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
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.
- Where to watch: In theaters
The United States vs. Billie Holiday
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 / R
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.
- Where to watch: In theaters; on Apple TV+ March 12
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry
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.
- Where to watch: Apple TV+
Night of the Kings
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.
- Where to watch: In select theaters and virtual cinemas
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)
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
About the Author
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.