Noovie's Alt. Movies: 'Mank,' 'Nomadland' and Other Gems

Here's the latest on what's new, what's next, and what you should watch this weekend from across the indie scene. Stay safe out there!

By Matthew Lissauer

Gary Oldman in Mank

As we march to the end of the year, take in a quality film this weekend with these fresh, lo-fi movie picks that you can watch right now.

  • Noovie's Alt. Movies Pick: Mank

    © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After a good run directing various limited series for Netflix, like "House of Cards" and "Mindhunter," David Fincher returns to the cinematic artform at the streamer, with this love letter to old Hollywood. Gary Oldman transforms into "Citizen Kane" scribe Herman J. Mankiewicz, as we follow Mank's alcoholic exploits as he races to complete the script for what will eventually become the greatest movie of all time. This was a personal project for Fincher, as the script was written by his father Jack Fincher prior to his death. Fincher and cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt take great pains to have "Mank" look and feel like the movie was made during the time it takes place. It's almost a shame that the pandemic means we cannot fully enjoy Fincher's opus in the same way its subject matter was seen.

Mank

Drama / 2020 / R

1930s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing wit and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish "Citizen Kane."

  • Nomadland

    © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Before she will dazzle us next year with Marvel's "The Eternals," director Chloé Zhao takes us on a smaller, more down-to-earth story based on the true journey of modern nomad Fern (Frances McDormand). After losing everything from the Great Recession, Fern packs her belongings into a van and lives her life as a nomad travelling the American West. Featuring real-life nomads, "Nomadland" also found its cast and crew living their life on the road during production to help them get a true sense of that world. With such strong reviews following its premiere at Venice earlier this year, "Nomadland" picked up Gotham award nominations for Best Feature and Best Actress (McDormand), and should remain on critics' radars as the long awards season marches on.

    • Where to watch: In select theaters

Nomadland

Drama / 2020 / R

A woman embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession.

  • Another Round

    © Samuel Goldwyn Films /Courtesy Everett Collection

    Four down-and-out teachers decide to experiment with the theory that life is more enjoyable if your blood-alcohol level is maintained at 0.50. After finding their lives have improved slightly, they up the ante, but how far will they go before their lives spiral out of control? "Another Round" was set to premiere at Cannes this year before the festival was cancelled amid the pandemic. The film finally had a world premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, and is set to be Denmark's selection for the Best International Feature Oscar.

    • Where to watch: In select theaters (on VOD 12/18)

Another Round

Drama / 2020

Four high school teachers consume alcohol on a daily basis to see how it affects their social and professional lives.

  • Black Bear

    © Momentum Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    As a filmmaker (Aubrey Plaza) seeks inspiration for her upcoming semi-autobiographical project, a couple (Sarah Gadon and Christopher Abbott) entertain her at their remote retreat in the woods. Things soon unravel as manipulation and jealousy settle in around the trio. "Black Bear" had its premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Black Bear

Drama / 2020 / R

A filmmaker plays a calculated game of desire and jealousy in pursuit of a work of art that blurs the boundaries between autobiography and invention.

  • The Godfather, CODA: The Death of Michael Corleone

    © Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

    Director Francis Ford Coppola revisits his maligned final chapter of the Godfather saga, with this definitive edit. With the production of 1990's "The Godfather: Part III" being rushed to make the awards deadline in 1990, Coppola felt the picture never truly captured the vision that both he and "Godfather" author Mario Puzo originally intended. This recut version includes a new beginning and ending, and supposedly vindicates not just its presence in the trilogy, but also the performance of daughter Sofia Coppola, which had famously drew considerable ire.

    • Where to watch: In theaters (coming to VOD 12/8)

The Godfather, CODA: The Death of Michael Corleone

Crime Drama / 2020 / R

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of The Godfather: Part III, director/screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola brings a definitive new edit and restoration of the final film in his epic Godfather trilogy—Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire. That successor could be fiery Vincent (Andy Garcia)... but he may also be the spark that turns Michael's hope of business legitimacy into an inferno of mob violence. The film's meticulously restored picture and sound, under the supervision of American Zoetrope and Paramount Pictures, includes a new beginning and ending, as well as changes to scenes, shots, and music cues. The resulting project reflects author Mario Puzo and Coppola’s original intentions of The Godfather: Part III, and delivers, in the words of Coppola, "a more appropriate conclusion to The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II."'

  • 76 Days

    © MTV Documentary Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

    MTV launches their documentary film production house with this in-depth look at the COVID-19 pandemic as it played out in the early days in Wuhan, China. "76 Days" covers the period from the start of the Chinese lockdowns through to the gradual reopening, all through the eyes of hospital employees battling the invisible threat on the front lines. Of course, who would have expected that we would still be living in this pandemic almost a year after it all began?

76 Days

Documentary / 2020

Health care workers and patients combat the COVID-19 outbreak during a lockdown in Wuhan, China.

  • Hot Indie Trailer - The Mauritanian

    © STX Films

    STX Films is hoping to enter into the awards race with this late contender – a legal thriller starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley. Based on a true story, "The Mauritanian" follows Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Rahim), a 9/11 terror suspect who is captured by the U.S. government and sent to Guantanamo Bay without a charge or trial. As his defense attorney (Foster) investigates, she soon uncovers a larger conspiracy surrounding the infamous Cuban-based detention center.

    • Coming February 19th

The Mauritanian

Drama / 2021 / R

A defense attorney, her associate and a military prosecutor uncover a far-reaching conspiracy while investigating the case of a suspected 9/11 terrorist imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for six years.

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