CATEGORIES Comedy, Drama, Foreign Language, Gay & Lesbian, New Releases, Family Films, Columns, Features, Indie Spotlight, Movie News, Columns, New Releases, CinematicalLook, I don't want to make it sound like an either/or thing. You can see wide-release films AND art-house indies. I'm just saying that on this particular weekend, the only wide release is something starring Nicolas Cage in a mullet, and it wasn't screened for critics. So if it were an either/or thing, this would be a good time to become an art-house fanatic, and the Indie Spotlight is here to let you know what your options are.
Seven films are opening in limited release today: August Evening, Everybody Wants to Be Italian, Mister Foe, Ping Pong Playa, Save Me, A Secret, and Surfer, Dude. Here's the scoop on each of them.
Everybody Wants to Be Italian
What it is: A romantic comedy about a man and woman who both pretend to be Italian because they think the other is. OK, maybe this doesn't actually sound any better than the Nicolas Cage/mullet thing.
What they're saying: At Rotten Tomatoes, all of the reviews so far are giving it a big ol' kick in the meatballs.
Where it's playing: A few dozen theaters all over New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and ... Salt Lake City? Well, OK.
More info: The official site has a handy list of theaters where it's playing.
Ping Pong Playa
What it is: A light, clean comedy about an Asian-American kid who has to step in when his family's ping pong championship is threatened.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Monika Bartyzel found it simply adorable last year at Toronto, saying it's predictable but charming. The reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are mixed so far -- it's either sweet and likable, or an annoying Napoleon Dynamite retread.
Where it's playing: New York City, plus the California cities of San Francisco, Alhambra, Berkeley, Glendale, Hollywood, Irvine, and San Jose.
More info: The official site has upcoming playdates, too.
What it is: A drama starring Jamie Bell as a troubled young voyeur who moves to London to start a new life after his mother dies.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Erik Davis reviewed it at Berlinale last year, when it was still called Hallam Foe (that's the main character's name), saying it was superficial and surface-level. But most other critics -- 81% at Rotten Tomatoes -- have more praise for it, particularly for Bell's creepy yet endearing performance.
Where it's playing: Los Angeles (Landmark 12) and New York City (Angelika Film Center).
More info: The official site includes upcoming playdates in other cities.
What it is: French drama about a Jewish boy in post-WWII Paris who discovers a secret that ties his family to the Nazis. Nominated for multiple Cesars (the French film awards), and a winner at the Montreal Film Festival.
What they're saying: Mostly praise so far at Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics saying it rises above being "just another Holocaust movie."
Where it's playing: New York City (Paris Theatre, IFC Center).
More info: Official site. There's a brief list of future engagements, mostly at film festivals.
What it is: A generational drama about an aging undocumented farm worker and his widowed daughter-in-law. It won best-in-fest awards at a few film festivals, including Los Angeles and Ashland.
What they're saying: Not much at Rotten Tomatoes yet, but Scott Foundas at L.A. Weekly and Stephen Farber at The Hollywood Reporter both gave it high marks (quoted on the film's website).
Where it's playing: New York City (Village East Cinema).
More info: The official site has upcoming release dates (click "screenings").
What it is: A drama about a gay, drug-addicted young man (Chad Allen) whose parents put him into a de-gaying program (run by Judith Light!). I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it doesn't work.
What they're saying: So far it's three for, two against at Rotten Tomatoes.
Where it's playing: New York City (Clearview Chelsea Cinema) and Memphis (Outflix Film Festival, Sunday only).
More info: Official site. Quite a few playdates in other cities are on the horizon.
What it is: Matthew McConaughey plays a surfer, dude! He comes home to find that surfing has gone all corporate, and he doesn't like it! Et cetera.
What they're saying: Nothing so far. You're on your own, dudes.
Where it's playing: It opens today exclusively in the famous surfing city of Austin, Texas.
More info: Official site.