Today is the semi-official start of the Summer Blockbuster Season, but don't despair! The (Mostly) Indie Film Calendar is here to fill you in on cool stuff happening outside the multiplexes in the coming week -- the perfect antidote to mainstream ennui. If you know of something interesting going on near you -- retrospectives, special screenings, etc. -- please let me know! Point your e-mail thingee at Eric.Snider@Weblogsinc.com and I'll put it on the calendar.

INDIE THEATRICAL RELEASES
  • I don't know if famed critic-hater David Mamet still counts as "independent," but I'm including his new film, Redbelt, here just in case. It's a heady drama about a martial-arts instructor who gets tangled up with a Hollywood film shoot, a misfired policeman's gun, and several other things. ME LIKEY. Opens today on a few screens in New York and L.A.
  • Son of Rambow was, hands down, the best film I saw at Sundance last year. It was snatched up by Paramount Vantage, which for some reason sat on it until now. It's a funny, creative, and sweet story about two British kids in the mid-'80s who film their own homemade version of First Blood (aka Rambo I). Cinematical's James Rocchi reviewed it at Sundance 2007 and loved it too, in case my word isn't good enough for you. It's in a few theaters today, with more to come.
After the jump, more indie releases in theaters, and a list of special events happening around the country....


  • Julien Donkey-Boy director Harmine Korine is back with Mister Lonely, about a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna) who befriends a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton). Cinematical's Kim Voynar was lukewarm about it when she reviewed it at Sundance. Opens today at the IFC Center in New York.
  • Fugitive Pieces is an acclaimed Canadian film about a young girl who escapes from Germany in World War II and makes her way to Canada. It opens today in New York and L.A.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Baltimore: The action-packed Maryland Film Festival is running now through Sunday, and they've got some noteworthy titles crammed into that short amount of time: Goliath, My Effortless Brilliance, Black List, Nights and Weekends, Baghead, American Teen, We Are Wizards, etc., etc. Basically, if you didn't go to South By Southwest, here's your chance to see just about every film that played there.

Boston: Get your Heston on at the Coolidge Corner Theatre this weekend. Disaster epic Earthquake (1974) screens tonight and Saturday, and The Ten Commandments (1956) will fill out your Sunday afternoon. In fact, I think it counts as going to church.

Boston: The Brattle Theatre has the United Artists 90th Anniversary collection that's been touring the country lately, kicking off tonight and Saturday with Dr. No (1962) and The Pink Panther (1963). Sunday is The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Later titles include Rocky, Raging Bull, Judgment at Nuremberg, and so forth. New 35mm prints of most of 'em.

Brooklyn, N.Y.: The Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights is in theaters now, but did you know his debut film, As Tears Go By (1988), never did play theatrically in the U.S.? Not until now, that is, as BAMcinématek is showing it all this week. It's a new print, too, so it might even be worth a trip to Brooklyn.

Chicago: Wesley Snipes is going to the big house for tax evasion, so let's remember a time when his life was more carefree, back when he was was a half-human half-vampire. The Music Box Theatre is showing Blade at midnight tonight and Saturday; it's what Wesley would have wanted.

Denver: Shelter, the widely praised new gay coming-of-age drama from Jonah Markowitz, is this week's Cinema Q selection at the Denver Film Society. Straight people are allowed to go too, though.

Los Angeles: They're celebrating British cinema at the Egyptian Theatre this weekend, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the British consulate in L.A. -- any excuse for a party, I guess. Tonight film historian David Thomson hosts a tribute to David Lean, with clips from his movies and a panel discussion with actors James Fox and Jean Simmons, editor Anne Coates, and fellow director Ronale Neame. Saturday, Michael York hosts a tribute to the British influence in Hollywood, from Charlie Chaplin to the present day. And Sunday is a memorial screening of Anthony Minghella's Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990).

Los Angeles: American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre is celebrating the comedies of John Landis this weekend: Trading Places (1983) and Three Amigos (1986) Saturday; The Blues Brothers (1980) and Animal House (1978) on Sunday. What, no Twilight Zone?

New York City: Remember 1968? Me either! Not born yet! But it was a big year politically, socially, and cinematically, as evidenced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center's "1968: An International Perspective" series running now through April 14. The series includes films and newsreels from that year, as well as films from subsequent years that maintained the spirit of revolution that was prevalent in 1968.

Portland: They're fond of saying "Keep Portland Weird" around here, and nobody's weirder than German director Werner Herzog. His films will be celebrated all this month at the Northwest Film Center, starting tonight with the brand-new Encounters at the End of the World. Saturday is Fitzcarraldo; Sunday is The Great Ecstasy of the Woodcarver Steiner and Lessons of Darkness.

San Francisco: Don't forget, the 51st San Francisco Film Festival is happening now, running through May 8. Still to come: The Toe Tactic, Secrecy, The Wackness, Timecrimes, Up the Yangtze, Sleep Dealer, and more.

Seattle: My favorite thing about Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy (1990) is that it provided Stephen Sondheim an opportunity to win his only Oscar (so far), for the song "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)," sung by Madonna. But that's just me. You can watch the flick Saturday and Sunday at the Northwest Film Forum as part of their "See You in the Funny Pages" series.