Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

The year may be coming to an end soon, but the barrage of smaller screen fare is still alive and kicking.  (And that’s not including indie Oscar fare that studios only put out in the final two months!)  An urban drama where two different but similar universes exist, a terror tale about a creepy dude who collects clipped fingernails, a campy outing about some dangerous danishes, a doc on the iconic racial happenings during 1992, a story of love and friendship tested, a gothic flick about odd sexual behaviors and one woman’s tale of freedom mixed with cat death make up the seven lesser known films covered in this weeks edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the small cinematic opinions on Destined, Nails, Attack of the Killer Doughnuts, LA 92, Almost Friends, Angelica and Mr. Roosevelt below!

(XLrator Media)

While film fans have definitely seen tales of both drug dealing life and climbing the corporate ladder, it’s never been so cleverly staged as it is in Destined.  Set parallel to each other with the same actor playing both very different lead roles (plus co-starring cast also doing double duty!), writer/director Qasim Basir shows two cutthroat worlds that placed side by side all of a sudden don’t seem all that different.  And while there are great turns by supporting actors showing their multi-character skills, it’s the work of lead man Cory Hardrict that impresses most.  Using merely looks, glances and body language to help the audience successfully differentiate between the two men he portrays, his thoughtful performances show that beauty of Destined is truly in the details.

(Dark Sky Films)

Leave to the Irish to create a tasty terror tale that finally creates a new villain worthy of being scared of.  And this outing has a real unsettling baddie in the form of actor Richard Foster-King’s gnarly Nails, a creepy ghost out to collect the nail clippings of his unfortunate victims.  But beyond the obvious ominous tasty turn by Foster-King, Director Dennis Bartok also wields an engaging suspenseful story centered around the paralysis of a woman recovering from an accident played with maximum effect by The Descent alum Shauna Macdonald. A scary story with a strong emotional core and a new bad guy with bite – Nails nails it.

(Level 33 Entertainment)

Carrying the Roger Corman low-budget seal of approval, Attack of the Killer Doughnuts gives the B-movie film fan everything they would expect and enjoy.  You have a shameful stereotypical love triangle (will our hero pick the money grubbing hottie or his earnest best friend?!), a ripped off premise (Michael Swan’s mad scientist wields a syringe filled with green fluid that’s right out of Re-Animator!) plenty of wacky side characters (Alison England’s sassy doughnut loving dame is divine!) and even cheesy cameos (Soul Man C. Thomas Howell plays a dim-witted cop!) to feast on. But ultimately it’s the demonic doughnuts themselves everyone is dying to see and on that level this one delivers.  Fun, gross and with gamey effects firmly placed tongue-in-cheek, Attack of the Killer Doughnuts takes inane to a whole other joyous plane – you’re gonna need a bigger glass of milk.

LA 92
(National Geographic Documentary Films)

A fully first-hand doc that uses actual footage from varying sources involving incidents before, during and after the racial events in LA in 1992 is most assuredly effective.  Especially graphic beyond the initial Rodney King beating (I dare anyone to watch the entire thing and feel comfortable in saying that reasonable force was used) is the crazed aftermath where folks are shown being beaten and terrorized.  The only reservation here is that this subject has been covered in so many docs of late – and some to five-star quality – that the effect has become a dash diminished and oversaturated, but the fly-on-the-wall feeling of LA 92 is what lingers long.

(Gravitas Ventures)

There’s actually nothing all that original about the coming of age tale Almost Friends and everything seems film familiar.  Adolescent longing for a good looking gal who’s already taken, a sassy best friend (a plucky Haley Joel Osment), an understanding mom (CSI alum Marg Helgenberger) a deadbeat dad (a nicely slimy Christopher Meloni!) and lots of shots of personal self reflection. (On a dolly with the actor standing still no less!)  But what ultimately overshadows all the ho-hum stuff is the fantastic chemistry between leads Freddie Highmore and Odeya Rush – their on-screen pairing helps this one from being almost forgettable.

(Freestyle Digital Media)

This odd sexual driven gothic horror outing is the work of writer/director Mitchell Lichtenstein, the man behind the controversial Jess Weixler opus Teeth and it shows.  So odd, strange and disturbing is this story of sexual repression gone awry that it gives more pause then the myth of Teeth’s vagina dentate.  (Well, maybe not that much pause!)  But the real riveting part of this tale are the solid performances by the leading ladies including Jena Malone as the closed off Constance, Tovah Feldshuh as her doting servant and especially the uber-theatrical Janet McTeer – so equally sinful sadistic in Amber Tamblyn’s Paint It Black – as a questionable local mystic – watching these women work is a wonder.


Not being familiar with the comedic stylings of Noël Wells, she’s definitely the shining star of the humorous and honest Mr. Roosevelt.  As the lead, as well as the films writer and director, Wells tells a simple and at times very recognizable story of a big city girl going back home and forced to deal with her former life, flaws and deceased cat Mr. Roosevelt, but that’s given extra gravitas by her natural charisma and likeability.  (Though her sassy new friend played by Daniella Pineda does steal scenes here and there!)  So while the premise of Mr. Roosevelt may be routine, being told through the eyes of Noël Wells proves anything but.




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.

1 Response to “Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles”

  1. Michael Coleman

    What tasty selection and nary a below 3 star among then. as B film goes I am looking forward to the comedy that will undoubtedly exist in ….Killer Donuts. Next up will be a sweet and savory opus about the joining of donuts and tomatoes. Sure wish we got this type of selection in Canada.
    Great job J.