By Steve Greene | Indiewire April 25, 2014 at 12:49PM
These days, the number of indies premiering on a weekly basis can be both thrilling and intimidating. To help sift through the number of new releases (independent or otherwise), we've created the Weekly Film Guide. Below you'll find basic plot, personnel and cinema information for today's fresh offerings.
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. today, Friday, April 25th. (Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.)
Bicycling with Moliere
Director: Philippe Le Guay
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Maya Sansa, Camille Japy, Annie Mercier
Synopsis: "A kind of theatrical odd couple, Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini) and Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson) aren’t really friends but they’re willing to pretend if it’s to their mutual advantage. And perhaps it is: Gauthier is the star of a hit TV show, but he has an itch to stage Moliere’s Le Misanthrope, and he wants to persuade Serge, a prickly but highly respected theater star, to come out of retirement to costar in the project. To his surprise, Serge doesn’t leap at the chance but instead agrees to rehearse the play with him for a few days to gauge their rapport. While some familiarity with Moliere’s play would certainly enhance your appreciation for this classy, caustic comedy, a passing acquaintance with the vanity, pretension and hypocrisy of the typical middle-aged male – and actors, most of all – is the only basic requirement here." [Palm Springs International Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in various theaters in Los Angeles on May 2nd and 9th)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock, Sidné Anderson
Synopsis: "A beach bum finds his quiet life upended by dreadful news and sets off for his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge. Proving an inept assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (34 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles and Austin (expands to 25 different states and Washington, DC on May 2nd)
Director: Camille Delamarre
Cast: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, Robert Maillet, Carlo Rota, Kalinka Petrie, Bruce Ramsay, Kwasi Songui, Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Jade Hassouné
Synopsis: "In the criminal underworld of Detroit, the streets are overrun with violence and drugs and the hand of corruption reaches into the lives of everyone; well almost everyone. For Lino (David Belle) every day is a fight to live an honest life. But when a drug lord kidnaps his girlfriend, Lino is forced to team up with Damien Collier (Paul Walker), an undercover cop who’s been tracking this king pin's involvement in something even more sinister – a plot to devastate the entire city. Together they uncover a trail of corruption that leads all the way to the top."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (3 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide
For No Good Reason
Director: Charlie Paul
Cast: Ralph Steadman and Johnny Depp
Synopsis: "Johnny Depp pays a call on his friend and hero Ralph Steadman and we take off on a high-spirited, raging and kaleidoscopic journey discovering the life and works of one of the most distinctive radical artists of the last 50 years." [SXSW Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles
From the Rough
Director: Pierre Bagley
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Tom Felton, Justin Chon, Henry Simmons, Robert Bailey Jr., Letoya Luckett, Ben Youcef, Paul Hodge, James Saito, Griff Furst, Richard Kohnke, Dana Michelle Gourrier, Marcus Lyle Brown, Tony Bentley
Synopsis: "'From the Rough' is the inspirational true story of Catana Starks from historically black university Tennessee State, who became the first African-American woman ever to coach an all-men’s team at the collegiate level. Through grit and determination, she overcame incredible odds and deep-seated prejudice from all corners to guide a rag-tag group of golfers to an all-time record championship season.
