CinePile: 10/10 Would Watch Films of 2015 - Indie Edition

CinePile: 10/10 Would Watch Films of 2015 - Indie Edition

10 films that didn't cost the same price as a small nation to make.

2014 was a good year for the world of independent and limited-release films, which, as usual, were unassuming in their accumulation of merit and praise, while the alien and ape flicks exploded and raked in billions. Highlights came by way of Boyhood, Whiplash, Borgman, Obvious Child, Nymphomaniac, The Grand Budapest Hotel… the list goes on. Catch up on what you might have missed last year in CinePile's 2014 Indie Movie Guide HERE.

As 2015 gets started, if you're an indie movie buff, while your blockbuster-obsessed friends have been lurking the Apple iTunes trailers homepage for the first glimpse of Jurassic Park, you've likely been performing Advanced searches on KickAss for rare torrents, and setting up Google alerts for awards night film screeners. With premier indie film festival Sundance only a few weeks away; what better time to ruminate on the indie films that will win over our hearts and light up our minds in the year approaching.

There's no formula here, just pure excitement. We don't have much evidence to go on - a trailer here and there; a schmick poster; a name - but you'll just have to trust that we see enough films every year to have a fairly good idea of what's not going to stink. If they do, you could always take a leaf out of Broad City heroines Abbi and Illana's book and shoot for a second flick ("Hello, sir? We'd like to report that the sound was really subpar. The dolby was nowhere near 5.1..).

FOXCATCHER

Dir. Bennett Miller

  What and Who: 

This film, which is based on a true story, tells the tale of two Olympic wrestlers - Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz - and their billionaire benefactor, John E. Du Pont, who invites the wrestlers to stay on his estate and train at “Team Foxcatcher”, a wrestling training center du Pont has built for the approaching Olympic games. DuPont hopes to establish himself as the biggest sponsor for American wrestling – despite knowing nearly nothing about the sport.

  We've seen it, why you should too:

This is a film about sport that’s not really about sport at all but a psychological drama shrouded in sports uniforms, that I herewith shall be referring to as “sports psychodrama” to anyone who will let me. I loved how much of a slow-burner Foxcatcher was - Miller steadily introduces us to complex characters; each with their own distinct motives, before placing them in pressure-cooker situations; reeling you in like a moth circling a flame; before the final, unforgettable, burn of an ending. A super-compelling film that goes beyond wrestling, to delve into an exploration of madness, delusion, the power of wealth, human frailty, the drive for success, the power of love, and the harshness of betrayal.

Now showing at Luna Leederville.

 CAKE

Dir. Daniel Barnz

  What and Who:

This dark drama / comedy stars an ugly’d up Jennifer Aniston as Claire Bennett, a woman who suffers daily chronic pain, and is pissed off with everyone and everything. Claire’s chronic pain support group has kicked her out, but Claire becomes unduly obsessed with the suicide of a girl in the group, Nina (Anna Kendrick) and initiates a dubious, but potentially life-saving, relationship with Nina’s widower (Sam Worthington) and his son.

 Why we want to see it:  

Two reasons to see this film: firstly, to see if Aniston can expand on her depressively good performance in 2002’s The Good Girl or nah, and secondly, it’s fun to watch people be bitchy and get involved in things they’re not supposed to, and Cake sounds like it’s going to be full of Curb Your Enthusiasm-style awkwardness; albeit with a slightly more heavy-realist edge.

cake film

 

KNIGHT OF CUPS

 Dir. Terrence Malick

What and Who:

Christian Bale plays Rick, a dude caught up in the excessed of a glitzy LA lifestyle, whose looking to find some meaning to fill the big empty void partying too hard too often leaves in you. Sounds like a plight we could empathise with. The cast stacks up pretty well: joining Bale is Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Ben Kingsley, Teresa Palmer, Isabel Lucas, and Brian Dennehy.

