By Steve Greene | Indiewire July 11, 2014 at 10:24AM
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. the week of Friday, July 4th. (Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.)
Director: Kevin Asch
Cast: Nicola Peltz, Ben Rosenfield, Gregg Sulkin, Steve Guttenberg, Samantha Mattis
Synopsis: "Aspiring photographer Fisher Miller escapes his middle-class life in upstate New York for the moneyed mansions of Great Neck, Long Island, when he moves in with his aunt and uncle while he applies to college in Manhattan. Finding himself on the outside looking in at his beautiful cousin Kate’s circle of indulged and entitled friends, he ingratiates himself with a stash of high-quality weed and a vintage camera that he uses to document their hard-partying exploits. Invited to the group’s end-of-summer celebration, Fisher becomes fast friends with his host, the fabulously rich Dylan Carson, a long-time admirer of Kate. Before long he is swept up in a heady world of absentee parents, plentiful booze and casual sex. But, as the burgeoning financial crisis spirals out of control, the once seemingly endless stream of money begins to dry up; friendships, romances and marriages melt down; and the glamorous veneer that once captivated Fisher turns toxic."
Theatrical Release: New York (expands to Los Angeles and eight other cities through the first week of August)
As It Is In Heaven
Director: Joshua Overbay
Cast: Abi Van Andel, Chris Nelson, Sylvia Boykin, Todd Bagley, Meredith Cave, Luke Beavers, Kassandra Botts, Shannon Kathleen Baker, Janelle M. Gore
Synopsis: "After the death of their Prophet, a small religious sect turn to one of their members, Daniel, who's been asked to lead them, as they anxiously await the end of the world they were promised. But, when the prophecy does not come to pass, Daniel struggles to cling to his faith while keeping his community together."
Theatrical Release: New York and Chicago (opens in Seattle, Lexington and Louisville; Los Angeles on August 8th)
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Tamara Jolaine, Nick Krause, Jordan Howard, Evie Thompson
Synopsis: "The film tells a story of a divorced couple (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) trying to raise their young son (Ellar Salmon). The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows."
Criticwire Grade Average: A (50 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (expands to various cities nationwide throughout July and August)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Judy Greer, Terry Notary, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Karin Konoval, Kirk Acevedo, Richard King, Lucky Johnson, Jocko Sims
Synopsis: "A group of scientists in San Francisco struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of a plague that is wiping out humanity, while Caesar tries to maintain dominance over his community of intelligent apes."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (10 reviews)
Theatrical Release: Wide
The Empty Hours
Director: Aarón Fernández
Cast: Adriana Paz, Amaranta Abril, Bartolo Campos, Eliseo Lara Martínez, Fermín Martínez, Kristyan Ferrer, Norma Pablo, Rebeca Villacorte, Sergio Lasgón
Synopsis: "On the desolate coast of Veracruz, young Sebastián, 17, has to run his uncle's motel single-handed, renting rooms by the hour. That's how he meets Miranda, a regular customer who goes there to wait for a lover who often arrives late, sparking a fleeting game of seduction between the two."
Theatrical Release: New York
Director: Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz
Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Karrie Krouse, Elizabeth McKee, Alice Olivia Clarke, Emmsjé Gauti
Synopsis: "Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, Mitch, a brassy former surgeon, convinces mild-mannered Colin, his ex-brother-in-law, to holiday with him in Iceland. The pair set off through Reykjavik ice bars, trendy spas, and adventurous restaurants in an attempt to reclaim their youth, but they quickly discover that you can’t escape yourself, no matter how far you travel."
