It’s hard to imagine a more bizarre experimental movie I’ve come across in years. Jack Henry Robbins’ film “VHYes” at its best is a funny, smart, experiment with nostalgia, while at its worst, it feels like a weak pilot for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim expanded in to a near feature length movie. Some might appreciate the jarring changes in tone and bite size comedy that is peppered throughout “VHYes” and while I thought it left much to be desired, it also had a lot going for it, with some fascinating commentary about nostalgia and memories. It really wants to be “Amazon Women on the Moon,” at the end of the day, but it ends as a mildly fascinating meshing of genres, and comedic bits.
I think that when the smoke clears, director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is going to be a lesson to Hollywood that—people want dark, violent comic book movies… which shouldn’t be what’s learned, if you ask me. “Joker” lends credence to the long held opinion that comic books are art and not just pop fodder for adults that refuse to grow up. Comic book movies, much like comic books, can be compelling art, and “Joker” proves that, even in spite of its inherent flaws. “Joker” is a shockingly good movie, even though it really wants to be a Scorsese film.
As with every single year, we try to cover as much indies as possible, but we just never have the time to see them all, sadly. As with previous years, this top five comprises five of the best indies I saw all year. It’s not to say the films that didn’t make the list are terrible films, or that the films the other writers on Cinema Crazed enjoyed aren’t good, either. This is merely my own subjective list of five independent film shorts I highly recommend to you that I saw this year. It’s good to remember this is opinion, and not gospel.
If you want to see what films the Cinema Crazed collective consider A+ Indies, visit the link included!
Also, be sure to let us know some of the best indie films you saw all year!
The thing about cinema is that it’s an often very literal art form that takes what is often very metaphorical or performance art about stage productions and has a hard time supplanting it for the audience. For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” it’s a very good cult rock film that often feels like it has to be seen on stage in order to soak in the true experience. I’m not trying to take away what a cult classic John Cameron Mitchell’s musical drama is, but I couldn’t quite help but feel that “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” could have been much more appreciated as a live show.
Director Flavio Alves’ art house drama is one of the most important indie films released in 2019. It’s a movie about the LGBTQ community and how much battles are left within the community. Especially in a world where it’s become even more dangerous than ever for the transgender community to simply function. Although imperfect, “The Garden Left Behind” is an award winning drama that is about as relevant and engaging a statement about the trans community as Sean Baker’s 2015 film “Tangerine.”
“Is it me… or is the world getting meaner?”
Bill Finger’s creation The Joker has remained one of the most fascinating figures in all of pop culture and comic books medium. Every new generation finds an angle upon which to examine the Joker and how he’s so much more than a simple Batman villain. It has fascinated artists for decades how someone can sink so far in to the murky depths of madness that they can’t even see the light anymore. Christopher Nolan set a high bar that director Todd Phillips almost touches with the ugly, grotesque, depressing and yet quite fantastic “Joker.”
I have to say that I liked “The Dead Don’t Die.” It feels a lot like Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” doesn’t just seem to feel like his effort to give his own spin to the sub-genre, but it also feels like the proving ground for the man to be as bizarre and often stupid as he possibly can. With “The Dead Don’t Die” it’s a bit of an experimental and bizarre zombie comedy that has absolutely no breaks on. It throws everything at the wall to see what sticks, from terrible breaking of the fourth wall, clunky symbolism (chairs that look like tombstones! Hah! Get it?), sub-plots that go nowhere, and space ships.
Director Carolina Hellsgård wears her heart on her sleeve with “Ever After,” a movie that’s mired in the influence of femininity and women and offers up a lot of metaphysical ideas about mother Earth, nature, and our state of being. Although “Ever After” has been marketed as a zombie movie, the zombie element is mostly a background dressing for something more meditative and complex. While I adapted to what screenwriter Olivia Vieweg was leading us in to after the first half hour, “Ever After” still manages to be a mixed bag and doesn’t quite re-invent the wheel.