The Next Big Thing is a fun and funny indie comedy. Chuck wants to film his reluctant friend Julian's everyday life and make it into a movie. I really liked the line: "We're making a movie about being famous... so I can become famous." It felt like that really spoke to modern day celebrity culture and the seemingly near universal yearning to be the next breakout Youtube or social media star. But what I think makes The Next Big Thing refreshing to me is Julian's reluctance and unease about all of this, and the messiness that ensues, as well as the raw nature of a friend just kind of picking up a camera and following you around that felt more realistic and unpolished as compared to what would occur in a Hollywood production of a similar plot line. The acting is also pretty good here and you'll notice some familiar faces like Jonathan Lipnicki ("the human head weighs eight pounds" haha), Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk!), and others. Enjoy!
I was intrigued when I saw Vietnam: Fast Forward while skimming through new titles on Amazon. I visited the country a few years ago and I'm missing the days when traveling was so much simpler, so I decided to give the film a shot. I love the discussion of Vietnam as a changing and ascending country. I think, at least those in the states, need to be reminded that Vietnam is not a war, it is a country. Vietnam also has some of the nicest people I've ever met in my travels too. This documentary shows how rapidly the economy is growing there and does so with personal stories that are easy to connect with. It's obvious to see this ecumenic boom both within this documentary and outside it, and it will be interesting to see further real life growth in the years to come. As a bonus, the documentary also might satisfy your urge to travel like it did mine, as you can see some notable locations and landmarks in the film as well. Enjoy!
Let me start this off by saying that I saw the title Northwood Pie and I was very happy to confirm that the film is set in a Northwood Pizza, which was my pizza spot when I was a kid living in Irvine, CA! What an unexpected blast from the past! Great mushroom pizza too, btw. Anyway, Northwood Pie the film is an enjoyable and charming suburban hangout comedy. I thought it was a well made indie film with plenty of the indie vibes that I like. Definitely a hint of Linklater and Kevin Smith. You'll notice that the film has plenty of festival laurels and a 93% here on Rotten Tomatoes, so it's a quality flick and you don't just have to take my word for it.
I'm a big zombie movie fan and I was happy to stumble upon When the Fever Breaks. The film focuses on one of most compelling scenarios in any zombie story -- what do you do when you're about to turn into one of them -- particularly when you have a child to protect? It's also a fun home survival setup which I find to be more enjoyable since it's easier to envision yourself in that situation (if there ever were a zombie apocalypse haha). The film is an indie so it's definitely a bit raw, but I tend to appreciate that in this genre since When the Fever Breaks and others like it can often bring a fresh take on things. Definitely worth your time for zombie movie enthusiasts like myself.
The Stalker is a new release indie horror film that is a bit of a throwback within the genre. Suitably, the film is about a stalker who is very mysterious and will stop at nothing when coming after the Hamilton family. I like these kinds of more believable horror setups because the threat of a stalker is something many people have experienced in real life and would be enough to haunt anyone. Solid work on this indie film and I particularly liked the retro score. This would be an enjoyable watch for anyone looking for an indie horror film this Halloween season.
32 Weeks is a quality indie drama that I stumbled upon in the new releases on Amazon. I knew I was in for a romance/drama but I thought it might lean a bit more toward being a rom-com, but what the story turned out to be was a rather intriguing romance/mystery film that kept me very invested throughout. The film is also very well shot, particularly for an indie, and highlighted several beautiful Los Angeles locations and landmarks. If you're looking for an original indie that you'll want to watch to the end, then check out 32 Weeks.
I have never experienced a film quite like Greatland. It is unique, creative, and has a striking visual style. Everyone who worked on the visual side of this film need some applause -- from the production designer, cinematographer, costume designers, digital fx team, hair and makeup, and beyond. I really like discovering these unique and creative indie films. While not everyone may appreciate these bold choices, I think there's a lot of people, like me, who really do. Getting to watch an Eric Roberts performance is always a nice little bonus in an indie film too!
The Extraordinary Ordinary is a heartwarming indie about young people coping with mental health issues. I was drawn in by the film festival accolades and found the movie to be a worthwhile watch myself. The story concerns a student who moves to Southern California for a new beginning and discovers that she is not alone in her mental health challenges. The film is raw look at trauma, love, recovery, and community within this social circle and it feels like an authentic glimpse into real life circumstances as well.
