Pandemic life is seeping further into the art of movies as this week's crop of new indies examine heady relationships and profound life questions. It may sound a bit too heavy for weekend viewing, but don't worry -- it's all hidden under the veneer of great entertainment. Here are our picks for the best newly available independent movies you can watch right now.
Noovie's Alt. Movie Pick: Malcolm & Marie
As we covered when highlighting what to watch this month on Netflix, "Malcolm & Marie" was shot in secret during the lockdowns at the start of the pandemic. John David Washington and Zendaya are the eponymous Malcolm and Marie, a filmmaker and his girlfriend who go through a whirlwind night as Malcolm awaits reviews following the premiere of his latest project. Featuring just two characters in one setting, the film has an air of an intimate play.
- Where to watch: Netflix
January 29, 2021
When his aging father (Lance Henriksen) comes to visit him and his partner, John (Viggo Mortensen) hopes for a reconciliation. The two, however, could not be more at odds with each other. This is a Mortensen triple threat, in which he writes and stars and makes his directorial debut. "Falling" premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Earwig and the Witch
Studio Ghibli makes its first foray into full CG-animation with this fantasy following Earwig, an orphan girl, who is adopted by a selfish witch. She soon discovers her biological mother was a witch herself, and she also learns that a mysterious song might unlock even greater powers.
Filmmaker Mike Cahill ("Another Earth," "I Origins") is mainly known for dramatic and heady sci-fi, but here he lightens the mood a bit. Recently divorced Greg (Owen Wilson) encounters the mysterious Isabel (Salma Hayek), who convinces him that life itself is just a computer simulation.
- Where to watch: Prime Video (subcription)
A Glitch in the Matrix
Filmmaker Rodney Ascher ("Room 237") takes the premise of "Bliss" into the real world, as he talks to scientists and philosophers to answer the question "what if we are living in a computer simulation?" "A Glitch in the Matrix" recently premiered to great buzz at the virtual Sundance Film Festival.
Written and shot before the pandemic, and slated to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival before COVID changed plans, this eerie thriller from Chad Hartigan ("Morris From America") follows a couple (Olivia Cooke and Jack O'Connell) who struggle to maintain their relationship as the world is gripped by a deadly virus that causes memory loss. Consider this a sort of creepy, freaky bookend to "Malcolm & Marie."
February 5, 2021
Hot Indie Trailer: Night of the Kings
Philippe Lacôte's compelling fantasy drama is a prison movie unlike any other. The film follows a young man who is sent to the infamous La MACA prision in Abidjan, along the Ivroy Coast. There he must use the power of his storytelling to survive. "Night of the Kings" has been making waves on the festival circuit, with premieres at the Venice, Toronto, New York, and most recently Sundance film festivals.
- In theaters and Virtual Cinemas Feb. 26
Matt Lissauer is a writer & data manager for Noovie. When he is not busy writing listicles, Matt is enjoying life in New Jersey with his lovely wife and three kids.