The Indie Film Review

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by solojones, Aug 19, 2002.

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  1. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    So who else here is a fan of independent films? New ones, older ones? Well this is the place to discuss them, and to get suggestions on some other Indie's you might want to see.

    I'd really like to hear people's reviews of Indie films, no matter what genre. A good place to check to see if the film you're thinking of is an Indie is Indie.Imdb. So, care to share your fav Indie films? Or bad ones?

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    [image=http://images.amazon.com/images/P/1573624047.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg]
    Title: Swimming With Sharks
    Who's in it: Kevin Spacey, Frank Whaley
    What's it about: A young hollywood assistant snaps and kidnaps his abuse boss.
    You'll like it if: You like dark comedies, satires, or Kevin Spacey.
    You won't like it if: You don't want to be depressed.
    Comments: I had heard this movie was good, and I wasn't disappointed. I stil laugh so hard while watching this movie! It's one of the movie that made me really appreciate Kevin Spacey as an actor. He is really great in this film as the abusive Buddy Ackerman. The movie is a total stab at Hollywood, too. But beware... it's pretty dark and depressing at times.
    Quote: "You're happy, I hate that!"
    ---------------------------------------------

    Comments on SWS? Your own reviews? Post away.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
  2. Darth Zane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Indie films are in a pretty bad place right now. Most aren't indie at all. Every major company and director wants to make a film and call it indie. But, with time, I think Independent Film will return to it's former glory.

    Title: Clerks
    Who's In it: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson.
    What's It About: A day in the life of two Clerks at the Quick Stop and RST Video
    You'll Like It If: You care more about dialogue than set. And if you have a skewed sense of humor.
    You Won't Like It If: You Care more about the look than the words. If you're easily offended by sexual talk and cursing.
    Comments: Clerks was written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also plays Silent Bob in it. Kevin is my favorite writer and director, and he has gone on to write Dogma, Chasing Amy, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

    Quote: Dante: You hate people!
    Randal: But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

    ___________________________________________


    Some Indie films i would like to see are Slacker and Do the Right Thing.
  3. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    yeah, most the Indie's I like are early 90's. But I still think that some of the more recent ones are good. I never get to see them in theaters, though, because I live in the midwest.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  4. ferelwookie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2001
    star 4
    I agree with SoloJones. I never knew this was a regional thing, but I think it is. I used to live on the east coast (New England area) and you could see small independent films in small theatres. Last year, I moved to Michigan :( so my wife could finish her doctorate, and indie films are NON-EXSITANT in theatres in our area. You rarely even find them for rental at video stores.

    Not to be rude, but it seems the mid-west folk are rather uncultured when it come to moviegoing. There's no selection outside the mainstream blockbuster action flick type stuff. Even the smaller mom and pop movie shop (dwindling) don't have many indies. "We've got a 'foreign' section." Foreign, being Jackie Chan. I've got 3 more years here, and can't wait to go back east, (or somewhere else "civilized") to see some stories that are actually about people and not things expoloding to rap-soundtracks. Just my opinion.
  5. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    No, I agree with you. I mean, people around here just aren't as into movies I think. My bro is going to college in CA and I'm so envious of him. I mean, I have been waiting to see "The Good Girl" but it doesn't play here :(

    Fortunately, I have the Independent Film Channel ;)

    But I agree, the people here just don't know as much about movies as they do on both coasts. I mean, I couldn't even find anyone who had heard of "The Usual Suspects" and that's only semi-indie, not to mention a double Oscar Winner and a new classic! So I introduced my friend's to it.

    I appreciate Indie films and the actors who play in Indie films. It's good to do some commercial films now and then, but a really good actor will pick the film he/she thinks is the most interesting. This is one of the things I love about Kevin Spacey. ;) You'll probably notice that most the Indie films I've seen have him... shhhh ;)

    So has anyone seen Swimming With Sharks? It's an interesting film... wanted to hear some other opinions on it :)

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  6. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    The availability of independent films is going to vary no matter where you live. Maybe it's just because I've lived in major cities in the midwest but I have never really had a problem seeing the latest independent films at some point in their theatrical run. Now it's usually well into it or even on the tail end of their exits from theaters but I get to see them. I'm also blessed with some fairly good alternative video stores for stuff I really want to see that never came or that was imported and didn't get domestic distribution instead of having to stick with Blockbuster.

    True independent film is becoming increasingly hard to find because, as was pointed out, many already established directors and producers are using the independent label and stripping down some costs in order to appeal to a wider base of fans and slide under the mantel of "independent film". These films are in turn taking up spots at festivals that previously would have gone to up and coming filmmakers. This is what has happened to Sundance quite a bit in the last few years. Whereas it once was the refuge of the new filmmaker it is virtually impossible to get into now because so many of the available slots are locked up by better known filmmakers, in turn making the remaining spots a battleground. It's happening at more and more festivals around the world as well.

