INDIE FILM REVIEWS

With its deeply saturated colors and its equally bold plot, Asia Argento's "Misunderstood" is a force of a film.  Argento returns to the directing chair for the first time in years with this slightly over the top Italian drama that recalls a style of decades past.  The story centers around the life of a severely dysfunctional family of artists and their children.  In particular, Argento's story of childhood rebellion mostly focuses in on young Aria, the daughter of a drug addicted pianist and a superstitious, abusive actor.  An ode to the stresses of growing up in a world that seemingly doesn't understand you, "Misunderstood" can be best described as a grim fairy tale where the only supernatural forces and dangers we face are the people that should love us the most.  Though Argento's supposedly semi-autobiographical film thrives off of caricatures and a level of exaggeration within its characters, colour palette, and situations, there's still a bit of sensitivity embedded within the film that keeps it from becoming too over the top or distant.  In fact, there's an undeniably cult vibe exuding from this particularly colorful concoction of a film.  Highlights are equally both Charlotte Gainsbourg (Yvonne Casella) and child actress Giulia Salerno's (Aria) work.  Both display their acting abilities across a spectrum of bipolar emotions, from fearful and loving to manic and everything in between.  Salerno's Aria is our tragic hero, constantly bounced from one parent's house to the other, after her mother and father's excessive hatred of each other separates the family.  Aria being thrown out from their homes is usually a result of issues born from their inattentiveness or preference for Aria's sisters.  Because her half sisters are, in a way, owned by their respective parent, Aria is the sole child that exists as the reminder born from Yvonne and Padre's (Gabriel Garko) tainted relationship.  "A mistake", a symbol of regret and hatred, is the resulting identity that Aria bears, and as she continuously navigates a biased world out to get her, she becomes a far darker, more rebellious version of herself.  In the end, her final tipping point, after years of abuse from her own family, are her friends and peers' mockery of her life.  What we are left with is a swift and brutal end to the story with small traces of false hope shining forth through the credits.  Aria's life is cyclical for the time being, so we end her portrait of it the only way we can.  Excessive and dark in a world of deep, bold colours and 80s fashion flair, "Misunderstood" is a hodge podge of styles that all come together to tell a uniquely blended coming of age story of a lone girl in a world that doesn't quite know what to make of her.  A naive oddity, just like the film, Aria captures the audience and holds our attention with her deep blue eyes and unrelenting hope for someone to love her.  As Asia Argento's third directorial offering and an Italian Un Certain Regard entry at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, "Misunderstood" is certainly a product of its own title.  It will take open-minded audiences to crave, devour and understand this rainbow hued, sometimes magically unrealistic childhood drama.  Available on various VOD platforms, Argento's film of contrasts and edginess creates an imagined world that segue-ways far from reality yet still manages to vividly share with us a world full of very real emotions.  

 

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.

Throughout writer-director Farhadi's wrenching, relentlessly intelligent drama, characters shield their feelings with unspoken motives and actions. Like last year's Oscar-winning "A Separation," Farhadi's new work confirms his unique ability to explore how constant chatter and anguished outbursts obscure the capacity for honest communication...click post title to read full review written by Eric Kohn, Indiewire

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