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The 11 Indies to Watch on VOD This October: ‘Beasts of No Nation,’ ‘Nasty Baby’ and More

The 11 Indies to Watch on VOD This October: 'Beasts of No Nation,' 'Nasty Baby' and More

READ MORE: The 15 Indie Films You Must See This October: ‘Room,’ ‘Victoria’ and More

Addicted to Fresno” (October 2)

Judy Greer is normally the level-headed sidekick, and Natasha Lyonne the crazy mess, but Jamie Babbit is changing things up significantly in “Addicted to Fresno.” The comedy, which premiered earlier this year at SXSW,  runs far away from Hollwood typecasting by starring Greer as a sex-addicted wreck and Lyonne as her strangely optimistic sister. The film follows the pair — Greer’s Shannon and Lyonne’s Martha — as the former comes out of sex rehab and gets a job as a maid at the hotel where the latter works. After Shannon relapses and accidentally kills a hotel guest, her and Martha go on an all-out adventure to cover up the crime. “Addicted to Fresno” marks the second collaboration between Lyonne and Babbit after the 1999 cult hit, “But I’m a Cheerleader.” The comedy also stars Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, Jessica St. Clair, Molly Shannon, Michael Hitchcock and Ron Livingston.

Finders Keepers” (October 2)

Nothing is quite as unsettling as finding something unexpected, but Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s “Finders Keepers” takes this notion to an absurd degree. The story of finding someone else’s limb in a grill, the doc explores this strangely true story through the eyes of the two men involved: John Wood and Shannon Wisnant. When Wood’s amputated foot is found in a grill sold at a North Carolina auction, he finds himself dead center in a media frenzy. While he finds this attention to be his one shot at doing something meaningful in his disappointing life, things take a turn when the leg’s buyer, Shannon Whisnant, sues to regain its custody. Wood’s drug addiction, initiated by his dysfunctional family, worsens and forces him to live on the streets. One more twist gives Wood one last shot at being whole. Mixing stranger-than-fiction twists with a humane pulse that resonates on every level, “Finders Keepers” never fails to take you by surprise.

Manson Family Vacation” (October 6)

Earlier this year, Mark and Jay Duplass inked a multi-picture production deal with independent distributor The Orchard under the brothers’ exclusive SVOD Netflix pact. Cut to several months later, and we’re about to get the first movie under the ambitious agreement: “Manson Family Vacation.” Written and directed by J. Davis, the movie stars indie stalwart Jay Duplass as Nick Morgan, a loving family man and successful lawyer in Los Angeles. When his estranged brother (Linus Phillips) shows up for a surprise visit with nothing but a backpack and an unusual plan, Nick joins him on a road trip to visit the infamous Manson Family murder sites. Nothing says sibling bonding quite like homicide.

The Final Girls” (October 9)

Navigating the collision of horror and comedy can be quite the tricky task — the results have been wildly inventive (“Shaun of the Dead”) and downright boring (“Burying the Ex”) in the past — but Todd Strauss-Schulson’s upcoming comedy, “The Final Girls,” should have no problem being a resounding success based on its genre-bending premise and irresistible female-fronted cast. The movie centers on Max, a high school senior who somehow gets transported with her friends into a 1980’s horror film that starred her late mother. While trapped inside the movie, Max ends up reuniting with her mother, and together they must avoid every horror cliche in the book, from hormonal camp counselors to machete-armed killers. The film stars Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev, Alia Shawkat, Thomas Middleditch and Adam Devine.

“A Ballerina’s Tale” (October 14)

2015 is shaping up to be quite the banner year for ballet dancer Misty Copeland. In June, Copeland went from being the American Ballet Theater’s first African American female soloist in two decades to becoming the first African American woman ever promoted to principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history. Now, her inspirational life story and pioneering achievements in the dance community are the subject of writer-director Nelson George’s uplifting doc, “A Ballerina’s Tale.” The movie is a behind-the-scenes look at Copeland’s day-to-day life as one of the biggest names in ballet, and it includes enough pieces from Copeland’s career to prove why she’s such an awe-inspiring trailblazer. 

