Five Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening This Weekend (12/2/11 Edition)

on December 02, 2011 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo
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Shame
By the people who made Hunger, Shame is quickly gaining fame as the film in which heartthrob Michael Fassbender bears his...throbbing parts. About a struggling sex addict, Shame makes it easy to see why the subject is difficult to broach, but as Fassbender is one of the most attractive, charismatic actors onscreen today people are still likely to line up for it.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, James Badge Dale, Carey Mulligan
Director: Steve McQueen
Screenwriter: Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan

INDIE

A Warrior's Heart
Twilight
's Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene look in good health in this sports melodrama about a boy who can't get his act together until his mother forces him into a boot camp for fledgling athletes. This one's made for the lacrosse fans-and before you nitpick, there are a lot of lacrosse fans out there.
Director: Michael F. Sears
Writer: Martin Dugard
Stars: Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Gabrielle Anwar


Answers to Nothing
With intersecting plotlines, this Crash look-a-like stars comic TV stars playing it dour as their characters betray each other, and their lives criss-cross during a police hunt for a missing girl. This LA is full of missing girls and lost men. Starring comedian Dane Cook. No, really.
Director: Matthew Leutwyler
Writers: Matthew Leutwyler, Gillian Vigman
Stars: Dane Cook, Elizabeth Mitchell, Julie Benz


Caitlin Plays Herself
With a title that refers to the endlessly lauded self-referential documentary LA Plays Itself, Caitlin follows the nudge-nudge, wink-wink exploits of performance artist Caitlin Stainken. Though it looks like a doc, it classifies as a dramaand the fifth film that writer/director Joe Swanberg has put out this year.
Director: Joe Swanberg
Writer: Joe Swanberg
Stars: Caitlin Stainken


Dog Jack
Dog Jack is an austere melodrama made with the production budget of a Saturday Afternoon Special. Louis Gossett Jr. narrates the story of a literate, escaped slave who joins the army for the Civil War, all along protecting his beloved dog, Jack. In another era, they'd cast Gary Coleman. Thankfully, we live in ours.
Director: Edward T. McDougal
Writers: Edward T. McDougal
Stars: Louis Gossett Jr., Benjamin Gardner, Frank Kasy


Seducing Charlie Barker
Amy Glazer helms this satire about a struggling actor whose refusal to compromise has made him a leech on his wife and a begger at his agent's office. When he meets a hottie who teaches him to throw away his integrity, he follows her cookie crumb trail right into the dumpster. Meanwhile, his career improves a little.
Director: Amy Glazer
Writer: Theresa Rebeck
Stars: Daphne Zuniga, Stephen Barker Turner, Heather Gordon


Shame
By the people who made Hunger, Shame is quickly gaining fame as the film in which heartthrob Michael Fassbender bears his...throbbing parts. About a struggling sex addict, Shame makes it easy to see why the subject is difficult to broach, but as Fassbender is one of the most attractive, charismatic actors onscreen today people are still likely to line up for it.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, James Badge Dale, Carey Mulligan
Director: Steve McQueen
Screenwriter: Steve McQueen, Abi Morgan


DOC

A Journey in Mother's Footsteps
The children of great people often feel slighted, as if their parents were more familiar to the world than to their own offspring. Such is the sentiment of Dina Rosenmeier, whose mother Jesse is like the Mother Theresa of the orphans in India. As much a personal journey as a demonstration of her mother's accomplishments, this doc watches Dina reconnect with her mother by following in her path.
Director: Dina Rosenmeier

An African Election
With so many docs out there about minor issues, it's really exciting to see a doc about a major world issue that hasn't been extensively reported on. An African Election, the Portuguese entry for the foreign film Oscar, tracks the recent Ghanan democratic election on which issues like the existence of free secondary education and social services hinged.
Director: Jarreth Merz

Grandma, A Thousand Times/ Teta, Alf Marra Doc
Teta, Abuela, Nanna, there are a thousand words for "grandmother" and most of them evoke the sweetness of those non-disciplinary guardians. Director Mahmoud Kaabour documents the stories his Beiruti Teta tells: some from her past (about her violinist husband, dead 20 years), and some more tenuous tales about the future that waits. A treatise on death and the preciousness it reminds us to protect.
Director: Mahmoud Kaabour


