Another acclaimed film from Sundance 2006 and the launch of a tribute to an international master director are among the list of new film opening in theaters this week. Ryan Fleck's "Half Nelson," starring Ryan Gosling, topped indieWIRE's first poll of critics and journalists who covered the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film was the overwhelming favorite among a group of 50 members of the media -- reviewers and writers -- who were informally surveyed after the festival. Stars Gosling and Shareeka Epps led the balloting, as best actor and best actress respectively, in indieWIRE's poll.
"Half Nelson" is the story of a Brooklyn, NY public school teacher (played by Gosling) dealing with addiction, who forms an unexpected friendship with one of his troubled students (played by Epps). The film is a feature adaptation of Fleck's Sundance award-winner short film, "Gowanus, Brooklyn." The film is opening this weekend at the Angelika Film Center and the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in Manhattan. Next weekend, the film will expand to Park Slope in Brooklyn and then will hit Huntington, NY, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and The Bay Area in California, and Stamford, CT.
Asked where the idea for the film came from, Fleck said in an indieWIRE Interview this week, "I think it came out of a frustration with wanting to change the world but not having any idea where to start. The character of Mr. Dunne was born out of this frustration, a flawed idealist struggling with his limitations and hypocrisy."
And, this weekend also marks the opening of an eight film retrospective of the work of Pedro Almodovar. Sony Pictures Classics will open the series, including screenings of "Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (1988), "All About My Mother" (1999), "Talk to Her" (2002), "Flower of My Secret" (1995), "Live Flesh" (1996), "Law of Desire" (1987), "Matador" (1986) and "Bad Education" (2004), at the Lincoln Plaza in Manhattan. From there it will travel to Los Angeles (August 25), San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and San Diego (September 1), Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Lake Worth (September 8), and continuing to many cities through December. The retrospective leads up to Sony Classics' release of "Volver" later this year.
EDITORS NOTE: This article was revised after publication, to correct the fact that "Factotum" is not opening this week. It will open on August 11th. We apologize for the error.
THE LIST FOR THIS WEEK:
"Calvaire" (The Ordeal) (August 11), directed by Fabrice Du Welz. Distributor: Palm Pictures. Official website
"Conversations With Other Women" (August 11), directed by Hans Canosa. Distributor: Strand Releasing. Official website
"Half Nelson" (August 11), directed by Ryan Fleck. Distributor: ThinkFilm. Official website
"House of Sand" (August 11), directed by Andrucha Waddington. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics. Official website
"Lunacy" (August 9), directed by Jan Svankmajer. Distributor: Zeitgeist Films. Official website
"Poster Boy" (August 11), directed by Zak Tucker. Distributor: Regent Releasing. Official website
"The Trouble With Men and Women" (August 9), directed by Tony Fisher. Distributor: IFC First Take. Official website
"Viva Pedro" (August 11), directed by Pedro Almodovar. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics. Official website