Indie Fresh List

The Indie Fresh List: Ethan Hawke and Cynthia Erivo Find Redemption, One Quietly and One with a Bang

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

by | October 31, 2019 | Comments

Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what’s opening, expanding, and coming to the specialty box office. From promising releases from 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 in Fresh Indie Finds. 

This week at the specialty box office, we have new offerings from Cynthia Erivo, Ethan Hawke, and Martin Scorsese. Erivo’s take on Civil War icon Harriet Tubman joins Ethan Hawke in a new indie tale about an ex-con and an abandoned baby, while Scorsese’s long-awaited Jimmy Hoffa gangster epic starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel – all together for the first time ever – opens a theatrical run before it drops on Netflix. In our spotlight section, we highlight the per-screen-average winning film from last week’s three-way showcase featuring The LighthouseParasite, and Jojo Rabbit. And finally, in our indie trailer section, we have new clips featuring Vin Diesel, Sterling K. Brown, and a foreign language Oscar hopeful some are dubbing a modern-day Parisian Do The Right Thing. 

Opening This Weekend

Adopt a Highway (2019) 69%

Logan Marshall-Green follows up his 2018 appearance in the violent, fast-paced action flick Upgrade with his directorial debut, an understated drama starring SXSW darling Ethan Hawke. In Adopt a Highway, Hawke plays Russ Millings, an ex-con who is paroled after a 21-year prison sentence and suddenly finds purpose and meaning after he rescues an abandoned infant from a dumpster. As an instant parent navigating the perils of a world he no longer recognizes, Hawke is moving and heartfelt in Marshall-Green’s first-time effort as both writer and director. Matt Donato of Slashfilm called the film “as naked, vulnerable, and warmly fulfilling a directorial debut as you can ask for.”

Playing Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, Orlando, Seattle, Tampa; and available on VOD November 1.

Harriet (2019) 74%

Tony-winner Cynthia Erivo makes her lead actress feature debut in Kasi Lemmons‘ biopic about the most celebrated member of the underground railroad, Harriet Tubman. The former slave escaped to freedom and then returned several times to free over 300 runaways without a single person lost, and the British-born actress is earning raves for her quiet, moving performance. It’s one that stands slightly above the film itself, as Loren King of Newport This Week notes Erivo is “the main reason to see Harriet, a solid, well-crafted film that aims more for education than innovation.”

Playing select cities on November 1.

The Irishman (2019) 96%

Lastly, we hesitate to call a $200 million Martin Scorsese epic produced by the biggest streaming studio around an “indie” film, but it is only getting a limited release in theaters before it hits Netflix, so if you wanted to see it on the big screen, now you know it’s happening this weekend. Scorsese made headlines recently with his thoughts on superheroes and cinema, with everyone from Jon Favreau to James Gunn weighing in on the Oscar-winning director’s assertion that Marvel movies are more akin to theme parks. But the public brouhaha over that hasn’t affected The Irishman‘s chances to become a major player come Oscar time. Stars Robert De NiroAl Pacino, and Joe Pesci, as well as the GoodFellas director himself, all look poised for deep runs this awards season, and with the use of new technology not unlike what we’ve seen in the MCU or Ang Lee’s Gemini ManThe Irishman has positioned itself for multiple nominations across the board. “A masterpiece. Scorsese’s most ambitious work to date [and] one of his very best. Believe the hype,” writes Joey Magidson of Hollywood News.

Playing New York and Los Angelesavailable on Netflix on November 27.

Fresh and Still in Theaters

Jojo Rabbit (2019) 80%


Out of our three spotlight picks from last week (The Lighthouse, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit), the anti-hate satire from Taika Waititi earned the highest per-screen-average of the weekend in fewer than 50 markets. When we chatted with the Thor: Ragnarok director, he told us his satire was the perfect antidote to the re-emergence of Nazi ideology. Though critical reaction to the film has been slightly less enthusiastic, audiences have nothing but praise for Waititi, his hilarious script, and the dynamic cast. Set in Germany at the end of World War II, the film follows Jojo, a 10-year-old fan of the Führer who discovers his mother is hiding a teenaged Jewish girl in the attic. Jojo must then decide what to do next: Will he choose to side with his mother or with his best friend and father-figure, an imaginary version of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, played by Waititi? The winner of the 2019 Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, this absurdist anti-hate satire is a timely skewering of blind ideology as well as a surprisingly feel-good family film with standout performances from Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Leave No Trace star Thomasin McKenzie, and newcomer Roman Griffin Davis in the title role. It’s a coming-of-age story that Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle writes is “unlike any other, filled with the director’s trademark heart and a soul-stirring argument against the ever-ready darkness of unswerving, ‘patriotic’ nationalism.”

Playing New York and Los Angeles; expanding to wide release on November 8.

Along with…

  • Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) , a darkly comedic satire about the terrifying antics that ensue when an underprivileged family latches on to a more affluent one and things go sideways.
  • The Lighthouse (2019) , a surreal psychological drama about two men who are tortured by the elements and by each other while isolated at a remote lighthouse.
  • First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) , an action flick/broad comedy/pulse-racing thriller/heartfelt rom-com that follows a young boxer and a call girl through a wild night in Tokyo.
  • Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) , a drama about an aging director who reflects on his films, collaborators, and legacy after he is sidelined by severe back pain.
  • Monos (2019) , a South American Lord of the Flies – but about 1,000 times bloodier.

New Indie Trailers

Waves (2019) 84% 

The second trailer for It Comes at Night Director Trey Edward Shults’ third effort, complex love story and family drama set in Miami Florida, starring Sterling K. BrownKelvin Harrison Jr.Lucas Hedges, and newcomer Taylor Russell.

