This is apparently a very popular week for independent distributors to release new titles. I count at least nine films opening in limited release either Wednesday or Friday (though one-third of those are parts of a lumped-together trilogy). And in a way it seems an unfortunate time because a lot of moviegoers will likely spend their time this weekend catching up on movies that just received Oscar nominations instead of seeing anything new.

Of course, two of the new limited releases are up for Academy Awards. The Israeli drama "Ajami," which opens in NYC Wednesday, is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," which is already playing in NYC and will be expanding to other cities on February 12th, is nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

Because I only spotlight three films a week (and I'm actually sort of cheating this week), neither of those titles are getting due attention in this unLimited. I'm also unfortunately excluding two limited-release action movies, the sequel "District B13: Ultimatum" and Jackie Chan's "Shinjuku Incident." I'm certain they'll find their target audience just fine without me. Read More...

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This week you're probably not interested in what's opening in theaters, because like me you're too preoccupied with what's going on at Sundance. That's where the real action is for independent cinema right now.

So I'm doing something a little different this week, spotlighting three special films playing at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. As a special treat to non-festival goers, you have the opportunity to watch each film in your own home. It doesn't matter how far you are from the goings-on in Park City, Utah, just so long as your cable provider carries the VOD channel Sundance Selects.

Although I'm concentrating on this one specific service, let me remind you that other 2010 Sundance films are available to rent and stream on YouTube as well. Read More...

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This week brings an interesting clash between wide and limited releases. For example, Paul Bettany stars in both a studio and an independent release. And the former involves a religious figure, the archangel Michael, and the Biblical Apocalypse, while the latter involves a scientist whose work has long been in conflict with religious teachings. Surely the two films would make for a great double feature.

Or, maybe you'd like to pair up another one of this week's wide releases with another one of its limited releases. A studio film starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser attempting to save kids' lives through medicine with a low-budget film about saving kids' lives through friendship. A lowbrow studio film starring Dwayne Johnson as an imaginary creature with a highbrow foreign film about an imagined crime?

If only these three films were opening everywhere this weekend so everyone could enjoy such wacky match-ups. Read More...

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Planning on seeing "Avatar" again this weekend? Why not, right? It's January, a month when few quality titles are released. And as a fan of the sci-fi behemoth, you're hoping to help push James Cameron's film ahead of "Titanic" as the top-grossing movie of all time.

But hey, there are actually a few great films coming out this weekend. They're just in limited release, so you'll have to live in "select cities" to see them. Just take the 3-D glasses off for a few hours, look around and you may be able to find one of these worthwhile titles, all of them featuring amazing British actors, in your home or neighborhood arthouse in the coming weeks. Read More...

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It's the first full week of 2010, and that means it's the beginning of dumping ground season. New movies out of Hollywood will be looking less and less appealing over the next few months, but that shouldn't stop you from going to the movies, especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. Now is the time especially for foreign films hoping for Oscar contention to start rolling out in America, and of course tons and tons of documentaries will continue to see limited release. This week, there's even a hot new exploitation flick opening, for those of you who like that sort of thing. So if you're not too excited about daybreaking vampires, leap years or youths in revolt, read on to see what other options you might have this weekend.

"Bitch Slap"

What it is: A modern, stylish exploitation action movie in the vein of "Grindhouse" and somewhat like "Sin City," "Bitch Slap" follows three hot women in the desert attempting to extort money from a crime boss. It's described as both an homage to and parody of cult classics like "Dragstrip Girl," "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and "Kung Fu Nun" and stars Erin Cummings, Julia Voth, America Olivo and Zoe Bell of Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse" segment "Death Proof." Read More...

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New Year's week is typically a dry time for new releases, which is likely fine by multiplex employees. After last weekend's record box office, they could use a rest. But we cinephiles are always in need of fresh options, and just because it's the week after Christmas -- a traditional peak time for moviegoing -- doesn't mean there should be a total lack of new offerings. I know I'm not the only person who grew up regularly going to the movies on New Year's Eve.

Fortunately, while there seems to be no studio fare out this week, there are a few new films coming out in limited release. And each appears to be worth checking out if they're available in your area now or later, theatrically or otherwise. Read More...

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This Friday is Christmas, a day in which millions will go to the movies following their gift-giving and other holiday rituals, and as usual there are plenty of new releases opening wide for them to choose from. There's something for the kiddies, something for the adults and something for both action-fiends and classic literature buffs. And of course there are those who'll be catching up on or returning to the beautiful 3D world of "Avatar."

But for audiences looking for something less mainstream, there are also a few new titles out in limited release. Of these, one will be expanding its scope to play nearer to you in coming weeks, while the other two are available for viewing on demand through most cable services. So keep them each in mind and seek them out when and if you can. Read More...

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With "Avatar" receiving great reviews and topping critics' awards, the 3-D sci-fi blockbuster will be a huge hit with all kinds of moviegoers this weekend, not just the mainstream audiences that typically go for lots of action and special effects. But if you're looking for an alternative, at least until the crowds die down, there are a few smaller movies opening this week that might be of interest. Actually, two of these spotlighted limited release offerings open tomorrow, so you might have time to see them before you have a chance to see James Cameron's latest. And if you're not in one of the cities playing these films this weekend, hopefully they'll garner enough Oscar buzz to warrant a wider release soon enough. Read More...

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This past weekend, "Up in the Air" made more than $1 million on 15 screens while "Transylmania" took in only $250,000 (roughly) on more than 1,000 screens. So you see, limited release doesn't mean limited box office gross, and it certainly doesn't mean limited appeal. Of course, "Up in the Air" stars George Clooney. This week's three spotlighted films opening in limited release don't have that luxury, yet each has enough appeal to enough of a built-in audience that I won't be surprised to see all of them do relatively well with the screens their given.

"A Single Man"

What it is: Fashion designer Tom Ford makes his directorial debut with "A Single Man," a '60s-set drama in which a college professor (Colin Firth) deals with the death of his boyfriend (Matthew Goode). Julianne Moore and Nicholas Hoult, of "About a Boy," also appear as the man's best friend and student, respectively. Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. Read More...

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Now that December is upon us, you can expect to hear about a lot of new releases you probably won't be able to see right away, unless you happen to live in a major market. Unfortunately, this is how it goes with films vying for year-end awards notice. Some of these hopeful contenders will show up at your multiplex around Christmas, when the marquee will be filled with so many new releases your head is likely to spin. Others will expand in January, and still others won't go wide until the Oscar nominations are announced on February 2. Meanwhile, we'll continue to see some titles released that don't have the benefit of an Oscar campaign and some that don't have the qualifying status to warrant such promotion.

This week's unLimited features a sure-thing Oscar contender, a dark comedy unlikely to be considered for any honors and a documentary that isn't qualified to be up for an Academy Award. Support independent fillm; check them out if and when you can. Read More...

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