Five-Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening This Weekend

on October 28, 2011 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo


Summary: Desperate men are herded into a room for a game that crosses Russian roulette and musical chairs. The "players" have numbers taped to their shirts and pistols with one bullet. Men of power bet on these helpless gladiators with their briefcases of bills. Géla Babluani originally told this story in his debut 13 Tzameti; here he's remaking it with a cast of high-pedigree Brits.
Director: Géla Babluani
Writers: Géla Babluani, Gregory Pruss
Stars: Jason Statham, Alexander Skarsgård, Mickey Rourke
Genre: Suspense

The '50s always look so perfect
which makes the era's seamy underbelly so compelling. Hipsters is a Russian musical that watches one idealist youth change his tune (literally) when he discovers the American-inspired cabaret scene in Cold War-era Moscow. He's so dedicated to the principles of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin he renamed himself MELS, but music and women effectively overpower his ideals.
Director: Valeriy Todorovskiy
Writers: Yuriy Korotkov
Stars: Anton Shagin, Oksana Akinshina, Evgeniya Khirivskaya
Genre: Musical; Russian-language, subtitled

RA. One
Game developer and dad (Indian heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan) is designing a game that's outpacing its personal boundaries and encroaching on his real worldhe's not just a workaholic, the work is coming to life. This Tron-like intruder somewhat impresses his son, who thinks his dad's dull and outmoded until his Frankenstein creation shows how savvy (if foolhardy) his dad really is.
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Writers: David Benullo, Shah Rukh Khan, Kanika Dhillon, Mushtaq Sheikh
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal
Genre: Action; Hindi-language, subtitled

Martin and Mariana live on the same block in Buenos Aires and though the gods of movie-dom think they're meant to be, they just keep missing each other. Martin's a web designer who plays hermit in his apartment; Mariana's holing up after a bad break up. Near misses abound in this RomCom about living (and not really living) in the Paris of Latin America.
Cast: Pilar López de Ayala, Inés Efron, Carla Peterson
Director/ Screenwriter: Gustavo Taretto
Genre: Drama; Spanish-language-subtitled



All's Faire in Love
Renaissance Faires have an amazing vibe: they're both totally committed to their anachronistic performance and totally aware of their own absurdity. So when Christina Ricci tells her corporate bosses she's "an actress!" and Owen Benjamin flunks college history, they both land-for love and lessons-at a Ren Faire populated by a whole bunch of actors you thought had better things to do.
Director: Scott Marshall
Writers: R.A. White, Scott Marshall, Jeffrey Ray Wine
Stars: Christina Ricci, Owen Benjamin, Ann-Margret
Genre: Comedy

And They're Off
The progeny of Ricky Gervais' mockumentary comedy The Office are manifold, but this one finds inspiration in a particularly unique workplace. Sean Astin plays down-on-his-luck horse trainer named Dusty, who's had a stroke of luck finding a financer with a million dollars and no sense to support his new steed. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend (Sheri Oteri) struggles on horseback and tries desperately to help downhearted Dusty "score."
Director: Rob Schiller
Writer: Alan Grossbard
Stars: Sean Astin, Peter Jacobson, Kevin Nealon
Genre: Comedy

Kevin Sorbo just found out his estranged wife and her lover have been kidnapped and buried alive-ish in a box underground and this Hercules has to find a way to the site of the internment and (more importantly) find a shred of sympathy for his ex. Don't these con men know that divorce means it's over?! Sheesh.
Directors: Kipp Tribble, Derik Wingo
Writer: Kipp Tribble
Stars: Johnny Alonso, David Banks, Luke Barnett
Genre: Horror

God's Land
In tune with the recent release of Martha Marcy May Marlene, God's Land looks at a religious cult from the inside. The members dress in white and re-enter nearby civilization (i.e. big box stores) for supplies. Dependent on the "vision" and products of others, this cult doesn't know enough to go off the grid, or get uniforms that aren't so easy to stain.
Director: Preston Miller
Writer: Preston Miller
Stars: Jodi Lin, Shing Ka, Matthew Chiu
Genre: Drama

The plot reads like a meta-comment on horror movies: in a nearly demolished police station a la Precinct 13, a demon in the form of Robert Englund enters with the severed head of a girl and confesses to crimes dating back into the Middle Ages (think Dracula, Exorcist, Faust). Featuring N'Sync's own Joey Fatone, which means it's also a possible comment on boy bands.
Director: Glenn Ciano
Writers: Carl V. Dupré
Stars: Nicholas John Bilotta, Mike Cerrone, Jessica Conlan
Genre: Horror

