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 in our Indie Fresh List, we have a coming-of-age rom-com, a concert documentary about David Byrne, and a powerful courtroom drama from Aaron Sorkin about the 1968 riots at the Democratic national convention. In our Spotlight Section, we have a new black-and-white documentary about incarceration, and in our indie trailer section, we have new trailers featuring Henry Golding, Rachel Brosnahan, Glenn Close, and Amy Adams.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Aaron Sorkin is back with his second directorial feature, a courtroom drama that retells the raucous and at times ridiculous Trial of the Chicago 7. The 1968 democratic convention was a powder keg before it even convened, as counter-culture icons like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and anti-war protesters like Tom Hagen all descended on Chicago looking to protest what they felt was the abandonment of ideals with the nomination of Hubert Humprey, a vocal supporter of the Vietnam war. Touting a jaw-dropping cast of talents including Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frank Langella, Jeremy Strong, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sorkin’s signature writing style is delivered with passion and humor. “Sorkin, who’s unmatched in his ability to write debates and speeches, manages to freshen up those old benches, robes, and gavels.” writes Johnny Oleksinski of The New York Post.
Playing select theaters and available to stream October 16 on Netflix.
A new take on a wild night of romance, Shithouse is a touching love story about a lonely college freshman desperate for connection who attends a frat party as a last-ditch effort to make new friends. Cooper Raiff wrote, directed, produced, and stars in his directorial debut, which was slated to premiere at the South by Southwest film festival. Despite the cancellation, Shithouse took home the top Jury Prize in the Narrative Feature section. “Those who dismiss the film based on its title alone may miss out on a deeply affecting and profound portrayal of late adolescence which pays tribute to the coming-of-age tradition even as it forges new emotional pathways,” writes Joel Mayward of Cinemayward.
Playing select theaters October 16.
Spike Lee and David Byrne have joined forces to produce one of the greatest concert documentaries ever set to film. Byrne, the frontman of The Talking Heads, transformed his hit Broadway show American Utopia into a one-of-a-kind concert experience. Assembling a band of world-renowned musicians, he yet again proves why he is one of the most captivating and inventive musicians of our generation. Surprisingly heartfelt for a concert film, “American Utopia is just the kind of healing, inspiring balm that the audience needs right now. It arrives like an unexpected answer to an unspoken prayer,” writes Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post.
Available to stream October 17th on HBO Max.
Fox Rich has had one goal for the past 20 years: to see the release of her husband Rob G. Rich from prison. In our spotlight selection this week we have a Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary that chronicles the human cost of mass incarceration, highlighting the inequities of who can truly find justice in our current system. Directed by Garrett Bradley, Time follows Rich as she tirelessly works to free her husband, incorporating home videos and private moments to drive home the message. Time is “heartbreaking and passionate,” according to Alissa Wilkinson of Vox, and a “chronicle of love deferred and the life that hope can provide.”
Available to stream October 16 on Amazon Prime.
Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) plays a young man who returns home to Vietnam after years away, only to feel like a stranger in his home country.
Hugo Weaving plays an ailing war photographer who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a South Sudanese refugee he once photographed.
Thumbnail image by Netflix