Little Joe (2019) 68%

A new trailer for this sci-fi thriller starring Ben Whishaw about a genetically modified plant that is transformed into a modern-day Frankenstein’s Monster meets Audrey II (Little Shop of Horrors).

Les Misérables (2020) 86%  

A new trailer for Les Misérables, a socio-thriller inspired by the 2005 Paris riots set in the outer suburb of Montfermeil, where Victor Hugo famously set sections of his eponymous novel.

Bloodshot (2020) 30%

Vin Diesel stars in this action thriller about an artificially enhanced soldier who’s brought back from the dead to avenge his wife’s killer — or at least that’s what he’s been told.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

comics Fall TV CBS All Access indie TV Land dceu mission: impossible Family festivals Cartoon Network TV Amazon Prime Video zombies Television Academy Action Marvel Studios award winner sports Tubi laika crime drama anthology TV renewals Apple TV+ Mary Poppins Returns DC Comics boxoffice animated Disney streaming service El Rey Starz Emmys YouTube Red children's TV Music ESPN cancelled Chernobyl indiana jones Spectrum Originals Photos Horror Apple Certified Fresh science fiction rotten Holidays Comic Book Box Office Infographic Hallmark Watching Series composers PBS A&E classics Captain marvel adaptation BET The Witch CW Seed Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Martial Arts Spring TV thriller cops cats Quiz Mindy Kaling TBS films Podcast screenings scary movies golden globes Pop TV slashers video on demand Netflix Vudu nbcuniversal LGBTQ screen actors guild First Look SXSW Lifetime TIFF sag awards Lionsgate justice league Mystery Amazon Prime Drama DC streaming service Amazon Studios renewed TV shows streaming dark Biopics Pixar Turner Comedy Central Animation Classic Film medical drama Video Games Nat Geo all-time Crackle Film Festival police drama Comics on TV stop motion 2018 NBC franchise reboot Calendar unscripted Discovery Channel witnail biography Universal E3 hist stoner Awards documentary dramedy superhero TCA Awards strong female leads ghosts Freeform theme song WarnerMedia fast and furious facebook aliens NYCC Creative Arts Emmys crime Rock FX hispanic BAFTA Britbox critics See It Skip It latino Pop binge Best and Worst name the review MSNBC Pride Month Character Guide Netflix Christmas movies vampires AMC HBO Lucasfilm BBC worst First Reviews PlayStation diversity CMT 2017 discovery robots Adult Swim Endgame supernatural comedies breaking bad New York Comic Con Brie Larson CBS Fox News Extras quibi TCA Winter 2020 Tarantino reviews Country PaleyFest game show MCU Pet Sematary Disney+ Disney Plus Paramount harry potter obituary movies FX on Hulu Ghostbusters Columbia Pictures President spinoff Fantasy 71st Emmy Awards Spike toy story Sundance Sundance Now Black Mirror blaxploitation MTV Disney Plus Sci-Fi a nightmare on elm street romance Western kids zero dark thirty criterion GoT Showtime Marvel Television LGBT Sundance TV travel dc ratings Trophy Talk social media ABC politics The Purge 72 Emmy Awards cancelled TV series halloween Amazon Funimation Syfy IFC Films versus Heroines Anna Paquin dragons RT21 VICE disaster based on movie WGN miniseries RT History TruTV San Diego Comic-Con war Chilling Adventures of Sabrina green book 24 frames National Geographic game of thrones FXX IFC cars Elton John batman Awards Tour Song of Ice and Fire Election natural history parents APB Toys jamie lee curtis GLAAD TLC book Year in Review revenge news Masterpiece Ellie Kemper 2016 nature doctor who Grammys Binge Guide Teen 007 technology rotten movies we love documentaries Mudbound HBO Go GIFs ABC Family Nominations tv talk Summer Paramount Network Musical south america Set visit FOX Crunchyroll transformers space SundanceTV canceled TV shows stand-up comedy DGA Reality Sony Pictures Film Shondaland cancelled TV shows true crime cooking Black History Month Premiere Dates Disney VOD TCA Trailer spider-man adventure Marathons die hard TCA 2017 Thanksgiving 2019 Musicals psychological thriller Cosplay YA psycho free movies Super Bowl video Superheroes Polls and Games DC Universe Superheroe Sneak Peek Emmy Nominations comiccon christmas movies cinemax romantic comedy Hallmark Christmas movies Turner Classic Movies Television Critics Association Writers Guild of America Acorn TV werewolf Winners emmy awards Rom-Com Red Carpet Stephen King Women's History Month best chucky Logo E! Rocky twilight Academy Awards Opinion ITV Christmas VH1 concert Winter TV cults Kids & Family spanish language sequel Esquire series Travel Channel Pirates Countdown BBC America Star Wars X-Men satire Schedule foreign child's play period drama canceled Nickelodeon 4/20 YouTube Premium crossover The Arrangement serial killer The Walking Dead YouTube Disney Channel casting USA Network American Society of Cinematographers Star Trek talk show blockbuster SDCC hollywood Baby Yoda TNT Comedy mockumentary television Walt Disney Pictures Mary Tyler Moore TCM Cannes Holiday teaser BBC One sitcom 2015 BET Awards Hulu political drama Lifetime Christmas movies Food Network movie 20th Century Fox docudrama 21st Century Fox Hear Us Out universal monsters DirecTV 45 Valentine's Day The CW historical drama Apple TV Plus HBO Max Interview Avengers anime singing competition Trivia cartoon spain dogs Rocketman joker Shudder what to watch Tomatazos crime thriller Bravo spy thriller CNN Dark Horse Comics finale A24 Ovation zombie USA Tumblr Warner Bros. directors Marvel richard e. Grant Epix Arrowverse independent Mary poppins OneApp cancelled television 2020 Oscars Reality Competition OWN History Peacock asian-american comic mutant elevated horror