 Why we want to see it: 

Going from a superhero in the Dark Knight to a tormented artist drunk in Knight of Cups might be a knighthood downgrade, but we’d never pass up an opportunity to see Christian Bale flex his stuff. Also keen to see what Malick can do in a glitzy LA setting; as opposed to the suburban / rural Middle American settings that usually rule his films – we think Malick’s signature long takes, brooding mood, ethereal lighting, breathy voiceovers and poetic dialogue will be the perfect match for a philosophical cinematic reflection on celebrities and excess. 

knight of cups

MACBETH

Dir. Justin Kurzel

What and Who:    

The Weinstein Company have had this one in the works for a while now; and 2015 is the year this Gothic adaptation of Shakespeare's widely-adapted tale will finally surface. This one's in the hands of relatively green Australian director Justin Kurzel, who earnt a heap of industry cred with 2011's Snowtown, a violent thriller about the real-life murder case in South Australia. This will be his much-anticipated follow up, and he's got some big guns as his leads: Michael Fassbender as the future king of Scotland Macbeth, and Marillion Cotillard as his manipulative mother Lady Macbeth. Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, who was behind the chilling visuals in both Snowtown and Animal Kingdom, is also on board.

  Why we want to see it:

We all know that as a director, Kurzel doesn't hold back (who could forget his harrowing bathtub scene in Aussie horror film Snowtown?) so we know his version of Macbeth is sure to be grim, indeed. Super keen to see the completely bewitching and always-versatile Marillion Cotillard play one of the darkest and most manipulative characters in literature, Lady Macbeth, too. Double, double, toil and trouble!

macbeth postercotillard

Above: StudioCanal's awesome posters for Macbeth

 THE LOBSTER

Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

 What and Who:

Oscar nominated Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos makes his English-language debut – it’s set in a dystopian future where single people are arrested and jailed in a Love Hotel, where they must find a mate in 45 days or be turned into an animal and be vanquished to the woods. Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz play lead roles, joined by Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux, Olivia Colman, Ariane Labed and Aggeliki Papoulia.

 Why we want to see it: 

Lanthimos’ Dogtooth, a film about an upper-class, super-dysfunctional Greek family, still remains one of the most far-out movies I’ve ever seen. Completely absurd, with black humour so dark as to make you fill very ill at ease a lot of the time - but still totally captivating and beautiful-looking as a film. If this is anywhere near as good as that, it will be brilliant.

the lobster

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT 

Dir. Richard Linklater

  What and Who: 

This one’s being touted as the spiritual sequel (very loosely) to Linklater’s 1993 coming of age film, Dazed and Confused, a film set against the backdrop of a Texan high school class’ graduation day, that explored youth culture in the late 70s. That’s What I’m Talking About will similarly explore high school culture through comedy, this time it’s set a few years later, 1980, and we follow a college freshman who moves into the baseball house at his college and gets involved in a frat-boy lifestyle with his hard-partying teammates. Blake Jenner (Glee), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Ryan Guzman (Step Up All In) and Wyatt Russell (22 Jump Street) all star.

  Why we want to see it:  

Linklater’s really been aging in style as a director, delivering us some truly memorable, emotion-rich narrative films – last year’s Boyhood topped tonnes of end of film lists, and Before Midnight was memorable, too. The School of Rock director has been quoted as saying “I think it’s the funniest thing I ever wrote,” and while it’s probably not going to be as huge a cult success as Dazed & Confused, it’s surely going to be thematically rich. With locations spanning punk clubs and disco nightclubs – it’s sure to be a nice reflection of 80s music culture, too. 

LINKLATER TALKING ABOUT

Above: Richard Linklater shoots That's What I'm Talking About in Austin

TRAINWRECK

Dir. Judd Apatow

What & Who:

US stand up comedienne Amy Schumer, who co-wrote the script with Judd Apatow, plays a commitment-phobe, self-sabotaging woman – but apart from that; the plot’s being kept under wraps until the film’s premiere at Sundance in March. The cast also includes Brie Larson, Mike Birbigla, Colin Quinn, Ezra Miller, Jon Glaser, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer and John Cena.

