Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Five New Indie Titles

This week sees a handful of smaller cinematic fare up for dissection for those looking to expand both the mind and movie palate.  Mysteries involving religion, tales of family drama, moms looking to get a little gunplay justice, the damage the death of a loved one can do and surfing mixed with some seriously bad acting all make up the colorful cast of films covered this week.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of The Apparition, Crown And Anchor, Peppermint, Sacred Heart and Surfer: Teen Confronts Fear all below.

(Music Box Films)

An exceptionally well-written, well-acted and perfectly well-executed five-star movie mystery that sees a disenchanted and fatigued war journalist enlisted by the Vatican to investigate the validity of a young girl who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary.  While this French import has a hefty running time well over two hours, The Apparition nevertheless keeps the audience utterly engrossed throughout and helmer Xavier Giannoli takes full storytelling advantage of every fascinating film frame.  In fact the only thing more impressive than the tasty turns by young Galatéa Bellugi as the enigma teen Anna and unforgettable leading man Vincent Lindon as the obsessed truth seeking writer is the fact that the film has a concrete ending that is also immersed in faith – a powerful pairing here as rare and rewarding as a saintly apparition itself.

(Crogan Filmworks)

As real and raw as a film can get, Crown and Anchor could be mistaken for a bunch of intense scenes mashed together if not for the utter watchability of all involved.  The tale of two damaged brothers who are forced to face their heinous past family history, current chaotic predicaments and each other is an emotional powerhouse thanks to some equally poignant performances.  Matt Wells as the impressionable Danny, Natalie Brown as his ailing wife, aging actors Robert Joy and Stephen “Pontypool” McHattie as a couple of caustic old boys and most of all the fierce work of a stone-faced Michael Rowe all make the somewhat stoic story here stand and deliver.

(STX Films)

Having been a fan of the visual action prowess of Director Pierre Morel in films like District B13 and Taken (that one ended up on my Top Ten list for 2009!) I was hoping that his teaming here with ample Alias alum Jennifer Garner could produce some lethal lady sparks, but sadly to no avail.  Not that Garner doesn’t have the physical chops to pull it off (she kicks decent ass!) or that Morel doesn’t retrofit this one with some tasty action eye candy, but the script the two are working with is truly wafer thin.  Meaning there’s simply not enough at stake or even emotional engagement in the plight of angry mom Garner avenging the death of her husband and daughter to warrant full audience investment.  A gaggle of some cool action scenes held together by a sub-par script, Peppermint is far from fresh.

(Gravitas Ventures)

What could have been a rich tale of revenge and religion feels more like a caustic mundane version of My Dinner With Andre.  (That’s saying a lot!)  Kipan Rothbury stars as a self-hating man who blames god and the devil for taking the life of his pregnant wife and he proceeds to take it out on good-natured priest David Field in ways that make you realize that Rothbury’s hubby is no choirboy. Anger, violence and a lot of whisky and weed are involved (plus some twists that hardly help!) but sadly to no satisfying end – even the heart of this movie screams stop.

(Burke International Pictures)

I think actor/director/writer (using those terms loosely!) Douglas Burke was going for the Tommy Wiseau bad movie award when he made this outing that feels more like a homemade surfing video than an actual cohesive film.  Burke casts his son Sage as a kid who gets accosted by his long lost wacky father (Burke himself!) on the beach and tries to get him to endure dangerous waves, inane philosophies and Burke’s bad audio dubbing and over emoting.  (For crying out loud a doctor here trades a military man a bottle of special cognac for new identity!)  Bottom line – this one is not so bad it’s good, it’s so bad it’s bad.


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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