Indie Film Release Guide: February 1st [An ONTD Original]

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The poorly reviewed Miss Bala is the only big studio wide release this week, but for you history buffs, Warner Brothers is releasing They Shall Not Grow Old in more theaters after a successful limited release. If neither of those catches your eye, take a gander at this list of indies. Many of the films on this week’s roundup have Rotten Tomato scores over 80%, which is more than I can say for any individual week in January. If nothing here floats your boat, check out some of the Oscar contenders coming back to theaters like Free Solo.

The films listed are from studios other than the “Big Six” – Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Columbia and Disney. Note that some of the movies listed are in their first week or two of limited release in the USA, so it may take them a few more weeks (or months) to show up in your local arthouse theater or on VOD. Check out the posts from the past few weeks for more movies that may have just opened near you: January 25th, January 18th, January 11th.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Magnussen, Toni Colette, John Malkovich
Writer/Director: Dan Gilroy
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Plot: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.
What you should know: The director, who doesn’t know how to say melancholy, is doing Q&A’s at Landmark in LA this weekend.
Opens in: Select cities & on Netflix

The Unicorn

Stars: Lauren Lapkus, Nicholas Rutherford, Lucy Hale, Beck Bennett
Writer: Will Elliott, Kirk C. Johnson, Nicholas Rutherford
Director: Robert Schwartzman
Genre: Comedy
Plot: An indecisive couple facing the fourth year of their engagement finally decides to take the next big step and have a threesome.
What you should know: All three members of the Good Neighbor sketch group appear in the film – Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney and Nick Rutherford – two of whom went on to SNL.
Opens in: Select cities


Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir
Writer: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Director: Joe Penna
Genre: Drama
Plot: A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.
What you should know: This is director Joe Penna’s first feature film.
Opens in: Select cities

The Wild Pear Tree

Stars: Dogu Demirkol, Murat Cemcir, Bennu Yildirimlar, Hazar Ergüçlü
Writer: Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Genre: Drama
Plot: An unpublished writer returns to his hometown after graduating, where he seeks sponsors to publish his book while dealing with his father’s deteriorating indulgence into gambling.
What you should know: It’s in Turkish, and over three hours long, so bring snacks.
Opens in: NYC, and in LA next weekend


Stars: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa, Olivia Bond
Writer: Nicolas Pesce, based on the novel by Ryû Murakami
Director: Nicolas Pesce
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Plot: A man kisses his wife and baby goodbye and seemingly heads away on business, with a plan to check into a hotel, call an escort service, and kill an unsuspecting prostitute.
What you should know: It’s based on the 1994 Japanese horror novel by Ryû Murakami.
Opens in: Select cities, and available on demand

Then Came You

Stars: Asa Butterfield, Nina Dobrev, Maisie Williams, Peyton List
Writer: Fergal Rock
Director: Peter Hutchings
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Plot: A hypochondriac working as an airport baggage handler is forced to confront his fears when a British teenager with a terminal illness enlists him to help her carry out her eccentric bucket list.
Opens in: Select cities


Stars: Madeline Brewer, Scott Cohen, Sarah Hay, Imogen Waterhouse
Writer/Director: Mitzi Peirone
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Plot: Two wanted women decide to rob their wealthy psychotic friend who lives in the fantasy world they created as children; to take the money they have to take part in a deadly perverse game of make believe.
What you should know: Check out the film’s website for more info.
Opens in: Select cities and available on demand

Daughter of Mine

Stars: Valeria Golino, Alba Rohrwacher, Sara Casu, Udo Kier
Writer: Francesca Manieri, Laura Bispuri
Director: Laura Bispuri
Genre: Drama
Plot: A daughter torn between two mothers, one who raised her with love and her biological mother, who instinctively claims her back.
What you should know: The film is in Italian, and based on the memoir by A.M. Homes.
Opens in: NYC

The Golem

Stars: Hani Furstenberg, Ishai Golan, Brynie Furstenberg, Adi Kvetner
Writer: Ariel Cohen
Director: Doran Paz, Yoav Paz
Genre: Horror
Plot: During an outbreak of a deadly plague, a mystical woman must save her tight-knit Jewish community from foreign invaders, but the entity she conjures to protect them is a far greater evil.
What you should know: Check out the website for more info
Opens in: Available on demand

St. Bernard Syndicate

Stars: Frederik Cilius Jørgensen, Rasmus Bruun, Flemming Sørensen, Vibeke Manniche
Writer: Lærke Sanderhoff
Director: Mads Brügger
Genre: Comedy
Plot: Subversive satirist Mads Brugger’s latest is an odd-couple comedy about the pitfalls of striking out into the economic frontier; it charts two hapless Danes’ scheme to sell Saint Bernards to China’s middle class.
What you should know: It’s in Danish and English.
Opens in: LA

Also opening: The Gandhi Murder (Trailer), Just a Breath Away (Trailer), Painkillers (Trailer), An Affair to Die For (Trailer), Extreme Job (Trailer)

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What have you been watching lately, ONTD? Plan to see anything this weekend?

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