Thinking Outside the Multiplex: National Edition (September 2-16, 2010)

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

Well, this feature went on another unplanned break, thanks to numerous factors. The main reason was that I had to abandon the idea of writing separate “fill-in” columns to cover the time period this feature was AWOL (June 9 through August 18)- so I decided instead to cover just those limited-release movies that came out during that period (or earlier) that were not (to my knowledge) covered in other online sources, or for which I had found earlier release dates than other online sources that I have seen. That proved to be too many movies to deal with in one column, so instead I’ll be mentioning these movies at the start of the next few columns, until I’ve gone through all of the ones that fit under either of the above headings. And since I’ve managed to get behind-the-times again, I will attempt to get several of these (normally bi-monthly) columns out once-a-week, until the column catches up with the calendar. So, all of the above is my long-winded way of explaining why the first ten movies mentioned in this column- which was originally intended to feature only limited-release films that came out September 2 through 16- were released before that period (in some cases, way before).

*NOVEMBER 6, 2009*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

Lovely, Still

Genre: Romantic drama

Plot synopsis (official): With the approach of Christmas causing him to feel lonely in life and love, Robert Malone (Academy Award Winner Martin Landau) braves the wintery snow to arrive home from his job at the grocery store only to find a stranger (Academy Award Winner Ellen Burstyn) standing in his home. What begins as an odd and awkward encounter quickly blossoms into what appears to be a romantic late life love affair that takes us on a heartfelt and wonderful journey which takes an unexpected turn.

Director: Nicholas Fackler

Cast: Martin Landau, Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott

Release information: Opened at the Marcus Midtown Cinema in Omaha, Nebraska.

*MARCH 19*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

Ed Gein: The Musical

Genre: Horror/Musical

Plot synopsis (official): Imagine the innocence and the joy of the 1950’s. America was prosperous and well. Rock & roll was full of vigor and breathless excitement. All was right with the world. Suddenly a manic crescendo came forth, from the depths of hell, to smash this joyful harmony. The Butcher of Plainfield, The Serenading Psycho, The Maestro of Mortal Mayhem reared his ugly misanthropic head. Straight from the pastoral farmland of Central Wisconsin, Ed Gein redefined evil. His unnatural devotion to his mother, his demonic lust for the recently deceased and his sick and twisted uses of their carcasses shocked a nation. And now his life’s story is chronicled through music…

Director: Steve Russell

Cast: Dan Davies, Clifford Henry

Release information: Opened at The Comedy Quarter in Neenah, WI.

Additional information: Ed Gein: The Musical had four showings on January 2 at the UW (University of Wisconsin) Fox Valley Communications Arts Building- but I didn’t consider these as the initial release date/venue since I don’t count non-commercial locations like this for the purposes of this column. (The film was also re-edited since the UW screenings, apparently, for what it’s worth.) Showings in comedy clubs (or other locations that aren’t movie theaters) strike me as worthy of inclusion, however- so that’s why I went with March 19 and The Comedy Quarter as the date/location for the film’s release.

Other links: Facebook page

*JUNE 20*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

Daddy’s Home

Genre: Thriller/Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Daddy’s Home is a thriller/drama about an elementary school teacher, Angelica, who gets involved with a uniquely gifted student named Willow. Problems arise once Angelica discovers that Willow and her brother Steven are under witness protection from their estranged father Samuel, who has just escaped from prison. What do you do when daddy comes home?

Director: Justin Price

Cast: Christina Trevino, C. H. Morris, Sebastian Trevino, Daniela Espinosa

Release information: Opened on Sunday, June 20, at the Border Theater in Mission, TX.

Additional information: Lead actress Christina Trevino also wrote the screenplay.

Other links: Facebook page; Myspace page

*JULY 9*

DOCUMENTARIES

American Grindhouse

Summary: The feature-length documentary American Grindhouse explores the hidden history of the American Exploitation film. The movie digs deep into this often overlooked category of U.S. cinema and unearths the shameless and occasionally shocking origins of this popular entertainment. Exploitation Cinema has left an indelible mark on American culture, and… (more)

Director: Elijah Drenner

With: Allison Anders; Judy Brown, Larry Cohen, Joe Dante, Don Edmonds, David Hess, Jack Hill, Jonathan Kaplan, Jeremy Kasten, John Landis, Herschell Gordon Lewis, William Lustig, Ted V. Mikels, Bob Minor, Kim Morgan, Eddie Muller, Fred Olen Ray, Eric Schaefer, Lewis Teague, James Gordon White, Fred Williamson; narrated by Robert Forster

Release information: Had 9:30 shows on July 9 and 10 (and July 16-17 and 23-24) at the Gold Town Nickelodeon in Juneau, Alaska.

*JULY 20*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

National Lampoon Presents Sex Tax (a.k.a. Sex Tax: Based on a True Story)

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): As an auditor for the IRS, Stephen Billings spends his days dealing with angry and terrified taxpayers who try to justify their creative and often ridiculous deductions. When Steven is given an assignment to audit the Hen House Ranch, a legal Brothel in Nevada, he pursues this endeavor with the passion of a man on a mission of truth and justice. He just didn’t count on all of the prostitutes, crooked congressman, cheating business leaders and vicious gangsters he was about to… (more)

Director: John Borges

Cast: John Livingston, Erin Cardillo, Dana Green, Fiona Gubelmann, Angell Conwell, Reginald Vel Johnson, Jay Thomas, Isabella Hoffman, Monte Markham, Lin Shaye

Release information: Opened at the Tower Theatre in Fresno, CA.

Additional information: National Lampoon Presents Sex Tax seems to be the title under which the film played at the Tower Theatre; Sex Tax: Based on a True Story is the title on the IMDb.

*JULY 22*

DOCUMENTARIES

Teenage Paparazzo

Summary (official): TEENAGE PAPARAZZO documents the true story of a relationship between a 14 year-old paparazzo (Austin Visschedyk) and Adrian Grenier, the star of the HBO series Entourage. Inspired by a chance encounter with Visschedyk during a night out, Grenier (who previously directed the documentary Shot in the Dark) decides, for a change, to turn the cameras on the paparazzi in an effort to document this unique teenager’s world. But the actor/director soon finds the project turning into a personal challenge as Grenier is forced to take responsibility… (more)

Director: Adrian Grenier

With: Austin Visschedyk, Adrian Grenier, Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton, Alec Baldwin, Lewis Black, Kevin Dillon, Noam Chomsky, Whoopi Goldberg, Martin Landau, Lindsay Lohan, Rosie O’Donnell, Michelle Rodriguez, Britney Spears, Jaleel White

Release information: Opened at the Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, CA, and the Coliseum Cinemas in New York City.

*AUGUST 13*

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Bomber

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Plot synopses (Yes, that’s right, two synopses- both from official-type sites- so you can take your pick; the first is from the official site of the film itself, while the second is from the site of Film Movement, which is handling Bomber in the US):

A bittersweet comedy about love, family and dropping bombs on Germany. An 83 year-old man returns to Germany for a long planned journey of atonement. When Ross, his useless son agrees to drive him there, a nightmare family road trip ensues.

Alistar and Valerie have been planning a special trip to Germany for a very long time. When their son Ross stops by the house to send them off, happenstance turns into an impromptu family road trip of the most tortuous kind. Alistar berates Ross for all that he is not in life, while Valerie tries to keep the peace. It is soon discovered that Alistar’s reason for the often comic, sometimes painful trip is to shed a guilt he’s been carrying for years. Ultimately, the family learns they need each other more then they imagined.