Theatrical Release: Various (including Sacramento, Dallas, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Washington DC, Orlando and Buffalo)
The German Doctor (Wakolda)
Director: Lucia Puenzo
Cast: Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti, Alex Brendemühl, Elena Roger, Alan Daicz
Synopsis: "Patagonia, 1960. A German physician meets an Argentinean family and follows them on the long desert road to Bariloche where Eva, Enzo and their three children are going to open a lodging house by the Nahuel Huapi lake. This model family reawakens his obsession with purity and perfection, in particular Lilith, a 12 year-old with a body too small for her age. Unaware of his true identity, they accept him as their first guest. They are all gradually won over by this charismatic man, by his elegant manners, his scientific knowledge and his money — until they discover they are living with one of the biggest criminals of all times."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (8 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (various other cities to follow in 15 other states throughout May)
The Girl and Death
Director: Jos Stelling
Cast: Sylvia Hoeks, Leonid Bichevin, Renata Litvinova, Sergei Makovetsky, Dieter Hallervorden, Svetlana Svetlichnaya, Eva-Maria Kurz, Henri Garcin
Synopsis: "'The Girl and Death' is a story about the impossible love between Nicolai and the courtesan Elise; a love that is obstructed by materialism, wealth, and the threat of death. In Russia of the post-WWII era, aging doctor Nicolai returns to an old, abandoned hotel, the place where he first met his great love 50 years ago, and relives his romantic tragedy, a tragedy that happens in the late nineteenth century, and embodies the end of an era and the vibrant hopes and life of both its young couple and of a new world. The hotel still bears the traces of its impressive past. Eventually, it becomes clear why Nicolai has really returned…"
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Los Angeles May 23rd)
Director: Omid Nooshin
Cast: Dougray Scott, Lindsay Duncan, David Schofield, Kara Tointon
Synopsis: "A small group of everyday passengers on a speeding London commuter train battle their warped driver who has a dark plan for everyone on-board."
Theatrical Release: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Orlando
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Olivia Colman, Tom Holland, Ben Daniels, Bill Milner, Alice Lowe, Danny Webb, Lee Ross, Silas Carson, Kirsty Dillon
Synopsis: "Ivan Locke has crafted a nearly flawless life. Professionally, he is an obsessive perfectionist, respected by his coworkers and loved by his bosses. He cherishes the bond he shares with his two sons and the unshakeable partnership he has developed with his wife. This is the life he always imagined, an ideal existence built with painstaking care. Hours before the biggest day of his career, Locke receives a phone call that threatens to destroy the life he has worked so meticulously to create. As he struggles to keep his world intact, he is forced to confront his imperfections and the fractured foundation where they are rooted."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (14 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (with additional cities to follow)
The Other Woman
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Leslie Mann, Taylor Kinney, Nicki Minaj, Don Johnson, Alyshia Ochse
Synopsis: "After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB."
Criticwire Grade Average: D (3 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide
The Quiet Ones
Director: John Pogue
Cast: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Laurie Calvert
Synopsis: "Tucked away in an estate outside of London, Professor Coupland along with a team of university students conduct an 'experiment' on Jane Harper, a young girl who harbors unspeakable secrets. What dark forces they uncover are more terrifying than any of them expected."
Theatrical Release: Wide
Walking with the Enemy
Director: Mark Schmidt
Cast: Jonah Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, Ben Kingsley, Simon Kunz, Simon Dutton, Burn Gorman, Shane Taylor, Charles Hubbell, Simon Hepworth, Andrew Brooke, William Hope
Synopsis: "Set in Hungary during the final months of World War II, a young man sets out to find his displaced family by using a stolen Nazi uniform to pose as an officer. Filled with suspense and danger, he undertakes extraordinary measures to reroute his family and others to safety by disrupting the activities of the German occupiers."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Various (including New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Salt Lake City and San Antonio)
Who is Dayani Cristal?
Director: Marc Silver
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal
Synopsis: "'Who Is Dayani Cristal?' tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (8 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Miami
Young and Beautiful
Director: François Ozon
Cast: Marine Vacth, Geraldine Pailhas, Charlotte Rampling, Frédéric Pierrot, Nathalie Richard, Johan Leysen, Fantin Ravat, Laurent Delbecque
Synopsis: "The first of four chapters begins with summer on the French Riviera: Isabelle, an arrestingly beautiful sixteen-year-old, is determined to lose her virginity, but when she succeeds, the experience leaves her cold and detached. Cut to the second chapter: autumn in Paris, and Isabelle is now leading a double life as a prostitute with her own website for setting up after-school assignations with a motley line-up of johns. But this secretive, latter-day Lolita is no victim. Well adjusted and well-off, it appears that she is simply enjoying her value as a commodity in the sexual marketplace. Whatever her motivations, with winter and spring yet to come, we can expect anything – anything that is, but easy answers." [COLCOA]
Criticwire Grade Average: B (20 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York
Missed last week's? Here are all the releases from the weekend of April 18th.