Because Will Ferrell is always funny, so you can watch him later

Five-Minute Film Guide: Every Indie Film Opening August 9

on August 10, 2012 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo


Start your engines -- it's Nitro Circus: The Movie, our pick of the week



Julie Delpy has been quietly marshaling her Before Sunrise/After Sunset persona to bring new sets of touchy lovers to the screen. Here, teamed with unlikely boyfriend Chris Rock, the two suffer the incursion of Delpy's family into their cohabitation. And you know Chris Rock won't keep his mouth shut when he has something to say. 
Director: Julie Delpy
Writers: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alexandre Nahon
Stars: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Dylan Baker, Daniel Brühl, Albert Delpy
Genre: Comedy


Things go so poorly in Oz that the Lion, Scarecrow and Tinman take the Lincoln Tunnel (itinerary identified in Elf) to reach the Manhattan bus station, en route to Kansas. There they find an orphan claiming to be Dorothy Gale. Attracted to the trio's homemade costumes, "Dorothy" joins the quartet to save Oz from a strange new threat. 
Director: Hugh Gross
Writer: Hugh Gross
Stars: Jordan Van Vranken, Orien Richman, Jermel Nakia 
Genre: Fantasy

Joining After the Wizard this week is another indie-for-kids (can we call it a "kindie"?) that's proud to present low-rent special effects to action-loving children. About siblings who protect the ocean from a deep sea Darth Vader, Champions of The Deep features some staggeringly skilled young martial artists fighting comical villains. If your kid screams at the seaweed-wrapped canoe-paddler-no judgment.
Director: Baxter Churchville
Writer: Baxter Churchville
Stars: Tyler Weaver Jr., Dayna Huor, Caitlin Dechelle
Genre: Fantasy

His wacky mom scared his dad away, and that's how Ellis came to be raised by just his hippie-chick mother and her goat herding, botanist lover. But now that Ellis has a shot to study at Gates Academy, he'll move in with his dad and stepmom, who might be even weirder. With a high pedigree cast including Vera Farmiga and David Duchovny, Goats could chew up some cash.
Director: Christopher Neil
Writer: Mark Poirier 
Stars: Vera Farmiga, David Duchovny, Keri Russell
Genre: Comedy

The uncompromising Spike Lee returns with a throwback film set in contemporary Brooklyn. When 13-year-old Butter is sent to stay with his grandfather in Red Hook for the summer, he finds grandpa struggling to keep his traditional black church open as the locals turn to Target and The Avengers to find the community they used to get at their neighborhood House of God. 
Director/Writer/Producer: Spike Lee
Stars: Jules Brown, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Toni Lysaith, 
Genre: Drama

Though their roles as amnesia patient and caregiver are traditional, Susan and Shannon share an odd connection. In moments ofAttenberg-like synchronized movement, the women morph. With a trailer as ambiguous and disorienting as amnesia itself, this arthouse darling may have everyone confused. 
Director: Frank Rinaldi
Writer: Frank Rinaldi
Stars: Susan Chau, Shannon Fitzpatrick
Genre: Drama/Sci-Fi


This is not the first film about journalist Theodor Herzl, the noted "father of Zionism" who influenced the eventual State of Israel-but it may be the most star-studded. Narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley and featuring Christoph Waltz as the voice of the Herzl, this doc seeks the roots of Israel as both a dream and an ideal.
Director: Richard Trank

MEET THE FOKKENS / Ouwehoeren 
If you were to guess what the Fokken sisters did for a might be right. Two 60+ women still working the oldest profession, the Fokkens clock in at Amsterdam's Red Light District daily-though one has retired to administrative functions thanks to arthritis. It's a cheerful but challenging view of sisters still plying the trade.
Directors: Gabrielle Provaas, Rob Schröder


