Your Sister's Sister
Written and directed by Lynn Shelton, "Your Sister's Sister" features flawless performances from Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, and Rosemary DeWitt. A year after the death of his brother, Jack (Duplass) agrees to recuperate at his best friend Iris' (Blunt) country house. It's there that he meets and bonds with her emotionally damaged sister (DeWitt). Matters become complicated when Iris pops in for a visit and informs her sister that she has feelings for Jack. The film, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews, is a touching story of love, loss, and friendship.
Safety Not Guaranteed
"Safety Not Guaranteed" is an offbeat comedy starring Aubrey Plaza ("Parks and Recreation") as an aspiring reporter assisting with a story about a man who claims to have the ability to time travel (Mark Duplass). Forced to keep a close eye on the socially dysfunctional stranger, she soon finds that she has strong feelings for him. The film marks a promising debut from director Colin Trevorrow.
"The Hunter," starring Willem Dafoe, offers a scenic portrait of isolation and loneliness. A mercenary (Dafoe) is hired to move to the Tasmanian wilderness and hunt down the Tasmanian tiger, which is rumored to be extinct. Yet over the course of his mission, he becomes reluctant to destroy the mysterious animal. Directed by Daniel Nettheim, the arthouse drama is affecting and unpredictable.
The beautifully written "Natural Selection," which earned a whopping seven awards at SXSW in 2011, is one of the most overlooked films of the year. Written and directed by newcomer Robbie Pickering, the film stars Rachel Harris ("The Hangover") as a barren Christian housewife who learns that her dying husband has a grown illegitimate son (Matt O'Leary). The hilarious indie tackles an array of powerful themes (religion, sexuality, forgiveness) while maintaining a degree of edginess.
Sound of My Voice
"The Sound of My Voice" follows a couple (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) who join a cult in order to make a documentary about the group's enigmatic leader Maggie (Brit Marling). Yet the two soon find their relationship unraveling after they are pulled further into the woman's dark underworld. The first film from director Zal Batmanglij, the haunting drama is gripping from its opening scene to its ambiguous conclusion.
Oscar season may be bringing attention to the blockbusters and prestige art projects, but that doesn't mean that little-known films like these don't deserve a second look.