Archive for October, 2011

Indie Roundup: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

Martha Marcy May Marlene” opened last week in select cities, but I think talking about it on Halloween weekend is much more appropriate. Though there’s no shortage of horror flicks this season offering plenty of thrills and gore, there are few movies more quietly unnerving coming out this year than this film.

The movie opens on Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escaping from an overpopulated farmhouse in the Catskills and disappearing in the woods. We later learn that the place is home to a back-to-land, Manson-style cult run by a charismatic leader named Patrick (John Hawkes). Later in the film we see that he starts calling her Marcy May, and with a song and a health drink spiked with a Micky, he manages to win her heart. Of course, that’s the way he wins over all the dozen or so women in the cult. Martha is so wounded and eager to be a part of something, she soon finds a place in the cult. That is, until she gets pulled deeper and deeper into Patrick’s crimes.

Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Margin Call’

The new movie “Margin Call,” which opens in select cities today, centers on a 24-hour period in a Lehman Brothers-like firm that finds itself on the wrong side of some very bad investments. First time writer-director J. C. Chandor could have made an overblown movie a la Oliver Stone, with clear good guys and villains squaring off in dramatic monologues against the backdrop of Hamptons mansions and private jets. Instead, Chandor, who is the son of a Wall Street stockbroker, offers a much quieter, and, one surmises, realistic, take. The film takes place in the sterile halls and boardrooms of a Manhattan office building. The conversations are tense and hushed. No one is an overt villain, with one exception: Everyone approaches the crisis, which could be ruinous to millions, with a completely amoral logic.
Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Margin Call’’

Indie Roundup: ‘The Skin I Live In’

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is one of the few directors out there — like Fellini, Kubrick, and Ozu — whose films you can identify from a single still. He populates his movies with bright colors and a heavy dose of kitsch. And they’re always gorgeous. His stories are often deliciously over-the-top melodramas involving sex, desire, revenge, family betrayals, and gender confusion. It’s a combination that has made him hugely popular abroad. Almodovar is the most successful non-English language director in the world.

His latest movie, “The Skin I Live In,” which opens in selected cities this week, has all the trademarks of an Almodovar film but is all together a darker, chillier work. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘The Skin I Live In’’

Indie Roundup: ‘Blackthorn’

As everyone who’s watched director George Roy Hill’s 1969 movie masterpiece knows, Butch Cassidy, along with his partner in crime the Sundance Kid, died in a hail of bullets in Bolivia. This week sees the release of Mateo Gil’s film “Blackthorn,” in which Cassidy didn’t die in a blaze of glory but grew old and grizzled while raising horses in the Andes under the assumed name of James Blackthorn. Sam Shepard plays the aging gunslinger who loses his horse — along with his saddlebags stuffed with life savings that was going to take him back to America — when he’s shot at by Eduardo, a Spaniard on the run. Instead of killing him, Butch takes Eduardo under his wing. In turn, Eduardo, who doesn’t know Butch’s true identity, lures him with the prospect of a fortune pilfered from a rich mine owner. Continue reading ‘Indie Roundup: ‘Blackthorn’’


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