Beasts of No Nation” (October 16)

Although Cary Fukunaga broke into the mainstream with his acclaimed, Emmy-winning direction of “True Detective” Season 1, indie audiences have been fans of his for quite some time thanks to his striking features “Sin Nombe” and “Jane Eyre.” Fortunately, the success of HBO’s crime drama has given Fukunaga his biggest canvas yet as a writer-director for his new drama, “Beasts of No Nation.” As audiences discovered at festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto, the drama is a harrowingly visceral experience that follows a young boy (Abraham Attah, in one of the all time greatest screen debuts) who is forced to become a child solider under the guidance of a vicious warlord (Idris Elba). Marking Netflix’s first official feature film, “Beasts” easily the most enticing gamble of the fall season.

Experimenter” (October 16)

Just a couple of months after the release of “The Stanford Prison Experiment” comes yet another dramatization of one of the psychology field’s most pioneering studies. Written and directed by Michael Almereyda, “Experimenter” covers the story of famous psychologist Stanley Milgram, who is best known for his obedience experiments in the ’60s and ’70s. The so-called “Milgram experiment” showed subjects were surprisingly complicit in shocking unwilling patients after being ordered to do so. “Experimenter” depicts the remarkable trials while also exploring the psychologist’s own mind. The film stars Peter Sarsgaard as Milgram, along with Winona Ryder, Kellan Lutz, John Leguizamo and Taryn Manning.

Meadowland” (October 23)

Like Barry Sonnenfeld, Wally Pfister and many more before her, Reed Morano is making the jump from esteemed cinematographer (her work includes “Frozen River,” “Kill Your Darlings” and more) to feature film director with the upcoming drama, “Meadowland.”  The film screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and stars Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Elisabeth Moss. In an eye-opening performance full of vulnerability and unhinged emotions, Olivia Wilde turns in her best work yet as Sarah, a mother who unravels and puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations after an unimaginable loss. Wilson plays her husband, who responds to tragedy by losing sight of his morals. As the two fall deep into despair, Morano creates a fever dream of a hallucinatory breakdown. 

“Extraordinary Tales” (October 23)

What happens when Edgar Allan Poe meets visionary film icons like Christopher Lee, Guillermo del Toro, Rogert Corman and Bela Lugosi? The results are more spectacular than one could possible imagine as proved by “Extraordinary Tales.” The anthology film reimagines five of Poe’s most bone-chilling stories, each in a different style of eye-popping animation. The five stories to be reborn on screen are “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of Red Death” and “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar.” The stories are narrated by some the aforementioned gentleman, which makes “Extraordinary Tales” a Halloween dream come true.

Nasty Baby” (October 30)

Kristen Wiig continues her unusual and engrossing indie career in Sebastián Silva’s tonally unpredictable comedy-drama, “Nasty Baby.” Set in Brooklyn, the film follows a gay couple (played by Silva and Tunde Adebimpe) who are trying to have a baby with the help of their friend, Polly (Wiig). While all three are excited to have a newborn, their own insecurities and the unexpected harassment from a neighbor (Reg E. Cathey) threaten to derail their life plans. What starts as an earnest comedy about parenting shockingly twists into a nightmarish drama, and it’s the film’s bonkers plot development that shocked audiences earlier this year at its Sundance premiere. The film marks Silva’s third English-language feature, following “Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus” and “Magic Magic.” Alia Shawkat and Mark Margolis co-star.

Bare” (October 30)

Dianna Agron leaves her sheltered life behind in Natalie Leite’s directorial debut, “Bare.” In the drama, Agron’s Sarah falls in love with Pepper, a drug-dealing drifter played by Paz De La Huerta. As Sarah joins Pepper’s world, she disconnects from old friends and starts to strip at the club where Pepper sells drugs. She ultimately finds herself trapped in a double life and quickly realizes what happens when real life collides with fantasy, a theme that’s echoed in Leite’s evocative and sensual work behind the camera. 

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