Director: Paul Cotter

Cast: Shane Taylor, Benjamin Whitrow, Eileen Nicholas

Languages: English and German

Release information: Opened at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

Other links: Bomber’s page on the site of Film Movement; and here’s the trailer for Bomber, via the IMDb, for any of you who (like me) couldn’t get the trailer to play on either of the sites linked above. (WARNING: Brief nudity.)

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Bunny and the Bull

Genre: Comedy (or drama with some comedy, according to one review on the IMDb)

Plot synopsis (official): An extraordinary visual feast from the director of THE MIGHTY BOOSH, featuring the crème-de-la-crème of British comedy talent, including Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and Richard Ayoade, BUNNY AND THE BULL follows Stephen (Ed Hogg) and Bunny (Simon Farnaby) as they leave the dull routine of life in England behind and embark on an extraordinary odyssey where imagination is the only limit. Journeying from the industrial wastelands of Silesia to the bull fields of Andalusia, their adventures brings them into contact with a Polish dog farmer (Julian Barratt), a moustachioed matador (Noel Fielding) and a hot-tempered crab waitress (Veronica Echegui) who soon tests how far their friendship really goes.

Director: Paul King

Cast: Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby, Veronica Echegui, Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding, Richard Ayoade

Release information: Opened at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

*AUGUST 27*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

The Genesis Code

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent façade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry’s suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry – who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front – sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true and in perfect accord!

Directors: C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Read Johnson

Cast: Logan Bartholomew, Kelsey Sanders, Lance Henriksen, Ben Murphy, Louise Fletcher, Ernest Borgnine, Fred Dalton Thompson, Catherine Hicks, Susan Blakely, Rance Howard

Release information: Opened at six theaters in western Michigan (in or near cities where the film was shot).

DOCUMENTARIES

Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff

Summary (official): A celebration of the life and work of cinematographer Jack Cardiff, whose career spanned an incredible ninety years and more than one hundred films including classics A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes and The African Queen. Cameraman features exclusive behind the scenes footage and contributions from Martin Scorsese, Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and many more.

Director: Craig McCall

With: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorcese, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Lauren Bacall, Kim Hunter, John Mills, many others

Release information: Opened at the Coliseum Cinemas in New York City

Additional information: An official selection of the Cannes Film Festival

Other links: Facebook page

*SEPTEMBER 2*

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Bale Pandiya

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): ‘Bale Pandiya’ is a youthful entertainer for the masses. This jovial film is all filled with wits that are entertaining to the core. Feeling one with the incidents of the film won’t be a difficult task. Colourful and cheerful ‘Bale Pandiya’ will be an experience to etch in your minds. Don’t worry Be Happy is the message. Come on… have fun folks!

Director: Siddarth Chandrasekhar

Cast: Vishnu Vishal , Piya Bajpai, Gibran Osman

Language: Tamil

Release information: Opened at the Towne 3 in San Jose, CA, and the Movie City 8 in Edison, NJ.

Comments: There are some interesting visuals on the film’s official site, if anyone cares to check it out.

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Gayam 2 (a.k.a. Gaayam 2)

Genre: Action/Crime drama

Plot synopsis (official- edited for space, but otherwise unchanged): Jagapati Babu s sequel to his 1993 blockbuster ” Gaayam” is taking an another avathar in the same name In the year 2010, the same Durga who intimidated us on the screen in that Ram Gopal Verma s edge-of-the-seat film on gang wars and brutal killings, is coming back. Ram a restaurant owner in Bangkok leads his life happily. His wife Vidya and son Chaitanya are his only world. One day unintentional issue disturbs Ram s life. Psychopath killers molest a female worker at Ram s restaurant. To protect her he shoots them. This rescue turns Ram a local hero in front of media and people nearby. Guru Narayan shocks to see a person named Ram with same identification of Durga. From then strange things happen to Ram. Shankar Narayan son of Guru Narayan kidnap Chaitanya to know the truth about Ram. The rest of the story goes what really happend in Ram s life. Is he Ram or Durga? What made Ram turn Durga. What happend in the past with Guru Naryan. Is Durga alive or dead..is to be known.

Director: Praveen Sri

Cast: Jagapathi Babu, Vimala Raman, Kota Srinivasa Rao,Tanikella Bharani, kota Prasad, Jeeva, Harsha Vardhan, Master Pavan Sriram

Language: Telugu

Release information: Opened at five theaters in the US- two in California, and one each in Illinois, Virginia, and New Jersey.

Comments: As with the other Indian films that opened on this date, I am using theater information that I wrote down on September 4. There may have been other theaters that played these films on September 2 and 3, but the ones given above are the only ones I know of.

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Thakita Thakita

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Thakita Thakita is the story of six friends – Sree, Chandana, Mahesh, Bhakthi, Nandini and Skudd. Starting from their graduation day and tracing back their five-year old friendship with its many ups and downs, lefts and more lefts, it’s a story of different personalities, principles and traditions coming together, sometimes clashing and sometimes merging… Thakita Thakita is a story of lies, truth, misunderstandings and the one reason that makes people come together even when things don’t go quite the way they planned – love..

Director: Sree Hari Nanu

Cast: Harshvardhan Rane, Haripriya, M.S. Narayana, Cochin Haneefa, Arun Kumar, Sana, Shiv Prasad, N.V.K Trinetrudu

Language: Telugu

Release information: Opened at the Norwalk 8 in Norwalk, CA; the Peachtree Theatre in Norcross, GA; the Worldgate 9 in Herndon, VA; and the Movie City 8 in Edison, NJ.

*SEPTEMBER 3*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

The Bill Collector

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Uncle Frankie (Danny Trejo) is not the kind of guy you want to meet in a dark alley. Especially when you owe him money and have been giving him the slip for a few years. Such is the fate of Lorenzo Adams (Gary Moore), a top bill collector at Lump Sum Collections. Uncle Frankie has tracked Lorenzo to Norfolk, Virginia and is coming to collect. With his back to the wall, Lorenzo finds no one to help but Pastor Kevin (Ron Kenoly) and… (more)

Director: Cristóbal Krusen

Cast: Danny Trejo, Brandon Hardesty, Gary Moore, Tom Ohmer, Ron Kenoly

Release information: Opened at the MacArthur Center 18 in Norfolk, VA, and the Columbus Movies 12 in Virginia Beach, VA

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Clear Blue Tuesday

Genre: Musical/Drama/Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): In the course of seven incredible Tuesdays over seven tumultuous years, eleven New Yorkers are transformed by love, desire, art, ambition, fury, grief, faith, fear, hope and, ultimately, connection with each other in the rousing indie rock musical drama, CLEAR BLUE TUESDAY… It all begins on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 – but it’s about what comes after. In the wake of their own personal encounters with disaster, a group of interconnected New Yorkers begin to grapple with – and rediscover – the dreams that first brought them to the city. Rose (BECCA AYERS), an artist, spirals downwards even as her boyfriend, Kyle (ASA SOMERS), throws himself into climbing the corporate ladder. Daniel (JEREMY SCHONFELD) and Reena (JULIE DANAO) are starting a new family, but face a ghost in their relationship. Caroline (JAN O’DELL), a steely businesswoman searches for her lost son – and herself – after… (more)

Director: Elizabeth Lucas

Cast: Asa Somers, Becca Ayers, Brother Love, Cassandra Kubinski, Erin Hill, Greg Naughton, Jan O’Dell

Release information: Opened at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

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Etienne!

