best indie movies 2017 : colossal

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7 indie flicks you need to see right now

The best indies of 2017 range from gut-wrenching horror to quirky comedies.

Jun 30, 2020, 12:30 pm*

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David Wharton

With King Kong punching giant monsters and Scarlett Johansson wall-running across neon cityscapes, we’re headed into summer tentpole movie season. But like the Good Book says, man cannot live on popcorn alone, whether he pre-ordered his Spiderman tickets or not. There are a ton of exciting lower-profile flicks out there, whether lurking in the smaller corners of your multiplex or the “New Additions” tab in your Netflix browser.

Whether you’re craving an exit from the season’s overblown fantasy or just want to support flicks that aren’t reboots, sequels, or comic-book adaptations, the Dot is here to help. We’ve got some of the best indie films you can find in theaters or on streaming services, ranging from gut-wrenching horror to quirky comedies to Anne Hathaway making a kaiju do a silly little dance.

Clear your schedule, here are seven indie flicks you need to see right now.

The best indie movies of 2017

1) Colossal

Giant freakin’ monsters have been enjoying a renaissance thanks to popcorn flicks like Pacific Rim and Legendary’s Godzilla and King Kong reboots. Typically when you think “giant monsters,” however, comedy isn’t the first genre that leaps to mind. Colossal stomps those expectations flat, delivering a story about a down-and-out woman (Anne Hathaway) who makes the singularly peculiar discovery that she is somehow connected to a giant creature that’s been rampaging across Seoul.

It’s such a goofy concept, you kind of have to appreciate that Colossal exists as a thing at all, nevermind the execution. Thankfully, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo made good use of the genre-busting pitch, and the flick has been overwhelmingly praised by the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Hathaway’s performance is a revelation, and the cast also includes Jason Sudeikis and Tim Blake Nelson (that guy’s everywhere!).

Best indie movies 2017: Colossos

Where to watch: Now playing in select theaters.

2) Deidra & Laney Rob a Train

After Deidra and Laney’s overworked mother has a breakdown and lands in jail, the sisters face mounting bills, pressure from CPS, and the evaporation of Deidra’s dreams of a college career. Desperate times call for desperate actions, and soon the teens are staging a series of train robberies to bail their mom out of jail. But with the authorities on their trail, the sisters are in real danger of winding up in the slammer, just like their mother…

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train takes a simple, silly concept and milks it for all its worth, buoyed by a charming cast and a slick but not overbearing visual style from director Sydney Freeland. Young actresses Ashleigh Murray and Rachel Crow carry the emotional and comedic weight with equal aplomb, ably boosted by a delightful supporting cast. Standouts include Tim Blake Nelson as the not-entirely-stable railroad investigator and David Sullivan as the girls’ well-intentioned fuck-up of a father. Netflix’s stable of original films has been hit or miss thus far, but it would be a crime to miss out on Deidra & Laney Rob a Train.

Best indie movies 2017: Deidra and Laney Rob a Train

Where to watch: Netflix.

3) Donald Cried

Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) left his Rhode Island hometown behind and never looked back, reinventing himself as a slick Wall Street banker. When he’s forced to return home after the death of his grandmother, everything he left behind—including his old self—comes back to haunt him. A lost wallet forces him to turn to his old neighbor and former best friend, Donald (played by the flick’s writer-director, Kris Avedisian), for help. Unfortunately, Donald is a stunted manchild who keeps a signed picture of a porn star’s, err, “assets” hung on the wall of his bedroom. Things only get more awkward from there.

Originally premiering at SXSW in 2016, Avedisian’s project finally hit theaters last month. With a damned impressive 92 percent Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating, it’s absolutely worth tracking down for fans of cringe-inducing “comedy of discomfort.” Between the return home, reunion with an old friend, and standard buddy-comedy tropes, Donald Cried is playing in a familiar ballpark here, but it’s knocking those balls clean out of the park.

Best Indie Movies 2017:

Where to watch: Now playing in select theaters.


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4) Get Out

Sure, you’ve read about this one. But have you seen it yet? The sociological horror flick is the feature directorial debut of Key & Peele’s Jordan Peele, and it’s received almost universal critical acclaim. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is excited to travel home with his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) so he can meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). But he’s also nervous, because Rose hasn’t told her parents that he’s black. It turns out, low-key parental racism is the least of his worries. He’s going to discover things much weirder than that.

Get Out has made Peele one of the hottest writer-directors of the moment, already sparking rumors that a Big Hollywood Movie will be next on his plate (the long-gestating Akira movie, specifically). Wherever Peele goes next, Get Out is the sort of smart, shocking horror thriller with a killer lead performance from Kaluuya, and it absolutely deserves to be seen with an audience for best effect.

Get Out

Where to watch: Now playing in a theater near you.

5) Personal Shopper

As the title suggests, protagonist Maureen is a personal shopper. It’s work that keeps her hopping around the globe when she’s not at home in Paris. However, she’s shaken after the death of her fraternal twin brother: The same genetic heart condition that claimed him could also someday fell her. Both of them felt a connection to the spirit world in life, however; now that he’s gone, Maureen travels to his home to try and see if she can make use that connection to reach him again.

Writer-director Olivier Assayas penned the Personal Shopper script specifically for Kristen Stewart to star, and it looks to have been a good choice. While critics have largely been kind to the film, many have also described it as a sometimes-frustrating affair. The one holding it together is Stewart’s performance, which cements Personal Shopper as a haunting exploration of solitude and loss.

Best indie movies 2017: Personal Shopper

Where to watch: Now playing in select theaters.

6) Prevenge

Quentin Tarantino’s the Bride may have cut an impressive swath through Bill and his associates who done her wrong… but she didn’t do it while pregnant, now did she? She might take lessons from Ruth (writer-director Alice Lowe), who is with child but also with sadness after losing her boyfriend during a climbing accident—after the rest of the party cut him loose to save their own skins. Now Ruth’s unborn baby wants revenge for daddy’s death, or at least that’s what Ruth’s brain is telling her, and the kiddo begins orchestrating a ruthless spree of vengeful carnage.

Filmmaker and star Lowe shot Prevenge over a two-week period while actually pregnant. If that’s not impressive enough to merit a ticket purchase, we don’t know what is. Maybe the 94 percent Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating? Hell, you can even stream it if you’re a Shudder subscriber. Just watch it: You don’t want to piss off the baby.

Best indie movies: Prevenge

Where to watch: Streaming on horror platform, Shudder.

7) Their Finest

London, 1940: With the Brits stiff-upper-lipping their way through the second World War, the government is churning out propaganda films to help bolster morale. Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is at first hired to add some verisimilitude to the films’ female dialogue, but she soon teams with producer Buckley (Sam Claflin) and pompous screen idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) to create a propaganda masterpiece based on the Dunkirk rescue.

Their Finest is based on Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half, which is at least 30 percent funnier a title. “Charming” is a word that seems to be thrown around a lot in reviews of Their Finest. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies that at least try to move beyond the usual formulas, this is a perfect date night.

Best indie movies 2017: Their Very Best

Where to watch: Now playing in select theaters.

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*First Published: May 1, 2017, 7:00 am