Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Back on track with a slew of seven alternate outings this week all to add a little Indie film flavor to the current cinematic stew.  Included in the batch of lesser known flicks are docs on famed and feared stuntmen, critical chefs with something to prove and the dangerous world of Islamic terrorism, plus fictitious films about love during criminal capers, brutal battles between ex’s, technology and its consequences and true stories of distinctively unfake news are all included in skinny opinion form.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of To Hell And Back: The Kane Hodder Story, Siberia, Custody, Constructing Albert, A.I. Tales, Shock And Awe and Path Of Blood below.

(Epic Pictures)

For those looking for a detailed blow-by-blow on the various nefarious characters famed stuntman/actor Kane Hodder has brought to life over the years, To Hell And Back does not disappoint.  From his time as the most memorable Jason Voorhees to his inspired turn as Victor Crowley in the Hatchet films (plus interviews with those who know him best!), this one gives some savory side stories fans will definitely enjoy.  (Beware the grip when asking Kane for a choking fan pic!)  But it’s the personal side of the surprisingly sensitive hulk that proves best in show here with everything from early tales of being subjected to bad bullying to the truth about the fire accident that left him scarred leaving the most lingering effect.  More than just a memorable on-screen ogre icon, this one boldly shows the man behind the monster.

(Saban Films)

Even though this one has some serious logistical story issues, there’s something about Siberia that has a ‘can’t take your eyes off it’ effect.  Whether it be the percolating under the surface performance by Keanu Reeves as a wanted diamond dealer in serious mid-life crisis or the hot chemistry between himself and Ana Ularu playing a Russian firecracker,  Siberia manages to overcome it’s shortcomings (why cast Molly Ringwald as Reeves’ cold fish wife and not use her more?!) to still be an entertaining outing.  Call it John Wick light, but there’s a little Keanu stride in Siberia’s cinema step.

(Kino Lorber)

The sheer uncomfortable and hard-to-watch tension involving the splitting husband and wife within Custody is also what makes the French import so effective.  Meaning writer/director Xavier Legrand initially lays out his flick as a distinctive ‘he said, she said’ guessing game, but once truths are revealed it’s most assuredly a tough film to take.  (Plus the sorrow of the youngest son caught in the middle truly cuts to the bone!)  The ugly side of love and marriage, Custody lays all barren for better or for worse.

(Juno Films)

While certainly not as effective as some of the previous ‘chefs in transition’ outings of late (see doc stuff featuring René Redzepi and NOMA!) there’s still some cool creative insanity to see within Constructing Albert.  Watching Albert Adrià, one of the culinary geniuses behind the famed elBulli, try to come out from behind his brother’s shadow by opening a massive six uniquely different restaurants is fascinating for sure (the décor of each is like a master class in decadent design!), but it’s the lack of detail to food fun that’s sorely missing here.  More about sights and sounds than taste, Constructing Albert is aptly titled.

(Hewes Pictures)

An anthology style collection of four ragtag short sci-fi stories with varying degrees of effectiveness and little in common (the A.I. of the title should be taken with a grain of salt!), A.I. Tales feels forced together.  The first outing Seed involving one man’s sacrifice gets bogged down with an odd ending, the second In/Finite about a gal looking back to her past is lost within its own dramatic self-importance and the so-so Redux sports a better soundtrack than sci-fi story.  (Hats off to musician Landon Knoblock though!)  That leaves only the visually wondrous and script effective outing Phoenix 9 about desperate people at the end of the world as the sole five-star standout – someone get tale feature treatment warp speed.

(Vertical Entertainment)

While I certainly dug learning the real-life story of two Knight Ridder journalists who called the Bush fake invasion for weapons of mass destruction early on, Shock And Awe as a film nevertheless lacks a large amount of dramatic gusto.  Meaning helmer Rob Reiner is fantastic at portraying effective on-screen relationships (the chemistry between his leads and their significant others proves to be the most effective stuff here!), but unlike the previous nail-biter The Post, this one doesn’t have enough movie intrigue to warrant a feature film.  Not amongst the best work Reiner has ever done, Shock And Awe would have been more engaging as a doc.


While I get that showing the atrocities and first-hand accounts of those involved in the horrible world of Islamic terrorism might be important on some level, Path Of Blood nevertheless feels unneeded.  A gratuitous slew of behind the scenes videos of those directly involved with such acts before, during and after their crimes against humanity chained together with bad radio announcer narration, I never got a sense watching it why seeing such carnage up close and personal makes any sort of cinematic or dramatic sense.  In the arena of using real-life tragedy to hit home, Path Of Blood hardly helps.



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. Jason Coleman

    Fans looking to check out To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story via Epic Pictures can go to: