Quick Indie Spirit* Nominated Reviews

Every year when the Independent Spirit Awards are announced I make it a point to drop as many of the nominees as I can into both of my Netflix queues to see what I've missed. Lucky for me, there were a few nominees readily available for me to check out. Here are a few quick reviews. A couple of these are not Spirit Award nominees, but they were in the current conversation so I put them here too. I meant to have this post up before the actual Spirit Awards aired, but time got away from me. 

The Mustang 

Nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best First Feature
Matthias Schoenaerts was indeed very good and a wild Jason Mitchell appeared for a few minutes which was a nice surprise, but I found this to be unbearably boring. I just can't do horse movies. I felt similar to Lean on Pete last year. Something about horses just puts me to sleep. C-


Nominations: None
While this one technically didn't get any Spirit nominations, I added it to my queue at the same time because it was getting other festival buzz and let me tell you, this movie was not what I expected. I didn't watch the trailer and only read the IMDb synopsis that talks about the love story between the two leads, but it takes an interesting supernatural turn that I didn't see coming at all. I'm really impressed with this movie, it captivated me. B

High Flying Bird

Nominations: Best Screenplay
This was great. I think it also should've been up for the cast award. Andre Holland is such a wonderful actor and Sonja Sohn, Jeryl Prescott and Zazie Beetz are always actresses I'm happy to see. At first glance, a movie about an NBA lockout might not have caught my attention, but I'm glad this one did. B+

Burning Cane

Nominations: Best Supporting Actor, and the John Cassavetes Award for cast.
I need to think of a better word to describe films like this other than "art house." I can see why Wendell Pierce got a supporting actor nomination. His character is despicable but it's quite different from what I'm used to seeing him play and the cast did a good job. It reminds me of movies like A Ghost Story or All My Friends are Funeral Singers. It feels more like a string of thoughts and moments than a movie. That's not a bad thing, it's a perfectly fine way to spend a little over an hour. Plus the director is a 19 year old, and that's impressive. C+

See You Yesterday

Nominations: Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay
The lead actors in this, Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow are absolutely delightful together. I loved their chemistry. This film is both exciting and heartbreaking as we follow two teenagers who invent time travel with drastic consequences. This was easily of my favorite of the films I watched. I didn't want it to end. A

The Souvenir

Nominations: None
It turns out Tilda Swinton's daughter has some acting chops as well. I had a bit of trouble understanding why her character, Julie would be drawn to someone like Anthony because he's kind of a twat the entire movie, but I found the film interesting. The biggest hurdle for me, which unfortunately affected my score a bit was how much the DVD I got of this skipped. It took me over two hours to finish it because I had to work through it. Not the film's fault, but I probably would've enjoyed this more had I saw it in theaters. B-


  1. I have a lot of those films on my watchlist as I hope to catch up on them soon.

  2. I've seen See You Yesterday pop up quite a few times whilst browsing Netflix, I'm definitely going to have to give it a go!

  3. The only one I haven't seen is See You Yesterday. I liked The Mustang more than you but right with you on Burning Cane. I had a hard time sticking with that one. And for weeks I've had a review written for Atlantics. I've gotta get that thing posted. I saw High Flying Bird early last week and was pleasantly surprised.

    1. Atlantics was so different than I was expecting it to be. I hope you like See You Yesterday, those kids were amazing.

  4. See you Yesterday was surprisingly good! It's definitely Netflix's best Groundhog Dayish film and it is a surprisingly crowded category for them.

    1. It really is getting crowded in that category isn't it? Who would've thought.

  5. I've just seen The Mustang and I liked it. I have a soft spot for horses because my grandmother loves them and I sort of grew up like.. almost in awe of them. And then finally rode a horse for the first time in my 20s. And just... I don't know. Horses to me always spark some sort of a connection. I haven't seen the others though, I definitely want to check a few of them out if I have the time!

    1. That's really sweet! I find horse riding terrifying. I hated it both times I tried.


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