independent film

Sony Pictures Classics

This week, folks around the world have turned their attention toward Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the Olympic Winter Games, but you can only watch athletes slide themselves across frozen water for so long. If you need a break from breakneck turns, twists, and tricks over snow and ice, Up To Date's Film Critics have a handful of indie, foreign and documentary movie recommendations to freeze your go-for-gold fatigue.

Cynthia Haines

2018 Oscar-nominated short films: Animated

Off Road Films

Production companies and movie studios may have laid low during Super Bowl week, but the Eagles victory in Minneapolis means more folks will be watching movies again. Along with a suite of stories set overseas, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics suggest seeing some superb short films this weekend.

Focus Features

Nobody should experience the anxiety associated with broken relationships, secret romance, or a life thrown into turbulence, but it does make great film fodder. Cinemas this weekend are full of characters who must face down their fears or perish, and Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics think more than a couple are worth seeing. Given their recommendations, movie-goers who like watching others suffer should strongly consider a trip to the theater.

Cynthia Haines

Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight Pictures

This year's Oscar nominees were announced on Tuesday and social media has been buzzing with opinions and predictions. To help you catch up on the contenders you might have missed, Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary Film Critics recommend a few movies to see this weekend.

Steve Walker

The Road Movie, Not rated

Courtesy Panic Film Fest

Horror, thriller and science fiction might get dismissed as genre movies (as if recognizable storytelling conventions undermine true quality), but thankfully that didn't deter audiences from making classics out of "Rosemary's Baby," "The Silence of the Lambs" and last year's "Get Out."

Sony Pictures Classics

Six weeks may seem like plenty of time, but the 90th Academy Awards will be here before you know it. Now's the time to start catching up on the films that could be up for contention (official nominations are announced on January 23).

NEON

Pre-Oscars movie-going crunch-time is upon us and what better way to get prepped for it, than a sit-down-and-chat with Up To Date's Film Critics? They'll review what's showing now on area screens, including Call Me By Your Name, Phantom Thread, Small Town Crime, Proud Mary, The Post, I, Tonya, and Darkest Hour.

Focus Films

The holidays are officially over and now, well, it's just a gray winter stretching ahead of us. Exhausted from the week back at the old grind? Tired of always being cold? Our Film Critics have some ideas for how you can relax — and stay warm — this weekend. 

Cynthia Haines 

Darkest Hour, PG-13

Cohen Media Group

It's the last weekend of the holiday season and maybe you're looking to do that anti-New Year thing — you know, just kick back and relax. Well, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have some avenues of escape you can travel for a few hours. 

Steve Walker

Faces Places, PG 

Justina Mintz / A24 Films

If you've ever even driven past a theater on Christmas weekend, you know it's a huge one for movie fans and studios. But if the road to a big-money blockbuster is a little too well-worn for you, these recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics might be just the ticket. In the woods of silver-screen entertainment, these off-beat features are the path less traveled by, and it can make all the difference.

Cynthia Haines

Stigma Films Ltd.

Well, another year is drawing to a close, which means it's time to get the Up To Date Film Critics' picks for the best movies of the year. They also review what's currently showing on area screens, just in time for the holiday break. The titles include comedy, drama and a sci-fi romance: The Shape of Water,  Kaleidoscope, Wonder Wheel, Disaster Artist, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,​ and Lady Bird.  

Best Films of 2017:

Cynthia Haines:

Kerry Hayes / Twentieth Century Fox

People the world over will be rushing out to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi this week, but a select few will get to watch from space. NASA confirmed the movie will be screened for astronauts in-orbit on the International Space Station. If you can’t afford a ticket on a Soyuz rocket, hitch a ride on a SpaceX Dragon — or if endless strings of prequels just aren’t your cup of tea — Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have got you covered.

Steve Walker

Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight Pictures

Kansas City has been blessed with an unseasonably warm fall this year, though you won't be able to tell by stepping outside during the first half of this weekend. While you wait for the return of 50-degree weather — and you won't have to wait long — take in a good indie, foreign or documentary movie. The latest recommendations from Up To Date's Film Critics may not make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, but they will keep you warm and cozy while you avoid the outside.

Courtesy Lyn Elliot

Can you name one practical thing you learned from a former partner?

This question was the seed of "Lessons from Exes," a new short film featuring five vignettes by Kansas City filmmakers.

“I was making some popcorn in a pan on the stove,” Lyn Elliot remembers, “and the thought came into my mind that a particular ex-boyfriend had taught me how to do that.”

Gloria Baker Feinstein / Argot Pictures

It's December, which means the holiday season is well underway. We've passed the Thanksgiving turkey, racked up those Black Friday credit card charges and driven by the now-illuminated Country Club Plaza. It seems like there's no hiding from this jolly time of year. For those looking to hold off on watching It's a Wonderful Life and Elf for a few more weeks, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have a few recommendations.

