve Seen

IFC Films is a production and distribution company out of New York City.  They have released independents films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Fahrenheit 9/11, Backcountry, Factotum, This is England, Antichrist, The Ledge, Duane Hopwood, The Other Woman, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Killer Inside Me, and the most recent one I watched The Death of Stalin.  I’m ranking the movies I’ve seen this last week in the order of least to best liked.  There’s a short synopsis for each one and why I rated them the way I did.

#5

peepworld

Peep World (2010) is the only movie out of the five that was bad and borderline terrible, which is a shame.  The writer could have explored and expanded it to the point of making it a good comedy/drama.  It did little of this as the humor was one dimensional, therefore flat and grasping for energy.  There were many creative opportunities in this kind of story.  A man who writes a tell all book about his Jewish family except his father because he is too afraid to offend him, but has no issues about offending the rest of family didn’t resonate to me.  The writer is narcissistic (I get it), but as the movie progressed, there were few laughs.  A brother who can’t get his life together as a lawyer, a sister who is a failed actress, another brother who seems to be living the great married life, the writer who is a complete jerk, and divorced parents weren’t enough to sustain my interest.  The only reason I finished it was to see how it would end.  I was correct in that it ended as it started:  very shallow and not very funny.  It is written by Peter Himmelstein and directed by Barry W. Blaustein.  It stars Ben Schwartz as Nathan Meyerwitz, Ron Rifkin as Henry Meyerwitz, Michael C. Hall as Jack Meyerwitz, Sarah Silverman as Cheri Meyerwitz, and Rainn Wilson as Joel Meyerwitz.

I rate Peep World TWO FINGERS at 61%.

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# 4

iamnotaserialkiller

I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) took a while to gain speed, but once it did I’m glad I gave it a try.  We’ve all heard about the small Midwestern town with a population of 5,000 or less for the setting and this one takes place in a little town in Minnesota.  It’s about a teenager who is fascinated with death and how he keeps his own feelings under control with the help of regular therapist visits.  His life is further complicated that his mother owns a funeral home and allows him to help prepare the bodies for funerals.  He becomes intrigued with an older neighbor and what looks like puddles of oil after each murder takes place.  As the relationship between the teenager and old neighbor, each take risks in their own way.  I really enjoyed the last ten minutes of the movie as it all came together with an ending I wasn’t suspecting.  It is adapted from the book written by Dan Wells by the same name.  It is written by Christopher Hyde and Billy O’Brien and directed by Billy O’Brien.  It stars Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver, Christopher Lloyd as Bill Crowley, Laura Fraser as April Cleaver, and Karl Geary as Dr. Neblin.

I rate I Am Not a Serial Killer THREE FINGERS at 80%.

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#3

byzantium

Byzantium (2012) is about a mother and daughter who couldn’t be more different.  The story weaves back and forth in time because these two vampires have lived a long, long time.  The present time has just as many consequences as they relocate to a coastal town after an unfortunate event.  It is at this town the choices made in the past are revealed and the reason to why they are being hunted.  The daughter finds herself having to make a choice regarding her relationship with her mother if she hopes to form meaningful relationships with others.  While not as great as Interview with the Vampire, this movie does have enough substance with a modern feel to keep you engaged.  It is written by Moira Buffini and directed by Neil Jordan.  It stars Saoirse Ronan as Eleanor, Gemma Arterton as Clara, Sam Riley as Darvell, Jonny Lee Miller as Ruthven, and Caleb Landry Jones as Frank.

 

I rate Byzantium FOUR FINGERS at 85%.

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#2

aintthembodiessaints

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013) is a movie about two people trying to outrun their past in different ways.  One does it by admitting the mistakes he has done, but not feeling sorry for what he did.  The other hangs onto her mistakes and becomes a part of her being.  When they are separated, they hope to find a way to reunite again.  The rest of the movie involves this tricky process of seeing each other again.  One has local law enforcement watching her every move.  The other has bounty hunters after him.  The ending was good and left a little bit of unknown between two of the characters.  It is written and directed David Lowery.  It stars Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie, Casey Affleck as Bob Muldoon, Ben Foster as Patrick Wheeler, Keith Carradine as Skerritt, and Nate Parker as Sweetie.

I rate Ain’t Them Bodies Saints FOUR FINGERS at 90%.

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#1

meanyouandeveryoneweknow

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) is the kind of movie I haven’t seen in a while.  It’s a combination of a coming of age story for teenagers and adults.  It includes quirky personalities, uncomfortable conversations, teenage angst, realistic parenting, and normal human issues.  Even though I would never have the guts to write this kind of script, it goes to show variety matters.  This movie pushes boundaries, but in a good way.  I’d say these scenes are done with thought to the whole story.  For example, what it means to an emotionally absent father but physically there.  You don’t need to be a hawk, but knowing a little bit about what your children are doing in their rooms is a good thing.  The different relationships either remain the same, grow, or die when the movie ends, much like reality but with a little bit of hope tucked away.  It is written and directed by Miranda July.  It stars John Hawkes as Richard Swersey, Miranda July as Christine Jesperson, Miles Thompson as Peter Swersey, Brandon Ratcliff as Robby Swersey, Carlie Westerman as Sylvie, and Brad William Henke as Andrew.

I rate Me and You and Everyone We Know FOUR FINGERS at 90%.

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2019

 

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