Genre: Comedy (although it sounds like it is a fairly melancholy comedy- at least in part- given the plot)

Plot synopsis (official): After Richard’s best and only friend, a dwarf hamster named Etienne, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides to take him on a bicycle road trip up the California coast to show him the world before he must put him to sleep.

>Director: Jeff Mizushima

Cast: Richard Vallejos, Megan Harvey, Caveh Zahedi, and Great Northern (Rachel Stolte and Solon Bixler)

Release information: Opened at the reRun Gastropub Theater in Brooklyn.

Other links: Myspace page

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Prince of Broadway

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Prince of Broadway is the story of Lucky and Levon, two men whose lives converge in the underbelly of New York’s wholesale fashion district. Lucky, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, makes ends meet by soliciting shoppers on the street with knock-off brand merchandise. Levon, an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant, operates an illegal storefront with a concealed back room where counterfeit goods are showcased to interested shoppers. Lucky’s world is suddenly turned upside down when a child is thrust into his life by a woman who insists the toddler is his son. While Lucky copes with his new domestic dilemma, Levon struggles… (more)

Director: Sean Baker

Cast: Prince Adu, Karren Karagulian, Aiden Noesi, Keyali Mayaga, Kat Sanchez, Victoria Tate

Release information: Opened at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

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16 to Life

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Kate is a rural American teenager whose angst about sexual inexperience drives a comic quest for love and understanding on a birthday to end all birthdays. 16 To Life, shot on location on the Mississippi River, boasts terrifically funny, heartfelt performances from newcomers Hallee Hirsh (KATE), Mandy Musgrave (DARBY), and soulful veteran seductress Theresa Russell (LOUISE). This first feature from Emmy-nominated writer/director Becky Smith (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) puts a wry, witty, and unpredictable ensemble cast in a small-town locale reminiscent of a Capra comedy. Kate’s irreverent fantasies of sexual awakening and guilt, fueled by obsessive reading of books on bizarre subjects (currently the Chinese Cultural Revolution) drive this explosive day. Kate is turning 16 and has never been kissed! When best-friend Darby abruptly decides to lose her virginity this very day, mortified Kate pretends not to care

Director: Becky Smith

Cast: Hallee Hirsch, Mandy Musgrave, Theresa Russell, Shiloh Fernandez

Release information: Opened at the Elkader Cinema in Elkader, IA, and the Star Cinema in Prairie du Chien, WI.

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Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue

Genre: Animated Fantasy/Adventure

Plot synopsis (official): What would you do if you met a fairy? Witness the historic moment when Tinker Bell first meets a human being and it’s not who you think. Years before meeting Wendy and the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell met Lizzy, a little girl with a steadfast belief in the power of pixie dust and the magic land of fairies. During the fairies’ summer visit to the flowering meadows of England, two very different worlds unite for the first time and Tink develops a special bond… (more)

Director: Bradley Raymond

Voice Cast: Michael Sheen, Mae Whitman, Kristin Chenoweth, Lucy Liu, Pamela Adlon, Raven-Symoné

Release information: Opened at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

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The Winning Season

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): From director James C. Strouse (Grace is Gone) comes THE WINNING SEASON starring Sam Rockwell as an adult misfit who is brought on to coach the local girl’s high school basketball team.

Director: James C. Strouse

Cast: Sam Rockwell, Emma Roberts, Rob Corddry, Emily Rios, Rooney Mara, Jessica Hecht, Devin Ratray, Shareeka Epps, Margo Martindale

Release information: Opened at the Culver Plaza Theatre in Culver City, CA; the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA; and the Village East Cinema in New York City.

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Max Manus

Genre: War/Action

Plot synopsis (official): Max Manus follows Manus from the outbreak of World War II until the summer of 1945. After fighting against the Russians during the Winter War in Finland, Manus returns to a German-occupied Norway. He joins the resistance movement and becomes one of the most important members of the so-called “Oslo Gang,” soon confirming his reputation for audacity by making two daring escapes from German captivity. He eventually reunites with his best friend Gregers Gram in Scotland, where they receive special training as saboteurs… (more)

Directors: Espen Sandberg , Joachim Rønning

Cast: Aksel Hennie, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Agnes Kittelsen, Knut Joner

Languages: Norwegian, German, English

Release information: Opened at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

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Mesrine: Public Enemy #1

Genre: Crime drama

Plot synopsis (official): Now back in France, Mesrine is finally in police custody and facing justice for his crimes. After escaping a courtroom and kidnapping the judge at gunpoint, Mesrine is declared Public Enemy Number 1 and is eventually condemned to a maximum-security prison where he writes his memoirs, establishing himself as a household name and the anti-hero across France. Mesrine stages another daring escape and disappears into the lawless underworld, taunting the police and reinventing himself as a celebrity criminal… (more)

Director: Jean-François Richet

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric, Gérard Lanvin, Samuel Le Bihan, Olivier Gourmet, Georges Wilson

Languages: French, English

Release information: Opened at thirty-one theaters- fifteen in California, three in New York, two each in Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts, and one each in Washington state, Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Additional information: The follow-up to Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Director Richet and star Cassel won César Awards- the French equivalent of the Oscar- for their work on the Mesrine films.

According to the IMDb, this was the last film of veteran French actor Georges Wilson.

Other links: Mesrine: Public Enemy #1’s page on the site of its US distributor, Music Box Films

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Our Beloved Month of August

Genre: Semi-documentary/Musical/Romance/Comedy/Drama

Plot synopsis (official): In the heart of Portugal, amid the mountains, the month of August is abuzz with people and activity. Emigrants return home, set off fireworks, fight fires, sing karaoke, kurl [?; I’m guessing it should be “hurl”, but who knows] themselves from bridges, hunt wild boar, drink beer, make babies.

Director: Miguel Gomes

Cast: Sonia Bandeira, Fabio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho, Manuel Soares

Languages: Portugese (with some French and English)

Release information: Opened at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

Other links: Additional information about the film (in English) on the site of the Anthology Film Archives; French site for film.

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We Are Family

Genre: Drama (melodrama?)/romance/comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Maya (Kajol) is the perfect mother. Her life revolves around her three children, Aleya (Aanchal Munjal), Ankush (Nominath Ginsburg), and Anjali (Diya Sonecha), who think nothing less than the world of her. Despite being divorced from her husband, Aman (Arjun Rampal) Maya has ensured that everything runs smoothly in her house, under her watch, and that they continue to remain a happy family unit. However, when Aman introduces his girlfriend, Shreya (Kareena Kapoor) a career oriented woman, who has a lot to learn about children, to the family, the situation immediately takes an unexpected turn. When an incident changes their lives drastically… (more)

Director: Sidharth Malhotra

Cast: Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal

Language: Hindi

Release information: Opened on fifty-nine US screens, per the film’s official site- eight in California and New Jersey, five each in Texas and New York, four in Illinois, three in Pennsylvania, two each in Arizona, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and one each in Washington state, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Georgia. (Also, I’ve seen at least one online site claim that We Are Family actually opened in 78 theaters. I am guessing that that number- if correct- counts a few locations that played the film only once- or two or three or four times. Also, while the front page of We Are Family’s official site says “thursday, Sept. 2”, that was the date that the film opened only in certain parts of the world- specifically, India and the UAE, according to a ticker at the bottom of the site’s front page. Other parts of the world had to wait one more day to see We Are Family on the big screen.)