Janie Jones
Abigail Breslin is so soft looking, it seems like no other kid actor could have pulled off this part. When her mother (Elisabeth Shue) has to enter rehab, the girl is stuck with her mediocre musician (Alessandro Nivola) dad, a hard-living almost-rock star who simply can't believe he could have a kid. He neglects her, until she saves the dayand the bandwith her voice.
Director: David M. Rosenthal
Writer: David M. Rosenthal
Stars: Abigail Breslin, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Shue
Genre: Musical drama

Last Rites of May
Small time hustler Joe May (Dennis Farina, Out of Sight, Get Shorty) is too old for his gig. So when he gets out of a long hospital stint and finds his apartment rented out, the single mom living there takes pity and lets him share rent. She knows some bullies, and Joe finds himself a new rolewhich is just what critics are saying about Farina, who's apparently never been better.
Director: Joe Maggio
Writer: Joe Maggio
Stars: Dennis Farina, Jamie Anne Allman, Ian Barford
Genre: Drama

Like Crazy
Immigration law gets in the way of love (doesn't it always?) in this passionate, intercontinental romance. Felicity Jones comes to the states as an exchange student but overstays her visa, angers the bureaucrats and gets separated from her lover Anton Yelchin. Helmer Drake Doremus' last pic was Douchebag, a comedy about a guy who wouldn't choose action if opportunity fell into his hands. Similarities?
Director: Drake Doremus
Writers: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones
Stars: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence
Genre: Romance

October Baby
When Hannah learns her parents adopted her after her biological mother's attempted abortion, her 19-year-old histrionics inspire her to abandon her "fake" parents. A sympathetic John Schneider (he'll always be Bo Duke to me) plays the dad who lets his kid travel in search of her birth mother but doesn't let her get so far out of eyeshot she's not his girl anymore.
Directors: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
Writers: Theresa Preston, Jon Erwin
Stars: Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, John Schneider
Genre: Drama

Silver Bullets
Identities shift in Joe Swanberg's newest indie, Silver Bullets. A director (played by Swanberg) casts his girlfriend's best friend in his new feature, creating a surrogate for his girl and a headache for the actress' boyfriend. The leading lady's BF can't take it and gets depressed while the actress begins exhibiting signs she's too easily influenced to be acting in a horror film.
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Joe Swanberg
Stars: Jane Adams, Larry Fessenden, Amy Seimetz
Genre: Horror

The Double
An TV-grade spy thriller, The Double has been pushed around the calendar by distributor Image Entertainment for a few months, but the moves were necessary: they can't waste the spicy cast. Richard Gere plays a veteranand possibly doubleagent forced to work with a sophomoric upstart (Topher Grace) who's in over his head and jeopardizing his life and that of his family.
Director: Michael Brandt
Writers: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Stars: Odette Annable, Stana Katic, Richard Gere
Genre: Suspense

The Hammer
Matt Hamill was the first deaf wrestler to win the National Collegiate Wrestling Championships and this dramatization paints him as the accidental panty-dropper. He excels at wrestling and has to reconcile "not being treated differently" with being proud of his uniqueness. If distributor D&E entertainment marketed this biopic to the ladies, its runaway potential could go through the roof!
Director: Oren Kaplan
Writers: Joseph McKelheer, Eben Kostbar
Stars: Russell Harvard, Raymond J. Barry, Shoshannah Stern
Genre: Drama


Technically the second concert doc about Icelandic wonder-band Sigur Rós, Inni is shot like a Ken Anger film and the atmosphere works wonders. As much a feeling as a soundtrack, this look at the experience of a Sigur Rós show is likely to lure more than the band's loyal followingit's not everyday we see a trailer and say "now look at the aesthetics on that one!"
Director: Vincent Morisset

My Reincarnation
For 20 years, veteran director Jennifer Fox followed Yeshi, a boy identified by the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of a spiritual leader. His father, Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, was exiled from Tibet to Italy, where he started over, married and had a family. But the son has to struggle with the burden of his gift, one that seems alien against his responsibilities to his Italian wife and infant.
Director: Jennifer Fox

Gary Hustwit likes design. His first film, Helvetica was worshiped by typesetters and his second, Objectified, looked at the mystique of product design. This film, Urbanized, looks at civic engineering and design to scratch away at the meaning of "the modern city" through the artists who envisioned it. This is the third in Hustwit's design trilogy that has made audiences see their world with fresh eyes.
Director: Gary Hustwit



Tags: 13, Hipsters, RA. One, Sidewalls, All's Faire in Love, And There Off, Coffin, God's Land, Inkubus, Janie Jones, Last Rites of May, Like Crazy, October Baby, Silver Bullets, The Double, The Hammer, Inni, My Reincarnation, Urbanized

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