Indies and docs and foreign films, Oh My! No tentpole franchises opening this weekend, but there is drama (“Nuit #1” from Canada), NC-17 gore (William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe”), dirty comedy (Denmark’s “Klown”), true stranger-than-fiction stories (docs “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Ai Weiwei”) and a fresh take on the romantic comedy that marks the welcome return of “Little Miss Sunshine” directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, written by actress Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks”). The most arthouse-flavored option would be Anne Émond’s “Nuit #1,” which despite being monologue-heavy is completely absorbing thanks to its leading performances.
“Nuit #1” (LA: August 10), Adopt Films, CAN | DIR: Anne Émond CAST: Catherine de Léan, Dimitri Storoge | 50% Rotten | Village Voice: “[it] lingers on the combination of hunger and awkwardness that attends the best one-nighters, showing the unsexy details that most movies elide: interruptions for bathroom breaks, fumbling for condoms, the clumsy logistics of sharing a shower…”
“Killer Joe” (LA: August 3), LD Entertainment, US | DIR: William Friedkin CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple | 86% Fresh | Time: “McConaughey’s fans might be shocked to see him in this role – more likely, they’d skip the opportunity – but they ought to give his performance a shot.”
“Klown” Drafthouse Films, DEN | DIR: Mikkel Nørgaard CAST: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle | 82% Fresh | TOH’s Matt Brennan: “By focusing on baby daddies and the women who nag them, the film undermines its bold language with some cowardly choices. If you’ve seen “Knocked Up,” you’ve seen a soft-core version of “Klown,” in which the ladies bray and scowl while the gents get to have all the fun.”
“Searching for Sugar Man” SPC, SWE/UK | DIR: Malik Bendjelloul | 93% Fresh | Film.com: “A documentary about fandom and freedom, information and misinformation, fleeting fame and everlasting art, it tackles all of these qualities with remarkable ease and – of course – a great soundtrack.” | TOH SXSW feature.
“Ruby Sparks” Fox Searchlight, US | DIR: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris CAST: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan, Chris Messina | 74% Fresh | Movieline: “It’s a smart counter-jab to the many movies out there that put forth the myth that the world is full of quirky angels in ballet flats who are just waiting for some morose protagonist to come along in need of their love.”