Additional information: A remake of Stepmom, per the IMDb.

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White Wedding

Genre: Romantic comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Ayanda (Zandie Msutwana) is just days away from her lifelong dream of a modern ‘white wedding,’ complete with a dazzling dress, dozens of bridesmaids, a flamboyant wedding planner and large reception at a fancy hotel. The only problem is that her husband-to-be, the sweet, committed Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi), is 1,000 miles away with his childhood friend and best-man Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo). What should be a simple, straightforward journey gets seriously derailed, forcing Elvis, Tumi and Rose (Jodie Whittaker), a footloose English doctor they meet along the way to tackle directional mishaps, car accidents… (more)

Director: Jann Turner

Cast: Kenneth Nkosi, Rapulana Seiphemo, Jodie Whittaker, Zandile Msutwana

Languages: English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa

Release information: Opened at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles; the Westpark 8 in Irvine, CA; the Empire 25 in New York City; and the Village 7 in New York City.

Additional information: “Official Academy Award Entry for South Africa,” according to the film’s press kit.

<Other links: Press kit

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A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop (a.k.a. A Simple Noodle Story)

Genre: Drama/Suspense/Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Wang is a miserable yet cunning noodle shop owner in a desert town in China. Feeling neglected, Wang’s wife secretly goes out with Li, one of his employees. A timid man, Li reluctantly keeps the gun the landlady bought for ‘killing her husband later’. However, not a single move they make escapes the boss’s notice, and he decides to bribe patrol officer Zhang to kill the illicit couple. It looks like a perfect plan: the affair will come to a cruel but satisfying end… or so he thinks, but the equally wicked Zhang has an agenda of his own that will lead to even more violence.

Director: Zhang Yimou

Cast: Sun Hunglei, Xiao Shenyang, Yan Ni, Ni Dahong, Cheng Ye, Mao Mao, Zhao Benshan

Language: Mandarin Chinese

Release information: Opened at five theaters- four in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, and one in New York City.

Additional information: A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop is a remake of Blood Simple, according to the press kit.

DOCUMENTARIES

Garbo: The Spy

Summary (official): This is the story about “the greatest actor in the world”. On the stage that is life he made his unique contribution to the good of mankind. He went by many names, yet never existed. He lived many lives, yet only one was real. In the darkest time in the history of humanity he perpetrated the greatest fraud of the Second World War- fooling the German High Command into believing that the Normandy landings were just a diversionary feint, and that the real invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais… To the Nazis he was Codename: Alaric. To the British he was simply Garbo. To the world he was a mystery. But 30 years after the facts and fiction, the cloak of mystery that kept him hidden… (more)

Director: Edmon Roch

With: Nigel West, Mark Seaman, Xavier Vinader, Stan Vranckx, Aline Griffith, Juan Pujol

Languages: English, Spanish, Catalan, German

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA.

Additional information: From the “Director’s Statement” on the film’s English language site: “GARBO: THE SPY is a documentary thriller about forgotten and living memories, heroes and spies, secrets and lies, featuring fragments of Hollywood films, archive material, interviews and special effects – extending an invitation to choose our own version of the truth… There is no better medium than film to illustrate the story of the most important double agent of the 20th Century. Films have shaped our images of Mata Hari, of Charlie Chan and of Operation Cicero. In order to emphasize the most controversial aspects of the story, we juxtapose interviews with newsreels, cartoons, film clips and propaganda material, from both the Allied and the Axis sides. It is through movies like Patton, The Longest Day, Our Man in Havana, Mr. Moto’s Last Warning, The Stranger, Pimpernel Smith, Invisible Agent, The Secret Code, British Intelligence, and Greta Garbo’s Mata Hari, that we will discover why [Juan] Pujol was considered ‘the best actor in the world.'”

Other links: Spanish site (with an English-language trailer that isn’t on the film’s English-language site- or if it was there, I couldn’t find it).

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A Good Day to Die

Summary (official): Dennis Banks co-founded the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) in 1968 to call attention to the plight of urban Indians in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The film presents an intimate look at Dennis Banks’ life beginning with his early experience in boarding schools, through his military service in Japan, his transformative experience in Stillwater State Prison and subsequent founding of a movement that, through confrontational actions in Washington DC, Custer South Dakota and Wounded Knee, changed the lives of American Indians forever.

Directors: David Mueller and Lynn Salt

With: Dennis Banks, Wes Studi, Jerry Brown, LaDonna Harris

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA.

*SEPTEMBER 4*

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Chhevan Dariya (The Sixth River)

Genre: Drama/Romance

Plot synopsis (official): ‘Chhevan Dariya’, the expression is commonly associated with the abundance of drugs and alcohol that permeates the land of five rivers. Punjabis have always felt themselves to be the proud natives of the land of five rivers – from where has emerged this destructive sixth river? … The story begins with the pouring in of the guests at Deedar Singh’s (Gulshan Grover) haveli. The occasion is the marriage of a girl with whose grandfather Deedar Singh had a close friendship. This brings in people from Philadelphia and Punjab. Soon, Carol (Christa Cannon)), a friend of Fateh (Manpreet Singh), from US also joins them by sheer coincidence. Fateh’s friend, Dev (Lakhvinder Wadali) gets attracted to Carol and thus love starts blooming. Fateh and Dev’s childhood friend, Reet (Navneet Kaur), a TV journalist, shares some close moments with Fateh and their relationship gets strengthened as the story develops…

Director: Ish Amitoj Kaur

Cast: Gulshan Grover, Neena Gupta, Lakhvinder Wadali, Manpreet Singh, Navneet Kaur, Christa Cannon

Languages: Punjabi, English

Release information: Opened at the Fremont 7 in Fremont, CA.

*SEPTEMBER 8*

DOCUMENTARIES

Louis CK- Hilarious

Summary (from Louis C. K.’s official site): Hilarious is an 84 minute feature film which I directed. It’s a concert film of me doing a show in Milwaukee in April of last year (2009).You will see material that has never been on a special of mine and none of this material was used in the FX series LOUIE.

Director: Louis C. K.

With: Louis C. K.

Release information: Had two showings each on September 8 and 9 at the IFC Center in New York City- along with two shows at the Arlington (Virginia) Drafthouse on September 8, and a number of one-time-only showings on September 8 at six other theaters across the country, and two showings on September 9 at the Central Cinema in Seattle.

*SEPTEMBER 9*

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Honeymoons

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): In the hope of a better life, two young couples leave their respective countries. Melinda and Nik leave Albania by boat to Italy to live out their forbidden love. Vera and Marko, meanwhile, left Serbia in a train to Austria via Hungary. Marko, a talented cellist, has the chance to enter the famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. But upon arrival at the border, although they have valid visas for them, the problems start … Despite the fact that they have nothing to do with a serious incident that took place the day before in Kosovo, and because of unfortunate coincidences, they are arrested. Their hope of realizing their dreams in this Europe- synonymous with “Promised Land”- vanishes. As is often the case with young people of the Balkans, they pay for the mistakes of previous generations …

(Note: This was taken from the site of the French company Eurozoom- the distributor of Honeymoons in France, or its sales agent, or something; Google Translate provided the English version- although I made a few minor fixes.)

