Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Three New Indie Titles (And One Short!)

Short crop of indie features dissected below (covering those film festivals takes time folks!), but this week I’ve also included something extra.  So alongside a trio of flicks given their review due, there’s also a short film too to give the ardent movie lover a little more.  Docs on card jockeys, stories involving family turbulence and survival stories all alongside a short by notable female filmmakers Megan Brotherton (will her latest make the cut?) are all given the once over via my Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out critical opinions on Dealt, The Only Living Boy In New York (out on Digital HD!), Jungle and the short film Buttercup below!

(Sundance Selects)

A fascinating and revealing doc about master card magician Richard Turner that wonderfully covers any and all angles.  It delves into career (will the long over-due card maestro finally get award acceptance?!), quirks (Turner has a deck of cards on him – at ALL times!) and his inspiring story (this guy has overcome everything – blackbelt in karate y’all!), but it’s the examination of all things personal that evens the engaging odds here.  From the co-dependent relationship with a son he adores to the ailing connection with his blind sister, much like his showmanship tricks there’s clearly more beneath the surface and Dealt lays all its cards face up.  (There are a few surprises, but no spoilers here!)  A fine dissection of a notable life on and off the stage, Dealt as a doc comes up aces.


As an indie outing, The Only Living Boy In New York has a lot going for it.  The script via scribe Allan Loeb is incredibly clever, the direction via former Spider-Man helmer Marc Webb harkens back to his 500 Days of Summer days and the supporting cast including Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Cynthia Nixon and Kate Beckinsale all knock their respective characters out of the park.  The main problem here lies in the lead character played by Callum Turner.  His cocky and smug Thomas is somewhat unlikeable and seeing as all the people in the film revolve around him it’s just short of a movie death sentence.  When the only living boy in New York lives only for himself, there’s little room for an eager viewer to come along.

(Momentum Releasing)

In a film that’s a complete one-eighty from his previously grizzly gore-ridden work, Wolf Creek helmer Greg McLean takes on a dramatic true story of a group of friends who decide to head into the Bolivian jungle and get a tad overwhelmed.  There are effective moments of harrowing survival for sure, especially involving an all-in Daniel Radcliff in fine form, but McLean’s major problem with Jungle is time.  Clocking in at a whopping one hour and fifty-five minutes run time there is way too much arduous material to watch in a single cinematic sitting.  Perhaps that was McLean’s point – namely to make the viewer experience the brutality that the real guys did. But like the real journey of the survivors who experienced it first hand there’s just not a lot of fun to be had.



A more sweet and somber outing then her previous broad comedic short Everybody Does It, actor/writer/director triple threat Megan Brotherton gets a little more dramatic and melancholy with her latest Buttercup and the result is even more accomplished layered work.  Not that there aren’t a few moments of humor and playful fun (all via quirky best friend Elizabeth B. Bates!), but Buttercup daringly takes the audience through the various stages after losing someone and ultimately shows Brotherton’s skilled storytelling hand at creating moving movie emotions.  A damn fine filmmaker I’m itching to see more from, the bold Brotherton just keeps getting better and better.  (Feature soon…please?!)



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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