Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Your mission should you choose to accept it – seek out Indie outings!  And to provide a little help in the area of lesser-known cinema are seven smaller flicks dissected below to help film fans along the way.  Featuring docs on Hollywood icons and the dark side of medical devices, plus tales of love and puzzles, abuses of power in Nazi Germany, forbidden love both past and present, a odd opinions on today’s important issues and a freaky forest fright fest make up the wide array of films covered in this week’s edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on King Cohen, The Bleeding EdgeThe PuzzleThe Captain, Snapshots, Sorry To Bother You and Dead Night below.

(Dark Star Pictures)

For those film familiar – and those who aren’t – this doc on multi-talented icon Larry Cohen and his long spanning career is a real walk into Hollywood history.  Starting from his humble beginnings passionate filmmaker (he used his own house to save money!) and ‘get the shot no matter what’ auteur (he stole great looking locations sans permits!) to his never ending work as a screenwriter (he has enough scripts made and not made to choke a horse!), we get a full picture (be it with a B-movie vibe!) of a man whose tenacity to create never ends.  But best of all is the verbal sparring via separate story takes of Cohen and his various cohorts (see Fred Williamson and Michael Moriarty to name a few!) who remember their experiences and work together very differently – varying perspectives provides serious pleasure.


After digging deep and exposing rape crimes and culture on US college campuses via their last film The Hunting Ground, Doc helmer Kirby Dick and partner Amy Ziering turn their sights to the area of dangerous medical devices and it’s no less brutal.  With regulations that have become a joke, politicians that are utterly apathetic and regular hard working people caught in the middle, The Bleeding Edge highlights a problem area that has gone virtually unchecked.  Worst of the worst featured is a metal snake-like birth control device called Essure that the big bucks boys at Bayer have been hawking for years – much to the chagrin of myriads of ladies who have had health issues ranging from pain and suffering to hysterectomies.  (The damning doc ultimately made the medical giant pull the product – finally!)  And while this one is missing that extra mile ‘in-your-face’ aggressive quality to give it full marks (in This Film Is Not Yet Rated Dick exposed the secret members of the MPAA against their will!), The Bleeding Edge nevertheless proves an effective film by using the facts.

(Sony Pictures Classics)

A terrific film that’s well staged and features a wonderfully layered leading lady turn, Puzzle is nevertheless a drama with a few pieces missing.  Director Marc Turtletaub tells the tale of a unfulfilled housewife who finds life and passion in puzzles as well as her unconventional new partner very well and actress Kelly Macdonald knocks it out of the park as the soul searching Agnes, but in the area of romance the flick falls flat.   Starting off with an interesting and quirky platonic chemistry, Macdonald and puzzle partner Irrfan Khan then unfortunately slip into an awkward love situation and the two mesh about as smoothly as oil and water.  An unneeded flight of fancy that takes the viewer right out of the story, sometimes friendship alone can be a game changer.

(Music Box Films)

A strange and darkly evocative outing based on a true story about a German army deserter who comes across an abandoned Nazi captain’s uniform and attempts to blend in.  His sordid saga goes from merely surviving to indulging his inner bloodlust as he begins to take his fake position of power to some real harrowing heights.  Told with riveting unease by Director Robert Schwentke and with an unforgettable performance by leading man Max Hubacher as the power hungry faker, The Captain is a captivating reminder that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

(Gravitas Ventures)

This tale featuring a trio of women – a grandmother, mother and daughter – working out their demons past and present certainly hits all the right tropes and provides some decent drama amidst a predictable storyline.  But it’s the flashbacks to the eldest female family member’s romantic summertime recollections that prove to be the hidden gems here.  The tale of two married gals who unknowingly fall into a forbidden passionate love relationship via chemistry ridden actresses Shannon Collis and Emily Goss is so enticing, entrancing and seriously sensual that watching it feels almost intrusive and wrong – almost.

(Annapurna Pictures)

While I appreciated the askew handling of such heated topics as racism, workplace apathy and class systems, Sorry To Bother You feels like an aberrant train that eventually goes off the rails.  In his need to tell the strange story of Lakeith Stanfield’s ambitious telemarketer Cassius Green, helmer Boots Riley utilizes everything from inspired visual gags (love seeing the character plunged into the room with those he cold calls!) to out there audio oddities (Green is forced to put on a ‘white voice’ that sounds a lot like David Cross!) to hammer his points home – and than goes nuts and beyond. (When horse people with full size horse penis show up all bets are off!)  A bizarre flick that eventually becomes weird just for weird sake, at least no one can accuse Sorry To Bother You of being another day at the office.

(Dark Sky Films)

There’s a slow burn within Dead Night’s story of a family heading out to a healing cabin that come face to face with evil forces that frankly never pays off.  Plus the intercutting of a true crime program that mirrors the actual events in the film feels more annoying than innovative.  In fact the only bright light in this uninspired forest fright fest is the turn by genre favorite Barbara Crampton as an eerie stranger out to cause trouble – turns out Barbara and bizarre are good bedfellows.



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. No Comments