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Indie Movie News

Indie Close-Up: John Hawkes Brings Oscar Buzz with 'The Sessions,' Plus Well-Reviewed Docs and 'Holy Motors'

A couple of critic duds hit wide release today, offering you the perfect opportunity to catch one of these new limited release indie flicks (or catch up on last week's offerings including Seven Psychopaths and The Thieves).

This week brings another Oscar contender in The Sessions, with the spotlight on the performances by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. We also get a couple of new, well-reviewed documentaries, a trippy French drama, a madcap martial arts comedy and Jane Fonda back on the big screen. Let's see what's hitting theaters this weekend…

 

The Sessions

As mentioned above, John Hawkes has garnered some strong awards buzz for his turn as a man confined to an iron lung who is determined, at the age of 38, to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists, guidance from his priest (played by a scene-stealing William H. Macy), and Helen Hunt as a professional sex surrogate, he sets out to make his dream a reality. The Sessions won both the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

 

Tai Chi Zero

Madcap martial arts comedy ensues in the hyper-kinetic action flick Tai Chi Zero. The film follows a young man named Yang who travels to Chen Village to learn a powerful form of Tai Chi. The uncommonly gifted child who possesses a tremendous power growing in his forehead, he is immediately challenged by the village-folk. After being defeated by Master Chen's beautiful daughter, Yang is determined to master the art and stop a man who plans to build a railroad through the village. Ah, the power of love.

All Together

If you saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel earlier this year, this is going to feel like déjà vu. Granted the cast and location are changed, but the storyline is essentially the same – Five old friends decide to move in together as an alternate to living in a retirement home. Joining them is an ethnology student whose thesis is on the aging population. Swapping the all-British cast from Marigold for a predominately French cast (plus Jane Fonda), All Together offers a nice comedic alternative for the senior demographic.

 

The Flat

When his 98-year-old grandmother dies, writer/director Aaron Goldfinger is tasked with clearing out the Tel Aviv flat that she and her husband shared for decades since migrating from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. As he sifts through the mountains of photos, letters, fliers and objects, a greater mystery is revealed as a complicated family history unfolds before the camera.

Holy Motors

Up for a trippy French drama? Holy Motors is definitely your ticket. Sure, it may star Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue but this film is much deeper than cinematic eye candy. Leos Carax crafts a mesmerizingly strange and perverse visual treat paired with an unapologetically challenging narrative. Spanning from dawn to dusk, the film peeks into the life of Monsiuer Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next – captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster and family man. If that isn't enough to grab your attention, it has talking cars in it. That alone is worth the ticket price. Motors won the Award of the Youth prize at Cannes and was also nominated for the Palme d'Or.

 

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Writer/director Brian Knappenberger turns the cameras on the workings and beliefs of the self-described "hacktivist" organization known as Anonymous. The group has redefined civil disobedience in the digital age but compromising some of the biggest companies in the world, including Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, the MPAA and several police and government domains. The former FrontLine producer keeps the narrative all at once entertaining, fascinating and thought-provoking. Legion could prove to be a dark horse in the best documentary Oscar category, though given the group history with the MPAA, that could prove unlikely and/or deliciously ironic. 

NOTE: The trailer contains some strong language.

 

Bestiaire

Spanning just over an hour in run-time, this documentary by Denis Cote is an artsy, thought-provoking examination of the relationship between people and animals. Made for just over $50,000, this film is a prime example maximizing the value of cash on hand. Cote is best known for his 2010 film, Curling, which offered a keen look into the unusual private life of a father and his daughter. No trailer was available for this film. It is ultra-low budget after all.

For more Indie Film coverage, check out our Indie Film Guide!

 

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