It’s an odd time of year at the cinema — with fall studio movies rolling out and Oscar Season™ in full swing, the multiplex is presumably filled with the kind of smart, adult-minded fare we usually head to the art-house to see. But don’t be fooled; there’s bound to be some wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, and the indies have got you covered this month just in case, with the help of several sharp documentaries, terrific new movies from the likes of Lynn Shelton, Gregg Araki, and Alex Ross Perry, and the smartest social satire in many a moon. Here are the indie movies you can’t miss this month.
Nas: Time Is Illmatic
Release Date: October 1 (on demand October 3)
This look at Nas’ seminal album is timed to its 20th anniversary, but has a far wider scope than you might expect from that description, examining the artist’s family history, the socioeconomics of housing projects, and the neighborhood wars between Queens and the Bronx that raged on wax in the 1980s. Director One9 lays it all out via candid interviews and wonderful archival footage, as well as vintage and current performance clips (with relevant rhymes open-captioned on screen, a cleaver touch). The film doesn’t have anything to prove, but it quietly reiterates what hip hop really is, and why it matters; more importantly, it captures the urgency of being young and creative, of finding a voice, chasing a dream, and snatching it.