Steve Walker

Sony Pictures Classics

After the turkey day hubbub settles down (but before heading back in to work on Monday), get back in the swing of things with a movie. Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics each have three suggestions for your weekend. They may not include dangerous car chases, big explosions or political intrigue but — hey! — didn't you get enough of that during Thanksgiving?

Cynthia Haines

Lady Bird, R

A24 Films

Thanksgiving is a time for family, but sometimes a break from all that togetherness can be a good thing. This weekend's recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary Film Critics will give you a great excuse to get away for a few hours, and an "R" rating means the wee ones won't be able to go. (Darn!) From wistful to just plain weird, these off-beat movies are a great way to squeeze in a little personal time before the holiday season.

Steve Walker

A24 Films

It's starting to feel a lot like ... winter. With lower evening temps driving you inside, you might as well cozy up in a local theater with a good film, right? No worries! Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics are here to help you pick the best flicks to keep you company while you stay warm this weekend. 

Cynthia Haines

Jane, PG

National Geographic Studios

The world is a complicated place full of important decisions and things beyond our control. Which way to vote on the KCI single-terminal ballot question? Will Amazon HQ2 come to the metro or not? Will they ever open all the lanes on I-435?

Shamley Productions

The Kansas International Film Festival begins this weekend.  Today, Up To Date's Film Critics talk with the filmmaker behind one festival entry, The Weight of Honor, that looks at the impact on families when wives and mothers of soldiers become caretakers for their catastrophically injured husbands and sons.  Then the critics review the best (and worst) indie, foreign and documentary movies now showing on area screens, including Jane, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Blade of the Immortal

Amazon Studios and Participant Media

Galloping gargoyles, wicked witches and frightful fiends! If the haunts and terrors of an approaching All Hallow's Eve have you hiding under the sheets, be brave! Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary film critics are here to treat you with a trick to ward off menacing ghouls and goblins. Let their recommendations help you plan your escape to an area theater featuring the best films now showing.

Steve Walker

Human Flow, PG-13

Good Deed Entertainment

With Royals' season at a disappointing end, and the Chiefs having gotten their game out of the way on Thursday, sports fans might be looking for other things to do. This weekend's a perfect chance to check out recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics. They won't get our boys in blue into the playoffs or make up for two painful losses on the gridiron, but they might help you forget.

Cynthia Haines

78/52, Not rated

Focus Features

If Friday the 13th has you feeling down on your luck, Up To Date's  indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics are here to set you back on the path to good fortune. From a royally heartwarming tale of unlikely friendship to an in-depth documentary about one of the largest public libraries in the United States, checking out any of these recommendations are sure to undo bad mojo accumulated from walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, or even opening your umbrella indoors.

Steve Walker

Courtesy Brad Norman

Lawrence once had a legendary punk club where bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Fugazi played. But it was no CBGB or Whiskey a Go Go. It was east of downtown, tucked between a pumpkin patch and seemingly endless fields of crops, in a windowless, low-slung concrete building that sat back a bit from the road.

Music Box Films

KCUR prides itself on the breadth of our coverage, but Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics are really pushing the envelope with this weekend's recommendations. From the slow creep of Nazism in the 1930s to the partition of India to a shoemaker whose name is regularly dropped by fashion editors, movies stars, and rappers alike, this batch of movies is all over the map. We'll leave it up to you to find a through line.

Cynthia Haines

13 Minutes, R

CFI

If you’re planning a movie night but find yourself underwhelmed by plastic blocks or cannibal clowns, take heart! There are other cinematic options this fall: A man flees Leningrad and the Soviet secret police, a doctor wrestles with guilt and mystery, and more.

Sundance Selects

From Puerto Rican devastation and despair to the political caterwauls playing out on football fields, there are plenty of reasons people may want to tune out for a few days. For those looking to pause and pardon themselves from current events, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics present the following movie recommendations, which will provide some respite and, hopefully, perspective.

Steve Walker

The Unknown Girl, Not rated

Morgan Dameron / Different Flowers

What does it mean for a film to be “a love letter to the Heartland”?  

That's how "Different Flowers" is being pitched. Director Morgan Dameron grew up spending summers at her grandparents’ farm in Moberly, Missouri, and last summer the Kansas City native spent 18 days shooting her first feature film here.  

IFC Films

It's going to be another long, hot weekend in Kansas City. If you need an excuse not to mow the lawn or trim the hedges, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have you covered. Their weekend movie recommendations are a perfect way to keep cool, even if you won't be as productive as you might have liked.

Cynthia Haines

Letters From Baghdad, Not rated

Anguille Productions

Eyeballs across Kansas City will be glued to the TV this Sunday for the Chief's home opener, but if you need something to help you forget about the anxious wait  — or maybe you're not a sports fan and in need of weekend plans — Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary Film Critics have you covered. Their weekend movie recommendations are a perfect way to make the time fly by.

Cynthia Haines

Viceroy's House, Not rated

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