Five Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening This Weekend (5/4/12 Edition)

on May 04, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo


A Beautiful Soul
This indie drama conceivably does for R&B what A Beautiful Mind did for math. About a hot ticket R&B performer who's lost his way and his footing in his hometown church, A Beautiful Soul promises to show a backslider's redemption with a lot of gospel uplift.
Director: Jeffrey W. Byrd
Stars: Deitrick Haddon, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Harry Lennix
Genre: Drama

A Little Bit of Heaven
Star-studded, but not available to wide audiences, this romance begins with Kate Hudson, a free-wheeling marketing executive and lover of many, finding out she has cancer. Her friends are at a loss but her doctor, Gael García Bernal, sure knows how to make her feel better. Forecast calls for glossy lighting.
Director: Nicole Kassell
Writer: Gren Wells
Stars: Kate Hudson, Gael García Bernal, Kathy Bates
Genre: Romance

Jesus Henry Christ
Toni Collette's test tube baby just turned 10, and now that he's "older," he wants to meet his biological dad. Enter Michael Sheen, with his own daughter and oddball intellectual life. Between Collette and Sheen, this could be a veritable "check your accent at the door" comedy, but mix in the precocious kid and it could leave us awkwardly blubbering in the aisles.
Director: Dennis Lee
Writers: Dennis Lee
Stars: Jason Spevack, Toni Collette, Michael Sheen
Genre: Comedy

(laughing out loud) was a French dramedy about a girl growing up at the speed of status update. This, the American remake, is directed by the same filmmaker but cast with American starlets with clever pasts: "That Girl" Marlow Thomas plays grandmother, her worried daughter is the nearly exploited glamour girl of St. Elmo's Fire, Demi Moore, and their lil' LOLita is Miley can't-keep-her-bra-under-her-clothes Cyrus.
Director: Lisa Azuelos
Writers: Lisa Azuelos, Kamir Aïnouz
Stars: Miley Cyrus, Douglas Booth, Ashley Greene
Genre: Drama

Meeting Evil
Luke Wilson plays a down-on-his-luck family man who loses his job, house and car on the same day, only to be "rescued" by Samuel L. Jackson. Sam's got plans that aren't on the up-and-up and can't be explained to the cops without incrimination. If anyone looks like he's guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it's Nick Fury.
Director: Chris Fisher
Screenwriter: Thomas Berger
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Bibb, Luke Wilson
Genre: Suspense

Memorial Day
Kyle's grandfather was a WWII vet, and when he found his grandfather's footlocker of souvenirs, Grandpa said he could choose three things and hear the stories behind them. The lesson isn't adventure, it's duty, and that message follows Kyle like his grandpa's blessingsespecially when he's found wounded in his own battle abroad.
Director: Samuel Fischer
Writer: Marc Conklin
Stars: Jonathan Bennett, James Cromwell, John Cromwell
Genre: War Drama

More Than Frybread
Like Best in Show for frybreadthat sizzling, thick slab of doughthis mockumentary hides its sweetness beneath a crispy exterior. With 22 tribes competing in the Arizona chapter of a world wide frybread competition, the heat is on. The competitors don't think the trophy is for a tiny disk of doughit's for their families.
Director: Travis Holt Hamilton
Writer: Travis Holt Hamilton
Stars: Tatanka Means
Genre: Comedy

Mother's Day
When a band of sadistic brothers break into their childhood home and find yuppies roosting, they call their mother to sort out the mess. And she makes the raping, torturing, thieving monsters look like a boy band. Rebecca De Mornay launches a stellar career reboot as the freakishly calm, restrained but sexy mom who needs no weapons sharper than her composure.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Scott Milam
Stars: Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore
Genre: Horror

The Connection
A lesser-known indie filmmaker, Shirley Clark took most of her stories from the streets in the early 1960s. Everything she touched looked like a documentary, but little of it was. The IFC center is playing this film about heroin addicts waiting for their hook-up as part of its anniversary celebration.
Director: Shirley Clarke
Writers: Jack Gelber
Stars: Warren Finnerty, Garry Goodrow, Jerome Raphael
Genre: Drama

The Perfect Family
Kathleen Turner plays a faithful wife and mother so beloved they nominate her for the Catholic Woman of the Year Award. Her competitor is already obnoxiously perfect. Then her own family starts coming out of the closet-bad timing, kids. Famously gay Richard Chamberlain is award-toting priest, and Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue) is Turner's holier-than-thou competitor for the Catholic crown.
Director: Anne Renton
Screenwriters: Paula Goldberg, Claire V. Riley
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Michael McGrady, Richard Chamberlain, Elizabeth Pena, Jason Ritter, Emily Deschanel
Genre: Satire

