Independent Days

We’ve got some great indies to look for. Here’s a site to help:

As do most movie sites, it has reviews, articles, lists, and interviews.

The reviews on this site are good. They are different because their critics go just a little deeper down beneath the surface and mention a movie’s themes. If you play it right, you can easily skim the spoilers–there are telling intros to sentences and paragraphs that herald the coming of spoilers. See for yourself in my three reviews of movie reviews below:

1. Mistress America

Review by Bernard Boo (Think it’s a pseudonym?)

Mistress America is the critics’ new cause celebre—a critic’s darling, as it were.

Plot: Tracey is a college student who becomes infatuated, nay obsessed, with her future step-sister Brooke, ten years her banner-mistress-america-film_2senior. “Mistress America is a tale of two women out of sync with the real world, stumbling through life until they bump into each other and tumble downhill.”

Spoilers skimmable? Yes. Especially with sentence intros like this: “The movie lifts off in its third act….”

Bottom line: 8/10 (critic darling alert). The acting is superb. “The dynamic between the two characters is rich and layered and hilarious.”

Theme: intelligence vs. “jubilance and self-worth”

Interesting tidbit: this is the second movie that director (Noah Baumbach) co-wrote with his star, Greta Gerwig; they worked together in 2012’s Francis Ha.

2. Digging for Fire

Review by C.J. Prince

Plot: directed by Joe Swanberg, this movie is about a married couple, played by Rosemarie DeWitt and Jake Johnson who are housesitting for one of her clients (She’s a masseuse.) They bicker so much that they spend a weekend apart. Each hangs out with their friends and are put into similar, tempting situations. This is a setup for a lot of talk among the characters.

Spoiilers Skimmable? Yes, it’s a short and sweet review. You do have to be careful though.

Bottom Line: 7.5/10. I love this sentence:

“What makes Digging for Fire such an enjoyable yet fleeting experience is how Swanberg lets these ideas flow organically into the film through his terrific cast….” I did the bolding–isn’t that a great phrase?!

Theme: individuality vs. partnership. Can two spouses in a long-term marriage retain their independence and growth?

diggingInteresting tidbit 1: what maketh an indie? Without posing the question, Prince poses this very question. There are known actors in the movie (Rosmarie DeWitt, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom, for example), Prince points out, so how could it be an indie? But, Prince answers, Swanberg’s style of movie-making qualifies it as one: Swanberg’s low-key character-based storytelling, only with known actors “thrown into the mix.”

Tidbit 2: Director Swanberg is so prolific that in 2011, he made six films.

3. Memories of the Sword

Review by Michael Nazarewycz

Plot: This Korean film takes place in medieval South Korea, where a teenage girl’s parents are killed. Her “surrogate mother,” has been blinded; previously she was a “sword master.” She is, however, able to train the girl to become a sword master, with the intent that she will kill the murderers of her parents when she turns 20. Yet the surrogate herself is one of the murderers.

Spoilers skimmable? Yes, you just have to watch for those intros. For example, two spoiler-laden paragraphs are introduced with:

“In what is probably the best scene of the movie….”

Bottom line: 9/10. This movie is nothing short of “remarkable.” Every part of the story has layers, including characterizations. It is a genre bender–“a period drama….that includes action, romance, and pathos.”

sword2Themes: “history and destiny”

Interesting tidbit: Did you know that there is a sub-genre of “Korean period dramas”? My gut tells me the answer is no. You ethnocentric, ignorant so-and-so (no offense)! I had no idea either. Nazarewycz loves these types of films and declares Memories of the Swords one of his favorites.

Tidbit no. 2: Byun-Hun Lee plays one of the assassins. He’s a South Korean superstar who has had parts in US movies (GI Joe franchise and one of the Terminators). Sounds like Hollywood doesn’t know how to use his talents.

Nazarewycz’s gushing has worked on me. I am SO ready to see this movie!


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