Pick of the Litter – September 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

IT Chapter 2

(New Line) James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgǻrd, Bill Hader. The meeting of the Losers Club is now in session. The final chapter of the epic battle between the kids (now adults) of Derry, Maine versus the evil Pennywise the Clown is here as the grown-up versions of the kids from the 2017 hit It return to Derry to finish what they started. September 6

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Blink of an Eye

(1091) Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Petty, Daryl Waltrip. The friendship between Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt was an odd one, considering their status in NASCAR; Dale was one of the greatest drivers ever and Waltrip had gone 462 races without a single win. Then, one magical Daytona 500 saw Waltrip break that streak – only moments later to see his friend die. September 6

Rapid Response

(Atlas) Stephen Olvey, Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears. In 1966 when medical student and auto racing fan Steven Olvey was hired by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to assist on their medical team, one out of every seven drivers died each year. This is a look at how his protocols not only made auto racing safer but also made the cars we all drive safer as well. September 6

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

(Greenwich) Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris. In the 70s there was no bigger female rock and roller than Linda Ronstadt. The first woman to snag five number one albums in a row, she became known as an uncompromising perfectionist. Her effect on women in rock and roll was incalculable but she is rarely given the status she deserves. September 6

Monos

(Neon) Sofia Buenaventura, Julian Giraldo, Karen Quintero, Laura Castrillon. On a remoter South American mountaintop, eight kids with guns watch over a hostage. This was one of the more acclaimed films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival with no less than Guillermo del Toro voicing his approval for the film and its director.. September 13

Neither Wolf Nor Dog

(Inyo) Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman, Roseanne Supernault. A Lakota elder, nearing the end of his life, engages a white writer to write a book about his life and wisdom. Both the writer and the relatives of the elder aren’t 100% sure that he picked the right man for the honor. September 13

Midnight Traveler

(Oscilloscope) Hasan Fazil, Nargis Fazil, Zahra Fazil, Fatima Hossaini. When Afghan film director Hasan Fazil makes a documentary critical of the Taliban, a price is put on his head. He and his family are forced to flee their home for an uncertain future. Their remarkable journey is documented on three cell phones and illustrates the obstacles facing refugees. September 18

Loro

(IFC) Toni Servillo, Elena Sofia Ricci, Riccardo Scarmarcio, Kasia Smutniak. Silvio Berlusconi was not only one of the wealthiest men in Europe but also Prime Minister of Italy. Known for his lavish parties and outrageous personality, this film covers the period of time when his second marriage was falling apart and tries to imagine what went on behind closed doors.. September 20

Villains

(Gunpowder & Sky) Bill Skarsgǻrd, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgewick. A pair of young lovers on the run from the law are on their way to Florida when their car breaks down. They break into a remote house hoping to find some new wheels to take them the rest of the way. Instead, they find a secret more twisted and terrifying than they could have imagined. September 20

First Love

(Well Go USA) Masataka Kubota, Nao Omori, Shota Sometani, Sakurako Konishi. Anarchic director Takashi Miike returns yet again with yet another film from the heart of Japanese darkness. A young boxer and a call girl fall in love but are caught in the crossfire when they are innocently caught up in a yakuza drug smuggling scheme. September 27

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Pick of the Litter – August 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

(Universal) Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby. The first spin off movie from the Fast and Furious franchise gives us Agent Luke Hobbs and former outlaw Deckard Shaw forced to work together to save the world (and Shaw’s sister) from a genetically enhanced madman who is intent on releasing a biological weapon that will decimate the world’s population – and that Shaw’s sister stole from him. August 2

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Love, Antosha

(mTuckman) Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, Jodie Foster, Nicolas Cage. The heartbreaking and yet still inspiring story of the late actor Anton Yelchin whose death in a freak accident at age 27 robbed the world of a consummate artist whose best work was ahead of him. August 2

Ladyworld

(Cleopatra) Ariela Barer, Annalise Basso, Ryan Simpkins, Odessa Adlon, Eight girls are trapped in a house during a birthday party by a massive earthquake that may or may not have happened. As the never-ending party continues, the girls begin to face the music in that food and water is becoming short and a kind of Lord of the Flies mentality begins to kick in. The film is touted as a new look at feminine stereotypes by visionary director Amanda Kramer. August 2

