In Secret (R)
Godzilla's Elizabeth Olsen and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) star as passionate lovers whose desire evolves into murder in this fine feature debut from director Charlie Stratton. Set in 1860s Paris and faithfully adapted from a Victorian "sensation novel," In Secret centers around Olsen's forced marriage to her cousin, a sickly mama's boy played by Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series). When she falls into bed with her husband's artist friend (Isaac), she begins pondering true freedom. Luckily, her paramour is all too willing to stage an "accident" to keep her. Where In Secret daringly diverges from that tired setup is both in its empathetic rendering of all involved, and its portrayal of grief as its own punishment. Rather than hit cruise control and let the murder-mystery formula take over, it stays with the husband's doting mother, played to haunting perfection by Jessica Lange. Her anguish, not some random police inspector, grinds the lovers into their own personal hell. — Justin Strout
In a cinematic world where female action heroes are a rarity, leading the pack to correct this is former stuntwoman Zoë Bell, whose past few electrifying outings, though relegated straight to DVD, have been explosively entertaining. Her latest delivers on all cylinders. In Raze, she portrays an ex-Iraq war vet and P.O.W. who finds herself kidnapped and trapped in a bizarre underground facility run by a cult where she is forced to fight other women to the death not only in the hopes of escape, but also to keep the maniacs from killing the daughter she put up for adoption many years ago. The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed, with no bone left unbroken as she makes her way to the head honcho in a sweet finale of revenge. Raze definitely raises the bar on low-budget action flicks, regardless of gender. — Louis Fowler
Independence Daysaster (PG-13)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
Yes, you read that right: Independence Daysaster. This being a SyFy Channel knock-off, many of us know what to expect, but I think the surprising thing here is how well the rip-off actually works, transforming the film into something all its own ... kinda. As the President of the United States (Tom Everett Scott) heads to his hometown for a July 4 celebration with his son and fireman brother, giant drills burst forth from the Earth, unleashing a torrent of deadly metal spheres intent on destroying everything in their path. Teaming up with a pair of teenage hackers, this team of unlikely bedfellows does everything to take down the aliens in a way that's far more believable than the computer virus in ID4. This also allows Scott to deliver at least five variations of Bill Pullman's rabble-rousing speech to varying degrees. The film's cheap and gaudy, but also a lot of fun. — Louis Fowler
So proud of you Catherine!!! I knew you could do it!!!
I read an early draft of Ghostland in 2014 that was written by Jon Orr…