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The 8 Indies to Watch on VOD This April: ‘High-Rise,’ ‘The Invitation’ and More

The 8 Indies to Watch on VOD This April: 'High-Rise,' 'The Invitation' and More

Tumbledown (April 5)

Director: Sean Mewshaw
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Jason Sudeikis, Joe Manganiello, Dianna Agron, Blythe Danner, Richard Masur, Griffin Dunne, Maggie Castle
Criticwire Grade Average: B
Why is it a Must See? This is the second straight year that Jason Sudeikis has found himself at the center of a fresh spin on the rom-com, following last year’s “Sleeping with Other People.” (We’re not opposed to this becoming an annual tradition.) If you’re prone to enjoying stories of lost and newfound love, struggling writers and life in New England towns, this under-the-radar critical favorite from 2016’s opening months should scratch all those sweet spots. Given the film’s music hook, there’s also a lovely official Damien Jurado music video tie-in that you can watch here.

One More Time (April 8)

Director: Robert Edwards
Cast: Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Oliver Platt, Henry Kelemen, Sandra Berrios, Gavin McInnes, John Ellison Conlee
Criticwire Grade Average: B+
Why is it a Must See? Let us count the glorious things from the trailer above that you, too, can experience for yourself: Walken and Heard’s matching neon yellow shades, multiple versions of the greatest intonation of “The Flaming Lips” you’ll hear all month, Platt and Walken each delivering peak Dad jokes. Our Kate Erbland applauded the film after its Tribeca premiere, highlighting its pervasive charm and the way it shirks the regular rhythms of a past-his-prime crooner tale. Lest we forget, once Walken’s pants are one, he makes gold records.

The Invitation (April 8)

Director: Karyn Kusama
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, Mike Doyle, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge, Michelle Krusiec, Karl Yune, Jordi Vilasuso
Criticwire Grade Average: B
Why is it a Must See? If a movie ever has a group of acquaintances reuniting in closed quarters, odds are good that the evening in question is destined for tumult. Kusama’s “The Invitation” is constantly aware of this, playing with the idea that disaster is always hovering slightly above the gathered dinner party that anchors the film. Watching the peripheral characters try to maintain their composure in the face of a potential looming threat is the film’s strongest element, with all that tension building to an indelible final sequence.

Sky (April 15)

Director: Fabienne Berthaud
Cast: Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus, Gilles Lellouche, Lena Dunham, Q’orianka Kilcher, Joshua Jackson, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michelle Lombardo
Why is it a Must See? The third collaboration between Kruger and Berthaud, this is their first one set stateside. Bringing that outside eye to the southwest US keeps this from looking like the typical modern western. On the casting side, Reedus’ gruff cowboy and Kruger’s adventurous tourist make for an intriguing foil. With dependable supporting players like Jackson and Dunham, “Sky” looks to take the normal ingredients of a small town story and add a fresh perspective.

Holidays (April 15)

Director: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, Nicholas McCarthy, Gary Shore, Sarah Adina Smith, Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart, and Adam Egypt Mortimer
Cast: Seth Green, Clare Grant, Ruth Bradley, Sophie Traub, Jocelin Donahue, Harley Morenstein, Lorenza Izzo, and Andrew Bowen
Why is it a Must See? The latest horror anthology festival film will take no time going from its Tribeca premiere to living-room availability. Featuring the directors behind some recent genre favorites like Sarah Adina Smith (“The Midnight Swim”) and Kevin Kolsch (“Starry Eyes”), with a guest segment from Kevin Smith, this should give plenty of promising filmmakers a chance to flex their creative muscles. And the framing device of the individual segments taking place at various holidays means that there’s never a wrong time of year to eventually catch up with it.

Ip Man 3 (April 19)

Director: Wilson Yip
Cast: Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson, Lynn Hung, Yu Kang
Why is it a Must See? This latest installment in the martial arts trilogy represents something rare for action film franchises. Despite the new presence of a certain former boxing megastar, this is the same director/star combo from the previous two installments. Having Yip and Yen at the center of the action, gives this a throughline that will likely appease fans. For Ip Man completists and comparisons, this is also the first of the Yip/Yen films to come after Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster.” And Tyson isn’t the only once-legendary fighter making a return in the film – a CGI form of Ip Man’s most famous pupil, Bruce Lee, also highlights one of the film’s notable sequences.

High Rise (April 28)

Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Reece Shearsmith, Peter Ferdinando, Daniel Renton Skinner, James Purefoy
Criticwire Grade Average: B
Why is it a Must See? Ben Wheatley has already amassed a devoted fandom, beginning with the chilling slow-burn thriller “Kill List” back in 2011. (That last thirty seconds still giving anyone else nightmares?) After “Sightseers” and “A Field in England,” Wheatley has moved away from the countryside and into a self-contained architectural big city. With Hiddleston in the mix, this is a sleek class-struggle allegory that wields both a lush design and a sinister undercurrent.

Special Correspondents (April 29)

Director: Ricky Gervais
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Kelly Macdonald, Kevin Pollak, America Ferrera, Raul Castillo, Benjamin Bratt
Why is it a Must See? Netflix has approached their original film programming in an interesting, varied way. After making separate deals with Fukunaga and being in the general Adam Sandler business, “Special Correspondents” represents the first feature film for Ricky Gervais. Having already partnered on the series “Derek” (which, despite varied opinions on quality, has at least been popular with the television academy), the Netflix/Gervais combo now sees the comedian traveling abroad himself, this time playing part of a radio crew making spectacularly poor decisions in the Southern Hemisphere. Another potential bright spot: Eric Bana, who rarely gets a chance to show off his solid comedy chops.

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