Director: Goran Paskaljevic (Cabaret Balkan, Someone Else’s America, Twilight Time)

Cast: Nebojsa Milovanovic, Jelena Trkulja, Jozef Shiroka, Mirela Naska

Languages: Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Italian

Release information: Opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Other links: Trailer

*SEPTEMBER 10*

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS (AND OTHERWISE)

The Afterlight

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): In a desolate stretch of farm country, a young couple attempts to leave their complicated past behind in hopes of starting a new life. Andrew and Claire find themselves far from their roots. They move into an old schoolhouse that sits on the edge of a farm inhabited by an elderly widow and her blind niece, Maria. While the local media report on an approaching solar eclipse, the arrival of Andrew and Claire sets off an elusive chain of events that will alter the lives of everyone around them. As their relationship deteriorates under the pressure of their isolation, Claire withdraws and develops an unsettling interest in Maria. And when painful memories return to haunt her, her only refuge…. (more)

Directors: Alexei Kaleina and Craig Macneill

Cast: Michael Kelly, Jicky Schnee, Ana Asensio, Rip Torn, Morgan Taddeo, Rhoda Pauley

Release information: Opened at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Comments: “Jicky Schnee” is not a typo; for more about that wonderfully unusual name- from Ms. Schnee herself, apparently- see this post on her IMDb message board.

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Expecting Mary

Genre: Drama/Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Expecting Mary is the story of pregnant young Mary, who’s had all the trappings of an upscale life, but it’s only when she finds herself in a small New Mexico town, in a down-trodden trailer park, that she learns the real meaning of love, sacrifice and family.

Director: Dan Gordon

Cast: Elliott Gould, Linda Gray, Lainie Kazan, Cloris Leachman, Della Reese, Oleysa Rulin, Cybill Shepherd, Gene Simmons, Fred Willard

Release information: According to its official site, Expecting Mary started at forty-one theaters- eleven in Utah, seven each in Kansas and Tennessee, five in Oklahoma, four each in Florida and Missouri, and three in California.

Comment: Even if it’s due more to alphabetical order than anything else, I still thought that it was cool to see Elliott Gould top-billed on a poster for a 2010 theatrical release.

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I’m Still Here

Summary (official): The directorial debut of Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck, I’M STILL HERE is a striking portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of internationally acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. With remarkable access, I’M STILL HERE follows the Oscar-nominee as he announces his retirement from a successful film career in the fall of 2008 and sets off to reinvent himself as a hip hop musician…. (more)

Director: Casey Affleck

With: Joaquin Phoenix, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs

Release information: Opened at twenty theaters- five in California, two in Texas, and one each in Arizona, Washington state, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

Comment: At first, I had this one under the “documentary” heading- but then Casey Affleck admitted that I’m Still Here isn’t a doc, so now it’s in this section.

Other links: I’m Still Here’s page on the site of its distributor, Magnolia Pictures

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The Incubus

Genre: Romance/Horror

Plot synopsis (official): How does a town of 500 people just disappear? Marnie Rose, the niece of the town’s church pastor is plagued with a life of abuse and neglect for all of the nineteen years she has resided in the small town of Spoon River with her best friends as her only saving grace. Things begin to change however, when new neighbors move in just down the street and Spoon River University accepts a very mysterious new student. People in the neighborhood start to feel different all of a sudden. People are getting sick with a mysterious disease… (more)

Directors: Shayne Leighton, Marcie Gorman

Cast: Shayne Leighton, Frantisek Mach, Alexandra Santanna, Michael C. Nouri, Donna Lisa

Release information: Opened at seventeen theaters in southeastern Florida.

Other links: Facebook page; site with theater listings.

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The Killing Machine (a.k.a. Icarus; a.k.a. Dolph Lundgren Is The Killing Machine)

Genre: Action/Thriller

Plot synopsis (official): Leading a double life as a family man and a professional assassin, a career hit man finds himself fighting for his life and struggling to protect the ones he cares about the most.

Director: Dolph Lundgren

Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Stefanie von Pfetten, Samantha Ferris, David Lewis, Bo Svenson

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA

Comments: I’m not 100% certain, but I think that this is the first film directed by Lundgren to get a theatrical release in the US. The Killing Machine probably won’t see the inside of very many American theaters, however- it’s scheduled for DVD release on October 19.

Also, this is a US/Canada co-production, per the IMDb. I figured it fit best in this category, since the logo on the trailer is for CineTel Films (which has its headquarters in California), and since the IMDb lists the US first among co-producers.

Other links: There’s a link to the trailer at The Killing Machine’s page on the site of production company CineTel Films (linked in the title above)- but the image there is fairly small (or at least it was on my computer). Click here for a larger, easier-to-see trailer.

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Legendary

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Cal Chetley (Devon Graye) is an extremely bright, engaging, undersized 16-year-old. Neither blue collar nor athlete, both qualities that make up his small Oklahoman town, Cals’s been picked on most of his life, primarily because he’s always been a little different. Mike, Cal’s older brother (WWE Superstar John Cena) and one-time world-class high school/collegiate wrestler, left him and his mother behind years ago after a tragic car accident killed their father – an accident, to this day, Mike feels responsible for. Hoping to revive a relationship long since forgotten, Cal joins his high school wrestling team in the hopes his brother will train him. More importantly, Cal uses wrestling as the tool to reunite his family.

Cast: John Cena, Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Devon Graye, Madeleine Martin, Tyler Posey

Director: Mel Damski

Release information: Opened at 180 theaters (according to its official site): nineteen in New York; eighteen in California; fourteen in Ohio; eleven in New Jersey; ten in Massachusetts; eight each in Pennsylvania and Connecticut; seven each in Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee; six each in Florida, Maine and Michigan; five each in Illinois and Maryland; four each in Vermont, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Georgia; three in Alabama; two each in Indiana, Washington state, West Virginia, Virginia, Utah, Rhode Island, Arizona and North Carolina; and one each in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Missouri, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Additional information: Mel Damski directed three theatrically-released movies in the eighties (Yellowbeard, Mischief, and Happy Together); this seems to be his first theatrical release since then.

Also of note: WWE Studios- the WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment, in case you didn’t know- produced Legendary. I don’t think that I would have expected to see Patricia Clarkson or Danny Glover in a film from WWE Studios.

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Logan

Genre: Drama/Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): 13-year-old Logan Hoffman wants to make a movie and realizes its harder than he thinks. When friends at school reject him and his family doesn’t care, he turns to his last hope – his older brother Tyler. After a tragic mishap, Tyler is challenged to do whatever it takes to see his younger brother’s project succeed as Tyler realizes what’s really important in life.

Director: Kyle Lawrence

Cast: Leo Howard, BooBoo Stewart, Patrick Probst, Abigail Isom, Colin Ritchie

Release information: Opened at the Ronnies 20 Cine in Saint Louis, MO.

Additional information: The IMDb says that Caleb Doyle co-directed Logan; on the film’s poster, website and Facebook page, Kyle Lawrence is the only credited director.

Other links: Facebook page

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Midnight Reckoning (a.k.a. The Fall of Night)

Genre: Drama/Suspense

Plot synopsis (official): It’s always the darkest… right before you die. Joe Manning, a struggling rock musician, is forced to reexamine his whole life in the course of one night when he is stranded in the California high desert with an eccentric prophet who tells him he has one night left to live… It’s the story of a musician, isolated in the high desert, miles from civilization, with some eccentric misfits, all night long. All the while a sinister supernatural presence is stalking him, and there’s the threat of an imminent nuclear holocaust hanging over all their heads.