Luce

(Neon) Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tim Roth. A married couple couldn’t be prouder of their son, adopted from a war-torn African nation. He has risen above his past to become a model student, a fine athlete and someone much admired in the community. When a devoted teacher suddenly rings alarm bells after he writes a paper advocating violence, the parents are forced to reconsider their image of their son. August 2

Brian Banks

(Bleecker Street) Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, Melanie Liburd. The incredible but true story of a 16-year-old high school football player, considered a can’t-miss prospect for the NFL, who is incarcerated for 11 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He struggles to prove his innocence and get a chance to get the life he should have had back. August 9

The Banana Splits Movie

(SyFy) Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Steve Lund. What better birthday present could there be for a young boy in the 1970s than tickets to a taping of the beloved children’s show, The Banana Splits? However, things take a much darker turn in this much-anticipated horror comedy. What hath Sid and Marty Kroft wrought? August 13

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles

(GKIDS) Starring the voices of Jorge Usón, Fernando Ramos, Luis Enrique de Tomás, Cyril Corral. Budding filmmaker and staunch surrealist Luis Buñuel is certain that he will never make an impact on his art or the world until a friend with a winning lottery ticket allows him to make a documentary that will forever change the way he sees the world. This is based on a true story and features actual footage from the original documentary woven in with the animation. August 16

Mission Mangal

(FIP) Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha. The incredible true story of the scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organization who in overcoming personal adversity and a history of failures were able to successfully launch India’s first probe to Mars – the least expensive mission to ever go there  August 15

The Amazing Jonathan Documentary

(Hulu) The Amazing Jonathan, Weird Al Yankovic, Anastasia Synn, Benjamin Berman. Popular comedian and magician The Amazing Jonathan found his life derailed when he was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition that gave him a year to live. First-time documentary filmmaker Berman initially was set to document the last year of his life – only to discover that reality and illusion were beginning to blur. August 16

Aquarela

(Sony Classics) Viktor Kossakovsky. A globe-hopping, mesmerizing documentary examines the effects of water on our world and the effects of climate change on all things aquatic. Using stunning visuals to immerse the viewer in a world of water, ice and steam, the movie will also be released in high frame-rate versions in selected cities. August 16

Brittany Runs a Marathon

(Amazon) Jillian Bell, Jennifer Dundas, Patch Darragh, Lil Rel Howley. A New Yorker, tired of being ignored and overweight, decides to take charge of her life in this life-affirming comedy. She decides that her goal is to run the New York City Marathon and while some scoff, she will not be deterred. August 23

Freaks

(Well Go USA) Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker, Amanda Crew. An overprotective dad keeps his young daughter confined to the house. As she grows up, she begins to suspect her dad may be paranoid and delusional, and she is eager to solve the mystery of her mom who disappeared when she was very young. It turns out that her dad had reason to be overprotective. August 23

Official Secrets

(IFC) Kiera Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode. This is based on the true story of British whistleblower Katherine Gun, who was tried for violations of the Official Secrets Act for leaking information to the press about an illegal NSA operation that was designed to convince the UN Security Council to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq despite there being no real evidence to justify it. August 23

Vita & Virginia

(IFC) Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini, Rupert Penry-Jones. This is based on the actual love letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West; whose forbidden romance inspired the novel Orlando. August 30

Pick of the Litter – July 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Spider-Man: Far From Home

(Columbia/Marvel) Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei. With the world forever changed following the events of the last two Avengers movies, Peter Parker finally seems to be going back to normal as he accompanies members of his class on a school trip to Europe. However, he can’t escape his role as Spider-Man as Nick Fury recruits him to fight a completely different kind of villain with an unusual ally. July 2

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

(Roadside Attractions) Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen. For the legendary troubadour Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen was his muse. Most of the incredible love songs that he wrote over his career were about her. Their relationship was both passionate and challenging; it is captured on archival footage recently unearthed. July 5

