Noovie's Alt. Movies: 'The Father' and Other Gems

True life dramas and creepy lore are the running threads covering the best new independent movies now available to watch.

By Matthew Lissauer

Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins in "The Father."

© Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

This week's new crop of indies cover real life dramas and creepy lore, while also showing the powerful force of storytelling. Here are our picks for the best newly available independent movies that you can watch right now.

  • Noovie's Alt. Movie Pick: The Father

    © Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

    First time director Florian Zeller transforms his 2012 play "Le Père" into this deeply moving family drama. Anthony Hopkins stars as a precocious 80-year-old whose mind is slowly succumbing to dementia, while daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) does everything she can to juggle work, life, and care for her elderly father, and the loss of the man he once was. It's a story many of us can relate to. "The Father" landed four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture - Drama, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor and Supporting Actress for Hopkins and Coleman, who are both in top form.

The Father

Drama / 2020

A woman tries to find a caregiver for her feisty, 80-year-old father as dementia continues to eat away at his memory.

  • The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    From director Lee Daniels ("The Butler"), actress and singer Andra Day transforms into legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday. As Holiday's fame peaks, she is targeted by the government in an effort to silence her and stop her from singing the controversial song "Strange Fruit." This is Day's show through and through, and her Golden Globe nominated performance has been drawing raves from critics, even if the movie itself gets too bogged down with the biopic formula.

    • Where to watch: Hulu

    The United States vs. Billie Holiday

    Biography / 2021

    The Federal Bureau of Narcotics launches an undercover sting operation against jazz singer Billie Holiday.

  • Cherry

    © Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection.

    Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and actor Tom Holland, take a step back from the Marvel universe for this harrowing crime drama, based on the novel of the same name. Holland plays the title character Cherry, an Army vet suffering from PTSD who turns to a life of crime to feed his opioid addiction. While the Russos' stylistic take on the narrative might feel too heavy-handed at times, it's really Holland who carries the movie with his intense and engaging performance.

    Cherry

    Drama / 2021 / R

    The wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances.

  • Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry

    © Apple TV+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After exploring the lives of Marlon Brando and John Belushi, Filmmaker R.J. Cutler turns his lens on alt-rock superstar Billie Eilish. Raw, emotional and deeply intimate, Cutler's doc is more than just a surface-level look at teen stardom. Starting with the young artist just as she receives viral fame and radio play, and continuing as she puts together her debut album and heads out on the road to tour, we become a fly on the wall with her and her family as we witness the birth of a star.

    Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry

    Music / 2021 / R

    Teenage singer-songwriter Billie Eilish rises to stardom as she navigates life on the road, on stage, and at home with her family.

  • Night of the Kings

    © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection

    After being sent to the notorious MACA prison in Abidjan, a young thief finds that his storytelling skills will mean life or death. Writer/director Philippe Lacôte shines with this gripping drama that drew praise as it screened at the Venice and Toronto International Festivals, and most recently at Sundance. "Night of the Kings" is Ivory Coast's submission for Best International Feature Film at the upcoming Oscars.

    Night of the Kings

    Drama / 2020 / R

    A new arrival to an Ivory Coast prison is unaware that his storytelling skills will determine his life or death.

  • The Vigil

    © IFC Midnight /Courtesy Everett Collection

    Based on Jewish lore, a poor young man accepts an offer from his former orthodox Rabbi to keep vigil over a recently deceased community member. Things, however, are not at all what they seem as the young man becomes the target of a malevolent spirit. "The Vigil" premiered at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, where its chilly atmosphere impressed critics.

    • Where to watch: In theaters and on VOD (Amazon, Apple, Google, Vudu)

    The Vigil

    Horror / 2019 / PG-13

    Terror strikes when an Orthodox Jewish man agrees to watch over the dead body of a community member in a dilapidated Brooklyn home.

Hot Indie Trailer: Army of the Dead

Before Zack Snyder made a name for himself by taking on a host of comic book adaptations ("300," "Watchmen") and attempting to build an extended universe for iconic DC superheroes ("Man of Steel," "Batman v Superman"), he broke out with an action-packed remake of George A. Romero's cult classic "Dawn of the Dead." Snyder heads back to the zombie-filled world with this heist-thriller that plays like a mashup of "Ocean's Eleven" and "Night of the Living Dead." David Bautista leads a group of mercenaries who plot a casino heist in Vegas during the height of a zombie apocalypse. What could go wrong?

  • Coming to Netflix May 21

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