Independent Films


The most perfect visualization to date of Thom Yorke’s music, Netflix’s “ANIMA” finds a way to tunnel out and escape from the oppressiveness that people tend to associate with the slippery rock star. Paul Thomas Anderson’s film only wears a veil of dystopian uniformity so that it can fling it off and touch the tender spots underneath; so that it can find something and lose it and find it again. If “ANIMA” is a sublimely visceral encapsulation of what it feels like to listen to Radiohead (or its frontman), that’s because it feels like the kind of dream that follows you out of bed — the kind of dream that makes the mad world around you seem real enough to touch. Read the full review here.

“The Art of Self-Defense”
This sort of dark, jagged storytelling won’t settle with viewers who require every emotional beat to be telegraphed upfront, and regardless, the movie pushes the limits of its appeal over the course of 104 minutes. Riley Stearns’ script has a tendency to linger on dry interactions that can turn clunky when they overstay their welcome. But “The Art of Self-Defense” manages to clarify the filmmaker’s intriguing vision by stuffing it into a remarkably unnerving character study that winds its way to one of the greatest punchlines in recent movie memory. “I didn’t play by the rules,” Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) says at one point, “but there never were any rules.” That seems to be Stearns’ mantra. Read the full review here.

The Biggest Little Farm”
From the opening minutes of “The Biggest Little Farm,” John Chester makes it clear his utopian vision is going to fail. With his wife Molly, a culinary writer, the filmmaker abandoned their Santa Monica home to launch a sustainable farm an hour outside the city. The movie tracks this epic saga across seven years of hiccups and tragic developments as the reality of taming nature settles in. A gorgeous and often devastating look at good intentions slamming into harsh practical challenges, “The Biggest Little Farm” is the rare eco-friendly documentary that reaches beyond the celebratory formula to explore the application of its environmental message in detail.
t’s a remarkable educational experience for anyone eager to go back to the basics. In the process, it arrives at a deeper understanding of the underlying impulse, while delivering an emotionally resonant narrative with plenty of cute animals to spare. Read the full review here.

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