Welcome back to Alt Weekly, a column in which we shine a spotlight on the independent films brave enough to open opposite Hollywood's behemoth blockbusters before rolling out in wider release.
This week, crazy drummers and wannabe porn stars take on the crooks and creeps of "The Collection" and "Killing Them Softly."
'BEWARE OF MR. BAKER'
Filmmaker Cred: This lively documentary is Jay Bulger's directorial debut.
Star Power: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Neil Peart, other musicians of note.
Festival/Awards Buzz: This rock doc premiered to consistent praise at South by Southwest earlier this year.
Release Details: A qualifying run in NYC only as of Wednesday.
See This If... You want to witness the crazy life and times of the eponymous drummer.
Filmmaker Cred: Writer-director Marshall Lewy previously made the 2007 dramedy, "Blue State."
Star Power: Robert Carlyle, Danny Masterson.
Festival/Awards Buzz: This drama made its debut at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Reviews since have been generally positive.
Release Details: NY this Friday, LA next Friday.
See This If... You're in the mood for a low-key character study set in sunny... well, California.
Filmmaker Cred: Director Peter Chan previously helmed the 2007 action-drama, "The Warlords."
Star Power: Donnie Yen.
Festival/Awards Buzz: This martial arts mystery premiered at Cannes in 2011, but didn't play any American festivals prior to its release. Reviews have been strong regardless.
Release Details: Currently available On Demand, and hitting these dozen theaters this Friday.
See This If... You're always up for Donnie Yen kick some butt.
Filmmaker Cred: Director Andrew Neel previously made the LARP documentary, "Darkon."
Star Power: Leading lady Louisa Krause had bit parts in last year's "Young Adult" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Festival/Awards Buzz: This iPhone-shot look at modern teen narcissism premiered to contentious reviews at SXSW back in March.
Release Details: NY this weekend, and available nationwide On Demand starting December 4th.
See This If... You're able to tolerate an exceedingly self-involved protagonist as she records her darkly amusing mishaps over the Fourth of July.
Filmmaker Cred: Director Steven C. Miller made the silly-but-enjoyable kid-versus-crooks thriller, "The Aggression Scale," earlier this year.
Star Power: Jaime King, Donal Logue, Malcolm McDowell.
Festival/Awards Buzz: Hardly anyone has seen this remake of the controversial 1984 Santa slasher yet.
Release Details: These ten cities this weekend.
See This If... You're already in the mood for some yuletide bloodshed.
'UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING'
Filmmaker Cred: Director John Hyams directed the 2009 "Reckoning" predecessor, "Universal Soldier: Regeneration."
Star Power: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins.
Festival/Awards Buzz: "Reckoning" held its Stateside premiere at the genre-centric Fantastic Fest, where its weirdness went over well. Here's our review.
Release Details: Already available On Demand, this quad-quel (?) opens in NY, LA and Austin this Friday.
See This If... You didn't immediately glaze over at the sight of the words "Universal Soldier."