Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Mamma mia – there sure are a lot of Indie outings this week!  (So…here we go again!)  We’re hitting the lesser known cinema scene to check out the offerings for film fans looking to reach well beyond the standard studio fare with seven hopefuls in various categories.  Tales of lyrical racial tension, the price of fame, the effect of tragedy, surviving those middle school years, tales of espionage in Syria, a man who puts down animals for a living and an alien invasion in a small Australian town all make up the subjects covered via the diverse crop of flicks dissected this week.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Blindspotting, Broken Star, 1/1, Eighth Grade, Damascus Cover, Euthanizer and Occupation below!

(Summit Entertainment)

A strange and unique lyrical drama, Blindspotting is a poignant film that dares to be different.  Mixing some timely topics like racism with deep drama and all with a pinch of humor, the tale of two lifelong friends, one trying to make it through his last three days on probation and the other simply trying to make it through life, working as movers in modern day Oakland is an outing definitely designed to make the audience think.  The fact that it’s not easily categorized may be off-putting to some and tonally the film is most assuredly a challenge, but the movie’s motto is clear – go bold or go home.

(Gravitas Ventures)

While there have been dramas about stalkers obsessed with people with fame, Broken Star is an odd egg that lives and dies by the said object of affection.  Meaning the tale of a young actress and socialite who gets thirty days house arrest with little to do does have a solid stock stranger in quiet neighbor Tyler Labine, but it’s the lovingly layered turn by a captivating Analeigh Tipton that steals the show.  Her unforgettable performance, which encompasses everything from playful seduction to sheer raw emotion, is what truly gives Broken Star both life and light.

(Gravitas Ventures)

Initially the kinetic and feverish editing style, alongside a hard pounding score, really works to bring out the somber story bits within 1/1.  Problem is the film, which deals with dark subjects like drugs, suicide and unplanned pregnancy, eventually gets bogged down in it’s own stylistic visuals and never seems to know when to say when.  But amidst the overload of optical eye candy, it’s the work by lead actress to watch Lindsey Shaw that makes 1/1 worth watching – ruckus, real and riveting are Shaw’s specialty.


True to its word, writer/director Bo Burnham’s feature film debut is about that askew moment in time between being a kid and a teen and it’s not pretty.  Riddled with everything from body changes to identity issues, Eighth Grade lead Elsie Fisher candidly takes the audience through the unfun minefield that is the middle school years and it’s as lumbering and taxing as we all remember.  And while Fisher provides the perfect amount of affable awkward to wade through such dim waters memorably, the subject matter still feels like a deeply buried time capsule we’d rather forget.

(Vertical Entertainment)

An entertaining middle of the road thriller that sees a suave Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing a spy assigned with getting a chemical weapons scientist out of Syria. There are some decent story twist and turns and a few notable side characters (all hail Jürgen Prochnow!), but best in show here is the chemistry between Meyers and leading lady and Dredd alum Olivia Thirlby – their playful interplay keeps this one covered.

(Uncork’d Entertainment)

A Finnish film unlike anything I’ve seen, Euthanizer is a cinematic conundrum if ever there was one.  On the one hand it’s a tough to take tale of a gruff old codger who specializes in putting animals down.  (Big animals get shot, small get gassed.)  On the other it’s a story about a man who is an animal whisperer of sorts and cannot only dial into their pain but seems hellbent on putting an end to their suffering.  (Can you say confused?!)  Plus throw in a girlfriend who likes to be choked during sex and some gangsters out to settle an unfinished dog score and you’ve got one of the strangest and yet can’t take your eyes off it grindhouse movie train wrecks to hit the screen in recent years – creativity in movies is alive and well.

(Saban Films)

While this tale of an alien invasion takes place in a small town in Australia, there’s simply nothing all that special or new about Occupation.  Not that the film doesn’t hit all the expected notes like a sporting some ugly aliens (see Independence Day!), a rag-tag team of resistance fighters (V anyone?!) and some action eye candy (there’s an imaging stone that displays a pretty nifty hologram!), but they’re notes we’ve seen before.  A series spanning story squeezed into single a feature film, Occupation is a ‘been there, done that’ affair.



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. Aaron Neuwirth

    Blindspotting may be my fav of the year right now. And I really enjoyed 8th Grade!