    Slumdance and Slamdance and Nodance and all of the other dance festivals were created to give voice to those who couldn't get into Sundance or other festivals and even they are starting to become unwieldy. It's a vicious cycle and it'll have to purge itself and start again soon.

    EDIT: I'm moving to Los Angeles in a few months and I can't wait to have all the cinema options available to me. I'm going to be in heaven.
  7. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Agreed, yodafett. It's a hard time for new filmmakers.

    I'm going to go ahead and post another review

    -----------------------------------------------

    [image=http://i.imdb.com/Photos/Ss/0246578/DD02.jpg]
    Title: Donnie Darko
    Who's in it: Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Noah Wyle, Jenna Malone
    What's it about: A High School boy starts getting messages from a 6-foot demonic bunny named Frank about how the world is coming to an end.
    You'll Like it if: You like dark sci-fi films, comic books, dark comedy.
    You won't like it it: You're not willing to really invest in figuring it out.
    Comments: I'm a big ER fan and I originally saw this movie because Noah Wyle has a small part. I was delighted to find an incredible cast all aroung. Jake is my favourite young actor, and he really carries this whole film on his shoulders. But everything about it is well done. The score is outstanding, and the cinematography is just creepy. It left me going, "What the...." but the more I watch it the more I understand it and am intrigued by it. In my opinion, the most eerily beautiful film I've seen.
    Quote: I hope that when the world ends, I can breathe a sigh od relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.
    ---------------------------------------------

    This is another one of my favourite movies of all time. Has anyone here seen it? It's a debut for director Richard Kelly, too. A TRUE Indie :)

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  8. Darth Zane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    I loved that movie! It's awesome. But that just proves what I was saying about the state of Independent Films right now. As much as I love it, Donnie Darko was not an independent film. It has major actors in it and I'm almost certain it was funded by a major production company.

    It's a very original picture, yes, and it's also very entertaining, but I don't think it's considered Independent. Compared to Clerks, She's Gotta Have It, The Thin Blue Line, Slacker, and even The Blair Witch Project it's not Independent.

    It's still very original and good though.

    And that's just my opinion.
  9. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    What? It was a first time movie starring a pretty much unknown actor. Yeah, it has Drew and some other pretty well known actors, but it was still a $4 million movie. Drew kind of helped it get made. I would defintely consider it an Indie.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Defining an 'indie' film has gotten as tricky as defining a 'cult' film.

    Some people say it all depends on how much money is pumped into it. Others say it depends on if the actors are unknown. But how unknown is unknown? Was Guy Pearce unknown at the time of Memento?

    Others say it's the shooting schedule, but that doesn't hold water either. Still others say it's the technology used, but no with digital technology available to so many, there's no hard and fast line there for sure.

    Or does it all come back to who the distributer is? I hope not. That would destroy any hope we had of making this an exact science.

    What's an indie film? Got me. :)

    Platoon was considered an indie film and so was Bridge on the River Kwai. Also, Memento. Are they? Depends on your criteria.
  11. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    SJ, you have to look at what the word means. Independent, in this instance, means outside of the studio system.

    What does that mean?

    It means that the studio does not finance it. It has nothing to do with first-time directors or little-known actors. It has to do with funding.

    "Donnie Darko" was a studio funded film.....it was just fairly low-budget in the current climate of Hollywood.

    Clerks was financed by the filmmakers themselves and the only thing that Miramax picked up was the blowup, optics and titles, soundtrack, and promotion. The funding of the film was entirely done by Smith and Mosier. That is an independent film.

    We actually had a little discussion about this a few weeks ago in another thread.

    "Donnie Darko" would count as a low-budget niche film.

    It is still a good movie though :)
  12. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Well, I think we need to broaden our views of Indie films to outside the rhelm of who funds them. Indie film is changing, and I think we just have to accept that. I think Indie has more to do with being a low budget, small scale, probably limited release film than it has to do with who funds it. And by IMDB's standards, Donnie Darko was Indie. That's what I am going to go by in determining what's Indie and what's not for the purposes of reviewing in this thread.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  13. Darth Zane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Indie Film isn't changing, it's just becoming confused with other things. People today are confusing obscure, unique, and weird movies with Independent Movies.

    Going by your standards, SJ, Full Frontal would be considered an Indie Movie. It was made for a very low budget and is seeing pretty limited distrubution. However, it has Julia Roberts, David Hyde Pierce, and other big name actors in it. It is also directed by Stephen Soderbergh and is funded by a major production company.

