Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Five New Indie Titles

Encapsulated Movie ReviewsPlenty of indie fare to examine this week – even some denied to yours truly!  (Both Blair Witch and Eddie Murphy’s dramatic turn Mr. Church gave a resounding NO when asked to be seen by little old me!)  But rest assured there’s more than enough to go around including some deep documentaries about everything from injustice to the Internet, plus flicks about fake moon landings, artificial humanoids and white trash gals out of control.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio FourOperation Avalanche, Killswitch: The Battle to Control the Internet, Morgan and White Girl below!


(Motto Pictures/Naked Edge Films)

Disturbing to its core, this twisted tale of four lesbian women (the bold and brave Elizabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez) living in uptight Texas and railroaded by everyone from an angry jealous sibling’s ex-boyfriend (the disturbingly calm Javier Limon) to judges (Pat Priest is ripe with hidden agendas!) and lawmen with their own avaricious angles (being lesbian equals Satanic Panic!) into serving nearly a decade behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit (sexual assault of a child no less) makes for one sickening and eye opening doc.  Taking the testimony of two coerced little girls (one who later as an adult recanted and admitted her father Javier masterminded the set up), the whole sordid saga is a disturbing Salem Trial parallel that firmly feels right – if we were living back in uneducated medieval times.  An important damning doc that will have you screaming at the screen, Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four is injustice thankfully given film form.

Operation Avalanche

(Lionsgate Premiere)

Taking it’s found footage style from the point of view of four geeky CIA Agents in 1967 who are posing as a doc film crew to go into the NASA to find a mole who could be trying to sabotage the Apollo program, Operation Avalanche then credibly turns to the subject of moon landing make believe using everything from sound stages to Stanley Kubrick and it’s all utterly fascinating.  Wrongly presented in the marketing as a dark thriller (though there are some taut moments in the third act!), notable actor/writer/director Matt Johnson actually creates a terrific (and at times comedically cornball!) fictitious movie time capsule (I fully bought the time period!) that adds some conspiracy theory fun food for thought.  A clever and believably well-crafted ‘mockumentary’ flick, Operation Avalanche is a cinematic surprise.


(Random Media)

Coming out on the heels of the Oliver Stone’s Snowden, this no-holds barred doc is a timely release.  Delving more into both the government and big business desire to own and control the internet, as well as the systematic non-public persecution of any who come out in favor of online freedom and net neutrality, Killswitch appropriately shines a light on the monopoly movement.  And while there are some sections of just talking heads that tends to get a tad dry, there are also memorable moments worthy of watching.  Especially poignant are the tales of Snowden himself (who frankly looks like a saint after the lies told under oath to Congress by his superiors) and the late Aaron Schwartz, a young tech genius who decided to forgo fortune to use his skills towards activism in supporting free Internet information for all.  Like any inspired person with original thought he was of course persecuted and brought down, but thankfully with Killswitch his life and legacy lives on.


(20th Century Fox)

Morgan, chocked full with a cast that would make Woody Allen green with envy, should have been a much more memorable affair.  As is the film, a tale an artificially created humanoid being, is merely a ho-hum mix of films we’ve seen before (it’s Ex Machina meets Hanna!) with little signature style (Ridley Scott’s son Luke shows no family visual aptitude!) and characters that either come off as one-dimensional (the gang protecting Morgan including Rose Leslie, Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Jennifer Jason Leigh are cardboard cutouts!) or regrettably robotic (The Witch alum Anya Taylor-Joy makes Morgan herself mundane!) and it’s a sheer and utter waste of celluloid character space.  Using well-known actors as eye-candy just isn’t enough to make Morgan a meaningful movie.

White Girl photo


Being immersed in a surreal world full of out of control drugs, alcohol and long black out periods of time may be a movie dream for some, but for those with any sort of cinematic palate it’s moving picture nightmare.  White Girl documents the downward spiral of lead gal Morgan Saylor as she falls for a cute local drug dealer and as a result gets thrust into a dark world of debauchery that inevitably consumes her.  Problem here is we have no feelings or investment in Saylor’s unredeeming character, so the only emotion given is the sheer disgust towards the many predators that take advantage of her.  (Even the stoic Chris Noth as a friendly lawyer turns dirty!)  Dim, dull and predictable as hell, White Girl is a film that stayed at the party way too long.

Salem poster


Killswitch Poster

Morgan poster

White Girl 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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