INDIE FILM REVIEWS

A cathartically paced portrait of a community branded by its own self-aware dependency on prescription drugs, Sean Dunne’s directorial feature film debut, “Oxyana”, is a controversial yet necessary and affecting offering.  The film plays out like a patient yet evocative conversation that lets the audience draw their own opinions.  Dunne's documentary portraits Oceana, a small once thriving coal mining town in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.  This is a community that that has been so stricken by prescription pill epidemic that it's residences have nicknamed it Oxyana.  What we see is a people shaped by a failed system and the failed war on drugs.

Recognizing the innate beauty of Oceana and its surrounding areas, it doesn’t take long to also recognize the ghostly reminder of what once.  As Dunne states, “Yet there it was, a constant and growing hum of anxiety. So we started to ask questions, and we started to get answers, all pointing towards a familiar narrative.”  By leaving the camera on the subjects of the film and allowing their words to naturally flow, you get an honest, staunch depiction of dependency and addiction through the eyes of the ones that are suffering.  We get their stories, and it’s a heartbreaking reality to face.

 

 

 Winner of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival Best New Documentary Director Award, clearly both “Oxyana” and Dunne have earned their prestige.  It is because this is a film that is as hauntingly memorable as it is a pretty necessary conversation starter to have on the film scene.  It doesn’t set up the film’s subjects as failures of society to be laughed off and forgotten.  It sets them up as tragic heroes, failed by something way bigger than we can imagine.  The secrets buried deep within the rolling mountains and forests of this West Virginian region are laid bare, raw and untouched.  In “Oxyana”, scandal and sensationalism are pushed aside for the true depth and revelation of honesty, pain, and darkness suffered through drug addiction.  Dunne’s skillful ability to uncover that realistic, objective narrative regarding the outskirts of America is on full display.  Produced by Cass Greener and Nadine Brown, “Oxyana” is being re-released on VOD and is truly a masterful, meditative documentary worth the watch, if only to see how well Oceana finds and displays its own unique, troubled voice for the rest of the world to try and understand.

When a director gets summonsed to court for filming an illegal activity, you know it must be a good documentary (read NY TImes Interview). This film from Lotfy Nathan is centered around "Reckless dirt bike riders that parade through Baltimore’s streets", but "it's important to remember that not every day is a joy ride. 12 O’Clock Boys is also a portrait of a family. Coco is raising Pug and his siblings without their father, in a community that is dangerous for reasons that have nothing to do with bike accidents. - See more at: http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/12-oclock-boys.php#sthash.rpY2f...

When asked at the QandA after the film premeire "What did you want the audience to leave thinking at the end?" Director Cutter Hodierne replied, "I simply wanted them to leave thinking." Well he succeeded, and since well deserved hype is escalating around this Somali Pirate Vice Films produced feature. Expanding on his SunDance winning 2012 short film on the same subject, Cutter captures the real truths of the complex situation in a manner that will keep you on the edge of your seats. He pulled wonderful performances out of the largely Somali cast, and we at IndieStreet hope that the "Captain Phillips" release will prove to be a help not a hinderance for the exposure of this more honest and stylized representation of the conflicts on the African Coast. Click here to see a teaser for the feature, as well as the entire short film from 2012.

Stanislav Petrov. Few people know of him... Yet hundreds of millions of people are alive because of him. Many independent films aspire to tackle macro-society issues and intimate human relationships within the same story, but it typically results in over-exposition or a muddy story with underdeveloped characters. "The Man Who Saved the World" succeeds in touching the audience with an important societal concern, while also developing the connective tissues to make us feel for a raw, flawed human being. For this, we thank the director, Peter Anthony, and attending producers, Mark Romeo & Christian D. Bruun. With only a few minor areas of over emphasis on story elements (we assume simply to give this well crafted film more widespread impact), this Doc/Drama could not come more highly recommended from Indie Street.

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) is a beautiful, intelligent, respected, accomplished linguistics professor, but she’s also starting to forget things. Nothing big – a name or where she put something. As an academic with an insatiable desire to learn and teach, plus a bustling family who still look to her for advice and guidance, it’s not surprising that Alice might be a little distracted or overwhelmed from time to time. Read more at Film School Rejects