Why we want to see it:

Apatow is pitting himself amongst some big hitting blockbusters, with his release date - set between Batman vs. Superman and Ant-Man; but if anyone can pull off some counter-programming mastery, it’s Apatow, the indie-comedy director behind Freaks & Geeks, Knocked Up, Superbad and a string of other zeitgeisty hits. Keen to see Apatow make a return to form after the rubbish that was his recent films This Is 40 and Funny People, and trade in his typically ‘bro’ filmic language for a film with a strong, funny female at its centre. Also, Schumer is a legend - she's basically made a career around tackling the most personal of life's shit (read an amazing speech she made about self-worth to a bunch of women at an awards night here).

trainwreck still

MISTRESS AMERICA

Dir. Noah Baumbach

What and Who:    

Frances Ha duo Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig made their second film together not long after Frances Ha hit the festival circuit, this time, with Gerwig on co-writing duties. Much like Frances Ha, this whole project's stayed under the radar, with no plot details being revealed, and another of Baumbach's films, While We're Young, coming out before Mistress America. Now the focus is on this project: Mistress America centres upon Tracy (Gone Girl breakout star Lola Kirke) a college freshman who is not having the exciting, cosmopolitan life she expected post-high school, until her soon to be stepsister Brooke (Gerwig), takes her under her wing and incites some madness.

Why we want to see it:

 Baumbach (Margot At The Wedding, The Squid and the Whale, Kicking and Screaming) is one of my favourite directors: witty and insightful, with many a film taking place in / reflecting on life in New York City, he's as close as our generation comes to having a Woody Allen. I love his true-to-life narrative style, and how messed up and hard to sympathise with so many of his characters are.  Frances Ha was the best movie we've seen about a twenty something woman in ages, and Gerwig was insanely good; zany without being overbearing, with a larger than life presence that just freaking lights up the screen and makes you wish she was your friend. Hopefully these two winners will have another indie hit on their hands with Mistress America.

Mistress America

STEVE JOBS 

Dir. Danny Boyle 

What and Who:    

Universal’s take on Jobs’ life is directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin (The Newsroom, The West Wing, The Social Network) and stars Michael Fassbender as the Apple founder. Funnyman Seth Rogen also stars in the title as co-founder Steve Wozniak. The biopic made news in December after being the subject of a hacked email correspondence between Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal, Rudin and Sorkin.

Why we want to see it:

We know you already saw a Steve Jobs movie last year, Jobs, with Ashton Kutcher, but that film sucked, whereas, given this film is blessed with the unfuckwithable talent of Aaron Sorkin, Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender, it probably won’t suck. We’re also just glad its finally getting made, after The Social Network’s David Fincher pulled out) and then Christian Bale…bailed…as lead too - the project was on shaky legs, as some Sony hackers revealed in a bunch of uncovered emails last year.

jobs rogan

SOUTHPAW

Dir. Antoine Fuqua

What and Who:     

A boxing drama from director Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer) and Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, about Billy 'The Great' Hope, a champion fighter who suffers a personal tragedy and has to rescue himself from “washed up” status to fight his way back to the top (not just physically, but emotionally, one assumes). Apparently at one point Eminem was supposed to play lead and this was supposed to be his big return to film, but now Gyllenhaal’s all over it. And also all over a lot of protein shakes, it appears: Gyllenhaal has completely transformed his pyshique for the film (which is great, because the weedy skinny sociopath he played in Nightcrawler did nothing for Jake’s sex appeal). Rachel McAdams and Forest Whitaker co-star.

Why we want to see it:

Um, Jake Gyllenhaal, fully ripped, obvs. And maybe some other less superficial reasons... like a film "about boxing but not about boxing" providing a prime opportunity for me to use my newly coined “sports psychodrama” genre identifier in conversation.

 jake gyllenhaal southpaw full 

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