The Farewell

(A24) Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Gil Perez-Abraham, Diana Lin. A Chinese-American family travels to the mother country to visit their grandmother who is dying of cancer. Following Chinese practice, the grandmother hasn’t been told of her medical condition, causing the young granddaughter issues in keeping the truth from her beloved grandma. July 12

Super 30

(Reliance) Hrithik Roshan, Amit Sadh, Nandish Singh, Virendra Saxena. The amazing but true story of an Indian mathematician who institutes the Super 30 program to help underprivileged youth to pass the entrance exams for the Indian Institute of Technology which could land them high-paying jobs they otherwise had no shot at getting. July 12

David Crosby: Remember My Name

(Sony Classics) David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, Henry Diltz, Graham Nash. Crosby’s music has helped two generations define themselves – with the Byrds in the Sixties and with CSNY in the Seventies. Now a septuagenarian himself in ill health and having alienated most of his peers, struggles to define himself. July 19

Honeyland

(NEON) Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov. The most honored film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Honeyland follows the last female beekeeper in Europe as her remote village is invaded by a family of nomadic beekeepers who not only threaten her own livelihood but also to upset the delicate natural balance of her village. July 26

Jirga

(Lightyear) Sam Smith, Muhammad Shah Majroh, Sher Alam Miskeen Ustad, Basheer Safi. An Australian soldier who accidentally killed a civilian during a raid returns to Afghanistan to make amends. This turns out to be an incredibly dangerous proposition as he is turned over to their law court – the Jirga – for judgement. July 26

Skin

(A24) Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, Mike Colter, Bill Camp. This is based on the true story of Bryon Widner, a young man raised by racist skinheads and part of an ultra-violent white supremacy gang. Covered head to toe in racist tattoos, he begins to get his act together and change paths to one less violent and evil with the help of a black activist, the woman he loves and her three daughters. The film is currently available on VOD for DirecTV subscribers. July 26

Pick of the Litter – June 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Toy Story 4

(Disney*Pixar) Starring the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts. With Andy having grown up and gone to college, the gang from Andy’s room now have a new child to take care of – Bonnie. Bonnie has some toys of her own including one she made as a craft project; Forky. However, Forky has rejected his place as a toy and runs away. When the gang goes to bring him back, it leads to a reunion with an old friend and new dangers to overcome. June 21

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Framing John DeLorean

(Sundance Selects) Alec Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Michael Rispoli, Dean Winters. The incredible but true story of John DeLorean, a visionary and fraud who captured headlines in the 1980s for his revolutionary car and his spectacular fall. This film is a combination documentary and biopic that tells the tale. June 7

Late Night

(Amazon) Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy. A veteran late-night talk show host whose show has been slowly withering away hires a perky woman of color to augment her all-white male writing staff and ends up finding her funny again. June 7

I Am Mother

(Netflix) Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne (voice), Hilary Swank, Luke Hawker. A kindly robot raises a teenage girl underground following the extinction of mankind. Dedicated to repopulating the earth, they live a quiet life until a mysterious woman, still inexplicably alive, arrives with disturbing news. June 7

Papi Chulo

(Blue Fox) Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patiño, Elena Campbell-Martinez, Wendi McLendon-Covey. An L.A. weatherman, in the midst of a personal crisis, hires a day laborer to refinish his deck. The two form an unlikely friendship which takes them both in unexpected directions in their lives. June 7

The Dead Don’t Die

(Focus) Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez. It’s the Zombie Apocalypse, Jim Jarmusch-style as the pleasant town of Centerville takes on an army of the undead ravening for human flesh. At last, the answer to the question “What if an acclaimed and revered indie icon directed an episode of The Walking Dead. NB: Not to be taken seriously. June 14

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

(A24) Jimmie Falls, Jonathan Majors, Tichina Arnold, Danny Glover. A young man dreams of reclaiming the gorgeous Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. However, the city is not the same as he remembered it and perhaps that dream has already slipped through his fingers. This Sundance hit is already being discussed as a possible Oscar contender. June 14

