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The 10 Indie Films You Must See This April

The 10 Indie Films You Must See This April

#1 Ex Machina (April 10) 

(Film Page)
Director: Alex Garland  
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Corey Johnson, Deborah Rosan
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a “Must See”? This is the first film directed by Alex Garland, the writer behind wonderful projects like “Never Let Me Go,” “Sunshine,” and “28 Days Later.” In “Ex Machina,” Garland takes his knowledge and love of sci-fi to new heights. The story focuses on Caleb, a young coder at the world’s largest internet company, who is the lucky winner of a competition to spend time at the CEO’s exclusive mountain retreat. But when Caleb gets there, he is made to participate in a bizarre experiment with a beautiful robot girl, the world’s first true being of artificial intelligence.  

#2 Clouds of Sils Maria  (April 10)  

 (Film Page
Director:  Olivier Assayas
Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Kristen Stewart, Juliette Binoche, Brady Corbet, Angela Winkler, Johnny Flynn, Lars Eidinger
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a “Must See”? “Clouds of Sils Maria” centers on the struggles of an aging actress and her personal assistant. Legendary film actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) tries to stay relevant by taking a part in the revival of the play that launched her career 20 years earlier, agreeing to take on the less flattering role of the older employer, while current “it girl” Jo-Anne Ellis (Chloe Grace Moretz) lands the lead. “Sils Maria” is a cynical look at the business of making movies and aging in Hollywood.    

#3 The Salt of the Earth (April 3)  

(Film Page
Director:  Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Wim Wenders
Cast: Sebastião Salgado
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a “Must See”?  German filmmaker Wim Wenders loved the photographs of world traveller Sebastião Salgado, and so with his son Juliano, they shot the documentary “The Salt of the Earth,” which was nominated for the Best Documentary Academy Award. The Brazilian photographer has sought out some of the most turbulent places on earth, seeing the worst of humanity and still finding beauty with his camera; Wenders’ film seeks to explore how and why he does it. 

#4 Ned Rifle (April 1)  

(Film Page)
Director: Hal Hartley 
Cast: Martin Donovan, Aubrey Plaza, Parker Posey, Liam Aiken, Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak
Criticwire Average: B
Why is it a “Must See”?  “Hal Hartley’s deadpan comedies assail American culture in a distinctive voice that only seems to strengthen with age,” says Indiewire’s review of “Ned Rifle.” Hartley’s style first came to prominence with 1997’s “Henry Fool,” the tale of a self-involved garbage man-come-novelist (Thomas Jay Ryan) who romances the hapless Fay Grim (Parker Posey). That film’s 2006 sequel “Fay Grim” grappled with a post-9/11 world in which the elusive Henry became a wanted terrorist. Concluding with Fay taking the fall for Henry and winding up behind bars, the story set the stage for a third character to take prominence in this idiosyncratic indie franchise — the couple’s son, Ned (Liam Aiken), whose time has come to wrestle control of the messy situation. With “Ned Rifle,” Hartley brings this eccentric trilogy to a close, centering on Ned as yet another template for skewering American sensibilities. 

#5 True Story (April 17)  

(Film Page
Director: Rupert Goold 
Cast: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones, Ethan Suplee, Gretchen Mol, Robert John Burke, Maria Dizzia
Criticwire Average: B
Why is it a “Must See”?  “True Story” marks the film directorial debut of Rupert Goold, who is well known for directing theater. James Franco co-stars with Jonah Hill, in a drama based on the memoir “True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa” by Michael Finkel. Hill plays Finkel, a New York Times reporter whose reputation is ruined when he is accused of manipulating facts in an article about African child slavery. After being fired from the Times, Mike is contacted by a local reporter who tells him a man accused of murdering his own family, Christian Longo (Franco), has strangely identified himself as “Mike Finkel, New York Times,” when caught in Mexico. Finkel and Longo strike up an unlikely jailhouse friendship. 

#6 Dior and I (April 10)  

(Film Page)
Director: Frederic Tcheng 
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a “Must See”?  This documentary delves inside the exclusive House of Christian Dior, with a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first Dior Haute Couture collection as Artistic Director. Combining the daily, stressful routines of fashion with an elegant respect for the history of Dior, Tcheng pays homage to the intricate creative processes of the iconic brand.

#7 Lost River (April 10)  

(Film Page
Director: Ryan Gosling
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele 
Criticwire Average: C
Why is it a “Must See”?  “Gosling has composed a messy love letter to countless other films,” claims Indiewire’s review of “Lost River.” With the eerie, dreamlike noir of David Lynch, poetic visuals of lower class decay a la Harmony Korine’s “Gummo,” and the cartoonish violence found in Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive,” Ryan Gosling’s flashy directorial debut “Lost River” is an accomplished collage of familiar ingredients. 

#8 About Elly (April 8)  

(Film Page)
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti 
Criticwire Average: B+
Why is it a “Must See”?  Five years after Asghar Farhadi’s critically acclaimed “About Elly” won the Silver Bear for Best Director, the film is finally being released. Yet another mystery from the acclaimed Iranian director of “A Separation” and “The Past,” it tells the story of a group of old college friends (two married couples and a brother and sister, along with three young kids) who reunite for a holiday by the sea. The group has hopes of setting up Elly, a kindergarten teacher, with the recently divorced Ahmad. But when Elly suddenly vanishes, her mysterious disappearance begins to unweave a web of lies and deception, threatening not only to ruin the trip, but the relationships between everyone there.

#9 Adult Beginners (April 24)  

(Film Page)
Director: Ross Katz
Cast: Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale 
Criticwire Average: B
Why is it a “Must See”?  When a self-centered entrepreneur (Nick Kroll) loses everything on the night of his company’s big launch, he leaves Manhattan to move in with his pregnant sister (Rose Byrne), brother-in-law and 3-year-old nephew in the suburbs, in this comedy about familial struggle. In an attempt to make himself useful as the family’s nanny, he tries to find a way to connect with the people he’s drifted away from.

#10 Felix and Meira (April 17)  

(Film Page)
Director: Maxime Giroux 
Cast: Hadas Yaron, Martin Dubreuil, Luzer Twersky, Anne-Élisabeth Bossé 
Criticwire Average: A-
Why is it a “Must See”?  Félix is a poor French Canadian with a rich ailing father. Meira is a married Hasidic woman with a family, searching for a new adventure. When these two strangers from different worlds meet and fall in love, their road to happiness is anything but easy. 

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