Director: Derrick Warfel

Cast: Bruce Michael Hall, Persia White, Tony Longo, Grant Bowler, Al Harrington

Release information: Opened with two showings at the Plaza 8 in St. Joseph, MO, on September 10. (A full week run at the North Hollywood Century 8 in Hollywood, CA, started on October 1.)

Other links: Site for film under its previous title, The Fall of Night

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Modus Operandi

Genre: Thriller/Action/Crime

Plot synopsis (official): Two briefcases with mysterious contents are stolen from top Presidential candidate Squire Parks, setting off a deadly series of double-crosses and betrayals. Desperate warring factions of subterranean organizations will stop at nothing to gain possession of the sensitive material. A covert branch of the CIA calls on notorious black ops agent Stanley Cashay…. (more)

Cast: Randy Russell, Mark Borchardt, Danny Trejo, Mark Metcalf

Director: Frankie Latina

Release information: Started at the IFC Center in New York City.

Comments: So Machete and The Bill Collector come out on September 3, and then Modus Operandi started on September 10. Even if the latter two are getting limited theatrical play, this seems to be some sort of Golden Age for theatrical releases prominently featuring Danny Trejo….

Other links: Seventies-style poster

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The Romantics

Genre: Romantic comedy/drama

Plot synopsis (official): Over the course of one raucous night at a seaside wedding seven close friends — all members of an eclectic college clique — assemble to watch two of their own tie the knot. Laura (Katie Holmes), maid of honor to Lila (Anna Paquin), the golden-girl bride, have long rivaled over the groom, Tom (Josh Duhamel). Friendships and alliances are tested, and the love triangle comes to a head the night before the wedding, when the drunken friends frolic in the nearby surf and return to shore… without the groom.

Director: Galt Niederhoffer

With: Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Malin Åkerman, Candice Bergen, Elijah Wood

Release information: Opened at The Landmark in Los Angeles and the Union Square Stadium 14 in New York.

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The Trial (a.k.a. Robert Whitlow’s The Trial)

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): After the horrific death of his wife and two sons, suicide seems to be the only escape for small town attorney Mac McClain… until he’s assigned a capital punishment case that begins to transform his life and those around him forever…

Cast: Matthew Modine, Bob Gunton, Robert Forster, Clare Carey, Randy Wayne, Rance Howard, Nikki Deloach

Director: Gary Wheeler

Release information: Opened at Our Town Cinemas in Davidson, NC.

Additional information: Based on the book of the same name by Robert Whitlow.

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The Virginity Hit

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis (official): It’s four guys, one camera, and their hilarious experience chronicling the exhilarating and terrifying rite of passage: losing your virginity. As these guys help their buddy get laid, they’ll have to survive friends with benefits, internet hookups, even porn stars during an adventure that proves why you will always remember your first.

Cast: Matt Bennett, Zack Pearlman, Justin Kline, Nicole Weaver, Jacob Davitch, Krysta Rodriguez, Sunny Leone, Seth Barrish

Directors: Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland

Release information: Opened on thirteen (or so*) screens- two in Michigan (Lansing and Ann Arbor), and one each in California (San Diego), Colorado (Boulder), Arizona (Tucson), Minnesota (Minneapolis), Wisconsin (Madison), Florida (Gainesville), Texas (Austin), Louisiana (Baton Rouge), North Carolina (Raleigh), Tennessee (Knoxville), and New York (Syracuse).

*According to this post on the IMDb’s message board for The Virginity Hit– which may have been made by co-writer/co-director Huck Botko – it also was supposed to open in Johnstown, PA, and Houston, TX on September 10. As far as I can tell, however, it did not open in either city. Given the unusual scheduling of The Virginity Hit’s opening-week show times- it seems to have played at 9:30 PM only, on Friday/Saturday/Sunday only, at all of the locations listed above- I was unable to do be 100% certain as to all of the film’s opening-week(end) theaters on Monday. (That was the day I first really realized that the film had been playing only on the weekend, so it was also the first day I tried to check for the locations at which it was showing. Unfortunately, once a film is out of theaters- even if only for a day- it can be hard to figure out all of the theaters at which that film was playing. Search engines verified that The Virginity Hit was at the thirteen theaters listed above- but those were the only ones I could confirm.)

Additional information: Will Ferrell and Adam McKay co-produced this one.

Comments: It looks like they’re following the release pattern set by another low-budget, video-verité style movie, Paranormal Activity: open in a few cities, and then go into national release a few weeks later. (I seem to remember that Paranormal Activity opened in cities that were described at the time as “college towns,” and I’ve seen at least two sites claim that The Virginity Hit also opened in “college towns,” for whatever it’s worth.)

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Boss Engira Baskaran (a.k.a. Boss Engira Bhaskaran)

Genre: Romantic/action (?- from the opening of the trailer) comedy

Plot synopsis (official): The film is said to revolve around a young man, Bhaskaran, who “lives” for other people, always going on errands, while neglecting his own life and career, until he meets a young girl, who brings a change in his life.

Director: M. Rajesh

Cast: Arya, Nayantara, Santhanam, Vijayalakshmi, Rajendran, Jeeva

Language: Tamil

Release information: Opened at the Towne 3 in San Jose, CA, the Norwalk 8 in Norwalk, CA, the Golf Glen 5 in Niles, IL, and the Movie City 8 in Edison, NJ.

Comments: I’m not so sure that the Facebook page linked in the title above is all that official- note the vagueness of the “official” plot synopsis above- but it was just about the only even halfway official-looking site that I could find, with the exception of the first (not very helpful) of two links below.

Other links: Site for Red Giant Movies, one of the companies that produced Boss Engira Baskaran. (If you can get any useful information about BEB on this site, then you had more luck with it than I did. Images from the film appear on this site, but when I clicked on said images- using a library computer- I got bupkiss… unless you count another, larger image from the film….); trailer.

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Bran Nue Dae

Genre: Musical comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Bran Nue Dae is a charming new Australian-based, music-driven road movie/romantic comedy starring Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush that literally bursts onto the screen with unbridled energy and fun. Loosely based on one of Australia’s most beloved and popular musicals, Bran Nue Dae is a foot stomping tour-de-force centering on the romantic adventures of a young aboriginal couple set against the spectacularly beautiful Australia.

Director: Rachel Perkins

Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins, Geoffrey Rush, Magda Szubanski

Release information: Opened at seventeen theaters in the US- four in New York, three each in California and Illinois, two in Texas, and one each in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.

Comment: Not much actual “plot” in the “plot synopsis” above- but that’s all they had on the official US site.

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Dabangg

Genre: Action/Crime drama/Romance

Plot synopsis (official): Set in Laalgunj, Uttar Pradesh, Dabangg is a story of Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), a totally fearless but corrupt police officer with unorthodox working methods. But even the most fearless at times face a tough fight with their innermost demons. Chulbul has had a bitter childhood. His father passed away when he was very young after which his mother Naini (Dimple Kapadia) married Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna). Together, they had a son Makhanchan (Arbaaz Khan). Parajapati favours Makhanchan which does not go down well with Chulbul. He decides to take control of his destiny and detaches himself from his stepfather and half brother…. (more)

Director: Abhinav Singh Kashyap

Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi (a.k.a. Sonakshi Sinha), Arbaaz Khan, Sonu Sood, Vinod Khanna, Anupam Kher, Om Puri

Languages: Hindi, Bhojpuri

Release information: Opened at forty-four (or more*) theaters- nine in New Jersey, eight in California, four each in Texas and New York, three each in Illinois and New York, two each in North Carolina and Massachusetts, and one each in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington state, Kansas, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Connecticut.