Force of Nature - The David Suzuki Movie
David Suzuki is a major force in the Canadian environmentalist movement. An activist who also speaks about the interconnectedness that's destroyed when we exploit our resources, Suzuki began his career teaching genetics in the University of British Columbia. Science combined with kindness have taken him a long way.
Director: Sturla Gunnarsson

Lads and Jockeys
A group of 14-year-old boys train to be jockeys in a village outside Paris and find the trainers are more threatening than the one-ton animals they ride. Still, it's a better thing to be frightened by scolding then to be knocked unconscious by hooves.
Director: Benjamin Marquet

Under Control/ Unter Kontrolle
In Germany, a country so evolved you can buy insurance specifically to protect you if you break things in an antique store, this doc by Volker Sattel, looks at nuclear power plants and the pressure they put on humans required to work them.
Director: Volker Sattel


WORLD

I Am Singh
When a man learns his relatives were victims of post-9/11 racially motivated violence, he heads to America to see what took his family from himand learns how far America has fallen from its dreams of freedom and peace.
Director: Puneet Issar
Writer: Puneet Issar
Stars: Joseph Armillas, Anto Boghokian, Elissa Brentano


Outrage/ Autoreiji Fri, 12/2/11
Takeshi "Beat" Kitano has played bad-asses in Japan since the '70s and Outrage adds another notch to that belt, which makes sense since he also wrote and directed it. Kitano plays a grizzled mobster veteran who's graduated from tattooed criminal to stock market swindler. Even in that thousand dollar suit, he's packing heat.
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Writer: Takeshi Kitano
Cast: Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Takeshi Kitano, Kippei Shiina, Ryo Kase


Sleeping Beauty Fri, 12/2/11
Fresh off an ass kicking stint in Sucker Punch, Emily Browning plays submissive in this film about a cathouse that, instead of selling sex, sells beautiful sleeping girls who are yours to play withprovided you follow some rules. Based on a novel, this is the directorial debut of Julia Leigh.
Director: Julia Leigh
Writer: Julia Leigh
Cast: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Michael Dorman, Mirrah Foulkes, Joel Tobeck, Henry Nixon


Pastorela
If you've been to Catholic school, you know the Pastorela (aka Nativity Play) starring Mary, Joseph and the wise men. Since there's aren't many human roles, most kids play livestock. But in Mexico, they've added a part: Satan. In this comedy, crooks use a Pastorela as a cover and send the police swarming for men dressed in red...on Christmas.
Director: Emilio Portes
Writer: Emilio Portes
Stars: Omar Ayala, Carlos Cobos, Joaquín Cosio


Redline
Boys who race are always so competitive. Now imagine racing dogs or racing weird wormy monstersthey're probably subject to the same emotions. This anime about reaching the maximum racing speed takes place on a planet inhabited by cyborgs. Wonder how competitive they feel?. Produced by the guys behind Paprika.
Director: Takeshi Koike
Writer: Katsuhito Ishii
Stars: Takuya Kimura, Yû Aoi, Tadanobu Asano


The Lady
The director behind The Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element is responsible for this biographical drama about Burmese democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi. The graceful Michelle Yeoh stars, but with a recent reputation in martial arts films, this Lady looks like it might be a high-end cross between Bhutto and Evita with a little Nikita thrown in for good measure.
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Rebecca Frayn
Stars: Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, Jonathan Raggett


The Yellow Sea/ Hwanghae
In the corner of the globe where China, Korea and Russia meet, a cab driver struggles to repay a debt while his wife is in Korea for work. After his loan sharks kidnap his wife and order him to kill someone to absolve his debt and win back his missus, the cabbie goes put on the run-for 157 minutes. Directed by the guy behind The Chaser.
Director: Hong-jin Na
Writer: Hong-jin Na
Stars: Jung-woo Ha, Yun-seok Kim, Seong-Ha Cho

 

Tags: A Warrior's Heart, Answers to Nothing, Caitlin Plays Herself, Dog Jack, Seducing Charlie Barker, Shame, A Journey in Mother's Footsteps, An African Election, Grandma A Thousand Times, Force of Nature, Lads and Jockeys, Under Control, I Am Singh, Outrage, Sleeping Beauty, Pastorela, Redline, The Lady, The Yellow Sea
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