Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

For your consideration seven Indie titles are dissected this week that run the gamut quality wise.  (Even big budget stuff has ups and downs film fans!)  Tales involving creepy cults and weird worm holes, docs about damage to the poor by big government, car crashes with a side of criminal activity, a down under yarn about race, truth and consequences, crazed chaos surrounding organ harvesting, a murder mystery with memory holes and a tale of otherworldly female revenge all make up the smaller film fare via this week’s edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on The Endless, ACORN And The Firestorm, Accident, Sweet Country, Lowlife, Spinning Man and Killing Joan all dissected below!

(Well Go USA)


The Endless is an odd but interesting egg that changes genres midway through, but still manages to firmly hold film attention.  It starts off as a tale of two brothers who escape a UFO death cult and decide years later to go back in hopes of a little closure, but in the second half eerie things start to happen and suddenly the off-the-wall ideas of the glossy eyed group don’t seem so far-fetched.  Love the mystery angle of the piece, not to mention some clever low budget effects that slam the strange home here.  This terrific head scratcher via filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead would have been five stars if not for the too long feeling run time – sometimes even the unexplained can be trimmed down.

(First Run Features)

Dug this doc dissection of the rise and fall of the ‘for the poor’ organization known as ACORN.  Filmmakers Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard wisely cover everything from the fantastic work the grassroots group did (inspiring leader Bertha Lewis oversaw things like neighborhood cleanups and minimum wage increases!) to the attention seeking people all too eager to take them down (budding deer-in-the-headlights journalist Hannah Giles talks first hand of her actions posing as a prostitute that ultimately started the ACORN collapse!) in an attempt to avoid a one-sided agenda and go deep into the facts without judgment.  (Rep. Steve King take that damn acorn out of your pocket – you look like a fool!)  A sad tale of fame seeking fools and greedy government bringing the working stiff to their knees, ACORN And The Firestorm nevertheless lets the viewer decide who’s right and wrong – and the answer is obvious.

(Well Go USA)

Accident starts with a simple story that evolves into a flick with an identity crisis.  Meaning just being a tall tale about a group of four folks who get trapped in and around a crashed car via a roadside accident puts forth more than enough trials and tribulations to keep suspense going.  But Accident throws in some unneeded curveballs like car theft, stolen money and a gun toting hitman (all WAY too late in the story!) for good measure and it starts to feel like an overloaded movie boat that’s sinking.  The saving grace of Accident is the super savvy visual style of writer/director Dan Tondowski who seems to have a real affinity for creating memorable movie eye candy – someone give that guy a script he didn’t write pronto.

(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

This Australian import set in 1929 has a pretty basic premise – an aboriginal man kills a rampaging white gent in self defense and under the duress of local bigotry decides to try and flee – but it’s everything else presented that elevates this one above the familiar fray.  Wondrous visual landscapes, authentic feeling western settings and most of all a trio of lead performances by the likes of Sam Neill, Bryan Brown (where the hell has that guy been – more please!) and especially the soulful Hamilton Morris take a simple story and make it sweet.

(IFC Midnight)

While I applaud the bucking the system story vibe and style of Director Ryan Prows work in his first feature Lowlife (think early Tarantino unbridled!), there’s just so much chaos within the film that it’s hard to enjoy as a single piece of cinema.  On the plus side there are things like the comedic crazed reaction of lead enforcer El Munstruo who blacks out when pushed to a point of rage and the ‘so dark it’s funny’ work by Quentin Dupieux man muse Mark Burnham.  (His whole opening scene is a real kneecapper!)  Down side here is there are way too many characters we don’t care about (motel people!), plus the whole ‘different segments that connect’ Pulp Fiction-esque editing feels very been there, done that. Wild and possibly too abandon, Lowlife needs a few months in cinematic solitary confinement to mellow.

(Lionsgate Premiere)

While Spinning Man tries to cash in on the thriller genre with its whodunit storyline and loss of memory via Memento alum Guy Pearce as the lead suspect, in the end both can’t help a film that moves at a snail’s pace.  Posing a ton of questions, but ultimately providing no answers, the film feels very much like it was written on the fly – cognizance be damned.  A mundane murder mystery that unfortunately stays true to its title, this sad excuse for cinematic suspense is just spinning its wheels.

(Uncork’d Entertainment)

With a premise that on the surface sounds tasty – tough female enforcer gets backstabbed and with the help of otherworldly forces seeks vengeance – you’d think Killing Joan would be a genre slam-dunk.  Sadly even the sassy lead Jamie Bernadette (who looks the part and certainly has the right amount of attitude!) gets bogged down in a film that feels utterly directionless.  (Why have a cool dark resurrection smoke gimmick and not fully explain its purpose?!)  A bad story where a low budget is no excuse, this one kills any and all initial ass kicking excitement.


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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