Encapsulated Movie Reviews – 4 New Indie Films

Encapsulated Movie Reviews

For those looking to balance big blockbusters with some smaller film fare your cinematic ship has come in.  Dissected below are four new indie flicks that cover everything from crazed sharpshooters to docs for dudes all out this Friday, July 1 in select theaters, digital formats and so on for the enquiring movie geek.  So feel free to browse the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Carnage Park, Making The American Man, The Innocents and Our Kind of Traitor below!



Carnage Park

(IFC Midnight)

It feels like Director Mickey Keating, the man behind the fun and grisly Carnage Park, is getting better and better with each outing.  This time he’s matched his dark vision with two very distinctive elements that save it from being familiar ho-hum genre work – comedy and casting.  On the laugh level there are both some sinful surprises and devilish delights in his story of a poor gal whose run in with various homicidal men goes from bad to worse.  Plus as his lady muse Keating wisely picks the ample Ashley Bell who brings both terror and badass bravado with equal ability.  But the best in this brutal bunch (besides a dimwitted Alan Ruck as the town sheriff!) is by far the always amazing Pat Healy playing a sniper psycho who gets his kicks picking off anyone within scope range.  So cornball, so quirky and so demented is Healy’s Wyatt Moss that he all but steals every scene he’s in.  So while there are a few tone blending issues within that keep it from being a classic, this park will nevertheless be pleasing for those who enjoy perverse playtime.

Making the American Man

(Bristol Pictures)

In a world where it feels like there are no stores left for men, the new doc Making The American Man firmly puts all such tall tales to shame.  A film immersed in all things male, this one takes on men’s good and services – everything from clothes to cosmetics – to help paint a picture of where today’s man can go and can do to enhance his style.  It’s a fascinating look through the eyes of some 35 different vendors (the beginning says 25, but the end count appeared to be higher!) who make, design and labor lovingly over products (manly journals alert!) and tasks that can enhance the look and well being of the modern ‘gentleman’.  (Love hearing everyone’s opinion on that subject!)  The doc does get bogged at times with the whole American vs. foreign products discussion (not my man topic of choice!), but overall this is one magnificent man-themed doc for manly men in need.  (And yes, that includes me!)

The Innocents

(Music Box Films)

Even though this very heavy drama set in 1945 after WWII is based on inspiring actual events, it’s still a tough flick to get through.  Meaning the tale of a convent of nuns who after being attacked find themselves giving birth to the children of the incident and in turn have their very faith tested is a difficult movie row to hoe.  Director Anne Fontaine seems to have a genuine desire to move the audience, but with so many long pauses, depressing moments and a running time of almost two hours, it feels like a bit of a cinematic browbeating.  Fortunately the uplifting part, both in terms of the story and acting, comes in the form of standout lead Lou de Laâge playing a sympathetic Red Cross doctor wrestling with her own values and opinions.  It’s her work here that elevates and gives a light lift to one overly heavy flick.

Our Kind of Traitor

(Roadside Attractions)

Even though the premise of Our Kind of Traitor sometimes straddles the inane, both charismatic characters and stylistic staging make it utterly watchable.  Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris play a vacationing couple who become mixed up in the affairs of Russian mobster Stellan Skarsgård who is looking to turn on his bosses in return for protection.  It sounds complicated (it is adapted from Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy novelist John le Carré’s book after all!) and some things Skarsgård asks of the ‘way-too-good-looking’ couple fall in the category of unbelievable, but with their everyman (and woman!) charm here the cast keeps us invested anyway.  Plus Director Susanna White shows a real affinity for the more suspenseful parts of the film and earns all story twists and turns with skill.  So while there may be a bit of suspending disbelief involved, Traitor is still my kind of movie – namely an entertaining one.

Carnage Park poster


Making the American Man poster


The Innocents poster


Our Kind of Traitor poster


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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