Here's everything you need to know about what's wrong with the movie industry today:
This week, three remakes of movies that didn't need remakes -- or weren't very good in the first place -- will open on thousands of screens: Robocop, Endless Love and About Last Night.
Having seen -- and reviewed -- the originals of all three, I gave myself permission to skip these unnecessary money-grabs. Instead, let me write about a small movie that needs the attention.
It's a touching and adventurous little film called Bluebird, filled with exceptional acting and restraint and intensely human drama. The film has been riding the festival circuit for almost a year; I saw it last summer at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and screened it at the two film clubs I curate this week. At those screenings, producer Kyle Martin and director Lance Edmands told me they were hopefully close to a distribution deal, almost a year after it debuted at Tribeca.
Why isn't this film already in theaters? Good question: The answer seems to be that it's not aimed at the kind of audience that would go see any of those remakes. Instead, it's a film for the rapidly disappearing filmgoer who actually thinks for him or herself.
Why? Well, start with the fact that Edmands' film -- about the unhappy intersection of lives in a grim little town in wintry northern Maine -- is a drama that operates on a strictly human level. In other words, while there are a moments of intense emotion, there's no explosion of violence, literal or figurative. Much of the drama is interior.
That's why I admire Bluebird: It takes a grim situation and finds the humanity in it, the "what would I do?" in a scenario no one would want to face. And it does it quietly, subtly, with restraint. Edmands lets the actors think and feel, without forcing them to act out in obvious ways.
This commentary continues on my website.