By Indiewire | Indiewire March 5, 2014 at 12:44PM
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.
"Blood Ties" (March 21)
French heartthrob Guillaume Canet ("Tell No One") is back in the director's chair with "Blood Ties." The film, written by Canet and James Gray, takes place in 1974 and follows a fifty-year-old ex-convict (Clive Owen) who's drawn back into crime following his release from prison, putting him in conflict with his brother (Billy Crudup), a rising New York City cop. "Blood Ties" screened Out of Competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, appearing alongside Gray's Competition film "The Immigrant." The film also stars Zoe Saldana and Mila Kunis as a pair of love interests, Marion Cotillard as Owen's ex-wife, and James Caan as the brothers' father.
"Mistaken for Strangers" (March 28)
The National are one of the most respected indie rock groups on the
planet, but that casts a hell of a shadow over the ambitions of anyone
related to them. Enter Tom Berninger: slacker, metalhead, aspiring
horror filmmaker and younger brother to the National's lead-singer, Matt
Berninger, who invited Tom to work as a roadie on the group's world
tour. The younger Berninger apparently neglected many of his
responsibilities along the way, but his insistence on filming everything
led to the rock documentary "Mistaken for Strangers."
"The Face of Love" (March 13)
Four-time Oscar nominated actress Annette Bening, who last appeared in Sally Potter's moving "Ginger & Rosa," stars as a woman who has recently lost her husband (Ed Harris) of 30 years, the love of her life, as seen through flashback scenes at the beginning of the trailer. As a result, Bening's character is inconsolable and without purpose, barely living. That is, until she meets her husband's "double" (also Ed Harris) who slowly revives her, despite the resistance and confusion she faces from her family and friends.
"The French Minister" (March 21)
Doors slam and papers fly in this off-the-wall comedy about French politics directed by master filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier ("The Princess of Montpensier"). Tavernier's blistering assault -- based on the award-winning graphic novel by Abel Lanzac, a former government speech writer -- zeroes in on fictional Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandre Taillard de Vorms. A man confident in France's importance on the world stage, de Vorms takes on American neo-cons, corrupt Russians and the opportunistic Chinese while his speech writer (Raphael Personnaz) endures the eccentricities of his megalomaniacal boss and his sycophantic entourage.
"Finding Vivian Maier" (March 31)
This documentary, which Killer Films is developing into a narrative feature film, uncovers Vivian Maier, a nanny who secretly took over 100,000 photographs. The photographs were eventually discovered decades later, hidden in several storage lockers and Maier is now ranked among the 20th century’s greatest photographers. The documentary shows her strange life and art, revealing never before seen photographs, films, and interviews with dozens who thought they knew her.
"Nymphomaniac - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2" (Vol. 1, March 6) (Vol. 2, March 20)
Before opening theatrically, you can watch Lars von Trier's latest from the the comfort of your own home. According to distributor Magnolia, "Nymphomaniac: Part One" is the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is discovered badly beaten in an alley by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard), who takes her into his home. As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood (portrayed in flashback by Stacy Martin). "Part One" also stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier. "Part Two" picks up with the story of Joe’s adulthood, and stars Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth and Jean-Marc Barr in addition to Gainsbourg, Skarsgard, Martin and LaBeouf.
"Maladies" (March 25)
A story about a successful actor who is forced to retire at a young age because of a mental illness seems like a sort of joke for someone like James Franco, who at his young age has done more than most do in a lifetime. Still, the fact that this the film is directed by mysterious multimedia artist Carter and stars a wonderful cast including Catherine Keener and David Strathairrn bodes well. Look out for Franco's on screen sister Fallon Goodson, twisted and hilarious in the trailer.
"Veronica Mars" (March 14)
The movie version of "Veronica Mars,"
directed by series creator Rob Thomas, will bring back
the title character, played by Kristen Bell, seven years after the show
on which she solved cases as a teenage detective was canceled. The film
represents a triumph of fandom over network decision-making, but more
importantly for many Indiewire readers, it is the result of a
record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that showed that crowdfunding could
be used to raise several million dollars for a movie project -- though
having star power seems key to making that work. The film features many other cast members from the series, including Jason
Dohring, Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorino, Ryan Hansen and
"The Den" (March 14)
"Hey I'm Elizabeth" "What's up?" "Nothing much, I'm actually just trying to meet some new friends." "I'll be your friend." Cue music. The trailer for "The Den", a horror film about a girl (Melanie Papalia) who witnesses a murder on a video chatting website and becomes hunted, opens a frightening window into a world that smashes the ideological view that all people are inherently good, and that everyone is safe behind their computer screens. "The web is a window into your life and the lives of others," is the text that comes up in between cuts of the trailer, grounding the audience in the reality that they can see, and be seen. In a world where #crime is a trending topic, how many people can you get to hashtag? Directed by Zachary Donohue, the film uses the webcam on the computer and found footage cinematography to further enclose the viewer into this technological game of cat and mouse.