This weekend, if you are one of those people — there are worse vices — you will simply have to go see “Lars and the Real Girl,” the comedy starring Ryan Gosling and a blowup doll that was the talk of the Toronto International Film Festival. And then you better drink a few lattes, because “Control,” the black-and-white biopic about the leader of the rock group Joy Division, also opened this week. And start early, because “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” is taking a bow, with Cate Blanchett under all the ferocious makeup again.
Don’t make plans for Saturday, because you’ll need that matinee time to take in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of “Sleuth,” featuring the acting chops of Michael Caine and Jude Law and a screenplay by Harold Pinter. And even after all those wind sprints between theaters, you’ll need a clone to take in James Gray’s New York narco-drama “We Own the Night,” or any of the other 10 new movies that open this week in the city.
Maybe you can bluff your way through the “Have you seen ‘X’?” conversation this weekend and catch a few films in the days following, but next week the onslaught continues. “Gone Baby Gone,” Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, based on a Dennis Lehane novel, piles in. So do “Rendition,” “Reservation Road,” “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Wristcutters: A Love Story,” all must-sees for dedicated consumers of specialty film. And that’s not even including smaller but still notable projects that will have been released in little more than a week, like “Out of the Blue,” “Terror’s Advocate,” “Black White + Gray” and “King Corn.”
The problem has been growing for years, and it's something too many people forget when they talk about the "un-distributed gems" or lack of movie screens. It's just a simple logistical nightmare, even for those of us to love to keep up. John and I make a point of seeing a lot, and not just by screeners or DVDs in the house. We're out regularly to movie theatres.
Our old friend Bingham Ray's ending quote (describing the change just in our cinematic lifetime) really cracked me up:
“I very much doubt this environment would have given people a chance to see ‘My Dinner With Andre,’” said Mr. Ray, mentioning an unhurried indie classic, released in 1981, that crept into public consciousness in its own sweet time. If someone is contemplating a sequel in today’s climate, it will probably need to be called “Eat and Run.”