Indie Fresh List

Indie Fresh List: C'mon C'mon, tick, tick... BOOM!, and More

Check out the latest Fresh indie releases, including what's in theaters, what's on VOD, and what's coming soon.

by | November 19, 2021 | Comments

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Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what’s indie features are streaming. From promising releases by new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week.

This week for our Indie Fresh List, we have a gripping documentary on the early days of the pandemic, a welsh horror tale, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut. In our Spotlight section, we have a family drama from director Mike Mills starring Joaquin Phoenix. Our Indie Trailer section has a family-driven rom-com, a road trip drama, and a semi-autobiographical tale of loss from director Paolo Sorrentino

New This Weekend

The First Wave (2021)


In The First Wave, Oscar-nominated documentarian Matthew Heineman explores the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of the staff working at one of New York’s hardest-hit hospitals. A tense and thrilling chronicle of the ravages of the virus a time when we knew little about it, The First Wave is an exploration of the long-standing inequities in our society and how this once-in-a-century pandemic exacerbated them. Currently Fresh at 100% on the Tomatometer, the film inspired Micheal O’Sullivan of the Washington Post to write, “The First Wave feels simultaneously hard to watch and vital, tragic and uplifting, like a backward glimpse over our shoulder at a period of conflict and struggle – in more ways than one – that we’re not quite done living through yet.”

Now Playing Select Theaters.

The Feast (2021)


An extravagant dinner party in the Welsh countryside takes a horrific and unexpected turn in Feast. Annes Elwy stars as Cadi, a mysterious young woman hired by a local socialite to serve a dinner party. The constant dread of the first two acts underscores the cold and almost surgical preparation of the meal, highlighting that neither Cadi nor the guests served at the table are quite what they seem. Hints of the gore that will pervade the film’s final act are delicately foreshadowed in the first two, leaving the audience rapt with anticipation for when the bloodier parts of the affair kick-off. Certified Fresh at 81% on the Tomatometer and perfectly timed for the Thanksgiving holiday, Feast is “a new Thanksgiving tradition for horror aficionados with iron-clad stomachs and an appetite for visually striking scares that unsettle through thorny symbolism before their bloodletting begins in earnest,” according to Isaac Feldberg of Inverse.

Now Playing Select theaters.

Tick, Tick... Boom! (2021)


Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his directorial debut with tick, tick… BOOM!. The Hamilton creator and star has often credited Jonathan Larson (creator of Rent and the original stage production of Tick, Tick… Boom!) as a huge musical influence and inspiration. The film, which stars Andrew Garfield, is a mix of the stage play and events from Larson’s life. Set during Larson’s time at the famed Moondance Diner, a broadway staple before its closure in 2007, tick, tick… BOOM! is a Broadway kid’s fantasy set to screen, a meditation on the messy moments of inspiration and the constant artistic struggles to “make it,” and it debuts on Netflix this week after a premiere at the AFI film festival. Amy Nicholson of The New York Times called it “a self-portrait of the artist as an angst-ridden wretch, which Miranda has reverently dusted and polished like a sacred totem for a select cult.”

Streaming now on Netflix

Spotlight Pick – Now Playing Select Theaters

C'mon C'mon (2021)


Mike Mills (20th Century Women) is back in theaters with another heartfelt exploration of love, family, and the hilarity raising young children. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Johnny, a Public Radio host enlisted to care for his precocious young nephew, played by dazzling newcomer Woody Norman. Indie darling Gaby Hoffman, comedian Jaboukie Young-White, and Scoot McNairy (Narcos) round out the cast for the black-and-white drama, which is equally poignant and hilarious. Phoenix is incredible as a clueless uncle in charge of an unpredictable child, and Frank J. Avella of Edge Media Network writes, “Phoenix taps into his sweet and loving side for Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon, a deeply affecting, uplifting, and unconventional peek at a small family looking to reconnect.”

Now Playing Select Theaters.  

Along with…

93% The Alpinist (2021) , the story of a gifted snow climber and his adventures to reach the highest peaks.
71% Annette (2021) , Leos Carax’s off-kilter musical about a shock comic and an opera singer who fall in love only to sire a very strange offspring.
75% Blue Bayou (2021) , about an immigrant at risk for deportation who tries to keep his family together.
87% The Card Counter (2020) , Paul Schrader’s dramatic thriller about a high-stakes poker player who befriends the son of a man from his past and tries to give him a future.
75% The French Dispatch (2021) , a series of vignettes from writer-director Wes Anderson chronicling a Kansas City paper’s final issue from the French office.
74% The Guilty (2021) , starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a 911 operator who frantically tries to save a woman who has been abducted.
90% Titane (2021) , Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or-winning thriller about a go-go dancer with sinister tastes who impersonates a missing boy while on the run.
86% Lamb (2021) , about a childless couple who adopt strange newborn they found in their sheep barn.
88% The Night House (2020) , a psychological horror film about a widow who is haunted by her dead husband at their lakeside dream house.
96% Language Lessons (2021) , a drama about a friendship that blossoms between a Spanish teacher and her student during the COVID-19 quarantine.
94% My Name Is Pauli Murray (2021) , a biographical documentary about famed civil rights activist Pauli Murray
95% Old Henry (2021) , a Western about a farmer with a mysterious backstory who encounters a robber on the run.
96% The Rescue (2021) , a gripping documentary about the rescue of 12 members of a youth Thai soccer team and their coach.
98% The Velvet Underground (2021) , a documentary about 1960s counterculture band The Velvet Undergrond.

New Indie Trailers 

India Sweets and Spices (2021)

A chance encounter with a local shop boy allows an affluent Indian girl to take a peek into her mother’s guarded past and, in doing so, perhaps unwrap her future.

Drive My Car (2021)

A driver and her passenger bond over a journey of several weeks in this 2021 Cannes award winner for best screenplay.

Director Paolo Sorrentino recounts his adolescence and a traumatic loss that shaped him as a filmmaker in this semi-autobiographical tale.

Thumbnail image by A24

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