*Variety.com’s “Weekly Box Office” chart and the theater count on boxofficemojo for Dabangg both said that this Indian film was released on 62 screens. I think some of these might have been in Canada. Variety.com’s “Film Release Chart” has release dates for films that are released in both the US and Canada (even those films released in Canada, but not the US)- so it isn’t inconceivable that another chart on Variety.com would include box office results for Canadian theaters.

At the same time, however, the various sources I use to come up with screen counts and locations frequently seem to miss some theaters. I try to check these sources against each other, since some theaters will be listed (correctly) on one site as playing a movie, but the other sites leave that theater off of their list. And it looks like some theaters are not covered/counted/listed/included by ANY of the sources I know of- so if a movie is playing at one of those theaters, then I wouldn’t know about it.

62 minus 44 equals 18. Maybe some of those 18 screens are in Canada, and/or some are at locations I wouldn’t know about, because my online sources don’t know what is playing at these theaters. So maybe Dabangg opened on 44 screens, or maybe it started at 62 theaters- or maybe it was at some other number of theatres. Dabangg’s official site doesn’t have a list of the theaters at which it is (or was) playing- or if a theater listing was on Dabangg’s site, I sure couldn’t find it. When that sort of thing happens, I find as many of the theaters as I can, and wonder about the others (if there really were any others)….

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The Face You Deserve (A Cara que Mereces)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Plot synopsis (official- from the site of the production company’s page for the film, linked in the title above): Franscico, behave! I know it´s your birthday, you are thirty now, it´s carnival, you’ve dressed as a cowboy for the school party and you are surrounded by kids you hate. But that´s no reason to be so annoying…. Control yourself! Don´t you see no one will put up with you? You break your head, you go to the hospital, you have measles and there´s no one to look after you… Seven dwarfs would be perfect, just like in Snow White… Francisco, repeat after me: “Up to your 30’s you have the face God has given you. After that, you get the face you deserve”.

Director: Miguel Gomes

Cast: José Airosa, Gracinda Nave, Sara Graça, Miguel Barroso

Language: Portugese

Release information:

Additional information: Made- and/or released, in its home country (or at least somewhere)- in 2004, per the IMDb.

Other links: Page for The Face You Deserve (with more information about the film’s actual story) on the site of Anthology Film Archives; a clip from the film (not a trailer, but the only clip I found through a search engine).

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Fool for Love (De Mai Tinh)

Genre: Romantic comedy

Plot synopsis (official): FOOL FOR LOVE (De Mai Tinh) follows the travails of earnest bathroom clerk Dung (played by Dustin Nguyen) as he falls in love and quits his job at a five-star hotel to pursue the affections of a beautiful lounge singer, Mai (played by Kathy Uyen). The problem is, she’s already being chased by a wealthy real estate tycoon whose willingness to employ her depends on her willingness to date him. Comedy ensues as the penniless clerk, in order to finance his pursuit of love…. (more)

Director: Truc “Charlie” Nguyen

Cast: Dustin Nguyen, Truc “Charlie” Nguyen, Kathy Uyen

Language: Vietnamese

Release information: Opened at eight theaters- three each in California and Texas, and one each in Georgia and Virginia.

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Heartbreaker

Genre: Romantic comedy

Plot synopsis (official): Charming, funny and effortlessly cool, Alex is a professional heartbreaker who for a fee can turn any husband, fiancé or boyfriend into an ex. Alex has one ironclad rule: He only breaks up couples where the woman is unhappy. His latest job will put that rule to the test. The target is Juliette, a beautiful heiress who is set to marry the man of her dreams. With ten days until the wedding, Alex has been hired by her father to carry out his most daring seduction yet that risks him being caught by his ruthless personal creditors, angry exes, and the beautiful and independent Juliette herself. But worst of all…. (more)

Cast: Romain Duris, Vanessa Paradis, Julie Ferrier, François Damiens, Helena Noguerra, Jacques Frantz

Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Language: French

Release information: Opened at the IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York City, and The Landmark in Los Angeles.

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Hideaway (Le Refuge)

Genre: Drama

Plot synopsis (official): Mousse (Isabelle Carré) and Louis (Melvil Poupaud) are young, beautiful, rich, and in love- but drugs have invaded their lives. After Louis’ fatal overdose, Mousse soon learns she is pregnant (actress Isabelle Carré was pregnant while shooting). Feeling lost, Mousse escapes to a beautiful beach house far from Paris and is soon joined in her refuge by Louis’ gay brother, Paul (French singer Louis-Ronan Choisy, in his first screen appearance). The two strangers gradually develop an unusual and deeply moving relationship….

Director: François Ozun

Cast: Isabelle Carré, Melvil Poupaud, Louis-Ronan Choisy, Marie Rivière

Language: French

Release information: Opened at the Avalon Theatre in Washington, DC, the Angelika Film Centre in New York City, the Kew Gardens Cinemas in Kew Gardens, NY, and the CC Cinemas 1,2,3 in New York City.

Other links: Hideaway’s page on the site of its US distributor, Strand Releasing

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Komaram Puli (a.k.a. Puli)

Genre: Action/Crime

Plot synopsis (official): Komaram Puli is an upcoming Indian film. Puli is directed by S. J. Surya, who previously directed Kushi with Pawan Kalyan. Komaram is taken from the surname of the Gond martyr Komaram Bheem, who fought against the erstwhile Asaf Jahi dynasty for the liberation of Hyderabad State. The music for the film is composed by A. R. Rahman. The film is produced by Singanamala Ramesh. Pawan Kalyan will be playing a cop in this film; he has gone through a makeover to suit himself to the role of a powerful cop with a moustache and military cut.

Director: S. J. Surya

Cast: Pawan Kalyan, Nikesha Patel, Manoj Bajpai, Nassar, Girish Karnad

Languages: Telugu, Tamil

Release information: Opened at seventeen theaters in the US- four in California; two each in New Jersey, Illinois, and Virginia; and one each in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas and Georgia.

Comments: Some of the stunts in the trailer (see below) look cool. Also, I’ve noticed that a fair number of Indian films have fairly sketchy (at best) plot information on their official sites (or Facebook pages, as with this film). If that’s all they’re giving out, that’s all that I’ll put on here.

Other links: Trailer

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The Last Rites of Ransom Pride

Genre: Western/Action

Plot synopsis (official): The story begins when Juliette Flowers swears to bring the body of Ransom Pride home to Texas after he’s gunned down in the streets of Mexico. With the help of Siamese twins, a shotgun-toting dwarf, and Ransom’s crackshot younger brother, Juliette spills blood on the border to honor her oath…. (more)

Director: Tiller Russell

Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Scott Speedman, Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Priestley, Cote de Pablo, Peter Dinklage

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA.
Additional information: A Canadian production, according to the IMDb.

Other links: The Last Rites of Ransom Pride’s page on the site of its US distributor, Screen Media Films; trailer.

