Indiewire has weeded through the films hitting VOD this month to bring you 10 to look out for. Variety was key in selection, so you’ll find a horror flick headlined by Christian Slater, a high school drama starring Adrien Brody, a romantic comedy set in Scotland, a hockey comedy from one of the writers of “Superbad” and a documentary that delves into New York Fashion Week.
Here’s the 10 indie films to watch on VOD this February, in alphabetical order:
“The Decoy Bride” (Available February 3)
Alice Eve (“Sex and the City 2”), David Tennant (“Fright Night”) and Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”) headline a great ensemble in this mapcap British comedy. Eve stars as Lara Tyler, a movie star who flees to a remote Scottish island to wed her fiance (Tennant) in peace. When the paparazzi catch wind of her whereabouts, Lara’s manager (“Ugly Betty” star Michael Urie) steps in to orchestrate a fake wedding with a decoy bride. Enter Mcdonald as local girl Katie to shake things up.
“Detachment” (Available February 24)
“American History X” director Tony Kaye is back with this all-star timely drama that centers on Henry Barthes (Adrien Brody), a substitute teacher who makes it a point to avoid emotional connection with his students and colleagues. Rounding out the stellar ensemble is Marcia Gay Harden as the school principal, Lucy Liu as a frustrated guidance counselor, along with supporting turns from Christina Hendricks, Blythe Danner, James Caan and Tim Blake Nelson.
“Dragonslayer” (Available Now)
From indie maverick Christine Vachon, comes “Dragonslayer,” an intimate portrait of 23-year-old skate legend Josh “Skreech” Sandoval that won the Grand Jury Prize Winner for Best Documentary at last year’s SXSW. “The measured vérité style of Frederick Wiseman meets the visual polish of Terrence Malick in ‘Dragonslayer,’ a fascinating slice of crude Americana from first-time director Tristan Patterson,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review of the documentary. “However, it stands alone with an infectious hard rock attitude. Patterson doesn’t have the epic aims of those filmmakers but equals their respective abilities to create thoroughly involving environments, pitting gorgeous imagery against cold reality with a delicacy rarely seen in the nonfiction form.”
“Goon” (Available February 24)
From “Knocked Up” star and “Superbad” co-writer Evan Goldberg comes this hockey comedy starring Seann William Scott as a slacker with a knack for brawling who gets approached by a minor league hockey coach to be the “muslcle” on the rink. Problem is, this slacker can’t skate.
“Gnarr” (Available February 7)
In 2009, with Iceland falling on hard times, local comedian Jón Gnarr came up with an unlikely solution by inventing the ‘Best Party’ and running for office to mock both left and right parties. And then he won. The documentary “Gnarr” recounts his entertaining journey on eventually becoming the mayor of Reykjavik despite all odds.
“The Other F Word” (Available Now)
Even punk rockers grow up, as evidenced in this raucous documentary that delves into the lives of a group of veteran punks as they adapt to the challenges of fatherhood. “In ‘The Other F Word,’ Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ ultra-cutesy and insightful documentary about aging punk rock icons mellowing into fatherhood, her subjects talk about the good old days as if they briefly opened a window into an impossibly hedonistic utopia,” Eric Kohn wrote in his positive review of the film. “‘You could do any fucked up thing you wanted to do,’ sighs one, by which he really means everything he can’t do now. His tone defines the movie.”
“Playback” (Available February 3)
Christian Slater makes a return to the screen in this spooky horror flick that centers on a group of high school students on a mission to unearth their town’s infamous past. Their quest takes a dark turn when they unwittingly unlock a dark secret, unleashing a spirit that takes possession of its victims.
“Return” (Available February 28)
In this riveting drama that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Freaks and Geeks” star Linda Cardellini gives a career-best turn as a soldier who returns to her family, but is unable to fit back in with society. Michael Shannon plays her understanding husband who cannot relate to her experience and subsequently grows distant. (Go here for an interview Indiewire did with Cardellini at Cannes).
“The Tents” (Available Now)
Fashion documentaries are all the rage right now with “Bill Cunningham New York” and “The September Issue” crossing over with non-doc loving audiences. This latest one, “The Tents,” chronicles the history and evolution of New York Fashion Week, from its beginnings to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week incarnation today. A who’s who of fashion — including Betsey Johnson, Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Nina Garvia, Zac Posen and Tommy Hilfiger — make appearances to attest to the ongoing relevance of the event.
“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” (Available Now)
Fresh off its Sundance premiere, this gonzo feature film adaptation of the cult sketch comedy program “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” hits VOD a full month before it opens theatrically. “‘Billion Dollar Movie’ opens with a slew of abrupt transitions and goofy exchanges best described as stimuli rather than any more precise kind of humor,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review out of Park City. “It’s only once Heidecker and Wareheim (also the movie’s directors) attempt to tell a story with their onscreen characters that their full aim becomes clear: ‘Billion Dollar Movie,’ at its best, inherits the throne left vacant by ‘Dumb and Dumber.'”