Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Eight New Indie Titles

Keeping up with all things Indie, this week sports a massive eight outings that try to tickle movie bone in every genre.  Coming of age stories with hair-raising results, disputes over home and hearth, kidnappings that get complicated, supernatural believe it or not encounters, a doc dissection of Grace Jones, a battle amongst humans and A.I., detective tales with a dark side and the perils of being young and full of angst all make up the various films covered in this week’s edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on Wildling, Little Pink House, 10×10, Ghost Stories, Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami, Genesis, Dark Crimes and And Then I Go below!

(IFC Midnight)

An ever-engaging mix of a coming of age tale with a memorable monster movie, Wildling is one original indie.  Anchored by an inspired five-star turn by lead gal Bel Powley as a young woman who has been locked away by her over-protective father (the solid Brad Dourif) who finds herself suddenly freed to explore teen life and hidden animal instincts, the film boasts both savory story turns and believable real performances to create something special and unique – in today’s age of sequels and reboots a wild idea that works.

(Korchula Productions/Brightlight Pictures)

While this drama that begins with a woman going toe-to-toe the government to keep her little pink house and grows into a massive movement over homeowners rights is actually based on a true story, it thankfully never feels preachy.  Meaning filmmaker Courtney Moorehead Balaker goes to great lengths to simply tell a great story with colorful characters (Jeanne Tripplehorn’s scheming Dr. Charlotte Wells is one formidable foe!) and intimate asides (the relationship between lead crusader Catherine Keener and her dedicated beau Callum Keith Rennie is especially sweet!) all the while keeping the real story of fighting for rights at the forefront without forcing it – a not-so-little film feat that makes the movie difference.

(Vertical Entertainment)

10×10 is another great example of a film that poses itself as one thing and lovingly morphs into something else.  In this case it’s an odd kidnapping outing with a somber Luke Evans grabbing an unsuspecting Kelly Reilly keeping her in a secured and secluded room that then turns the tables as the tale unfolds.  What could have felt like dull stage banter between the two opposing leads instead here plays out like a layered psychological mind game and it’s a wonderfully dark thing to witness – with 10×10 being pinched has its perks.

(IFC Midnight)

While I dug the overall gloomy tone of this genre outing about a man investigating three unexplained cases with the purpose of debunking them, Ghost Stories could hardly be called an anthology horror flick.  The stories themselves, told by people who survived them, don’t exactly feel all encompassing which leads to a somewhat predictable conclusion.  (A blind man could see it coming!) What thankfully elevates this one are the top-notch turns – from Andy Nyman’s skeptical professor to Martin Freeman’s haunted husband Ghost Stories pleasure comes from the performances.

(Kino Lorber)

Less a detailed biography and more an elongated music video, this peek into the world of larger-than-life performer Grace Jones doesn’t provide a ton of insight.  Meaning on a visual scale Director Sophie Fiennes more than captures the music video moxie of the enigmatic Jones from prep (seeing her putting on makeup to become Grace Jones is fascinating!) to performance (her on-stage song and movement work is a visual cornucopia for the eyes!) with ease, but life away from the song and dance spotlight is unfortunately dallied out in small doses with little revealed in terms of a personal side.  (Seeing her fight with managers and promoters over the phone provides little enjoyment!)  So while Bloodlight And Bami is sure to please the musical fans of the skilled songstress, this doc is most assuredly a case of style over substance.

(Vertical Entertainment)

More like a portion of a grade-B Syfy series than a stand-alone feature film, Genesis feels like a low budget A.I. outing that bites off more than it can chew.  Meaning for all the on-screen visual gadgetry and highbrow sci-fi speak, there’s sets and costumes that would make Roger Corman laugh out loud.  Not to mention that the whole human vs. robot storyline has been done to death and done way more effectively.  The only saving grace of this one is the singular performance by Olivia Grant as the complex Dr. Eve Gabriel – too bad the rest of the film is not as potent.

(Saban Films)

A flick with equally drab visuals and storyline, Dark Crimes is an uninspired film that obviously pre-dates the any current social climate.  A film immersed in the degradation of women (the main case being investigated involves a sex club with a specialty in female humiliation) that casts the few ladies in the film in either non-existent or victim roles, this one isn’t exactly a female empowerment flick.  Plus there’s little in terms of any other redeeming qualities here – from the obtrusive visual style of helmer Alexandros Avranas (what is with that stupid overhead lamp, dude?!) to the formulaic work by the exposed Charlotte Gainsborough as a woman caught up in the case (does she specifically pick these kinds of roles?!) everything here falls flat.  But the foul film icing on the cake is the highly unbelievable turn by a miscast Jim Carry as the lead moody polish detective – someone fire his dialect coach, STAT.

(The Orchard)

While Gus Van Sant’s Elephant was a deep dramatic exercise in exploring the life of characters who decide to turn to violence, And Then I Go feels like Elephant’s less skilled red-headed stepchild.  Riddled with character clichés (lead kid Sawyer Barth is a hothead – even to his own friends!), bad casting (how could Melanie Lynskey and Justin Long be bad parents – they scream we care!) and an uneventful climax that seemingly exists for shock value, the overly-long And Then I Go goes the way of uninspired typical teen angst to make the grade – it fails.



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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