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Sayonara Itsuka (a.k.a. Saying Good-bye, One Day)

Genre: Romantic drama

Plot synopsis (official): Higashigaito Yutaka is transferred to the Bangkok branch of Eastern Airlines. In three months, he will marry Michiko, a relative of the airline’s founder, and though he doesn’t love her, he knows he could be CEO one day if they wed. In Thailand, Yutaka meets a girl, Touko, at a bar and is instantly drawn to her. His relationship with her only intensifies as the wedding date approaches…. (more) (Note: You’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to the rest of this plot summary, but you might not want to- it looks like there are some serious spoilers there.)

Director: John H. Lee

Cast: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Miho Nakayama, Yuriko Ishida

Language: Japanese

Release information: Opened at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Comments: A Korean company produced this movie, but the leading actors are from Japan, apparently.

Other links: Sayonara Itsuka’s page on the site of CGV Cinemas in LA

DOCUMENTARIES

Ahead of Time

Summary (official): Born in Brooklyn in 1911, Ruth Gruber became the youngest PhD in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24. She emerged as the eyes and conscience of the world. With her love of adventure, fearlessness and powerful intellect, Ruth defied tradition in an extraordinary career that has spanned more than seven decades. The first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, Ruth also traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt…. (more)

Director: Bob Richman

With: Ruth Gruber, Harold M. Ickes

Release information: Opened at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

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Biker Fox

Summary (official): BIKER FOX is the story of Frank P. DeLarzelere III aka Biker Fox, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s misunderstood motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car guru. Part-documentary and part-self-help testimonial, the film navigates the uneasy relationships DeLarzelere has with both the city of Tulsa and himself, as his Biker Fox character’s intentions of spirited goodwill sometimes neglect certain boundaries.

Director: Jeremy Lamberton

Release information: Opened at the reRun Gastropub Theater in Brooklyn, NY.

Additional information: An official selection of the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival

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Chosin

Summary (official): In the winter of 1950, at the height of America’s ‘forgotten war,’ 15,000 U.S. Soldiers and Marines found themselves surrounded and by an overwhelming force of communist Chinese soldiers in the frozen mountains of North Korea. After 60 years of silence, the men who survived finally tell their story. The veterans of Chosin take us on a journey back to towering mountains stained with blackened, blood-covered snow. Most of them are just kids-18 or 19 years old-and they are outnumbered and cut off behind enemy lines. As the sun goes down each night… (more)

Director: Brian Iglesias

Release information: Opened at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

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Climate Refugees

Summary (official): There is a new phenomenon in the global arena called “Climate Refugees”. A climate refugee is a person displaced by climatically induced environmental disasters. Such disasters result from incremental and rapid ecological change, resulting in increased droughts, desertification, sea level rise, and the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, fires, mass flooding and tornadoes. All this is causing mass global migration…. (more)

Director: Michael P. Nash

With: Lester Brown, Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi, Desmond Tutu, Ken Salazar

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA.

**********

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould

Summary (official): An enigmatic musical poet – and the most documented classical musician of the last century – world-renowned pianist Glenn Gould continues to captivate international audiences twenty-six years after his untimely death. Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould humanizes the legend, weaving together an unprecedented array of unseen footage, private home recordings and diaries, as well as compelling interviews with Gould’s most intimate friends and lovers – all exploring the incongruities between Gould’s private reality and his wider image.

Directors: Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont

Release information: Opened at the Quad Cinema and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema (both in New York City), and the Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY.

Other links: Genius Within’s page on the site of its American distributor, Lorber Film; Canadian site; blog.

Comment: The official summary doesn’t say anything about this, but- from the trailer, at least- it looks like this also includes some dramatic re-enactments, in addition to the unseen footage, interviews, and so on mentioned in the summary.

**********

Kidnapping (a.k.a. Sequestro)

Summary: Director Jorge W. Attala spent several years with the Anti-Kidnap Police Force in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to document the wave of kidnappings in that city.

Director: Jorge W. Attala

Language: Portugese

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, CA, and the IFC Center in New York City
Other links: In case the “trailer” link on the film’s official site doesn’t work for you (like it didn’t work for me), then click here to view Sequestro’s trailer.

**********

Precious Life

Summary (official): Born without an immune system, four-month-old Palestinian boy Mohammad Abu Mustafa will die without a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that can only be done in an Israeli hospital. A desperate plea from his doctor to save Mohammad’s life leads Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar to document this complex and emotional story. As Israeli and Palestinian doctors put aside their differences to protect the child, we are forced to confront the more personal ramifications of the embargo of Gaza. A powerful appeal for peace, Precious Life explores the challenges and prejudices that must be overcome …. (more)

Director: Shlomi Eldar

Release information: Opened at the Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, CA, and the Coliseum Cinemas in New York, NY.

**********

Race to Nowhere

Summary (official): Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged…. (more)

Directors: Vicki Abeles, Jessica Congdon

With: Dr. Madeline Levine, Dr. Wendy Mogel, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, Dr. Deborah Stipek, Dr. Denise Pope

Release information: Opened at the Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, and the IFC Center in New York City.

**********

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?)

Summary (official): A wildly entertaining, star-studded documentary about The Beatles’s favorite American musician, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)? is a vibrant and definitive portrait of one of the most talented singer-songwriters in pop music history. Directed by Emmy and Grammy nominee John Scheinfeld (The U.S. Vs. John Lennon), the film combines compelling interviews with Nilsson’s family, friends and colleagues – including Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Robin Williams, Micky Dolenz and Yoko Ono – with rare and never-before-seen archival footage, home movies, and excerpts from a recently discovered oral autobiography. The film delves deeply into Nilsson’s artistic process…. (more)

Director: John Scheinfeld

With: Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Robin Williams, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Micky Dolenz, The Smothers Brothers, Paul Williams, and Yoko Ono

Release information: Opened at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Other links: Who Is Harry Nilsson’s page on the site of its US distributor, Lorber Films

*SEPTEMBER 15*

DOCUMENTARIES

Kings of Pastry

Summary (official): Making Kings Of Pastry People often ask why we would make a film about a French pastry competition -especially after making films on Dylan (Don’t Look Back) and politics (The War Room). But as soon as we met chef Jacquy Pfeiffer it became clear that the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition was not going to be your average Top Chef cook off. These reality TV shows seemed like mere wind sprints compared to the marathon three-day M.O.F. contest which Jacquy was preparing to enter. But winning is not all that this epic contest represents. Becoming a M.O.F. (Best Craftsman in France) is a lifelong dream for French artisans… (more)

Directors: Chris Hegedus, D A Pennebaker

With: Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F., Jacquy Pfeiffer, Rachel Beaudry,Philippe Rigollot

Languages: English, French

Release information: Opened at the Film Forum in New York City (followed two days later with an opening at the Camelview 5 in Scottsdale, AZ).

*SEPTEMBER 16*

FILMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The Quiz Show Scandal (a.k.a. Quiz King)

Genre: Comedy

Plot synopsis: A television quiz show has been airing for several years now, but no one has ever won the show’s grand prize. Now, a group of contestants has learned the answer to the big question that will win the grand prize- but that’s the only question to which they know the answer…

Director: Jang Jin

Cast: Han Jae-seok, Kim Su-ro, Ryu Seung-ryong, Jang Young-nam, Shim Eun-kyung, Jung Jae-young, Im Won-hee, Shin Ha-kyun

Language: Korean

Release information: Opened at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Other links: Page with some English-language information on Quiz King

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