With so many stories about overnight successes and one-hit-wonders, it's sobering and inspiring to see this story of six singers who have had nothing but hardship in the brutal music industry. Still, they soldier on suffering poverty and troubles-except for American Idol, no one ever promised them it'd be easy.
Director: Victor Mignatti

During Iran's 2009 election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidency despite widespread support for Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Protesters took the streets but many met with tragedy. Every generation before has tried to have a voice, but few have succeeded.The Green Wave retells the events with animation, giving room to the hope the uprising inspires.
Director: Ali Samadi Ahadi

Holocaust survivor Leo Zisman leads tours of concentration camps, both as teaching tools and as a manifestation of the phrase "never forget." While most survivors can't discuss their real tragedies, Leo is determined that his duty to inform can prevent future generations from ignorance and repetition. 
Director: Matt Mindell

Like Jackass 3D but without the semi-star cast, Nitro Circus takes to the sea, the school bus and the skyscraper, to see just how much trauma the human body can take. Their prankster-pratfalls are ingenious, like jumping from the roof of one skyscraper to the next on a BMX (and without a net), but their adrenaline rush may be your anxiety attack, so buy tickets with caution.
Directors: Gregg Godfrey, Jeremy Rawle


Next time you're looking at the Oscar's Documentary Shortlist asking yourself "Where did these films come from?!" the answer may just be DocuWeeks.The International Documentary Association's annual DocuWeeks is responsible for putting more than two dozen features and shorts in theaters annually, thus making those films eligible for Oscar consideration (more than 25 DocuWeek films have been nominated and seven have won Oscars). A newly minted distributor, DocuWeeks releases 17 features from the environmental to the personal. The run began 8/3 in New York and Los Angeles and continues this week to finish out August 23rd. The samplings from this week follow.Two films about indigenous struggle and spirit will play: Drought, about a North Mexican exodus for water (by Everardo Gonz) leans on harsh realities and privation, while Jennifer Jessum's Holy Man: The USA vs. Douglas White explores the plight of a Lakota Sioux Medicine Man incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit. Out of the Clear Blue Sky follows a company who lost more than 600 employees during the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center only to be later looked on as pariah, while We Women Warriors tracks the indignities pushed on Columbia's aboriginal groups. Lastly and more cheerfully, This Magic Life finds a way to let us close to a magician without exposing his tricks and Ricky on Leacock, about the veteran documentarian and protégé of "The Father of Documentary," does the same with a trickier slight of hand.


Based on a story by Joseph Conrad, this new drama by Chantal Ackerman (Jeanne Dielman) takes place in a storybook Asia, where a white merchant is slowly losing his grip as his daughter is lured away by a handsome local with bad intentions. The trees are a loud green but the silences threaten to overtake the house and the prejudice-plagued "half-breed" daughter. 
Director: Chantal Akerman
Writers: Chantal Akerman
Stars: Stanislas Merhar, Marc Barbé, Aurora Marion 
Genre: Drama; French-language, subtitled

MAX AND THE JUNKMEN/Max et les ferrailleurs 
A few months back, Michel Piccoli was the world's cuddliest reluctant pope (We Have a Pope) but in his early days, he was a bad ass. Here in this 1971 reissue, Piccoli plays a Paris detective skating the line of good sense and good police work by giving a band of thieves what they need for a big score. 
Director: Claude Sautet
Writers: Jean-Loup Dabadie 
Stars: Danielle Durou, Alain Belard, Michel Piccoli
Genre: Crime; French-language, subtitled

Derek Ting had a small role in the international comic/spy thriller Largo Winch before this, his writing/producing/starring debut. Also an heir action story, $upercapitalist watches a young hedge-fund trader (Ting) get caught between his culture and the weighty lure of gold. With the west's concept of cowboy values and Hong Kong's porous market, he stands to erect an empire-but this cowboy is reckless.
Director: Simon Yin
Writer: Derek Ting
Stars: Linus Roache, Kenneth Tsang, Derek Ting 
Genre: Thriller; Chinese- and English-language, subtitled

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