Indie film

‘Turbo Kid’ is modest midnight fun

‘Turbo Kid’ is a post-apocalyptic love letter to the action-horror genre. It looks and sounds wonderful, with the kind of world building you would expect from ‘80s film aficionados. Unfortunately, a lackluster script and bland leading performance prevent it from being more than just a pleasant trifle, but it’s a bloody fun way to spend your Saturday night.

You expect a bit more from ‘Unexpected’

It’s hard to be mad at director Kris Swanberg’s leisurely stroll towards motherhood, but it’s also hard to recommend to those outside the target demographic. Observant, low-key, and, ultimately, benign, ‘Unexpected’ coasts by on goodwill and charm, when it could have tackled so much more.

Horror and romance blossom in the haunting ‘Spring’

The less you know about Spring before its arrival, the more enthralling its subtle charms. This is a delicate little gem that reveals its mysteries grudgingly; a seamless blend of moods and genres that never stops surprising you. Darkly comic and unflinchingly romantic, Spring steeps its horror mythology in realism to create a genuine sense of uneasiness. Director Justin Benson’s exquisite story of painful transformation is one of 2015’s best films.

Sundance 2015: ‘James White’ is an intimate portrait of desperation

The edge is where you find it. For James White, the jarring first feature from director Josh Mond, the edge is the only home he knows. Unrelenting and formless, Mond’s character study explores the toll that life can take if you aren’t paying attention. This isn’t a grand epic with plot twists and moments of self-revelation; just a story about a good son careening toward self-destruction. Simple, yet powerfully effective.

CIFF 2014: ‘The Alley Cat’ is an existential drama on the dreamy streets of Chicago

The bicycle is by far the most existential vehicular choice when making a road film about a character in a state of mental cross roads. Unlike the car, the bike is solely powered by the human and it’s capabilities are dictated by the rider’s. Anyone can press a pedal and go 100 mph, but with a bicycle the wheels are only an extension of the human drive to move forward. In Marie Ullrich’s The Alley Cat, this sense of propulsion collides with the main character’s struggle to move forward mentally. Jasper was a mother but gave her child up to her sister, with the deal that her little girl can never know who her real mom is. It’s during a wild, late-night bike race through Chicago’s south loop that she reassesses her priorities and just what she’s supposed to be doing with her life.

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