Top Independent Films Fall 2013

Directed by Oscar-nominated James Franco from a screenplay by James Franco and Matt Rager, As I Lay Dying is adapted from the 1930 classic American novel by William Faulkner. The story chronicles the Bundren family as they traverse the Mississippi countryside to bring the body of their deceased mother Addie to her hometown for burial. Addie’s husband Anse and their children, Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, and the youngest one Vardaman, leave the farm on a carriage with her coffin - each affected by Addie’s death in a profound and different way. Their road trip to Jefferson, some forty miles away, is disrupted by every antagonistic force of nature or man: flooded rivers, injury and accident, a raging barn fire, and not least of all -- each individual character’s personal turmoil and inner commotion which at times threaten the fabric of the family more than any outside force.


Therese (Elizabeth Olsen of "Martha Marcy May Marlene"), a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton of the “Harry Potter” franchise), by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (two-time Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jessica Lange). Therese spends her days confined behind the counter of a small shop and her evenings watching Madame play dominos with an eclectic group. After she meets her husband's alluring friend, Laurent (Oscar Isaac of “Drive”), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences. 


Award-winning filmmaker Nimród Antal (Predators, Kontroll) creates a groundbreaking 3-D motion picture event, Metallica Through the Never. The music-driven feature film combines a bold narrative and spectacular live-performance footage of one of the most popular and influential rock bands in history to produce a bracing, raw andvisceral cinematic experience. Emerging young star Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines, Kill Your Darlings, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) portrays Trip, a young roadie sent on an urgent mission during Metallica’s roaring live set in front of a sold-out arena.

As the band performs its most iconic songs for thousands of their fans in a never-before-seen performance created exclusively for the film, Trip is dispatched outside the arena to meet a disabled delivery truck and recover a mysterious item beingtransported to the show. But the seemingly simple assignment turns into a surreal adventure when his car is hit by an out-of-control driver. Trip, dazed and bruised, climbs out of his van only to find himself pitched in the middle of a tense standoff between angry protesters and charging riot police. In the ensuing mayhem, a vicious masked horseman sets his murderous eye on Trip while delivering indiscriminate deathblows to rioters and cops alike. Fleeing through the desolate, post-apocalyptic urban streetscape, Trip has only his wits toprotect him as he attempts to deliver the band’s precious cargo and avoid becoming the horseman’s next victim. 

Concussion MovieWritten and directed by Stacie Passon in an auspicious directing debut effort, and produced by Rose Troche, CONCUSSION is a poignant sexual examination of Abby (Robin Weigert in a star making breakout turn), a forty something married wealthy, lesbian housewife who, after suffering a blow to the head from getting smacked by her son’s baseball—walks around every corner of her suburban life to confront a mounting desire for something else. She takes on a new project and purchases a pied-à-terre in Manhattan. Walking around the city streets reminds Abby what it feels like to be sexy, and her pent-up libido shakes off its inhibitions. Her newfound desire though is not a take-home item, so Abby inaugurates a double life as a high end escort. Palpably sensual and deliciously contained, CONCUSSION is a keen observation of the complicated contours of midlife crisis.


Grace Unplugged MovieGRACE UNPLUGGED is an inspirational movie starring Amanda "AJ" Michalka as 18-year-old Christian singer/songwriter, Grace Rose Trey. Beautiful, highly talented and restless, Grace is undiscovered outside church, where she performs each Sunday with her gifted father, Johnny. A former rock star, Johnny Trey charted a Billboard number one single 20 years ago. When the hits stopped coming, he crash-landed hard before finding Christ and starting a new life for his family, far from the Hollywood Hills. One day without warning, Grace leaves for Los Angeles. She has landed a record deal with the help of Johnny's ruthless former manager and producer, "Mossy" Mostin. Mossy sees in Grace a potential pop superstar. Cutting off contact with her parents, Grace seems prepared to walk away from her Christian faith and music to achieve her long-suppressed fantasy of Hollywood superstardom. Will the experience cause her to reject her faith, or rediscover it?



THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER AND PETE MovieFrom Codeblack Films and Lionsgate. During a sweltering Fall in New York City, 13-year-old Mister’s (Brooks) hard-living mother (Hudson) is apprehended by the police, leaving the boy and nine-year-old Pete (Dizon) alone to forage for food while dodging child protective services and the destructive scenarios of the Brooklyn projects. Faced with more than any child can be expected to bear, the resourceful Mister nevertheless feels he is an unstoppable force against seemingly unmovable obstacles. But what really keeps the pair in the survival game is much more Mister’s vulnerability than his larger-than-life attitude.

12 Years a Slave12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.



All is Lost MovieAcademy Award winner Robert Redford stars in All Is Lost, an open-water thriller about one man's battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Written and directed by Academy Award nominee J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) with a musical score by Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), the film is a gripping, visceral and powerfully moving tribute to ingenuity and resilience. Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner's intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.

Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.



Kill Your Darlings MovieKILL YOUR DARLINGS is the previously untold story of murder that brought together a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster) at Columbia University in 1944, providing the spark that would lead to their Beat Revolution. This is the true story of friendship and murder that led to the birth of an entire generation.



Blue is the Warmest Color MovieBLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR centers on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle (Exarchopoulos) who is climbing to adulthood and dreams of experiencing her first love. A handsome male classmate falls for her hard, but an unsettling erotic reverie upsets the romance before it begins. Adèle imagines that the mysterious, blue-haired girl she encountered in the street slips into her bed and possesses her with an overwhelming pleasure. That blue-haired girl is a confident older art student named Emma (Seydoux), who will soon enter Adèle's life for real, making way for an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade and is touchingly universal in its depiction.


