By Steve Greene | Indiewire April 4, 2014 at 1:3PM
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. from Wednesday through today, Friday, April 4th. Synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise.
Director: Richard Shepard
Cast: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Emilia Clarke, Demian Bichir, Demián Bichir, Matthew C. Martino
Synopsis: "Released from prison twelve years after taking the fall to protect his benefactor, Mr. Fontaine, Dom admits to 'anger problems,' which he vents as soon as he tastes the heady oxygen of freedom. The years of bottled frustration and anger and pent-up emotions are released like a champagne cork before he is summoned to France to see the big boss. Accompanied by his longtime sidekick, given a beautiful turn by the incomparable Richard E. Grant, Dom luxuriates in the bucolic pleasures of a country estate whilst also ogling the expansive allure of Fontaine's high-class moll." [Toronto International Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (7 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York and Los Angeles (26 more cities to follow on April 11th)
Director: Chris Eska
Cast: Ashton Sanders, Tishuan Scott, Keston John, Bill Oberst, Jr., Christine Horn, Alfonso Freeman, Jonathan Brooks, Raven LeDeatte
Synopsis: "On the outskirts of the Civil War, a boy is sent north by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York (with openings in Houston, Austin, Chicago and LA in the coming weeks)
10 Rules for Sleeping Around
Director: Leslie Greif
Cast: Tammin Sursok, Virginia Williams, Jesse Bradford, Chris Marquette, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Bryan Callen
Synopsis: "10 Rules for Sleeping Around tells the comedic story of two young couples; one married, one planning to be, all best friends, dealing with the temptation of infidelity... both real and imagined. Ben and Kate are on the verge of marriage but waiting for Ben's company to take off before committing. Their best friends Vince and Cameron have been married for years and are finally sharing the secret that keeps their relationship exciting—the ten rules for sleeping around."
Director: Declan Lowney
Cast: Steve Coogan, Sean Pertwee, Anna Maxwell Martin, Nigel Lindsay, Simon Greenall, Colm Meaney, Felicity Montagu, Phil Cornwell, Darren Boyd, Tim Key
Synopsis: "Famous DJ Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) finds himself at the center of a siege, when a disgruntled fellow DJ (Colm Meaney) decides to hold their station hostage after learning that he’s getting sacked by the new management."
Criticwire Grade Average: B (12 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York, Los Angeles and Ottawa (New Orleans, Albuquerque, Berkeley, San Diego, Denver, Scottsdale and Waterloo to follow next week; various through end of May)
Director: Matty Beckerman
Cast: Katherine Sigimund, Corey Eid, Riley Polanski, Jillian Clare, Jeff Bowser, Peter Holden, Walter Phelan, Jordan Turchin, Kelley Hinman, Ben Sharples
Synopsis: "For over 800 years, people have been disappearing on or around Brown Mountain, NC. All of these abductions have happened around sightings of THE BROWN MOUNTAIN LIGHTS."
Theatrical Release Cities: Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Greensboro, Charlotte, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, DC, Baltimore
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Georges St. Pierre, Robert Redford, Maximiliano Hernández, Alan Dale, Stan Lee
Synopsis: "After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America is living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (10 reviews)
*Wide Theatrical Release*
Frankie and Alice
Director: Geoffrey Sax
Cast: Halle Berry, Stellan Skarsgård, Phylicia Rashad, Matt Frewer, Chandra Wilson
Synopsis: "A drama centered on a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality."
Criticwire Grade Average: C+ (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: Various (including Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, Philadelphia and St. Louis)
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
Director: Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine
Cast (voices): Cate Blanchett, Sebastian Koch, Thomas Kretschmann, Diane Kruger, Connie Nielsen, Josh Radnor, Gustaf Skarsgård
Synopsis: "Darwin meets Hitchcock in this true-crime tale of paradise found and lost. The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden is a fascinating documentary portrait of a 1930s murder mystery as strange and alluring as the famous archipelago itself. Fleeing conventional society, a Berlin doctor and his mistress start a new life on uninhabited Floreana Island. But after the international press sensationalizes the exploits of the Galapagos’ 'Adam and Eve,' others flock there—including a self-styled Swiss Family Robinson and a gun-toting Viennese Baroness and her two lovers. Clashing personalities are aggravated by the island community’s lusty free-love ethos, and when some of the islanders disappear, suspicions of murder hang in the air leaving an unsolved mystery which remains the subject of local lore today."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York (San Francisco on April 11th, Los Angeles on April 18th, various through end of May)
Director: Denis Henry Hennelly
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Mark Webber, Ben McKenzie, Kerry Bishé, Scott Mescudi, Gaby Hoffmann, Caroline Dhavernas
Synopsis: "James and Lily live off the grid, raising their young daughter in a cocoon of comfort and sustainability. When a mysterious mass text ripples its way across the country, triggering a crippling, apocalyptic cyber attack, their home transitions from sheltered modern oasis to a fortress for the estranged old friends that show up at their door for protection and community. The unexpected reunion--abundant with revelry and remembrances, generously enhanced by organic wine and weed--is quickly undermined by the slights of the past, the spark of lingering flirtations and the threat of a locally grown new world order." [LA Film Festival]
Criticwire Grade Average: B (4 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: Boulder, Cincinnati, Detroit, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Monterey, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa
In the Blood
Director: John Stockwell
Cast: Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Luis Guzmán, Amaury Nolasco, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Treat Williams, Stephen Lang, Danny Trejo
Synopsis: "When her husband goes missing during their Caribbean vacation, a woman sets off on her own to take down the men she thinks are responsible."