You Hurt My Feelings
John decides his ex Courtney was the one, but now she's a mother and knows John's not the daddy-type. Anyway, she's already taken up with a guy who looks like John but with far more child-rearing instincts. What's a sad ex to do? Show her he can hold a baby without dropping itby taking a gig as a male nanny.
Director: Steve Collins
Writer: Steve Collins
Stars: John Merriman, Courtney Davis, Macon Blair
Genre: Dramedy


Chronicling a Crisis
Amos Kollek's fascination with damaged women plus his access to edgy celebrities like Debbie Harry came together to create a definitive vision of NY's '80s counter culture. But Kollek's last film, Happy Ending, was anything but. In the autumn of his career, filmmaking just feels like an addiction. He's consoled by a prostitute who resembles the broken women he idolized in his heyday.
Director: Amos Kollek

First Position
The American Youth Grand Prix is the biggest ballet contest in the states, with young dancers competing from for prestige and the attention of Ballet Company recruiters. This is half "You Think You Can Dance" and half Ballet Russes, which might lure more adults than aspiring ballerinas, but will still provide inspiration to anyone for whom the Nutcracker Suite is an annual tradition.
Director: Bess Kargman

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story
The '70s were fraught with revolutionary cells and the hijacking of an Air France plane in 1976 led to an international response. The man in charge of stopping the hijackers in "Operation Entebbe" was Israeli Special Forces Lt. Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu. His death on that mission was a poetic loss that framed his life of service to Israel. This doc tells his story.
Directors: Jonathan Gruber, Ari Daniel Pinchot

Last Call at the Oasis
Director Jessica Yu looks at the world water crisis. Toxic runoff, overcharging, water squandering and misuse have depleted our planet's supply of water. Solution? There are a few, but one huge one is recycled sewageyou read me rightbecause if it's good enough for the astronauts, it's good enough for America. But is the power of the heebie jeebies stronger than dehydration headaches?
Director: Jessica Yu

This Binary Universe
Electronica artist BT has produced albums with pop acts like N*Sync, but his most exciting recent maneuvers used technological tricks to invent new sounds. This Binary Universe was the name of his 2006 album, and the matching doc is an omnibus ode to it featuring short films (not quite videos) dedicated to each song.
Director: BT


A divorced cop is pit against a well-matched criminal in this Malayalam-language cop thriller. Like The Raid? Give this one a shot.
Director: B. Unnikrishnan
Writer: B. Unnikrishnan
Stars: Mithra Kurian, Anoop Menon, Mohanlal
Genre: Action; Malayalam-language

Death of a Superhero
Finally we can watch Andy Serkis (Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) follow in the footpath of rubbery comedian Robin Williamsbut who knew the following would continue to Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society? Here, Serkis plays the calm therapist to a dying teen who draws superhero comics to cope with his prognosis. A solid British cast supports.
Director: Ian Fitzgibbon
Writers: Anthony McCarten
Stars: Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Michael McElhatton
Genre: Drama

Janaat 2
Before you say, "I didn't know there was a Janaat 1," lemme tell ya, it was a big(ish) deal. The lead, who resembles a muscular, Indian Charlie Day, was last in the thrall of limitless guns and power. But in this sequel, he falls for hottie Esha Gupta, a girl who redeems him while the criminal element he cultivated threatens to undo everything.
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Writers: Sanjay Masoom, Shagufta Rafique
Stars: Emraan Hashmi, Randeep Hooda, Esha Gupta
Genre: Crime Thriller; Hindi-language, subtitled

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Seven UK residents head to India to spend their golden years in a fabulously marketed resort that turns out to be a dust bucket with an overambitious kid for an innkeeper. The cast is esteemed and the comedy dry, with sex-pot elders coupling and dying in equal measure. These Brits remember when England called India a colonylet's hope that comes up over breakfast.
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Cast: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel
Director: John Madden
Screenwriter: Deborah Moggach, Ol Parker
Genre: Comedy, Drama


Tags: A Beautiful Soul, A Little Bit of Heaven, Jesus Henry Christ, LOL, Meeting Evil, Memorial Day, More Than Frybread, Mother's Day, The Connection, The Perfect Family, You Hurt My Feelings, Chronicling a Crisis, First Position, Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story, Last Call at the Oasis, This Binary Universe, Grandmaster, Death of a Superhero, Janaat 2, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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