Dallas Buyers Club Movie PosterMatthew McConaughey stars in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts - who he once would have shunned - and established a hugely successful "buyers' club." Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience.



Diana Movie PosterDIANA takes audiences into the private realm of one the world's most iconic and inescapably public women -- the Princess of Wales, Diana (two-time Oscar® nominee NAOMI WATTS) -- in the last two years of her meteoric life. On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of her sudden death, acclaimed director Oliver Hirschbiegel (the Oscar®-nominated Downfall) explores Diana's final rite of passage: a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (NAVEEN ANDREWS, "Lost," The English Patient), the human complications of which reveal the Princess's climactic days in a compelling new light. 

Hirschbiegel directs from a screenplay by award-winning playwright Stephen Jeffreys, inspired by the book Diana: Her Last Love by Kate Snell, which was in turn drawn from extensive interviews with close friends and confidantes. The result is a window into the tumultuous, change-filled period from 1995-1997, in the wake of Diana's shattering divorce from Prince Charles, and at the moment when she stood on the cusp of a different life, evolving into a global humanitarian, a master of maneuvering fame and becoming her own woman. 

Best Man Down Movie PosterWhen their obnoxious and over-served best man, Lumpy (Labine) unexpectedly dies at their destination wedding in Phoenix, bride and groom Kristin (Weixler) and Scott (Long) are forced to cancel their honeymoon and fly home to the snowy Midwest to arrange for his funeral. But when they arrive they realize that there was a lot more to their friend than met the eye. 




How I Live Now MovieSet in the near-future UK, Ronan plays Daisy, an American teenager sent to stay with relatives in the English countryside. Initially withdrawn and alienated, she begins to warm up to her charming surroundings, and strikes up a romance with the handsome Edmund (George MacKay). But on the fringes of their idyllic Fall days are tense news reports of an escalating conflict in Europe. As the UK falls into a violent, chaotic military state, Daisy finds herself hiding and fighting to survive.



Reaching For The Moon Movie PosterAcademy Award nominated filmmaker Bruno Barreto (FOUR DAYS IN SEPTEMBER, DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS) returns with a sophisticated tale of an unlikely romance between two extraordinary artists, set against the backdrop of political upheaval and a clash of cultures. Grappling with writer’s block, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s to visit her college friend, Mary (Tracy Middendorf). Hoping to find inspiration on Mary’s sprawling estate, Elizabeth winds up with much more — a tempestuous relationship with Mary’s bohemian partner, architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Glória Pires), that rocks the staid writer to her foundation. Alcoholism, geographical distance and a military coup come between the lovers, but their intimate connection spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of these two extraordinary artists. The attraction of two polar-opposite women has rarely been so volatile and so erotically charged on the big screen. 


The Book Thief Movie PosterBased on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. 




Philomena Movie PosterPhilomena is the true story of one mother’s search for her lost son.

Falling pregnant as a teenager in Ireland in 1952, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea to be looked after as a “fallen woman”. When her baby was only a toddler, he was taken away by the nuns for adoption in America. Philomena spent the next fifty years searching for him in vain.

Then she met Martin Sixsmith, a world-weary political journalist who happened to be intrigued by her story. Together they set off for America on a journey that would not only reveal the extraordinary story of Philomena’s son, but also create an unexpectedly close bond between them.

The film is a compelling narrative of human love and loss and ultimately celebrates life. It is both funny and sad and concerns two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places.

The book “The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee” was published in 2009. It acted as a catalyst for thousands of adopted Irish children and their ‘shamed’ mothers to come forward to tell their stories. Many are still searching for their lost families.


Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Movie PosterMANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. Idris Elba (PROMETHEUS) stars as Nelson Mandela with Justin Chadwick (THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL) directing.


Inside Llewyn Davis Movie PosterINSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS follows a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

LLEWYN DAVIS (OSCAR ISAAC) is at a crossroads. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles—some of them of his own making. Living at the mercy of both friends and strangers, scaring up what work he can find, Llewyn’s misadventures take him from the baskethouses of the Village to an empty Chicago club—on an odyssey to audition for a music mogul —and back again. 

Brimming with music performed by Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan (as Llewyn’s married Village friends), as well as Marcus Mumford and Punch Brothers, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS—in the tradition of O Brother, Where Art Thou?—is infused with the transportive sound of another time and place. An epic on an intimate scale, it represents the Coen Brothers’ fourth collaboration with multiple-Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning music producer T Bone Burnett. Marcus Mumford is associate music producer. 


Hours Movie PosterBefore sunrise on August 29, 2005, Nolan Hayes (PAUL WALKER) arrives at a New Orleans hospital with his pregnant wife, Abigail (GENESIS RODRIGUEZ), who has gone into early labor. What should be one of the happiest days of Nolan’s life quickly spirals out of control when the birth goes tragically wrong and Hurricane Katrina ravages the hospital, forcing an evacuation. Told to stay with his child, who is on a ventilator, and await transfer by ambulance, Nolan and his newborn are soon cut off from the world by power outages and rising floodwaters. When no one returns to help, Nolan faces one life-and-death decision after another, fighting to keep his daughter alive, as minute-by-agonizing minute passes…becoming unimaginable hours. 



The Past Movie PosterFollowing a four year separation, Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his estranged French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo)'s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure so she can marry her new boyfriend Samir (Tahar Rahim). During his tense brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie's relationship with her teenage daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet). Ahmad's efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.





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