CATEGORIES Action, Animation, Comedy, Foreign Language, Independent, New Releases, Quentin Tarantino, Cinematical Indie, Features, Indie Spotlight, Movie News, New Releases, CinematicalThe last weekend of the summer means the multiplexes will be crammed with Hollywood's leftover products, most of them rolled out without being screened for critics (never a good sign). But don't despair! The Indie Spotlight is here to fill you in on the limited-release, art-house films opening this weekend, and if they're not playing where you live, you can keep an eye out for when they do arrive. See, it gives you something to look forward to!
The six films opening today are, in alphabetical order: Ballet Shoes, I Served the King of England, My Mexican Shivah, Sukiyaki Western Django, Year of the Fish, and Young People F***ing. In a slightly more subjective order, here's the scoop on each of them.
Sukiyaki Western Django
What it is: A comedic Japanese tribute to the spaghetti Westerns, featuring Quentin Tarantino in a small role and directed by the twisted Takashi Miike.
What they're saying: The reviews are about evenly split at Rotten Tomatoes. Some say it's a one-joke movie that's all style and no substance; others say the sheer insanity of it makes it entertaining.
Where it's playing: New York City (Landmark Sunshine Cinema). Opens in L.A. on Sept. 12.
Official site: Taste the sukiyaki.
I Served the King of England
What it is: A comedy/drama about a man working at a fancy Prague hotel under the Nazis and then under the communists. It was the Czech Republic's official Oscar entry this year, though it didn't wind up getting nominated.
What they're saying: Every single review at Rotten Tomatoes is positive ("darkly humorous," "intelligent," "witty") -- every single review except for one, that is, by Jeffrey M. Anderson, who is also one of Cinematical's finest writers. Why you gotta be different, Jeff?
Where it's playing: New York City (Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, Quad Cinemas), Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal, Regency South Coast Village in Costa Mesa, Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena), San Francisco (Embarcadero Center Cinemas).
Official site: It's in English!
Young People F***ing
What it is: A Canadian indie comedy about juvenile humans copulating.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Monika Bartyzel reviewed it favorably at Toronto last year, observing that it's not nearly as shocking or scandalous as its title would suggest. Most critics at Rotten Tomatoes liked it, too.
Where it's playing: New York City (CC Village East Cinemas).
Official site: Get some.
What it is: A family-friendly coming-of-age melodrama about three girls in 1930s England. One of them is Hermione from the Harry Potter movies.
What they're saying: Only a couple reviews have turned up so far, both of them positive. Think Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, only, um, not American.
Where it's playing: About 150 screens all over the U.S. of A.
Official site: Stay on your toes. Includes a handy list (with links) of all the theaters it's playing in.
Year of the Fish
What it is: A rotoscope-animated fairy tale (think Cinderella) set in New York's Chinatown.
What they're saying: Slightly more bad than good at Rotten Tomatoes. The film's rotoscope animation makes it look magical, but apparently it's still chock-full of stereotypes and generalities.
Where it's playing: New York City (Angelika Film Center), San Francisco (Kabuki Cinema), and Berkeley (Shattuck Cinemas).
Official site: Right here. Has a map of upcoming release dates, too.
My Mexican Shivah
What it is: A comedy about a family of Mexican Jews gathering to sit shivah after their patriarch's death. A comedy about Mexican Jews? Sold!
What they're saying: They're not really saying anything yet. There's a slam from the Village Voice, a rave from Chicago Reader, and a positive notice from the New York Observer.
Where it's playing: New York City (Quad Cinema).
Official site: Oy vey, muchacho.