American Woman

(Roadside Attractions) Sienna Miller, Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul, Amy Madigan. When a 32-year-old Pennsylvania woman’s teenage daughter disappears, she is left to raise her infant granddaughter alone. The movie follows the eleven-year journey for the mom to eventually find out what happened to her girl. June 14

Nightmare Cinema

(Cinelou) Mickey Rourke, Richard Chamberlain, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser. This horror anthology includes five works by some of the best directors in the business; Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Ryûhei Kitamura, David Slade and Alejandro Bruguės. Five strangers convene at a movie theater where a sinister projectionist shows them their deepest fears and darkest secrets. June 21

 

Maiden

(Sony Classics) Tracy Edwards. In 1989, skipper Tracy Edwards assembled an all-female crew and entered them into the Whitbread Around the World Race, one of the most grueling and dangerous sporting events there is. Nobody believed that these women could do it – not even themselves at times. This documentary covers the incredible true story of some unsung heroines of sailing. June 28

This Changes Everything

(Good Deed) Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman. This documentary takes a hard look at gender disparity in Hollywood, from the #MeToo movement to the lack of women in the executive structures while at the same time introducing us to some new voices in feminist filmmaking. June 28

Pick of the Litter – May 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Godzilla: King of Monsters

(Warner Brothers) Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance, Sally Hawkins The awakening of Godzilla has led to a return of other titans, many thought to be myth. Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidoreh all vie for supremacy opposed by the mighty Godzilla with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance. May 31

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

(Netflix) Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Angela Sarafyan, John Malkovich. The story of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy as seen through the eyes of his girlfriend Liz Kendall. This was one of the big pick-ups at this year’s Sundance and it also played Tribeca this past month. May 3

Non-Fiction

(Sundance Selects) Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Thėret. A Parisian author details his marital infidelities in a new book in an effort to re-energize his career, including an affair with the actress wife of his editor. The French excel at sexy comedies and this bright and breezy concoction is directed by Olivier Assayas, one of the finest directors working in France currently. May 3

Ask Dr. Ruth

(Magnolia/Hulu) Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer. In the 1980s, a tiny German woman, a survivor of the Holocaust, became a household name because she spoke frankly and openly about all things sexual. She essentially became America’s sex education teacher, letting people know it was okay to ask questions about such a natural yet taboo act. Even today when she is in her 90s, Dr. Ruth remains first and foremost an educator, preaching the gospel of good sex. May 3

Tolkien

(Fox Searchlight) Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Derek Jacobi. Author J.R.R. Tolkien changed literature and indeed the entire world with his tales of Middle Earth. This film explores his formative years as the orphaned outcast makes a fast group of friends in school, then undergoes the horrors of the First World War that would later inform his work. May 10

The Professor and the Madman

(Vertical) Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer, Ioan Gruffud. The compiling of the Oxford English Dictionary was a mammoth job that many felt was impossible; the language was changing at a faster rate than the researchers could keep up with. Salvation though came from an unlikely source; an inmate at the Broadmoor Prison for the Criminally Insane. May 10

The Serengeti Rules

(Abramorama) Greg Kriek, Ashlyn Jade Lopez, Jonathan Newport, Mary Power. In the 1960s, a group of scientists set out into some of the most remote places on Earth to examine how nature works. Their discoveries turned our understanding of ecology upside down and may hold the key to saving our planet in the wake of climate change. May 10

Mosul

(Gravitas Ventures) Ali Mula, Anouar H. Smaine. The incredible story of local militias, international forces and uneasy allies who banded together to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city of over a million people, from the clutches of ISIS amidst rumors of sectarian violence among the ranks. May 14

Trial by Fire

(Roadside Attractions) Jack O’Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade, Jason Douglas. Cameron Todd Willingham is accused of the most heinous crime imaginable; of deliberately setting his house on fire and burning his three daughters alive inside of it. He proclaims his innocence but the forensic evidence points to his guilt, so he’s convicted and sentenced to death. Nobody believes his protestations until he befriends a writer who begins to suspect that the evidence might not be pointing in the right direction. May 17

Echo in the Canyon

(Greenwich) Jakob Dylan, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Michelle Phillips. In the 1960s a group of musicians found a home in Laurel Canyon near Los Angeles. The music that they made would change the direction of rock music forever, influencing even the Beatles themselves. This played the Florida Film Festival in April. May 24