    In defining an Independent Movie, you have to focus on Independent. No matter how low budget a movie is, if it's funded by a studio, then it's not independent.
  14. Obi-Wan's Apparition Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2000
    star 5
    [image=http://www.popmatters.com/film/reviews/d/images/dancer-in-the-dark.jpg]
    Title: Dancer in the Dark
    Who's in it: Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Norse, Peter Stormare
    What's it about: As quoted on indie.imdb.com, ?An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film.?
    You'll like it if: You like Björk, Catherine Deneuve, or films with strong female characters.
    You won't like it if: You are someone suicidal. This film might push you over the edge. [face_plain]
    Comments: I liked Björk and I heard that she was in a film. This is one of the most emotional pieces of art that I have ever seen. You feel for the characters so much, and I still remember exactly the way I felt when I saw the ending for the first time.
    Quote: "I?m going blind..."

    Has anyone else seen this? :_|
  15. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I haven't seen that movie, but I've heard about it. I don't know if it's my type of movie. I'm more into like, dark/mystery/thrillers myself.

    On the subject of what defines an Indie film... like I said, for the sake of this thread I'm going to go by whether or not indie.imdb.com lists it. It'll be better to have a broader interpretation of it. Not everyone holds your opinion of indie films (certainly, imdb doesn't) so it will be better this way I think.

    Besides, to me, Indie film is more a style that a type of funding. Doesn't that seem the right way to classify a film? By what it is rather than how it's made?

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  16. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    A broader definition is not needed. It might be for this thread but overall you might want to rethink calling them independent films....because they are not. I would call them films with an independent spirit. It seems more appropriate.

    The IMDB is hardly a reliable resource for what a film is and is not, it is submitted and updated based on information that anyone can send in. Just as unreliable, and you'd think it were not the case here, is the Independent Film Channel. Many, many studio funded art films are played on there with regularity but they are not technically independent film.

    There are purists (people who believe that if the filmmakers received funding from a studio then they didn't make an independent film) and there is everyone else. You can argue that independent doesn't even apply to working in or out of the studio system but, instead, refers to the filmmaker's autonomy and creative control. However, if you were to do that then Steven Spielberg is the biggest independent filmmaker of all time :)
  17. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    OK, well like I said, I consider films like Memento to be Independent films, and so does most everyone I know, so I'm going to stick with that. To each their own. :)

    ---------------------------------------------

    [image=http://i.imdb.com/Photos/Ss/0209144/3.jpg]
    Title: Memento
    Who's in it: Guy Pearce
    What's it about: A man, who has lost his short term memory, seeks revenge for his wife's death.
    You'll like it if: You enjoy unique styles of storytelling or mysteries.
    You won't like it if: You're not willing to really pay attention to a film.
    Comments: I had heard so many great things going into this film, and I certanly wasn't dissapointed. It reitterated to me how great Guy Pearce is as an actor. He completely carries this film on his own. The writing for this film is astounding. I can't imagine all the time that went into making this film work. Christopher Nolan is a true talent! I am baffled as to how it was so completely passed up by the awards shows. This movie keeps you wanting more, wanting to get to the next scene, and that alone is a great accomplishment.
    Quote: Now...where was I?
    ---------------------------------------------

    Anyone care to comment on this "film with an independent spirit"? :p I still think it's Indie.

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  18. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    If I had to pick a best film of the last five years, this would be it, hands down. I think. :p

    It's a nice throwback to film noir, featuring many of the hallmarks of noir: the city as a setting, the idea of the tainted hero, the femme fatale, the complicated plot, the idea of stumbling into something (as Lenny gets involved with Dodd, who has nothing to do with the story) and a nice flair for time twisting.

    It's really interesting to see how Nolan updated a lot of these things. A twisted structure as far as time goes has always been a part of noir, as far back as Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd, but Nolan really took it a level deeper than anyone had before.

    One quibble: I do feel it's difficulty is overstated. I understood it fine with my first watching.

    Then again, I also think The Big Sleep's difficulty is overstated. . . :p

    What can I say? It's still an amazing emotional experience with a literally jaw dropping ending.

    A true classic that didn't get half the recognition it needed.
  19. yodafett999 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2000
    star 4
    I enjoyed Memento quite a bit and thought it rejuvenated the film industry for a small period of time.

    SJ, I have no problems with you referring to them as independent as long as you can understand that by strict definition they are not :p
  20. Darth Zane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2000
    star 4
    Same Here.

    I loved Memento. Does anybody have the SE DVD of it? It's very hard to unravel.

  21. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    ok, Yoda. I understand they're not TRUE Indie, but what the heck ;)

    I have the SE DVD... well, my bro has it and he just took it to college with him. I'm thinking of getting it, though.

    RL 1.5 I also didn't find it that difficult. I understood it. Something I noticed with the way it was done (that my family hadn't noticed) was that it had to be done that way to work correctly. It had to be backwards in order for the viewer to be just as confused as to what was going on as Lenny was. Great idea from Nolan!

    -sj loves kevin spacey
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