Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Five New Indie Titles

This is why I adore about indie outings – no matter if there are any studio movies being released or not there are always a slew of smaller flicks on a regular basis a film fan can count on to keep the cinematic good times rolling.  No exception this week either as docs, features and genre movies alike hit hard and here all get their lesser known film fare dissection due.  From tales of man vs. machine in a closed space and the dangers of spending time in abandoned dark spaces to docs on everything from surviving World War II, tragic big game hunting and rats, we’re checking out what the indie scene has to offer this week via Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the short opinions on Infinity Chamber, Red Trees, Trophy, Against The Night and Rat Film below!

(XLrator Media)

Mixing the claustrophobic mystery of Cube with the repeating device of Groundhog Day, Infinity Chamber is a clever man vs. machine sci-fi flick.  Plus the decent use of a single space mixed with ‘are they or aren’t they’ real memories where chemistry between characters is palpable makes for a flick that even a layered scribe like Philip K. Dick would stop and take note of.  But the swan song of the piece is the tortured turn by the always ample Christopher Soren Kelly as the jailed against his will gent looking for a way out.  His winning work fills even the most barren room…and then some.

(Cohen Media Group)

Even though it’s dealing with the dim subjects of World War II, oppression and escaping the Nazi occupation of Prague, filmmaker Marina Willer has nevertheless created one passionate doc.  Using war torn visuals, moving storytelling and all told through the words of Willer’s father (narrated with poignancy by actor Tim Piggot Smith), the filmmaker creates a vast visual tapestry by getting incredibly personal and the effect is the film hits home just as much as the events themselves.  A honest look at harrowing events, but all the time with a nod to the unwavering triumph of human spirit, Red Trees is a toughing tribute indeed.

(The Orchard)

Even though Trophy is a doc that prides itself on putting on display all sides of the hunting big game for sport subject, it’s still a difficult hoe to row.  Meaning that even though there’s some validity in the conservation efforts of John Hume’s rhino farm, seeing him saw off the horns of his flock to sell and keep the place afloat is a hard sell.  Plus the twisted logic of some of the endangered species hunters is disturbing to say the least (one says true beauty and connection with the animal is equally shared after the kill!), the big shows involving children (let them decide if it’s so great mom and dad!) and seeing such heart breaking atrocities does take its toll.  So while it’s a subject that definitely needs to be debated, it nevertheless doesn’t make the hard to handle Trophy a winning doc to watch.

(Gravitas Ventures)

The bookends involving the squirrely yet sullen detective Frank Whaley interrogating last living lady Hannah Kleeman are the best scenes in the genre flick Against The Night, filled with humor, suspense and some savory surprises.  Problem is the film in between involving a gang of friends heading out to an abandoned prison for some filming fun is bad found footage movie 101 complete with everything from lame jump scares (night vision is just not eerie anymore!) to bad character decisions galore (let’s split up!) and it’s a shame.  This one only shines bright during opening and closing when it goes against the grain – gutsy equals the good stuff.

(Guild Cinema)

I recently took Morgan Spurlock to task for not making his less-than-stellar outing on rats titled Rats more informative, but the new doc Rat Film frankly makes his so-so work look downright Oscar caliber.  Taking a more watered down (he features some folks who keep the critters as pets!) and all over the place (there’s crime scene stuff – huh?!) approach to the frisky furry fellows, filmmaker Theo Anthony sadly doesn’t seem to have a consistent theme or ultimately know what he wants the film to say – and neither do we.



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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