Funny Story

(Blue Fox) Matthew Glave, Emily Bett Rickards, Jana Winternitz, Reginald VelJohnson. A dad in the midst of a raging midlife crisis decides to reconnect with his estranged daughter by visiting her at her Big Sur cabin. Along the way there he offers a ride to a young woman in the midst of a crisis of her own and ends up bonding with her in ways that will upset the lives of everyone around them. May 24

Deadwood: The Movie

(HBO) Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif. The critically acclaimed revisionist Western returns in a movie that brings back together the denizens of Deadwood, Montana as a corrupt senator seeks to take over the town.. May 31

Free Trip to Egypt

(Kindness) Adam Saleh, Ahmed Hassan, Jenna Day, Tarek Mounib. An Egyptian-American seeks out random Americans who harbor a fear of Islam and offers them a free trip to Egypt to get a better understanding of the people who live there. May 31

Pick of the Litter – April 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Avengers: Endgame

(Disney/Marvel) Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson. The events of Avengers: The Infinity War have left the universe devastated. Many friends have fallen but one hero doesn’t accept it; Captain America. He has a plan to put things to rights. Whether or not it works, one thing is certain – the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same. This brings Phase III to an end. April 26

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Haunting of Sharon Tate

(Saban) Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett, Lydia Hearst, Pawel Szajda. Sometimes the prurient captures our imagination. In the days prior to one of the most notorious and gruesome murders in history, doomed actress Sharon Tate supposedly had premonitions of what was going to happen to her and her unborn baby. This movie follows along with that proposition. April 5

The Wind

(IFC Midnight) Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles, Miles Anderson, Dylan McTee. A woman living in an isolated cabin on the prairie in the 19th century is disturbed by the non-stop winds. Her fears are further amplified when a newlywed couple moves in nearby. Despite her husband’s assurances that there is nothing out there but the wind, it turns out that there is something malevolent watching her and it has sharp claws. April 5

Unicorn Store

(Netflix) Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Whitford, Joan Cusack. A young woman who is having trouble adjusting to adulthood receives a mysterious invitation to shop at a store that will allow her to fulfill her most precious childhood dreams. This charming film marks the directing debut of Oscar-winning actress Larson. April 5

Wild Nights With Emily

(Greenwich) Molly Shannon, Amy Seimetz, Susan Ziegler, Brett Gelman. Most of us who have any impression of the great poet Emily Dickinson see her as a reclusive spinster. However, this comedy explores her relationship with her sister-in-law Susan, to whom Emily’s letters reveal a much different side than popular thought.. April 12

The Most Dangerous Year

(Passion River) Vlada Knowlton. For the transgender community, it is generally agreed upon that 2016 was one of the most dangerous years for that community ever as several states considered banning transgenders from using public restrooms of the gender they identified with. This deeply personal documentary (the filmmaker’s daughter is a transgender) highlights the human side of that controversial equation. April 12

Long Day’s Journey Into Night

(Kino-Lorber) Wei Tang, Jue Huang, Sylvia Chang, Hong-Chi Lee. This Chinese art house hit follows a lonely man returning to his native province where he reminisces about a mysterious woman whom he met 20 years earlier. Apparently, the hour-long climax was done in one single shot. Like most of director Gan Bi’s work, this is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. April 12

Satan & Adam

(Cargo) Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee, Adam Gussow, Al Sharpton, The Edge. This duo of street musicians known as Satan and Adam couldn’t have been more different; one was a veteran Mississippi delta blues man who backed up the likes of Etta James and James Brown (at the Apollo Theater no less), the other an Ivy League-educated harmonica player. Together though they made music that would make Old Scratch himself dance a jig. April 12

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

(Screen Media) Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgård, Olga Kurylenko. This long-awaited Terry Gilliam film finally sees the light of day! An acclaimed but cynical film director gets sucked into the delusions of a Spanish cobbler who believes himself to be Don Quixote de la Mancha and the director to be Sancho Panza. As the delusion becomes increasingly surreal, the director is forced to confront the repercussions of a film he made as a young man that devastated a Spanish village and the impending mortality of the cobbler. April 10 (Fathom Releases)