Bangie Lanie is a charming indie rom-com. Honestly the title made me chuckle so I gave it a watch. The film reminds of Booksmart, which I loved, and I think others who liked it will also enjoy Banging Lanie. The film's lead actress, who I believe is also the director, gave a very good performance as an awkward teen trying to navigate her sexuality. These types of coming of age movies have always been a personal favorite of mine and I love seeing more of them told from a young woman's perspective.
Making Time is a charming indie film with a unique premise. We've seen time travel movies before where people have to not disturb the past so they don't alter the future, but I've never seen one where someone has to get along with their grating ex-wife in order to do so. Kudos to the writer for this great setup.
I also read that this film was made in two days. I'm not entirely sure how you make an entire movie in two days, but you wouldn't know that it was all done so quickly by watching it. It's commendable that the crew was able to make it all so quickly and with good quality considering too.
Make time to watch Making Time. I definitely recommend it.
Turnover is a heartwarming little indie that I stumbled upon when skimming through the new releases on Amazon, and I'm happy I checked it out. Paul Guilfoyle, who you might recognize from several other projects, has some health issues and his doctor recommends that he take some time off from his cafe. Paul's disgruntled manager ends up hiring what seems to be a rag tag group to take care of the cafe while he's gone, but what's great is that the group really grows together and shows what they have to offer. The unlikely team of misfits rally around each other and it's really sweet. I think Turnover was just the film I needed while I'm still stuck here in quarantine.
Saving Marriage is a remarkable film. It reminded me quite a bit of my favorite documentary from last year, Knock Down the House, which follows AOC and other women and their primary campaigns in the 2018 midterm elections. Both films have incredibly compelling and important political races that they cover. However, Saving Marriage is actually more focused and more emotional. The stakes are clearer and the effects of a loss would feel more direct and personal for those featured in Saving Marriage.
It's been several years since these elections and the landmark court decision in Massachusetts that allowed gay people to marry. The amount of hurdles the activists and legislators had to overcome in order to win was eye-opening. Each success was met with a new obstacle, time after time. Who knew the ups and downs of this political process would be so captivating? It certainly feels better to watch now considering we know the positive outcome.
Saving Marriage features a cast of real people who are easy to root for and you become so invested in their success and happiness. The filmmakers also do a nice job of presenting the opposition fairly, without making them seem like cartoon villains. That being said, their arguments sound that much more ridiculous as the years have passed. Watching Saving Marriage can't help but make you think about the progress we have made in terms of civil rights and representation since that time, but it is also impossible to ignore the long way we have to go, particularly under this current administration.
Saving Marriage is a must watch. It's both compelling and a great film, while still such a great historical document that it should probably be used as a teaching tool at schools and universities. It is well worth your time.
The Mentor is a unique indie film and perhaps you might guess that when you see that the film's listed genres are comedy and suspense, an unusual pair. Moez Solis and team have crafted a film that you'd only see as an indie, and frankly I really like these kinds of different films. I'm always a bit partial to movies about filmmakers too. The plot involves an aspiring filmmaker who gets kidnapped with her mentor by a bizarre group. It must be mentioned that the two women leads give strong performances and they deserve some recognition. Overall, I enjoyed The Mentor quite a bit. Watch it for unique storytelling, high production values for an indie, and an intriguing plot.
Closure is a unique indie film -- part off-beat comedy and part twist on the old LA based noir film. I seek out indie films like these because they bring different perspectives and different takes on genres. It always helps too when you see all those film festival laurels on the poster to know that it's going to be a good use of your time. Apparently the film won several awards too. The story is funny and engaging. It follows Nina, whose mother recently died, as she tries to track down her missing sister and encounters a bunch of unusual LA residents along the way. It's subtly absurdist and in many ways is a charming fish out of water comedy. I think it's definitely worth a watch.
Sweet Sunshine will probably remind people a bit of A Star Is Born and I definitely mean that as a compliment. A Star Is Born was one of my favorite films of the past few years. Both films feature stories about musicians, romance, and the ups and downs within the industry. Sweet Sunshine offers more of a heartwarming plot and a dose of spirituality, which are probably very appealing to so many us these days. If you're looking for something sweet that you can watch with your family, then check out Sweet Sunshine.