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Preview: Netflix Top 25 in Independent

Netflix Top 25 in Independent

Top 25 by genre, published every 2 weeks.


Grace Is Gone
Ex-military man Stanley attempts to find the courage to break devastating news to his two daughters: Their mother has died in Iraq. As he works through his complex feelings about his wife's death and the war, Stanley delays the inevitable.

The Good Girl
Feeling trapped in her marriage, "good girl" Justine begins an affair with Holden, a younger co-worker who's obsessed with The Catcher in the Rye. But it doesn't take long for Holden's passion to bloom into a poisonous obsession.

American Splendor
Paul Giamatti stars as Harvey Pekar, a working-class file clerk who found an outlet for his creativity by chronicling the minutia of his life in Cleveland, Ohio, in a comic book series called American Splendor.

Real Women Have Curves
America Ferrera shines in a star-making performance as Ana, a Mexican-American teenager who's struggling to break free from her mother's old-world expectations, in this coming-of-age drama set in East Los Angeles. Ana wants to attend college so she can better herself, but she's needed in her sister's sewing sweatshop, where women labor to make dresses that are then sold for many times what the shop is paid to make them.

Even though they're strangers, Buzzy, Mark, Cheri, Jack and Eddie will become part of each other's lives -- even if it kills them -- in this innovative drama composed of five seemingly random story lines that intersect at precisely 11:14 p.m.

Lovely & Amazing
Michelle struggles in a loveless marriage while her mother and sisters field vain insecurities in this indie dramedy. Elizabeth questions the narcissistic realm of acting, while Annie and Jane take drastic measures with their looks.

Down by Law
When fate lands three hapless men -- an unemployed disc jockey, a small-time pimp and a strong-willed Italian tourist -- in a New Orleans prison, their mutual confinement launches a grand adventure toward escape and freedom.

When a mysterious woman claims she's being chased by hoodlums and needs a place to hide out, the residents of Dogville come to her rescue. But she must prove herself worthy of the privilege -- and win the trust of everyone in town.

Coffee and Cigarettes
Jim Jarmusch's ensemble comedy collects a series of strange encounters Jarmusch has been capturing in short films since the mid-1980s, presenting them as a series of vignettes that all revolve around discussions held over coffee and cigarettes.

Clerks: Tenth Anniversary Edition
Featuring a new commentary track, this original rough cut of writer-director Kevin Smith's classic debut indie film shows a day in the life of Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson), two store clerks who are sharp-witted, potty-mouthed … and bored out of their minds. So in between needling customers -- and each other -- the counter jockeys play hockey on the roof, visit a funeral home and deal with their love lives.

Starting Out in the Evening
With aims to revive the faded career of aging author Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella), enterprising graduate student Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose) makes his novels the topic of her master's thesis and raises his hopes for a literary comeback. All the while, Leonard's middle-aged daughter (Lili Taylor) remains dubious -- both of Heather's motivations and her own prospects for long-term happiness.

Conversations with Other Women
Sparks fly at a wedding reception when a man and woman with an ambiguous connection are reunited in this stylish romantic drama. They quickly rekindle a smoldering flame, but will passion give way to regret after the champagne wears off?

The Chumscrubber
Director Arie Posin transforms his short story into a frightfully honest portrait of suburban dysfunction in this film about Dean (Jamie Bell), a young boy who finds his friend hanging from the rafters during a neighborhood party. Figuring that no one else would care, he doesn't report his discovery to the adults, and instead embarks on a journey of harrowing isolation and loneliness. Glenn Close, Rita Wilson and Carrie-Anne Moss costar.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
This postmodern mockumentary chronicles a valiant yet hapless attempt to make a film adaptation of the autobiographical &NFi;The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentlemen&NFi_;, a complex 18th-century tale by English writer Laurence Sterne. Alternating scenes from the novel with escapades from the movie set, director Michael Winterbottom craftily blends fiction and reality, past and present, serving up a deliciously twisted ode to filmmaking.

