If a few of Hollywood’s newest blockbusters — “Tenet” and “Surprise Girl 1984” — left you unhappy, there’s nonetheless hope. Listed below are some indie options in your viewing pleasure.
“Shadow within the Cloud”: New Zealand filmmaker Roseanne Liang one-ups Patty Jenkins’ “Surprise Girl 1984” with this lovably bonkers style mashup. It’s lean and imply, whereas “Surprise Girl” was bloated and unfocused. As a flinty passenger late-boarding a B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft throughout World Warfare II, “Kick-Ass” star Chloë Grace Moretz fends off a decided bat-like demon critter in addition to poisonous airmen bros. Liang’s preposterous nail-biter is fondued in “Twilight Zone” cheese and is foolish and unhinged, however it additionally creates a dynamo feminist motion hero, a task well-suited for Moretz. She places these cocky boys and the festering demon to absolute disgrace. Rather more senseless enjoyable than “Surprise Girl 1984.” Particulars: Three stars out of 4; screening Jan. 1 as a part of the Digital Cinema collection on the Roxie Theater.
“Minor Premise”: If Christopher Nolan’s overhyped “Tenet” left you dazed and confused, give the gray cells a greater exercise with this sci-fi-tinged mind tornado. Filmmaker Eric Schultz’s spirited shot-on-the-cheap thriller finds a neuroscientist Ethan (proficient newcomer Sathya Sridharan), pushed to surpass the legacy of his genius father, tinkering — a la Dr. Frankenstein — with the type of human experiment that invitations catastrophe. He’s aided by his equally sensible ex Allie (Paton Ashbrook). Not like Nolan’s emotionally poor behemoths, Schultz’s scrappy gem fires up the center in addition to the mind. Particulars: Three stars; streaming on varied platforms.
“King of Knives”: Performed raiding the cinematic sweet jar of vacation sweets? Then sink your tooth into this bitter rock sweet that dares to sort out powerful subjects, together with grief and marital un-bliss. The specter of a son’s suicide hangs over a vacation gathering of the snippy Benetto household — daughters Kaitlin (Roxi Pope) and Sadie (Emily Bennett) and fogeys Frank (Gene Pope, who co-wrote the screenplay) and Kathy (Mel Harris). A loveless marriage, a midlife disaster, and awkward relationships come into play on this participating, acerbic vacation comedy-drama. Particulars: 2½ stars; out there on varied platforms.
“Parallel”: Regardless of a lame late plot twist, Isaac Ezban’s thriller is a rollicking rollercoaster experience. A bunch of app-building friends uncover a magical mirror that whisks them off to an alternate actuality the place they will regulate their futures. Some search cash, others fame and acclaim, however you’ll be able to wager your monkey’s paw there’s a worth to pay. Particulars: 2½ stars; streaming on a number of platforms.
“The Weasels’ Story”: Two unscrupulous hotshots (Nicolas Francella and Clara Lago) knock on the door of a dilapidated property within the Argentine countryside and prey on a cranky batch of retired movie icons who’ve secrets and techniques and a lifeless physique or two stuffed away. Juan Jose Campanella’s replace of a 1976 black comedy is a tasty bon bon, ideally paired with bubbly as you giggle on the conniving folks getting again on the younger ‘uns attempting to rob them. Particulars: Three stars; streaming as a part of the Digital Cinema collection at Smith Rafael Film Center.
“Humorous Boy”: Deepa Mehta’s lushly photographed adaptation of Shyam Selvadurai’s novel is a sensitively instructed coming-out story set in the course of the prelude of the Sri Lankan Civil Warfare within the ’70s-’80s. Whereas the story soft-pedals the brutal violence between the Tamil and Sinhalese folks, the story of a privileged Tamil teen (Brandon Ingram) discovering interior peace amid a world of battle stays touching, tender and memorable. However Canada’s Oscar entry for finest worldwide function (ultimately disqualified over international language necessities) wants extra punch and historic context than what this movies delivers. It has additionally been criticized for not hiring sufficient Tamil actors. Particulars: 2½ stars; out there on Netflix.
“We Can Be Heroes”: Robert Rodriguez involves the rescue (once more) of fogeys needing a very good movie to occupy the children. In his newest household function, the youngsters of superheroes (performed by Pedro Pascal, Christian Slater, Boyd Holbrook) tackle alien baddies and attempt to retrieve their captured, inept dad and mom. A form of sequel to “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl,” this movie provides children precisely what they need. Adults? Not a lot. Particulars: 2½ stars; out there on Netflix.
“Hunter Hunter”: Although extra meat is required on its narrative bones, Shawn Linden’s backwoods horror creepfest is a mean-spirited parable about discovering out who the final word monster is — beast or man? Devon Sawa and Camille Sullivan play off-the-grid dad and mom tangling with a fearsome wolf, laborious financial instances and a horrifying discovery within the woods. To keep away from spoilers, I’ll cease proper there however the squeamish ought to keep away from this in any respect prices. Particulars: 2½ stars; streaming on varied platforms.
Contact Randy Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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