By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist April 15, 2014 at 1:17PM
"Alex of Venice"
Synopsis: A driven careerwoman attorney suddenly has to deal with domestic and family issues (especially her aging father's demands) on her own when her husband, who has been the primary homemaker to that point, asks for a separation that goes from temporary to more permanent.
What You Should Know: Chris Messina is one of the more ubiquitous actors on the indie scene, reliably turning in assured and generous supporting performances in "Ruby Sparks" and "Argo" and showing up in "The Newsroom" on TV for good measure. This is his directorial debut, and he again takes a supporting role as the husband, but the lead is taken by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and hopefully will give her a chance to make further good on the promise of her excellent work in "Smashed," and consolidate her transition from scream queen/geek dreamgirl to one of her generation's most interesting actresses. Also look out for Don Johnson in the role of the father—with supporting roles in "Cold in July" and "The Other Woman" too, he's having a comeback moment even outside his recurring role on TV's "From Dusk Till Dawn."
Synopsis: A welterweight boxer, whose successful career came to an abrupt end, is drawn into a shady web of deceit and murder by a crooked restaurateur who lures him with promises of restoring his former glory and status.
What You Should Know: We ended our review of writer/director Noah Buschel's last film, 2012's "Sparrows Dance" with the words "we can't wait to see what Buschel does next." And this noir-tinged morality play is it, which is one reason we're very excited for this one. A second reason is that it's a starring role for Corey Stoll, whose breakout in season one of "House of Cards" was one of our favorite acting performances of last year. Billy Crudup, Kelly Lynch and Marin Ireland (reteaming with Buschel from "Sparrows Dance") round out the promising cast, and the few early glimpses we've seen look to deliver something visually striking too.
"Goodbye to All That"
Synopsis: When his wife asks for a divorce out of the blue (from his point of view), hapless everyman Otto's life is upended as he struggles to understand her motivation, tries to maintain a relationship with his daughter and reluctantly reengages with the dating scene.
What You Should Know: It might not sound like the freshest idea on the block, but this is the directorial debut of "Junebug" screenwriter Angus MacLachlan and it looks like he's assembled the perfect cast to make this potentially bittersweet, funny/sharp dramedy sing. Paul Schneider takes the lead, with Anna Camp ("Pitch Perfect," "The Help"), the great Melanie Lynskey, Heather Graham, Amy Sedaris, Celia Weston, Ashley Hinshaw and Heather Lawless among the impressive supporting cast.
"When the Garden Was Eden"
Synopsis: An unabashed documentary love letter to the the New York Knicks, focusing on their late 1960s evolution and their early 1970s championship run.
What You Should Know: While we've been enjoying Michael Rapaport's guest starring role on "Justified" recently, the omnipresent actor was also behind one of our favorite recent documentaries, "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest." His return to the documentarian director's chair might not be quite so squarely in our wheelhouse, but Rapaport has shown he can communicate his enthusiasm for his subject matter brilliantly, and appears to have had good access to the stars of the day, and so we're very willing to be won over. The film is produced by ESPN, based on the bestselling 2012 book of the same name by Harvey Araton and kicks off the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film festival sidebar.
"Loitering with Intent"
Synopsis: Dominic and Raphael are a pair of aspiring screenwriters who head upstate to focus on completing a screenplay, but are interrupted by the arrival of Dominic's sultry sister, who is herself escaping from her turbulent relationship with her boyfriend. More arrivals, romantic complications and unexpected developments conspire to distract them further from their work.
What You Should Know: With "Red Light Winter," the film version of his play which he was slated to direct still in development having been announced and cast back in 2012, playwright, novelist, screenwriter and director Adam Rapp ("Blackbird," "Winter Passing," regular writer for "In Treatment" on TV) rustled this indie comedy up in the meantime, directing from a script by Michael Godere and Ivan Martin, who also star. With the cast a mix of familiar and unfamiliar names, it's mainly the inclusion of Marisa Tomei as the sister and Sam Rockwell as her boyfriend that has us anticipating this one, with Natasha Lyonne and Brian Geraghty also in support.
Synopsis: Four friends living in New York interact with each other as they search for a sense of balance.
What You Need To Know: Having directed Sundance competition film "The Dry Land" back in 2010 to reasonable reviews, writer/director/actor Ryan Piers Williams is back with his follow-up, once again reuniting with spouse and "Ugly Betty" star America Ferrera for this drama. The logline might sound a little indistinguishable from a thousand other indie dramas, but Williams has assembled a strong cast here, with "Fruitvale Station" star Melonie Diaz and newcomer Jon Paul Phillips joining the director and Ferrera as the rest of the central quartet, and Amber Tamblyn, Common, Dree Hemingway, David Harbour and Adam Rapp in support. The soundtrack comes from Playlist favorites Fall On Your Sword too, which is always a bonus.