BOXOFFICE.COM FEATURED INDEPENDENT FILM:
This could be 2011's answer to Animal Kingdom: an intimate drama about the necessities and impossibilities of relationships in a community of crime—with accents! Actor Paddy Considine wrote and directed this actor's showcase that stars indie heavyweight Eddie Marsan and it's received nothing but raves. Manliness, loneliness and family are up for grabs in this low-key kitchen sink film.
Director: Paddy Considine
Writer: Paddy Considine
Stars: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan
Another Happy Day
Finally, a legitimate reason to confuse Ellen Barkin and Ellen Burstyn: they play mother and child in this dramedy about a wedding gone ugly. Barkin's the mother of the groom. Her other son just left rehab, her ex has remarried (Demi Moore, reliving Strip Tease) and her mom (Barkin) is their family counselor. Sam Levinson (son of Barry) wrangles the hot mess.
Director: Sam Levinson
Writer: Sam Levinson
Stars: Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth
Rid of Me
Punk hasn't saved anyone's life in a long time, but in this black comedy, good girl and new wife Meris gets double crossed by her man and ends up working in a candy shop and living like a college co-ed. As her surroundings get sweeter, she grows bitterer-but surprisingly more joyful. Critically acclaimed, this rough little gem screams "strong script."
Director: James Westby
Writer: James Westby
Stars: Katie O'Grady, John Keyser, Storm Large
The sort of dialogue-driven, concept indie that made post-movie coffeehaus visits an institution, Silver Tongues follows a couple who compulsively burrow into new communities and lie to their friends. Then like pathological gypsies, when their cockamamie stories are seen through, they flee. The premise is not unlike TV's 2008 series The Riches but with less class-consciousness and more "swinging." Nothing's scarier than a good con artist.
Director: Simon Arthur
Writer: Simon Arthur
Stars: Lee Tergesen, Enid Graham, Tate Ellington
George Clooney goes from would-be Commander-in-Chief in Ides of March to has-been dad in this dramedy by the perennially acerbic auteur Alexander Paine (Election, Sideways). When Clooney's wife has a boating accident near their home in Kauai and goes into a coma, he learns she's been cheating and realizes (like a younger Schmidt) how totally absent he's been in his own life. Cue discomfort and laughs; expect Oscar talk.
Director: Alexander Payne
Writers: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller
The Blair Witch made Joshua Leonard famous—and dead—in 1999. A decade later, he helms and stars in this Sundance attention-getter about a burnt-out dad. Lonnie (Leonard) hates his job so he on impulse tells his boss his daughter died. She hasn't. And now he must to keep the unforgivable lie away from his wife-but the surplus of sympathy food in the house is a "dead" giveaway.
Director: Joshua Leonard
Writers: Joshua Leonard, Mark Webber, Jess Weixler
Stars: Joshua Leonard, Jess Weixler, Kelli Garner
King of Devil's Island/Kongen av Bastøy World
Today, Norway's famous for its lenient prison system, but this true story of the Uprising at the Bastøy Boys Home—a sort of Alcatraz for bad young men—will make us all think otherwise. Stellan Skarsgård plays the sadistic headmaster, the local Beelzebub who inspired the boys to mutiny from their exile on Bastøy island. This one might begs for a strong constitution.
Director: Marius Holst
Writers: Eric Schmid, Dennis Magnusson
Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Benjamin Helstad, Kristoffer Joner
The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
Like Richie Rich, Largo is the sort who spends his daddy's billions for sport—he jet sets, buys yachts, gambles. So when Daddy Warbucks dies and leave Largo a major international corporation to run, baddies come out of the woodwork to supplant the new corporate leader. It's good Largo took those skydiving lessons. Based on the European graphic novel series that famously replaced Tintin in popularity.
Director: Jérôme Salle
Writers: Julien Rappeneau, Jérôme Salle
Stars: Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Miki Manojlovic
Laure takes her family's relocation as an opportunity for reinvention. With a pixie cut and boy clothes, the savvy 10-year-old passes herself off as "Mikael," even earning one girl's affections. But at home she hides her public persona, illustrating her conflict of body and identity. Like a French iteration of Pariah, Dee Rees' Oscar season coming out drama, Tomboy gets dangerously close to very touchy subjects.
Director: Céline Sciamma
Writer: Céline Sciamma
Stars: Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Jeanne Disson
Many at the Warsaw Ghetto found themselves at Maidenak death camp in the spring of 1943, aware they were selected for death. In a gesture of hope, many relinquished pieces of family history, bits of jewelry and precious items to a makeshift time capsule buried six inches in the ground. Recently exhumed, these tokens reveal a history and represent lives lived-and therefore not lost.
Director: Steven Meyer
Eames: The Architect & the Painter
The Eames chair was the icon of the streamlined '50s-their design was elegant and inexpensive to mass-produce. It was more than a pretty chair: it was a work of commercial art, a piece of proof that aesthetics can also be ethical. (Waste not, want not.) This doc looks at the couple behind the Eames design house and how they forever changed modern furniture.
Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey
Garbo the Spy/ Garbo: El espía Doc
WWII stories are either filled with tragedy or valor. This one, about the era's greatest double agent promises to baffle us and then make us all feel like underachievers. The Allies called him "Garbo," the Nazis called him "Arabel," but both confided in Juan Pujol Garcia, a Spaniard who made himself so central that his (mis)information effected historic events—most notably, The Invasion of Normandy (aka D-Day).
Director: Edmon Roch
Laredoan Speak: Voices on Immigration (aka Voices of a Texas Border City) doc
Laredo, Texas is the largest trade route from America to Mexico, and also the most trafficked route for illegals coming from into America. This film interviews Laredo residents who witness as immigrants fight their way into the country, as well as "illegals" that struggle for a better life in the states. A rough-hewn antidote to the noisy, nonsensical fight over undocumented immigration.
Directors: Victor A. Martinez, Ryan Schafer
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
This doc is based on revived and reportedly uncut interviews with the recently deceased Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computers and the patron saint of life-changing technologies. Also called Steve Jobs: One Last Thing, this doc will play in 19 cities only on Wednesday and Thursday—check your local listings.
Director: Mimi O'Connor
In Heaven Underground
The oldest Jewish cemetery in Germany receives reverent homage in this doc by Bretta Wauer. In a fairy tale-like German forest, a century-old cemetery of robust and dramatic tombstones competes with overgrown foliage, each representing a life so big it shouldn't be forgotten. Not a morbid place, this cemetery harkens back to a time that knew nothing of the Holocaust.
Director: Britta Wauer