Six movies mark the first round of new releases for 2013, and all but one is in limited release. Promised Land expands its releases and Hollywood gives everyone a chance to catch up with all their awards pictures that rolled out in the last two weeks. Saw those already, you say? Well, here are new ones for your viewing pleasure.
56 Up – “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” In 1964, a group of fourteen British children were interviewed about their lives, their dreams, and their ambitions. All were seven-years-old and they came from either a working class or upper class background. The purpose was to see what the future of Britain was before they even knew they were the future of Britain. One of the researchers on the original Up Seven, Michael Apted, then caught up with them when they turned fourteen, and then twenty-one, and then twenty-eight, and every seven years since. Not all of the original fourteen have continued to participate, but those who have, have given us a marvelous document of a human life. There is nothing else like this series of documentaries, and there will never be anything quite like it again. All previous seven installments are currently available on Netflix Streaming, and 56 Up sees a limited run from First Run Features. You can read my review of the latest installment here.
A Bottle in the Gaza Sea – Tal (Agathe Bonitzer) is a seventeen-year-old girl who has moved from France to Jerusalem with her family. She has a hard time understanding the war between the Israelis and Palestinians and uses the old-fashioned method of message in a bottle to try to reach someone on the other side of the Gaza Sea. A Palestinian named Naim (Mahmoud Shalaby) finds the bottle and responds to Tal via e-mail. The two strike up a long-distance friendship in spite of their difference. Meanwhile, the world around them tears itself apart as life is a constant back and forth of bombed cafes and buses. Directed by Thierry Binisti, who co-writes the script with Valérie Zenatti, this film will see a limited American run from Film Movement.
Crawlspace – Like sci-fi horror films? This one might be your cup of tea. Set in the Australian desert, there is an American Military Base that is holding scientists, patients undergoing experimental care, and something else. The base comes under attack from a mysterious assailant and the military has to go in and free the doctors, but something is not right. They come across a blonde woman with no memory of how she got there, or why, but she might be the key to the whole thing. Oh yeah, and there is something really going on. What could that something be? Justin Dix directs his first feature film, which will receive a limited release from IFC Films.
A Dark Truth – Begosian (Andy Garcia) is an ex-CIA operative who has left the agency to pursue his first love, Radio Talk Show Host. He is hired by a corporate whistle-blower (Deborah Kara Unger) to investigate her company’s involvement in a South American incident that cost a lot of innocence lives. While on mission, Begosian meets up with two activists (Eva Longoria and Forest Whitaker) and begins to learn the truth. All of this is wrapped up in drinking water, something that is depleting faster than people want to talk about, and because of that, they are labeling this movie an “Environmental Thriller,” how creative. Damian Lee directs this low-budget movie, which has been available via VOD since November, and will now see a limited theatrical run from Magnolia Pictures.
My Brooklyn – Gentrification only works for those with money. For those without, tough titty, please don’t get in the way of progress. Kelly Anderson documents the changing face of Brooklyn, a place that use to attract low rents, artist, Bohemians, urbans, immigrants… Now it is a stomping ground for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a lot of high-end retail shopping stores. Many different opinions and point of views is on display in this doc, but the subtext to all this talk of gentrification really comes down to racial and economic diversity. Gentrification is consumerism disguised as progress. Bloomberg wants to bring in luxury living and high-end retail stores: money attracts money. Sounds great if you are on the right side of things, but someone has to be displaced for all this to work. When you look at the people who have staked their claims but can no longer afford the changing neighborhood, what do we tell them? These are the people who built and maintained the community. These people are the living history of a city. What obligation do we as a community have toward our history, our future, and our citizens? Friday starts a one-week release from IFP.
Texas Chainsaw 3D – Who could have predicted that Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would have spawned a whole franchise of sequels and remakes? You know the events, or if you don’t you probably won’t care to know them, but a quick recap: A group of teenagers visit an abandoned mansion for a weekend of sex and drugs. The mansion in question actually belongs to Leatherface, the chainsaw wielding cannibal that likes to wear his victims face like a mask. Oops. Hope you like 3-D, because there will be no shortage of chainsaws coming out at you. John Lussenhop directs this remake/sequel/cash grab. Out in wide release from Lionsgate.