A few bright spots aside, the August calendar of wide releases is generally pretty grim. (Do not speak to me of Clone Wars.) Luckily, there are always a few worthwhile flicks playing at the art houses, and the Indie Spotlight is here to tell you about them. We have the lowdown on what's opening "in select cities" this weekend, and if your city wasn't selected, at least you can file a mental note and keep an eye out for the film later.

Alphabetically, this week's new indie releases are: Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer, Bachna Ae Haseeno, A Girl Cut in Two, Henry Poole Is Here, and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. Note that all of those titles fit in the first half of the alphabet, and three of the five contain people's full names. Fascinating! My OCD is fascinating! Here's the scoop on each of them.

Henry Poole Is Here
What it is: A gentle drama (with comedic elements) about a forlorn man (Luke Wilson) whose house develops a water stain that some people think is a sign from Jesus.
What they're saying: It's always noteworthy when a movie takes a pro-religion, pro-faith-in-God point of view -- and even rarer that such a film debuts at Sundance -- but this one doesn't seem to have done it very well. The critics are split down the middle at Rotten Tomatoes, while Cinematical's Jeffrey M. Anderson calls it "lackadaisical" and "too uninspired to be inspirational." (I've seen it, and I say amen to that.)
Where it's playing: Pretty much everywhere -- it's opening on 500 screens. So keep the faith, indie filmmakers! It could happen to you!
Official site: OMG you guys, it has a MySpace page!



A Girl Cut in Two
What it is: A French dark comedy (and suspense thriller) about a young woman pursued by two different men. Directed by Claude Chabrol.
What they're saying: Three-fourths of the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are positive. Cinematical's Jeffrey M. Anderson loved it, calling it "superbly made" and "highly enjoyable." We also have an exclusive clip for your enjoyment here.
Where it's playing: New York City (IFC Center, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas); also available via Video on Demand under the "IFC in Theaters" category.
Official site: It's in French, so good luck with that.

Bachna Ae Haseeno
What it is: A Bollywood musical comedy about a young man's relationships with three different women over the course of 10 years.
What they're saying: I can't find any reviews yet. It's opening in the U.S. and India simultaneously, so perhaps no one has seen it yet. We can all discover it together!
Where it's playing: Various places in New York, New Jersey, Boston, and L.A.
Official site: Warning: It automatically plays loud, catchy Bollywood music.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
What it is: A horror comedy about an ordinary man called upon to kill a demon.
What they're saying: Mostly positive at Rotten Tomatoes, particularly from critics at horror sites. Sounds like it delivers on the fun 'n' thrills, just like a monster movie ought to.
Where it's playing: New York City (Two Boots Pioneer Theater), Los Angeles (Laemmle Sunset 5). It'll be at Fantastic Fest in Austin next month, too.
Official site: Slay here.

Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
What it is: A documentary about the life of a jazz singer. Anita O'Day, specifically.
What they're saying: Wow! All eight reviews at Rotten Tomatoes so far are glowing. If you want to dig a hip jazz doc, peep this one, daddy-o. (This concludes the jazz slang portion of Indie Spotlight.)
Where it's playing: New York City (Cinema Village).
Official site: None.