Last week, two films set in Bushwick premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the early word.

Jessica Williams as The Incredible Jessica James

The Incredible Jessica James
Directed by Jim Strouse (New York, I Love You), this is a meandering profile on youth starring Jessica Williams. Jessica is a struggling playwright living in Bushwick who is between relationships and attempting to get a play off the ground. She meets Boone, played by Chris O’Dowd, and after an awkward first date the two slowly fall for each other. Critics seem to agree that Jessica Williams single-handedly carried this movie, which has already been purchased by Netflix.

“Jessica Williams is not just the star of Jim Strouse’s latest picture, she’s its very life force.” [Nerdist]

“The Incredible Jessica James cannot be mistaken for anything other than Williams’ calling-card movie, and she lays her abilities out there for all to see.” [ Hollywood Reporter]

“Across the board, the ensemble cast is markedly likeable. O’Dowd and Williams are one of the more adorably appealing on-screen couples in recent memory.” [The Wrap]

Bushwick is the new Gettysburg in this B-movie action thriller directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. Lucy, a graduate student played by Brittany Snow, is on her way home when suddenly the neighborhood erupts into war. Amidst the chaos, she runs into Stupe, an ex-marine played by former pro wrestler Dave Bautista. As the two race through the streets we find out what’s up: Texas has seceded from the union, allied with its neighboring states, and has invaded the north.

The film sold for at least $1 million to the distributor of Bone Tomahawk, though the reviews were lukewarm at best.

“The [film’s] single-shot gimmick produces almost nothing of interest after [its] opening scene” [Roger Ebert]

Bushwick suffers from an aimless start, stretching the revelation of the invaders (whose identity is referenced in the synopsis, so it’s not exactly a secret) out until well into the film.” [The Verge]

“Even if the low-budget execution is uneven at times, there’s enough snap to the filmmaking, and enough raw power in the premise, to make for solid B-movie excitement.” [Variety]