A24’s SXSW opener Everything Everywhere All At Once, Bleecker Street’s Infinite Storm and Sony Pictures Classics’ Mothering Sunday offer something that’s been rare of late at the specialty box office, fresh content and choice.
They’re in a market with only one new studio wide release, Paramount’s The Lost City with Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock. And if that film does okay it’s a nice win for everyone, said a specialty distribution executive, since it appeals to an older and female demo that’s been hard to win back to theaters. He’s got fingers crossed that the variant of the Omicron variant won’t make a new dent in the very slowly reviving market for non-superhero films. He and others have noted week after week that no specialty recovery is really possible in any case without the consistent flow of new content that we’re just starting to see.
In Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan’s kinetic sci-fi drama Everything, Everywhere All At Once (see Deadline review), Michelle Yeoh is Evelyn Wang, a neurotic, high-strung laundromat owner getting audited by the IRS. With Ke Huy Quan as Evelyn’s husband and Stephanie Hsu (Joe’s girlfriend Mei in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as her daughter. Jamie Lee Curtis plays an FBI agent who reveals that thousands of versions of Evelyn exist across a vast multiverse.
It was rapturously received at its world premiere as the opening film at SXSW. The film play on 10 screens this weekend in NYC, LA and San Francisco and will be platforming into a handful of markets next week followed by a nationwide expansion April 8.
Bleecker Street releases acclaimed Polish helmer Malgorzata Szumowska’s Infinite Storm on 1,525 screens. Deadline review here. Based on a true story, Naomi Watts is Pam Bales, a New Hampshire nurse, mother and experienced climber ascending Mount Washington who turns back before she reaches the summit as a huge blizzard approaches. On her way down, she encounters a lone, stranded man clad only in shorts and a windbreaker and struggles to get them both down the mountain before nightfall arrives and they succumb to the storm. Billy Howle, Denis O’Hare, Parker Sawyers. The screenplay was adapted by Joshua Rollins from an article detailing the real-life rescue.
SPC opens Mothering Sunday directed by Eva Husson in five theaters in NYC (AMC Lincoln Square, Regal Union Square, Cinema 123 by Angelika) and LA (The Landmark, AMC The Grove) then rolling out nationwide through mid-April. Starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Colin Firth and Olivia Colman. Written by Alice Birch. Based on Graham Swift’s best-selling novella, the film was an official selection at Cannes and Toronto last year. Deadline review here.
In post-World War I England, a maid and budding writer Jane Fairchild (Young) finds herself alone on Mother’s Day with her employers (Colin Firth, Olivia Colman) out. She has a rare chance to spend the time with her secret lover (Josh O’Connor), the aristocratic boy from the manor house nearby who is engaged to be married to someone else. The film follows Jane from about 18 to her mid-40’s and another key relationship with fiancé Donald (Sope Dirisu), through the 1980s near the end of her life, played by Glenda Jackson.
Magnolia Pictures presents horror film You Are Not My Mother on about 50 screens and on demand. The TIFF Midnight Madness selection is the feature debut of Irish filmmaker Kate Dolan, who also wrote the screenplay. With Hazel Doupe as Char, Carolyn Bracken as her mother Angela. It’s the week before Halloween and Char’s mom, Angela, inexplicably disappears with her abandoned car all that remains. When she returns home without explanation the following evening, it becomes clear to Char and her grandmother, Rita, that something is amiss. She might look and sound the same, but Angela’s behavior has taken a dark turn, as if she has been replaced by a malevolent force. Them Halloween arrives.
Cinedigm presents rom-com 7 Days at about three dozen locations. The debut feature from Roshan Sethi (co-creator of Fox’s The Resident) stars Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan. Exec produced by The Duplass Brothers, 7 Days screened at Tribeca and BFI London and won the Indie Spirit Award for Best First Feature.
Two Indian-American twentysomethings meet on a dud date set up by their conservative parents. When circumstances force Ravi (Soni) to spend the night at Rita’s (Viswanathan) place, he realizes she’s not the straight-laced girl she initially pretended to be.
Elsewhere in specialty, Sadhvi Siddhali Shree’s documentary Surviving Sex Trafficking is the story of survivors, their journey, their trauma, their escape, and how they continue to live their everyday lives. Shree directed and produced the film, with Sadhvi Anubhuti co-producing. Executive producers include Alyssa Milano, Jeannie Mai and Jeezy. It’s being released independently by Stop Trafficking Productions in about 18 theaters. On digital April 15.
Factory 25 is releasing thriller Superior at BAM Cinematheque in NYC, Laemmle Theaters in LA and selected other cities. The film by Erin Vassilopoulos premiered at Sundance last year with some splash for its identical twin stars. Alessandra Mesa plays Marian, on the run, seeking refuge in her childhood home, disrupting the small-town routine of her estranged sister, Vivian (Ani Mesa), a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. When Marian’s haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide. Written by Erin Vassilopoulos, Alessandra Mesa. Also starring Pico Alexander, Jake Hoffman, Stanley Simons.
Topside from Vertical Entertainment, written and directed by Celine Held and Logan George in their feature directorial debut. The film took SXSW’s Special Jury Award for Narrative Feature when it premiered there in 2020 then won the Venice Film Festival’s Mario Serandrei Award for Best Technical Achievement. It stars Held, Zhaila Farmer, Jared Abrahamson and musician Fatlip. Inspired by true events, the film follows five-year-old Little (Farmer) and her mother Nikki (Held) living underneath the streets of New York City in a community that has claimed abandoned subway tunnels as its home. When the pair are forced to flee above ground into a cold winter night, they are plunged into a challenging world of chaos and tragedy. In selected theaters and on demand.
KimStim presents Wood And Water from first-time German director Jonas Bak in New York at MoMA through March 30 with a Los Angeles release to follow and a slow rollout to major cities. Compass-Perspektive-Award Special Mention at the Berlin International Film Festival; official selection for MoMA’s 2021 new directors/ new films festival, and BFI London. Starring the filmmaker’s mother Anke Bak as a woman newly retired from her church job who dreams of spending time with her grown children. That includes her uncommunicative, elusive son Max in Hong Kong, where ongoing pro-democracy protest prevent him from returning to Germany. Anke travels to Hong Kong to find him. Also starring Ricky Yeung, Alexandra Batten, Patrick Lo, Theresa Bak, Patrick Shum, Edward Chan, Susanne Johnssen, Lena Ackermann, Amy Aceituna and Christel Johnssen. Featuring New Space Music by Brian Eno
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