Five Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening This Weekend (4/20/12 Edition)

on April 20, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo


Jean Gentil
He should be retiring, but nothing will let this French teacher slip into the ranks of retirees in the tropics. So he has to search the relentless and soul-crushing terrain of Santo Domingo for a job that will sustain him. With a loose camera, Jean Gentil's tribulations unravel, sad or hopeless, but always with prayers in hand. (He should really grab a daquiri.)
Directors: Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán
Writers: Israel Cárdenas Laura Amelia Guzmán
Stars: Jean Remy Gentil, Lys Ambroise and Nadal Walcott
Genre: Drama; Spanish-language, subtitled


Darling Companion
Empty nester Beth is forced to reassess her lifebut before that, she really wants to adopt this dog on the side of the road. With the dog comes prosperity, companionship and distraction from her work-obsessed husband. Until he loses her pet in the wilderness. Man's new best friend might be his jobjerkface.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, Meg Kasdan
Stars: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest
Genre: Drama

Downtown Express
A talented Russian violinist scrapes by with a street gig by the Downtown Express while his father sacrifices to put him through Julliard. But the horizon is broader than classical music, and when this prodigy meets a hottie in a rock band, his dad is hardly thrilled. Rock violin? There's more paths to success than express or local.
Director: David Grubin
Writers: Kathleen Cahill
Stars: Philippe Quint, Nellie McKay, Michael Cumpsty
Genre: Musical

When an Egyptian can't find work, he immigrates to Americaonly to find things even harder. This American-made indie is mostly in Egyptian and Arabic, and from the look of the trailer, forgoes any subtitles. The success of Foreignness could prove the viability of titles targeted at Muslim communitiessay Dearborn, Michigan, where film premieres.
Director: Fraid Garas
Writers: Sean Gewaid
Stars: Sean Gewaid
Genre: Drama

Going Down in La-La Land
A pithy dramedy about the trials of being hot, gay and totally unhirable young actor, this one tries to prove you can't get behind the scenes before you go between the sheets. Like other poppy joints by prolific gay-play maker Casper Andreas, this features glitz and gal-pals, plus a little trouble for naughty measure.
Director: Casper Andreas
Writers: Casper Andreas
Stars: Matthew Ludwinski, Allison Lane, Michael Medico
Genre: Comedy

Jenny breaks it off with her cheating BF just in time for a regret-inducing trip to the "mile high" club with a hot Brit. While she's sublimating her romantic woes in the bathroom, the rest of the airplane overflows with people doing crazy things for love, including a guy toting a teacup Maltese.
Director: Valerie Breiman
Writer: Valerie Breiman
Stars: Rachel Blanchard, James D'Arcy, Gbenga Akinnagbe
Genre: Rom-Com

Snow on tha Bluff
No sooner did Brooklyn's reRun Gastropub put this title on their calendar than it was snatched up by Sony Screen Gemsgood curating grabs attention. This crime film tracks an Atlanta robber who steals a camera from some co-eds during a crack deal and uses it to document his life. Reportedly not for the faint of heart.
Director: Damon Russell
Writers: Damon Russell, Curtis Snow
Stars: Cat Erickson, Adrienne Lockett, Curtis Lockett
Genre: Crime

The Moth Diaries
Rebecca and Lucie attend a posh boarding school and are the best of friends. So when enigmatic Ernessa enrolls and quickly lures them into her web, steals the heart of their hot (if too handsy) teacher and makes Lucie mysteriously ill, it's hard to say the cause of the troubles is natural, supernatural oras per Victorian sex manualsa myth like female pleasure. Directed by American Psycho's Mary Harron.
Director: Mary Harron
Writer: Rachel Klein
Stars: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole
Genre: Thriller

Zombie Dawn
When a mining accident created a zombie race 15 years ago, the nation was quick to cry "QUARANTINE!" But today, they have to find out just how that "natural disaster" created such unholy consequences. A team of scientistswith mercenaries to protect them, naturallybravely enter the quarantine zone for answers. I presume the interviews will be brief.
Directors: Lucio A. Rojas, Cristian Toledo
Writers: Cristian Toledo
Stars: Sebastian Accorsi, Guillermo Alfaro, Martin Bohte
Genre: Horror


Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory
When social worker Dan Cohen brought iPods to a nursing home, he discovered that music mattered. For the patients, classic tunes literally brought them back memories they made before dementia and Alzheimer's. Cohen and neurologist and NPR celebrity Oliver Sacks appear in this doc about the healing power of music.
Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett

The filmmakers behind the Iraq doc Gunner Palace made this flick about tough young men in South Louisiana and the MMA ring they claim saved them. Unlike Frederick Wiseman's Boxing Gym, Fightville isn't about the peace inside the pugilisminstead, this film shows how fisticuffs become the world's most dangerous, self-healing expression. They're left bruised but breathing.
Directors: Petra Epperlein, Michael Tucker