The Secret Lives of Dentists
When an emotionally repressed dentist thinks he sees his wife cheating on him with another man, his jealousy flares up -- in the form of a dyspeptic alter ego personified by an unsatisfied patient.

The Real Cancun
&NFb;&NFb_;The folks behind MTV's "The Real World" head to Mexico for spring break in this feature film twist on their successful reality show formula. This time the cameras are turned on a group of 16 college-aged strangers let loose in Cancun for a week. Expect plenty of drinking, carousing, romantic entanglements and all of the other things that keep us coming back to "reality" shows in the first place!

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance
Koyaanisqatsi, which marks Godfrey Reggio's debut as a film director and producer, is the first installment of the Qatsi trilogy. The title is a Hopi Indian word meaning "life out of balance." Created between 1975 and 1982, the film is an apocalyptic vision of the collision of two different worlds -- urban life and technology versus the environment. Philip Glass composed the film's musical score.

The Grey Zone
Based on actual events, this is the staggeringly powerful story of Auschwitz's 12th Sonderkommando -- one of 13 "special squads" of Jewish prisoners forced by the Nazis to help exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. Written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, the film features a first-rate ensemble cast, including Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, David Arquette and Mira Sorvino.

The Education of Charlie Banks
Years after Charlie (Jesse Eisenberg) fingers Mick (Jason Ritter) for a brutal assault, Mick shows up at Charlie's university and insinuates himself into college life, auditing classes, sleeping with Charlie's dream girl and pondering how his life might have been different. All the while, Charlie anxiously wonders whether Mick knows he ratted him out. Chris Marquette co-stars in Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst's directorial debut.

Set in a crumbling Ohio town that revolves around the local doll factory, Steven Soderbergh's offbeat film follows the antics of townsfolk turned detectives who try to unravel a murder mystery -- and end up discovering a bizarre love triangle. In sharp contrast to his high-budget Ocean's Eleven remake, Soderbergh uses low-cost digital camerawork and employs no-name actors in this quirky small-town drama.

Director Jason Matzner's atmospheric drama follows the fortunes of three tattered souls living in a New Mexico mobile-home community. Just out of high school, 18-year-old Audrey (Agnes Bruckner) holds down a job while also caring for her alcoholic father (John Corbett) and infirm friend (Kelli Garner). But everything changes with the arrival of handsome new neighbor Mookie (Justin Long), forcing the altruistic Audrey to make some tough choices.

When hard-nosed journalist Pierre Peders is forced by his editor to interview seemingly vapid soap opera star Katya, the pair initially clash. But soon enough, they discover that there's more to their personalities than meets the eye.

The Puffy Chair
When Josh (Mark Duplass, whose brother Jay directs) finds the perfect birthday present for his father, he decides to deliver it in person. But with his high-maintenance girlfriend (Kathryn Aselton) and granola brother (Rhett Wilkins) along for the ride, Josh's road trip turns into a bigger journey than anyone anticipated. This indie romantic dramedy was an audience favorite at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

The Dying Gaul
When Jeffrey (Campbell Scott), a slick Hollywood studio exec, offers gay screenwriter Robert (Peter Sarsgaard) $1 million to transform a screenplay's homosexual protagonists into heterosexuals, Robert takes the bait -- and ends up sleeping in Jeffrey's bed. But complications ensue when Jeffrey's wife, Elaine (Patricia Clarkson), begins unraveling her husband's secrets, with nail-biting consequences. Craig Lucas directs in his feature-film debut.

Based on Charles Bukowski's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, this edgy drama centers on rootless jack-of-all-trades Henry Chinaski (Matt Dillon), a rebel writer with absolutely no desire to live a conventional life. Working blue-collar jobs in Minneapolis, Chinaski gets by just fine as long as he can indulge in his four primary loves: women, drinking, gambling and writing. Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei and Fisher Stevens co-star.