There are few interesting indie releases opening in local theaters this weekend, alongside Jordan Peele’s directorial horror debut Get Out. The first is a war-drama titled Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons (The Host, Woman in Gold) and Samantha Barks (Les Miserables, The Christmas Candle) as lovers facing the oncoming Ukraine Genocide of 1932-1933 under Joseph Stalin. The film comes from director George Mendeluk and follows a young artists (Irons) as he works to save his love, Natalka (Barks), from being rounded up and executed as part of the death-by-starvation camps that would be made all the more famous during Hitler’s time in Nazi Germany during World War II. The script comes from writer Richard Bachynsky Hoover and co-stars Terence Stamp (Superman, Young Guns) and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile).
Next up is an entry from this years Sundance and Berlin Film Festival(s) titled As You Are. It’s the story of the relationship between three friends as seen through a series of memories that are stirred up as the result of a police investigation. Those who have seen the film say it’s best not to know too much going in, but the film received an excellent reception at Sundance, so it’s probably worth seeing. As You Are is written by up-and-coming director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte and Madison Harrison, with Owen Campbell (Boardwalk Empire, The Americans), Charlie Heaton (Urban and the Shed Crew, Stranger Things) and Amandla Sternberg (The Hunger Games, Everything Everything) featured in the lead roles.
Finally on our list is a comedy from director Gregori Viens (Island of Roses, The Loner) titled Punching Henry, which may or may not serve as a follow-up to the director’s 2009 film Punching the Clown, also written by co-writer and star Henry Phillips (You and Your Fucking Coffee, Silicon Valley). Phillips stars as himself, a satire songwriter/comedian who comes to LA after a veteran television producer decides he is perfect for a show about the life of a “loser”. I haven’t seen Punching the Clown, but Punching Henry features a full cast of name-worthy actors and comedians among the supporting cast, including J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man, Whiplash), Mark Cohen (The Aristocrats, Funny People), Sarah Silverman (School of Rock, The Sarah Silverman Program), and Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head). If any of these are opening in your local theaters, I would definitely give them a chance on the big screen. Enjoy your weekend!