Director: Anthony Chen
Cast: Yann Yann Yeo, Chen Tianwen, Angeli Bayani, Tian Wen Chen, Koh Jia Ler
Synopsis: "Set in Singapore, ILO ILO chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many other Filipino women in search of a better life. The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship. Still, Teresa and Jiale, the young and troublesome boy she cares for, soon form a bond. Their unique connection continues to develop and soon she becomes an unspoken part of the family. But this is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is starting to be felt in all the region…"
Criticwire Grade Average: B (3 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York (Los Angeles on April 11th)
Director: Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad
Cast: Serinda Swan, Ray Park, Ele Bardha, Walter Phelan, Dominic Rains, Milica Govich, Danny Mooney, Ron Causey, Shaun Paul Piccinino, Sonny Sison, Corlandos Scott, Bill Lumbert, John P. Chittick, Bryan Jones, Richard Mandell, Sabrina Dungan, Ralph A. Recchia, Faran Tahir, William Atherton
Synopsis: "Shawn, an automotive designer, enjoys an idyllic life with his new wife Jasmine until it is interrupted by a cryptic message. The message warns of imminent danger and a curse that has afflicted his family for generations. Having lost his parents as a child, Shawn doesn't believe this unsettling revelation of his past....until strange things start to happen. Unable to explain the threats and fearing for his life, Shawn turns to Gabriel and Father Westhoff, a mysterious duo claiming to have answers. With their help, and the aid of Ali, a shackled mental patient, Shawn discovers that there is far more to this world than he ever imagined. These revelations set Shawn on a collision course with the unknown, and he alone must find the strength protect his family and confront the ancient evil that is hunting them."
Theatrical Release Cities: Various (in 22 states and Guam)
Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Director: Lars von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Connie Nielsen, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Michael Pas, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier
Synopsis: "The continuation of Joe's sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adult life and what led to her being in Seligman's care."
Criticwire Grade Average: B- (17 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: Various (including Atlanta, Austin, Indianapolis, Nashville, San Diego and Scottsdale)
On the Other Side of the Tracks
Director: David Charhon
Cast: Omar Sy, Laurent Lafitte, Sabrina Ouazani, Lionel Abelanski, Youssef Hajdi, Maxime Motte, Léo Léothier, André Marcon, Zabou Breitman, Patrick Bonnel, Roch Leibovici, Rebecca Azan, Tchewk Essafi, Patrick Kodjo Topou
Synopsis: "Two mismatched cops team up to investigate the murder of a business mogul's wife."
Director: Emmanuelle Bercot, Fred Cavayé, Alexandre Courtes, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Eric Lartigau and Gilles Lellouche
Cast: Gilles Lellouche, Guillaume Canet, Aina Clotet, Jean Dujardin, Charles Gérard, Rebecca Jameson, Sandrine Kiberlain, Alexandra Lamy, Mathilda May, Géraldine Nakache, Isabelle Nanty, Manu Payet, Clara Ponsot, Lionel Abelanski
Synopsis: "A series of short films set around the feeling of infidelity."
Under the Skin
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Robert J. Goodwin, Kryštof Hádek, Paul Brannigan, Michael Moreland, Scott Dymond, Jeremy McWilliams
Synopsis: "An alien in human form is on a journey through Scotland."
Criticwire Grade Average: A- (26 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York and Los Angeles (23 cities to follow on April 11th)
The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld
Director: Errol Morris
Cast: Donald Rumsfeld
Synopsis: "Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War, Standard Operating Procedure) continues his exploration of post-9/11 American imperialism with this riveting, feature-length interview with notorious former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld."
Criticwire Grade Average: B+ (24 reviews)
Theatrical Release Cities: New York and Los Angeles
Director: Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky
Synopsis: "Two-thirds of our body consists of water; two-thirds of the earth is covered by this fundamental element. Water connects people – whether they drink together, bathe in holy waters, or harness the energy of rivers and oceans. Twenty different sites in ten countries comprise this film. The poisonous blue rivulets of the tanneries in Bangladesh are as much a part of this water cycle as the untouched lakes of British Columbia. Humans have always taken pains to secure the sources of this liquid resource, and now they represent a lasting threat to it as a result of overuse. At the vast construction site that is the Chinese Xiluodu dam, the cycle of life would appear to have momentarily come to a complete standstill." [Berlin International Film Festival]
Theatrical Release Cities: New York (Cambridge and Washington, DC on April 11th; 19 other cities through the beginning of May)
Missed last week's? Here are all the releases from the weekend of March 28th.