Kevin Macdonald loves intense subjects-he directed the bloody Idi Amin drama The Last King of Scotlandbut here, he explains why the famously chill Bob Marley had such a major place in the minds and hearts of millions. A musician and spokesperson for his nation and black identity, he put Jamaica in the public eye and proved its culture was more than the sound of waves and steel drums.
Director: Kevin Macdonald

The Murder Capital of the World
Director Charlie Minn specializes in docs about the crime crisis in Mexico. This follow-up to 8 Murders a Day tracks the changing climate of violence south of the border by studying the murder rate in Juarez and the economic, political and social causes that lead to the city's skyrocketing death toll.
Director: Charlie Minn

To The Arctic 3D
Meryl Streep can do anything, even lend her voice to a doc that explains the behavior of a polar bear mother and her two cubs alone in a rapidly changing Arctic wilderness that forces their adaptation.
Director: Greg MacGillivray


Eye of the Storm
Basil and Dorothy's mother is declining and they've come to see her off. But this is Mom's last chance to rain hell on her kids, and she's not about to squander it. Based on the novel by Australia's Nobel Laureate Patrick White, this family drama contains the kind of over-the-top displays we might expect from TMZbut in period costume.
Director: Fred Schepisi
Writers: Judy Morris
Stars: Dustin Clare, Geoffrey Rush, Charlotte Rampling
Genre: Drama

Goodbye First Love/Un amour de jeunesse
A cross between Like Crazy and One Day, Goodbye First Love is about Camille's intense feelings for her erstwhile love, Sebastian. The lovers meet multiple times but randomly and months apartjust enough time to find a new lover and then judge them against their each other. None are as breathtaking, but all are better choices. There's a reason that first love is a one-time thing.
Director/Screenwriter: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: Lola Créton, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Magne-Håvard Brekke
Genre: Romance; French-language, subtitled

Prepared to introduce his parents to the girl of his dreams, Moon-Ha finds out that girl is more dream than real. When she disappears, he hires a detective who uncovers her possible involvement in the murder of her mother for insurance fraud. Mistaken identity is nothing compared to matricide...or standing someone up at the big meet-the-in-laws-meal.
Director: Young-Joo Byun
Writer: Young-Joo Byun
Stars: Seon-gyun Lee, Min-hie Kim, Seong-ha Jo
Genre: Horror; Korean-language, subtitled

My Way (Wei Wei)
During the Japanese occupation of Korea, a Korean marathon runner and a Japanese marathon runner become friends only to be forced into competition. At the race's end, they're handed uniforms and put on the battlefields of WWII. It's not long before they cross on the front lines. A true story turned historical epic, and a major release in its native Korea.
Director: Je-kyu Kang
Writers: Je-kyu Kang, Byung-in Kim
Stars: Dong-gun Jang, Jô Odagiri, Bingbing Fan
Genre: Historical drama; Korean-, Russian-, Japanese-languages, subtitled

Oki's Movie/Ok-hui-ui yeonghwa
Korean auteur Sang-soo Hong has a knack for pointing his casually persistent camera at comically hypocritical people. In this film-or really, four short films about a film student named Oki-we see her lackadaisical romance with a fellow student and a tentative romance with a teacher.
Director: Sang-soo Hong
Writer: Sang-soo Hong
Stars: Yu-mi Jeong, Seon-gyun Lee
Genre: Dramedy; Korean-language, subtitled

An Argentine export that splits the difference between middle class renter anxiety and fear of the occult, Penumbra watches a pretty tenant move into a shabby old building just in time for a solar eclipse to raise the heathens and the undead. Hey, someone's gotta pay for their sins and their guilt over rent-control-better to kill two birds with one ritual.
Directors: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano
Writers: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano
Stars: Cristina Brondo, Camila Bordonaba, Berta Muñiz
Genre: Horror; Spanish-language, subtitled

The Day He Arrives/Book chon bang hyang
A film authority in a small village, Sang-Joon has the pleasure of visiting one of his students who's become a budding film critic in Seoul. Cue inferiority complex and a desperate grab at the bar owner who looks kinda like someone's ex.
Director: Sang-soo Hong
Writer: Sang-soo Hong
Stars: Jun-Sang Yu, Sang Jung Kim, Bo-kyung Kim
Genre: Drama; Korean-language, subtitled

Vicky Donor
Men and women can't kiss in Bollywood films, but here we have an Indian comedy about a sperm donor-go figure. While Vicky's (singing and dancing) donation hijinks are meant to be the central joke, I want to see how he evades exposing his "family" business-aww. Wouldn't his mom be proud?
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Writers: Juhi Chaturvedi
Stars: Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana
Genre: RomCom; Hindi-language, subtitled


Tags: Jean Gentil, Darling Companion, Downtown Express, Foreignness, Going Down in La-La Land, Overnight, Snow on tha Bluff, The Moth Diaries, Zombie Dawn, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory, Fightville, Marley, The Murder Capital of the World, To The Arctic 3D, Eye of the Storm, Goodbye First Love, Helpless, My Way, Oki's Movie, Penumbra, The Day He Arrives

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