Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six New Indie Titles

Indie is the secret word for today and the lesser-known cinema out this week is as plentiful as ever.  Tales of damaged writers, fame seeking hypochondriacs, money stealing psychos, folks fixated on love, damaged dads and moms and big brutal bigfoots all provide a little movie escapism for film fans looking of the beaten movie path.  Check out the six Encapsulated Movie Reviews of The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, 5 Doctors, Midnighters, November, Foxtrot and Primal Rage for your reading convenience below.


A sprawling tale that covers a talented by troubled writer from teenage years to adulthood, The Vanishing Of Sidney Hall would be taxing if not so captivating.  Meaning every aspect of Hall’s (played with complex gusto by Logan Lerman) tumultuous life, from first falling in love with magnetic free spirit Melody (the magical Elle Fanning), to his forced relationship with quick quip agent Harold (the never been better Nathan Lane) is told with such raw and real emotions that the utter seeming enormousness of the story is all but forgiven.  The only thing vanishing here is any doubt of finding a great film within.

(Tone Pictures/Gravitas Ventures)

It’s ironic that 5 Doctors is helmed by Dial Tone Pictures as tone is probably the one thing keeping the film from five star status.  And while the odd mix of comedy, drama, slapstick and melancholy would normally be a big black movie mark right off the bat, it’s the film’s sincerity within such a busy story structure and especially the engaging lead performances that make the film a worthy watch.  As the hyped-up Spencer and his Zen buddy Jay, Max Azulay and Matt Porter (who also co-wrote – along with Phil Primason – and co-directed this one!) make one engaging odd couple – a dysfunctional Felix and Oscar for the Jay and Silent Bob generation.  Plus with so many relatable moments (the anxiety of visiting your old high school anyone?!), funny bits (love the five different doctors the health suspicious Spenser hits up!) and lovingly awkward confrontations (adore Jay’s graceless attempt to swoon his girl crush!), the prognosis for 5 Doctors is positive.

(IFC Midnight)

Taking cinematic notes from the Sam Raimi outing A Simple Plan, throwing in some psychotic character ringers and adding a pinch of unseen twists and turns and you’ve got the very thrilling thriller Midnighters.  Starting with a little hit and run that goes from bad to worse, Writer Alston Ramsey and Director Julius Ramsey seemingly utilize every suspense trope under the sun, but never in a way one would guess.  In fact the only thing better than their unconventionally inspired story style (and turn by Ward Horton as a creepy cop!) is the layered work by sensational Starry Eyes alum Alex Essoe as a not-what-she-seems dame in distress – Midnighters is one damn good night at the movies.

(Oscilloscope Laboratories)

A strange story told with a very distinctive David Lynch sensibility, I’ve never truly come across anything like November.  At its core it’s a tale of a girl infatuated with a guy who has eyes for someone else, but uniquely washed through a sea of odd images (which speaker louder in eerie black and white!), creepy characters (the neighbors missing teeth and Human Centipede alum Dieter Laser do send a chill up the spine!) and all under a Grimms’ Fairy Tale type tent (the whole giving objects a soul is seriously unsettling!), this surreal piece of cinema ala helmer Rainer Sarnet poignantly proves that October is no longer the scariest month of the year.

(Sony Pictures Classics)

A film initially washed in effective dark deep drama involving parents dealing with the loss of their son suddenly turns a tad comical and in doing sadly so lessens the blow.  Meaning the kneecapping work by Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler as devastated parents is undermined midway through the film by filmmaker Samuel Maoz in an attempt to simply to be clever and irreverent. So while I still appreciate the hard-edged moments and understand ultimately why such a tactic was taken, Foxtrot is nevertheless a film that fails what works.

(Blue Fox Entertainment)

Back in the 80’s when men were hunters and females the damsels in distress, Primal Rage would likely have been a bargain bin hit.  Problem is in the year 2018 such mundane genre characters like hillbilly hunters, ex-con boyfriend and cute girls running around in their undies don’t exactly make for a kick ass time at the cinema anymore.  In fact, the only thing keeping this afloat in two WhySoBlu dog stars is the blood and gore kills by the odd looking big foot monster who roams the forest – the hairy guy can still stomp a skull like no other.



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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