Under the Silver Lake

(A24) Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace, Jimmi Simpson. A young man whose life is going nowhere meets an effervescent young woman frolicking in the pool of his apartment complex and makes a connection – or so he thinks. When she seemingly disappears the next morning, he goes on a quest searching L.A. for hidden clues to find the girl of his dreams. April 19

The White Crow

(Sony Classics) Oleg Ivenko, Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hofmann, Adele Exarchopoulos. Rudolf Nureyev was perhaps the greatest dancer in the world. The Soviet Union used him as a political symbol of Soviet superiority in the arts. At the height of the Cold War, he defected – an act that was much more complicated than it sounds. April 26

Pick of the Litter – March 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Captain Marvel

(Disney/Marvel) Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening. This is the story of Carol Danvers, a human test pilot who becomes one of the most powerful creatures in the universe as Earth is caught in the middle of a war between two alien races. Set in the 1990s, this will be the last MCU film before the finale in May brings to a conclusion the first four phases of the lucrative film franchise with Avengers: Endgame. March 8

INDEPENDENT PICKS

The Hole in the Ground

(A24) Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Simone Kirby, Steve Wall. In this creepy Irish horror film, a woman struggles to begin a new life with her little boy in a rural environment but her fragile security is shattered by a crazy neighbor who insists her boy is not her son. As the kid begins to change in unsettling ways, she finds a terrifying connection between those changes and a mysterious sinkhole in the woods bordering her house. Is this paranoia on her part or is there something really horrifying going on?  March 1

Saint Judy

(Blue Fox) Michelle Monaghan, Common, Alfred Molina, Alfre Woodard. Based on a true story, a young lawyer starts her life over with her son at an immigration law firm in Los Angeles. She takes on a case in which a Muslim woman, if not given asylum in the United States, will almost certainly be killed if she returns home. The lawyer must find a way around existing laws to save this woman’s life – and a nation’s soul. March 1

Gloria Bell

(A24) Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Michael Cena, Jeanne Tripplehorn. The titular character is a 50-something office worker who lives a bland existence by day but by night hits the dance clubs of L.A. looking for love. One night, she finds it. March 8

I’m Not Here

(Gravitas Ventures) J.K. Simmons, Sebastian Stan, Maika Monroe, Mandy Moore. An old man, estranged from his family, receives terrible news. Lost and trying to make sense of his situation, he turns to his past to discover where things went so terribly wrong and perhaps that it isn’t too late to fix things. March 8

Ash is Purest White

(Cohen Media Group) Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Zheng Xu, Yi’nan Diao. The girlfriend of a small-time gangster fires a gun to protect him during a fight between rival gangs and is sent to prison for five years for it. When she is released, she hopes to pick up where things left off but that becomes clearly impossible; both parties have changed too much. This is the latest from acclaimed Chinese director Zhangke Jia. March 15

Iceman

(Omnibus) Jürgen Vogel, Andrė Hennicke, Susanne Wuest, Sabin Tambrea. In the Őtztal Alps in 1991, a human body was found in a melting glacier. At first mistaken for a modern hiker, scientists were astonished to find the body was over 5,000 years old. Based on that true event, this movie is a conjecture as to how that man got to his final resting place. The preview is also available on most Virtual Reality services including Oculus Rift, this is one of the first independent features to be so available. March 15

Roll Red Roll

(Sunset Park) Nancy Schwartzman. A two-paragraph newspaper story about two Steubenville High School football players arrested for the rape of an underage girl set off an investigative journalist off to look deeper. What she discovered was a town so invested in their high school football team that they were exposing their daughters to danger to protect their sons. This look at the pervasiveness of rape culture in small town America made national headlines. March 22

Diane

(IFC) Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Andrea Martin, Estelle Parsons. Diane has always been the sort who feels compelled to help others. She also has a son who is dealing with his own drug addiction. With her world quietly beginning to self-destruct around her, Diane must face some elements of her past that she’d sooner forget. March 29