As we all now know thanks to The Fog, movies that aren't offered to critics before their release dates are generally assumed to be huge piles of crap that humiliate everyone involved in their creation. As with every rule, though, there's an exception even to this one: Angel-A, Luc Besson's eagerly awaited return to directing, opened quietly in France this week without the benefit of any press screenings. And guess what - it's good!

A couple of reviews have turned up on line, and they both describe the film as beautiful and charming. The movie is reportedly anchored by the performance of Jamel Debbouze (a well-known French comedian) as Andre, a "a sympathetic sleazebag." While the film's refreshingly brief running time (it's less than 90 minutes long) will surely be something of a draw, the fact that it's a sweet comedy that was shot in black and white means that Besson's core audience might not be interested in the film. This is significant to his American fans because Angel-A has still not been picked up for distribution here, and if its box office potential is seen as limited, the likelihood of it ever showing up on screens here is greatly reduced. Dammit.