Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

Back finally with a picture pause last week (the worthwhile looking First Reformed was again not made available to me!) to highlight the smaller film fare for fans looking for something off the beaten path.  Mostly genre work and a pinch foreign film fare seem to be taking over this edition’s crop of cinematic hopefuls with tales of blind witnesses, insight into the private life of scary scribes, an arcade game that requires more than quarters to play and youthful coming-of-age after parental loss all making up the flicks dissected via this week’s Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on In Darkness, Mary Shelley, Sequence Break and Summer 1993 all below.

(Vertical Entertainment)

As a thriller In Darkness has a lot going for it.  It captures some of the ‘blind woman in peril vibe’ of the classic Wait Until Dark, has a captivating, cunning and sexy lead in Game of Thrones and Hunger Games alum Natalie Dormer and also boasts one impressive eclectic movie cast.  (From an ice-cold Joely Richardson to creepy Borgman lead Jan Bijvoet as a baddie!)  Problem is the film gets so bogged down in being too clever, with too many twists, turns and surprises that it has more of an everything AND the kitchen sink feel rather than merely being a single suspenseful story that lingers.  Having this many plots in a single movie is like a sightless person navigating a room filled with unfamiliar furniture – stuff’s gonna get tripped up.

(IFC Films)

While the few crumbs that lead to the actual literary creation of the classic Frankenstein told here within the personal tale of author Mary Shelley are indeed fascinating, they are sadly as previously described – mere crumbs.  The majority of the film is mostly about Mary’s controversial affair with already married poet Percy Shelley and the affect it has on her, her kin and Percy’s ailing family too.  It’s a film, despite solid work by the always engaging Elle Fanning as the titular character, that unapologetically wallows in a lot of deep dramatic woe and heartache and as such feels less a celebration of the genius that Mary brought to the page and more an arduous period piece about bad life choices.  Scary for reasons not so obvious, this one merely tickles the genre fans ‘need to know’ palate.


While I sincerely love the uber-geek premise of this horror movie experiment by actor turned writer/director Graham Skipper, there’s simply not enough to the story to make Sequence Break anything more than a low on the totem pole B-movie outing.  Meaning I dug that the visual possibilities of an old arcade game that with a mysterious circuit board comes to creepy life to affect the eager quarter ready player, but with little else in the creative writing department Skipper’s slice and dice flick is hard to get behind.  What’s left to admire though are the notable gross and almost cyber sensual practical effects (think pliable button orifices Videodrome style!) that should have been attached to a script that was equally as gnarly – other than that save your quarters.

(Oscilloscope Laboratories)

While Summer 1993 was Spain’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film and has a long list of critical accolades, I just couldn’t get into it’s seemingly mundane and long hot season wares. The tale of a six-year-old girl who moves in with her aunt, uncle and younger cousin after the death of her mother does feature some decent dramatic work by the youngsters in the film, but features a story and pacing that are both slow and discombobulating.  With a film feeling throughout of throwing random ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks, this is one summer easily forgotten.



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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