With the summer movie season winding down, we’re seeing more and more of what’s usually dubbed “counter-programming” — both at the multiplex and on indie screens. Our dozen recommendations for the later are, as usual, an eclectic bunch: personality documentaries, B-movie homages, relationship comedy/dramas, and some of the best roles for women we’ve seen this year.
Release Date: August 4 (on demand)
Director: Dave Carroll
Forty-three-year-old New Yorker Chris Schoeck is introverted, withdrawn — anti-social, even. But he’s got a skill: in spite of his average (almost scrawny) size, he’s wicked strong, and uses that skill to bend steel bars, horseshoes, and wrenches. He aims to make a name for himself as an old-fashioned strongman down on Coney Island (“What’s Coney Island without a strong man?” he asks, not unreasonably). Schoek’s a bit of a lug, but he’s got a good heart, and you feel for him; this gentle documentary shows how he finds a community and family among his fellow strongmen, and generates real tension and concern by its conclusion, which smells like manipulation but works nonetheless.