This week at RTIndie, we’ll take a look at what the over-saturation of specialty films has done to New York’s theatrical landscape. Plus, AOL screens 40 minutes of the anti-Michael Moore doc Manufacturing Dissent; Dark Horse Indie develops a tale of military-trained monkeys on the loose; and a story of one woman’s love for man’s best friend is our DVD Pick of the Week.
Indies In NYC: Too Many Movies, Not Enough Screens?
In many ways, New York City is the nation’s indie film Mecca, the place where the smaller, more provocative films get their first theatrical exposure. But what happens if the Big Apple is crowded with too much art house product — and not enough places for them to be seen?
Such is the situation chronicled by Anthony Kauffman in the Village Voice. Kauffman writes, “The exhibition landscape is an increasingly contentious and competitive space, with too many movies struggling to stay alive on too few screens.”
New York may have a large audience for foreign and low-budget films, but an overabundance of product may limit the amount of time that movies can screen, making it hard for films to find an audience. And there are fewer venues to show art-house fare. “Manhattan is scandalously under-screened, and the rate at which theaters playing specialty films are renovated and created is far behind the rate they’ve been dying,” ThinkFilm’s Mark Urman, an indie distributor, is quoted as saying.
It’s never a bad thing to have choice, especially when it comes to challenging entertainment. As Kauffman says, “There’s an increasing array of options for filmgoers. But there’s also more clutter.”
See 40 Minutes Of Manufacturing Dissent For Free
Arguably the most polarizing figure in cinema today, Michael Moore is the subject of Manufacturing Dissent, a movie that’s getting something of an unconventional push: AOL’s True Stories is screening 40 minutes of the film for free. The film, directed by Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk, claims that Moore has fudged and manipulated the facts to suit his agenda. Manufacturing Dissent will be released theatrically in October, and will hit DVD shelves in November. It’s currently at 50 percent on the Tomatometer.
Ready for some midnight movie mania? The Hollywood Reporter says Dark Horse Indie is developing War Monkeys, the story of a janitor trapped in a research facility with military-trained Rhesus monkeys. The comedy/horror flick will be penned by Cleve Nettles. Dark Horse Indie is also behind the forthcoming My Name is Bruce, directed by and starring Evil Dead-head Bruce Campbell; he plays himself, pressed into battle against a monster in an effort to save a small town in Oregon.
It’s a good thing Peggy, the canine-lover played by Molly Shannon in Year of the Dog, is just a fictional character. If she found out about the Michael Vick case, there’s no telling what she’d do. In what may be her richest movie role to date, Shannon plays a woman who has “only ever been able to count on my pets.” Unlucky in love, held at arm’s length by her family, Peggy loses the only thing she feels truly understands her: her dog Pencil. But after meeting fellow dog lover Newt (Peter Sarsgaard), she becomes committed to the cause of helping her four-legged friends. She decides to be a vegan and an animal rights activist, but her behavior becomes increasingly erratic (like adopting all the dogs from the city pound that will be euthanized). Shannon and director Mike White could easily have used the character as the butt of cheap jokes; instead, Year of the Dog is a warm and funny, a portrait of a woman who may be strange, but not without integrity. At 72 percent on the Tomatometer, Dog is Certified Fresh; Christy Lemire of the Associated Press writes, “What could have been a feel-good performance from Molly Shannon is instead delicate, poignant, and an unexpected display of dramatic mastery from an actress who’s made her name with comedy.”