Indie Close-Up: Sean Penn Goes Drag, War Vets Climb 'High Ground,' and 'The Bay' Will Kill You

After a quiet couple of weeks, the indie film scene heats up again with new films starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth Banks, Tobey Maguire, Philip Seymour Hoffman and many others. Let's see what's hitting theaters this weekend...

This Must Be The Place

Since Gangster Squad got bumped to January 2013, we haven't seen Sean Penn in a movie since last year's Tree of Life. But the veteran (and polarizing) actor returns to big screens, in drag no less, to play a retired rock star that is living off his royalties in Dublin. After his father's death, he returns to New York and find out his father's obsession to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered during WWII.

 

The Bay

Suffering for horror movie withdrawal? Barry Levinson's first trek into the horror genre spawns this disturbing and occasionally gory sci-fi thriller that sees chaos break out in a small town in Maryland after an ecological disaster occurs. Certainly not for the squeamish, but if you're up for a few good scares, this movie should do the trick.

 

The Details

Elizabeth Banks and Tobey Maguire star in this comedy about a couple who has to deal with a family of raccoons that move into their backyard. The pest problem kicks off a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and even murder. The Jacob Aaron Estes (Mean Creek) flick features a solid supporting cast led by Ray Liotta, Laura Linney, Kerry Washington and Dennis Haysbert.

 

A Late Quartet

Quartets seem to be all the rage right now. This film finds Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener as members of a world-renowned string quartet that struggles to stay together in the face of death, egos and lust. Don't confuse this film with Dustin Hoffman's upcoming directorial debut, simply titled Quartet.

 

North Sea Texas

This Belgian film from renowned gay cinema auteur Bavo Defurne tells the story of a teenage boy who's search for love finds him fixated on the boy next door. This complex, sensual and delicate coming-of-age story won a couple of awards at this year's Montreal World Film Festival.

 

High Ground

Veterans Day is quickly approaching and this documentary chronicles a team of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets who set out to climb a towering Himalayan peak as a means of overcoming the mental and emotional ravages of war. The film won the Best Documentary Audience Award at this year's Newport Beach Film Festival.

 

Miami Connection

The year is 1987. Motorcycle ninjas have a tight grip on Florida's narcotics trade and only the multi-national martial arts rock band Dragon Sound have what it takes to roundhouse kick the bad guys in their criminal underbelly. Drafthouse Films un-Earths this campy B-movie, which they showcased at this year's Fantastic Fest. Getting a limited release in New York this weekend, the film will expand next week to more theaters.

 

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography

Technically, this documentary by Stacey Peralta (Riding Giants, Lords of Dogtown) may have already played in your local theater. While the film is available on VOD beginning November 6, you can check the official site to see when and if this film is arriving in your local cineplex. The documentary chronicles six teenage boys who come together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s and in the process, end up re-inventing their sport.

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

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