By Indiewire | Indiewire January 3, 2014 at 10:10AM
To help you figure out what to watch on VOD this month, we've compiled a list of the 10 best indies new to VOD this month that have yet to open in theaters. Click on film titles to learn more. [Synopses courtesy of distributor.]
"12 O'Clock Boys" (January 31)
The 12 O'Clock Boys are a notorious urban dirt bike pack in Baltimore — popping wheelies and weaving at excessive speeds through traffic, the group impressively evades the hamstrung police. In Lotfy Nathan’s wild, dynamic documentary (three years in the making), their stunning antics are envisioned through the eyes of young adolescent Pug – a bright kid from the Westside obsessed with the riders and willing to do anything to join their ranks. Premiering to critical acclaim at the SXSW and Hot Docs Film Festivals (where Nathan won the HBO Emerging Artist Award), "12 O'Clock Boys" provides a compelling and intimate personal story of a young boy and his dangerous, thrilling dream.
"Big Bad Wolves" (January 17)
In "Big Bad Wolves" a series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.
"Cold Comes the Night" (January 10)
"Cold Comes the Night" tells the story of a struggling motel owner (Alice Eve) and her daughter who are taken hostage by a nearly blind career criminal (Bryan Cranston) to be his eyes as he attempts to retrieve his parcel of cash from a crooked cop).
"G.B.F." (January 17)
In "G.B.F.," social warfare erupts when three high school clique queens battle for supremacy: drama diva Caprice (Xosha Roquemore), Mormon princess ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen) and blonde fashionista Fawcett (Sasha Pieterse). When unassuming Tanner (Michael J. Willet) is outted, he finds himself cast as the hottest new teen-girl accessory: The Gay Best Friend. The clique queens immediately pounce and makeover Tanner into their ideal arm candy, forcing him to choose between popularity and the true friends — including his own B.F.F. Brent (Paul Iacono) — that he's leaving behind.
"Grand Piano" (January 30)
Elijah Wood plays Tom Selznick, the most talented pianist of his generation, who has stopped performing in public because of his stage fright. Years after a catastrophic performance, he reappears in public for a long awaited concert in Chicago. In a packed theater, in front of an expectant audience, Tom finds a message written on the score: “Play one wrong note and you die.” In the sights of an anonymous sniper (John Cusack), Tom must get through the most difficult performance of his life and look for help without being detected.
"James Boy" (January 3)
"James Boy" is the story of teenager James Burns (played by Spencer Lofranco) who goes from the suburban street gangs to a maximum-security prison cell surrounded by hardened criminals. In prison, he forms a friendship with a convicted murderer (Ving Rhames) who becomes his mentor and helps him turn his life around. In this unlikely setting, James ultimately emerges with hope and a brighter future.
"Like Father, Like Son" (January 23)
The "switched at birth" urban legend and the Nature-vs.-Nurture debate provide Hirokazu Kore-eda with a fresh opportunity to revisit his ongoing preoccupation with family dynamics and parent-child relationships in contemporary Japan. The life of go-getting workaholic architect Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama)—one of comfort and quietly ordered affluence with his wife Midori (Ono Machiko) and son Keita (Keita Ninomiya)—is violently overturned when hospital administrators reveal the unthinkable: Keita is not his biological son. Due to a mistake made by a negligent nurse, his "true" son has been raised in the dishevelled but warm-hearted home of working-class shopkeeper Yudai (Lily Franky) and his wife (Yôko Maki). The different approaches of both couples to their excruciating dilemma and the gradual emotional awakening of the all-too-rational Ryota are at the core of this sensitive drama of family feeling, which showcases Kore-eda’s rich sense of humanity.
"Raze" (January 10)
A young woman (Zoe Bell) is abducted by an elite, secret society and wakes to find herself in the company of fifty other women who are, just like her, forced to fight for their lives in an unimaginable hell.
"Run & Jump" (January 24)
After a stroke leaves her husband disabled and fundamentally changed, a spirited Irish wife struggles to keep her family members together. All the while, they are under the microscope of an American researcher documenting their recovery process. From Academy Award®-nominated director Steph Green comes an emotional journey of family and recovery, featuring "Saturday Night Live" star Will Forte in an impressive dramatic debut (this was made prior to "Nebraska").
"Summer in February" (January 7)
A sweeping romance set at a bohemian artist colony on the picturesque coasts of pre-war England, "Summer In February" is based on the true story of painter sir Alfred Munnings (Dominic Cooper) And his blue-blood best friend Gilbert (Dan Stevens). Born into a working-class family, Munnings rises to become one of the premiere British artists of his time, winning the affection of aristocratic beauty Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). But when Gilbert falls for Florence as well, a love triangle emerges with tragic consequences.