Welcome back to the Indie Spotlight, in which we list the new limited-release films being released today. Keep an eye out for when they come to your local art house or Netflix queue.
- Alien Trespass (pictured), opening on about 40 screens nationwide, is a loving, non-parody homage to the cheesy invaders-from-space B-movies of the 1950s. For me, the style wears thin too quickly; the fact that the '50s films were corny out of necessity while this one is doing it on purpose makes it feel insincere. Indeed, it has a low 31% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
- Bart Got a Room is a comedy about a nerdy Jewish teenager trying to find a date for the prom. Cinematical's Erik Davis loved it at Tribeca last year, and the 71% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes backs him up.
- C Me Dance combines the world of evangelical Christianity with the world of dancing. Sold! It's opening on about 150 screens nationwide. No reviews are up yet, but I would suspect it's a preaching-to-the-choir sort of thing, aimed at people who are already evangelical Christians.
- Sugar comes from the Half Nelson team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and is finally hitting theaters after premiering at Sundance last year. It's about a young Dominican Republic baseball player who is recruited by scouts and brought to the U.S. to train for the majors. Cinematical's Kim Voynar liked it quite a bit, calling it a coming-of-age story more than a baseball movie, and as beautiful as "a painting brought to life" -- and hey, check out that 88% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes!
- The Escapist was another Sundance premiere last year (it had played in Europe even before that), and you can find it in New York and through Video On Demand today. It stars Brian Cox as an old prison inmate who has to break out to set things right with his daughter -- yep, it's a prison-break movie, and a gritty, thrilling one at that. Cinematical's James Rocchi had high praise for it last year. About two-thirds of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes agree, though it does have its detractors.
- Paris 36, from the director of The Chorus, is set in France in 1936. Cinematical's Eugene Novikov hated it at Toronto last year: "Tries to do a dozen different things, and does none of them well. But even that description may not be harsh enough, because it makes the film sound ambitious. It's not." Oh snap! Eugene is in the minority, though (don't worry, he's used to it): The film has a 65% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with most critics calling it "unabashedly sentimental," "pleasant," and "positive and uplifting."
- Gigantic stars Paul Dano as a mattress salesman who wants to adopt a Chinese baby but falls in love with Zooey Deschanel instead. You know -- THAT old storyline. It only has a 48% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and some of the detractors REALLY hate it, saying it's too self-consciously quirky and too much of a generic Sundance-style indie comedy.