Indie Film Release Guide: August 9th [An ONTD Original]

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There are a few new major studio releases this week - Melissa McCarthy’s The Kitchen, Dora and the City of Lost Gold, and The Art of Racing in the Rain. None of these, nor the wide releases from smaller studios listed below, seem likely to upset the current box office champ Hobbes and Shaw. But at least you have a few options!

The films listed are from studios other than the “Big Six” - Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Columbia and Disney. Note that some of the movies listed are in their first week or two of limited release in the USA, so it may take them a few more weeks (or months) to show up in your local arthouse theater or on VOD. Check out the posts from the past few weeks for more movies that may have just opened near you: August 2nd, July 26th, and July 19th.


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark



Stars: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Dean Norris
Writer: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Guillermo del Toro
Director: André Øvredal
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Plot: It’s 1968 in the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time—stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home.
What you should know: Based on the books by Alvin Schwartz
Opens in: Wide release



After the Wedding



Stars: Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Will Chase
Writer: Bart Freundlich (based on the original screenplay by Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen)
Director: Bart Freundlich
Genre: Drama
Plot: Isabel has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa is the multimillionaire head of a media company who lives with her artist husband and their twin boys in New York. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor—Theresa—in person.
What you should know: This is an English language remake of the Danish/Swedish language film by Susanne Bier.
Opens in: Select cities


Brian Banks



Stars: Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Melanie Liburd, Xosha Roquemore
Writer: Doug Atchinson
Director: Tom Shadyac
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Plot: The true story of Brian Banks, an All-American high school football star committed to USC who finds his life upended when he is wrongly convicted of a crime he didn't commit. Despite lack of evidence, Banks is railroaded through a broken justice system and sentenced to a decade of prison and probation. Years later, with the support of Justin Brooks and the California Innocence Project, Banks fights to reclaim his life and fulfill his dreams of playing in the NFL.
What you should know: Tom Shadyac previously directed Evan Almighty and Patch Adams.
Opens in: Wide release


The Peanut Butter Falcon



Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes
Writer: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Genre: Adventure
Plot: The story of Zak, a young man with Down syndrome, who runs away from a residential nursing home to follow his dream of attending wrestling school . A strange turn of events pairs him on the road with Tyler, a small time outlaw on the run, who becomes Zak’s unlikely coach and ally. Together they wind through deltas, elude capture, drink whisky, find God, catch fish, and convince Eleanor, a kind nursing home employee charged with Zak’s return, to join them on their journey.
What you should know: Shia was arrested for public drunkeness in Savannah, Georgia during the filming of this movie.
Opens in: Select cities


One Child Nation



Director: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
Genre: Documentary, History
Storyline: Explores the ripple effect of China’s One Child policy, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another - from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions.
What you should know: The policy was ended in 2015.
Opens in: Select cities


This Changes Everything



Director: Tom Donohue
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: An investigative look and analysis of gender disparity in Hollywood, featuring accounts from well-known actors, executives and artists in the Industry.
What you should know: Probably don't even have to say this, but the comment section for this trailer is not worth your time.
Opens in: Select cities


Ode to Joy



Stars: Morena Baccarin, Jake Lacy, Melissa Rauch, Martin Freeman
Writer: Max Werner, Chris Higgins
Director: Jason Winer
Genre: Comedy
Plot: Charlie suffers from cataplexy, a symptom of narcolepsy that causes sudden bouts of paralysis whenever he experiences strong emotions -- in particular, joy. He develops a variety of techniques to deny himself too much pleasure and happiness, but they're put to the ultimate test when he falls in love.
What you should know: Inspired by a story from “This American Life”.
Opens in: Select cities & available VOD


Light of My Life



Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Casey Affleck, Anna Pniowsky, Tom Bower
Writer/Director: Casey Affleck
Genre: Drama
Plot: Parent and child journey through the outskirts of society a decade after a pandemic has wiped out half the world's population (you know what half!). As a father struggles to protect his child, their bond, and the character of humanity, is tested.
What you should know: Check out this post for ONTD’s thoughts on the concept of this film.
Opens in: Select cities


Socrates



Stars: Christian Malheiros, Tales Ordakji, Caio Martinez Pacheco, Rosane Paolo
Writer: Thayná Mantesso, Alexandre Moratto
Director: Alexandre Moratto
Genre: Drama
Plot: After his mother's sudden death, Socrates, a 15-year-old living on the margins of São Paulo's coast, must survive on his own while coming to terms with his grief.
What you should know: It’s in Portuguese.
Opens in: Select cities


Vision Portraits



Director: Rodney Evans
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: An in-depth exploration of the creative paths of blind and visually impaired artists including a photographer, dancer, writer and filmmaker.
What you should know: The artists involved include Kayla Hamilton, John Dugdale and Ryan Knighton, as well as the filmmaker himself.
Opens in: Select cities


Also opening: Bring The Soul: The Movie (Trailer), Wicked Witches (The Witches of Dumpling Farm) (Trailer), Jabariya Jodi (Trailer), Dying to Survive (Trailer), Ecco (Trailer), Every Time I Die (Trailer)



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What have you been watching lately, ONTD? Seeing anything soon? Is Billy Crudup the only man on earth who looks better with a mustache than without?