Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six New Indie Titles

A half-dozen Indie outings up for critical dissection this week, some new, some not so new (got swamped with flicks from BHFF 2018 last week – but I’m catching up!), but all get their movie review day in the sun.  Tales of love found and lost, inheriting a family, the effective of a passionate woman, therapy gone awry, horror via online video submission and a doc on the more damning possible consequences of technology all make up the six flicks covered in this weeks edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the small size opinions on Submergence, All At Once, Krystal, Aardvark, #Screamers and Do You Trust This Computer? all below!

(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

While this latest outing from famed filmmaker Wim Wenders is not without it’s flaws – a long running time and a wide period where the leads don’t connect – a there are also a myriad of seriously savory bits that serve to compensate.  Dig the whole ‘lovers separated from across the world’ vibe of the story and the fact that the main characters are wrestling with life, love and death at the same time.  But the swan song of this piece of cinema is the undeniable romantic chemistry between leads James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander – being submerged in their real feeling passion makes for one lasting and enchanting experience.

(Gravitas Ventures)

While everything about this one screams stereotypical (sassy family members and lessons learned abound!) and schmaltzy (love conquers all!) I still fell hard for All At Once – hook, line and sinker. There’s just a wonderful dynamic between the film’s reluctant father (Jon Abrahams, who also directs) and his new kin (rebellious teen Sasha Frolova and Sly Stallone movie quote spouting youngster Nicole Elizabeth Berger!) whom he is forced to raise as his own after their parents die during 9/11 and list him as their guardian.  Plus I must admit to also digging side characters like Erika Christensen and Christian George as a caustic Italian couple and Mickey Sumner as the awesome English gal who enters all their lives.  A simple movie sandwich we’ve had many times before, the familiar cinema taste of All At Once nevertheless still puts a smile on the face.

(Paladin/Great Point Media)

One might watch Krystal and conclude that it’s one peculiar movie egg, but knowing quirky character actor William H. Macy helmed this one does put some of the wacky in perspective.  A tall tale about twenty-something kid Taylor with a heart condition who meets a gal that makes him want to reach outside his comfort zone isn’t exactly new movie meal territory.  But this one adds weird story sides like a family that’s dysfunctional (headed by Macy and wife Felicity Huffman of course!), making the object of Taylor’s affection an older woman with a kid of her own (the sassy Rosario Dawson!) and even filling the cast with characters that chew the scenery (William Fichtner as a disillusioned doctor almost steals the movie!) all of which make the flick hard to hate.  So while tonally Krystal leaves a lot to be desired, there are bits of movie magic to be found for those willing to endure the odd.

(Great Point Media)

While I was engrossed in the initial interesting premise of Aardvark – troubled guy goes into therapy to work out brother issues for a sibling that may or may not exist – the film simply cannot decide what it wants to be.  A suspense thriller (are the events involving Jenny Slate’s therapist real or a mind figment?), psychological outing (is Zachary Quinto actually seeing his actor brother as a homeless lady?) or even a real drama about ailing family problems, this one has more identity issues than Quinto’s ham fisted oddball.  A film that feels comfortable walking along a confusing garden path, Aardvark is one messed up movie mammal.

(Dread Central Presents)

I’m all for a flick that tries to create suspense and horror from current ideas, but in this outing involving web designers seeking out the source of a scary tape there are just too many genre no-no’s to ignore.  People making stupid decisions (let’s head to the possible horror mansion without the police…at night!), characters going against their nature (sure the guy who is most scared would wait inside the house!) and jump scares with screaming audio as the only source of unsettling fright (don’t ever use more than once!) fill a flick that should be equally progressive in it’s terror tropes as it is in its internet savvy subject matter.  When folks in the film scream more than the audience, it’s time to head back to the dread drawing board.

(Diamond Docs/Papercut Films)

While I don’t dispute any of the ‘tech can takeover’ talk in this doc about AI possibly becoming self-aware in the near future, there’s simply nothing new or notable to provide the necessary wake up call here.  Using info we’ve seen before like movies (how about some T2 or 2001 anyone?!), robots (it looks almost human – go figure!) and technology facts and figures, this one is about as revealing and interesting as an accountant explaining Wall Street – only those slightly engaged will stick around just for shits and giggles.



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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