Follow us on

Big List of Smaller Releases

May 4th, 2007

The prospect of going up against Spider-Man 3 didn't scare away limited releases this week. This is not surprising, as their role during the summer blockbuster season could be described as the ultimate in counter-programming. Among the lengthy list, there's a new take on the Bollywood tale, two competing Canadian films, and an early hopeful for Summer indie darling. It is this last film, Waitress, that appears to have the best shot at mainstream success.

Americanizing Shelley - Review
This film stars Wil Wheaton... Okay, maybe stars is a bit of a strong term, but he's the main reason I'm interested in seeing the movie. The film itself is a culture clash / ugly ducking story about Shalini Singh, played by Namrata Singh Gujral. The film not only borrows heavily from the conventions of those types of films, but also the Bollywood musical. This creates an end product that has a familiar feel to it, but is charming at the same time. Americanizing Shelley opens tonight in five theaters before expanding over the coming weeks.

Away From Her - Reviews
The first of two Canadian films on this week's list. It is also worth noting as the directorial debut of Sarah Polley. I've said it before and I'll likely say it again, but the move from actor to director is not a smooth one, but the reviews are outstanding, including a perfect 100% positive from the cream-of-the-crop. The movie, which deals with the effects of Alzheimer's on a married couple, might even have what it takes to earn some measure of mainstream success. Regardless, it is worth checking out, even if you have to wait until the home market to find it. Away From Her opens tonight in four theaters in the United States (two in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area), as well as nine theaters in Toronto and Vancouver in its native Canada.

Civic Duty - Reviews
The second Canadian film on this week's list, this one is about terrorism and the politics of fear Americans have been living under since 9/11. The film does have more star power than your average limited release, and has been earning better than average reviews. However, it will still have an uphill battle to grow beyond its opening theater count of 45. On a side note, not only is the film opening in major cities across the United States, it is also opening on nearly a dozen screens up here in Canada. Cities that are hosting the film include Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.

The Flying Scotsman - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week is also earning the weakest reviews. Originally scheduled for a December 29 release date, the film was clearly being set up for an award season run, but the date change and the reviews scuttled those plans. And now the film is opening in 100 theaters, which is clearly too many giving the popularity of cycling. Even the inspiring true life story won't be enough to salvage the film's theatrical run, but perhaps it will find a more receptive audience on the home market.

L'Iceberg - Reviews
L'Iceberg is French for The Iceberg (the law of averages dictates that I get one translation right every once and a while). While the movie is in French, it is actually from Belgium. Then again, so are French Fries. The film stars Fiona Gordon as Fiona, a woman who runs a fast food outlet who accidentally gets locked in a freezer overnight and develops an addiction for cold. Leaving her family, she hops on a boat heading for an iceberg she sees on the news. If you think the plot is a little weird, the movie is even weirder as there's almost no dialogue to go with the story. It should work with art house fans, but the film has almost no chance at mainstream success. L'Iceberg opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

The Other Conquest - Reviews
A Mexican movie about the conquest of the Aztecs and the forced conversion from their native religions to Christianity. The film was made in 1998 and was one of the major players at the Ariel Awards, the Mexican equivalent to the Oscars. One of the wider releases this weekend, it is opening in 11 theaters, but there's not a lot of hope that it will expand much beyond that.

Paris, Je T'Aime - Reviews
A series of stories all set in Paris and directed by some of the masters working today. There are 18 such stories in the movie and most of them work, but obviously some do not. For most people, enough work that it is worth sitting through the few that don't. However, for others it might be better to catch it on DVD. Paris, Je T'Aime opens tonight at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and the Paris Theatre, both in New York City.

The Treatment - Reviews
A romantic comedy starring Famke Janssen as a widowed socialite and Chris Eigeman as a man getting from really bad advice from his therapist. For a romantic comedy, this film is earning excellent reviews, but perhaps not strong enough to escape limited release. Perhaps it will find the audience it deserves on the home market. The Treatment opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center and the Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City.

Waitress - Reviews
The best-reviewed release of the week, which is not surprising since it is starring Nathan Fillion, who is yet to make a bad movie (although White Light 2 might change that). What is surprising, given Fillion's association with the movie is its box office potential. The film opened on Wednesday and started off well enough, but given its reviews and the cast, there is talk that it could escape limited release and become this year's Little Miss Sunshine. This would be especially nice since it was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly, who was tragically murdered before the film was completed and its success would be a great tribute to her work. Waitress opened on Wednesday in four theaters, two in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area.


Filed under: Waitress, Paris, je t'aime, Away From Her, The Flying Scotsman, Americanizing Shelley, Civic Duty, The Treatment, L'Iceberg