Criticwire Grade Average: B (22 reviews)
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles (opens in various cities across the country through the beginning of September)
A Long Way Down
Director: Pascal Chaumeil
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Rosamund Pike, Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Sam Neill, Toni Collette, Tuppence Middleton, Joe Cole
Synopsis: "Four suicidal people meet on the roof of a London high rise on New Year’s Eve. Four different generations, four different backgrounds and four different reasons for ending it all. There’s Martin Sharp, an over-the-hill talk show host and ex-womanizer with an alcohol addiction; Maureen, a housewife on the verge of collapse after years of taking care of her severely disabled son; failed rock musician JJ; and, youngest of them all, lovesick but rebellious Jess. During the course of a tumultuous night, they each tell the story of their lives and woes and finally make a pact not to kill themselves before Valentine’s Day. This means another six weeks during which they all have somehow to stay alive." [Berlin International Film Festival]
Theatrical Release: New York (opens in Philadelphia, Scottsdale and San Francisco through July)
The Perfect Wave
Director: Bruce MacDonald
Cast: Scott Eastwood, Cheryl Ladd, Patrick Lyster, Rachel Hendrix , Scott Mortensen, Nikolai Mynhardt
Synopsis: "The true story of Ian McCormack who grew up surfing the waters of New Zealand. Wanting to dive deeper, Ian sets out on a journey with his best friend that will change his life as they chase the perfect wave."
Theatrical Release: Various (including Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfort, Bismarck, Orlando and Washington, DC)
Director: Paco Cabezas
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Aubrey Peeples, Peter Stormare, Danny Glover, Max Ryan, Elena Sanchez, Weston Cage, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Max Fowler, Sarah Ann Schultz, Michael McGrady, Jack Falahee, Judd Lormand, Dawn Hamil
Synopsis: "Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) is by all accounts, a decent man. A contractor by trade, he is a pillar of his community, and a family man. His wife Vanessa (Rachel Nichols) and his daughter Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples) adore him. But it wasn't always this way. Paul is actually a reformed criminal who still keeps in touch with his old associates, especially Kane (Max Ryan) and Doherty (Michael McGrady). One night Paul and Vanessa go out to dinner with some friends, leaving Caitlin at home with her friends Mike (Max Fowler) and Evan (Jack Falahee). In the middle of their dinner, Detective St. John (Danny Glover) enters the restaurant and tells him that something has happened to Caitlin."
Theatrical Release: Various, including New York and Los Angeles
Road to Paloma
Director: Jason Momoa
Cast: Jason Momoa, Robert Homer Mollohan, Tye Alexander, Henree Alyse, Lisa Bonet, Chris Browning, Charlie Brumbly, Mike Burns, Linden Chiles, James Mendoza
Synopsis: "After a brutal injustice occurs on a Native American reservation, a son must find redemption for the actions of his past. Road to Paloma is the beautiful journey of two bikers traveling across America's vast west. While Native American Wolf (Jason Momoa) is being pursued by the FBI for having taken the law into his own hands, when his mother was raped and killed on their reservation he crosses paths with Cash (Robert Mollohan), a down and out musician who is coping with the end of his marriage. An unlikely friendship develops, as they ride together towards the Teton mountain range, where Wolf will spread his mothers ashes."
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles
Director: Mary Mazzio
Synopsis: "Two energetic high school science teachers, on a whim, decided to enter their high school, a Title I school where most of the students live in poverty, into a sophisticated underwater robotics competition sponsored by the NASA and the Office of Naval Research, among others. Only four boys signed up for the competition, but once assembled, with enthusiasm and verve, they started calling oceanic engineers and military contractors for design help. They were advised that their underwater robot would require glass syntactic flotation foam. Short on money, all they could afford was PVC pipe from Home Depot. And some duct tape...The boys put their heads together and hilariously came up with a brilliant solution. 12 hours later, armed with 8 super-plus tampons to plug the leak in Stinky’s mechanical housing, the robot was lowered into the pool again. Only this time, Stinky performed admirably. Fast forward to a shocking result. This rag-tag high school team of undocumented Mexican boys did what no one thought possible. The competition, however, was only the beginning. These boys forged a legacy that could not have been imagined."
Theatrical Release: New York and Los Angeles
Missed last week's? Here are all the releases from the weekend of July 4th.