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Other Than the Blockbusters: Selected Releases for May 5-12

3 May 2010

From the Summer Movies supplement in Sunday’s New York Times (5/2/10):

Wednesday

THE INFIDEL A British Muslim learns after his mother’s death that he is a) adopted and b) Jewish. He takes lessons in Yiddishkeit from a cabdriving friend. With Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff; Josh Appignanesi directed.

ROAD, MOVIE Escaping his father’s hair oil business, a young Indian man goes on the road with a traveling cinema show. Dev Benegal wrote and directed.

SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL The life of the British rock musician Ian Dury, featuring Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, Olivia Williams, Bill Milner, Toby Jones, Tom Hughes, Noel Clarke and Ray Winstone. Directed by Mat Whitecross.

THE TROTSKY A Montreal high school student believes he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, and acts accordingly. With Jay Baruchel, Saul Rubinek and Colm Feore; Jacob Tierney wrote and directed.

THE WILD AND WONDERFUL WHITES OF WEST VIRGINIA A family combines criminal activities and tap dancing in a documentary by Julien Nitzberg.

Thursday

TALENTIME The Museum of Modern Art’s May retrospective devoted to the Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, who died in 2009, will conclude with a weeklong run of her final film, a drama that weaves multiple characters, stories and themes reflecting Malaysia’s multicultural composition into a tale of students caught up in a talent competition.

Friday

BABIES Thomas Balmès’s documentary follows infants from four corners of the world — Mongolia, Namibia, San Francisco and Tokyo — as they develop from newborns to toddlers.

BADMAASH COMPANY Four friends team up to start an unorthodox business enterprise in the gung-ho Mumbai of the 1990s. Parmeet Sethi directed this Bollywood extravaganza; with Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang and Vir Das.

CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY The unlikely odyssey of Jack Abramoff, from political activist to disgraced lobbyist, examined in a documentary by Alex Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”).

DDR/DDR The dissolution of East Germany examined in an experimental documentary directed by Amie Siegel.

FLOORED The hard-charging traders of Chicago’s futures market face obsolescence as computerized trading challenges their livelihood. James Allen Smith directed.

GRAVITY WAS EVERYWHERE BACK THEN A hardware store clerk constructs an eccentric house that he hopes will somehow save his wife from cancer. The artist Brent Green directed this film, a companion piece to a gallery show, using stop motion techniques inspired by Norman McLaren and Jan Svankmajer.

HAPPINESS RUNS The writer-director Adam Sherman draws on his own experiences for a drama about a young man, raised in a commune dominated by a charismatic, polygamous guru, who tries to save his mother and his girlfriend from an existence defined by sex and drugs. With Andie MacDowell, Mark L. Young, Hanna Hall and Rutger Hauer.

THE LOTTERY Madeleine Sackler’s documentary follows four families from Harlem and the Bronx as they prepare to enter the drawing for class seats at the Harlem Success Academy.

MOTHER AND CHILD How adoption touches the lives of three women: a mother (Annette Bening) who gave up her child; a lawyer (Naomi Watts) who has suffered from emotional isolation since being adopted as a child; and a young wife (Kerry Washington) who hopes to adopt a child of her own. Rodrigo García (“Nine Lives”) wrote and directed; with Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits and David Ramsey.

MULTIPLE SARCASMS When a playwright (Timothy Hutton) tackles the subject of the women in his life for his new work, it’s time for much soul-searching in his immediate social circle. Brooks Branch directed; with Mira Sorvino, Dana Delany, Mario Van Peebles, Stockard Channing, India Ennenga and Laila Robins.

THE OATH Laura Poitra’s documentary focuses on two men once close to Osama bin Laden: a former bodyguard, Abu Jandal, now a taxi driver in Yemen, and a former driver, Salim Hamdan, one of the first detainees at Guantánamo Bay to face a military trial.

OCEAN OF PEARLS A Toronto surgeon (Omid Abtahi) accepts a post in a Detroit hospital, where he encounters prejudice because of his Sikh heritage. Sarab Neelam wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical film.

OSS 117: LOST IN RIO The gifted French comedian Jean Dujardin returns as the arrogant, oblivious French secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath in this sequel to “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.” The setting this time is an impeccably art-directed Brazil of the 1960s, where Hubert has gone in search of fugitive Nazis. Michel Hazanavicius directed.

WELCOME When the immigration authorities stop him in Calais, a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee (Firat Ayverdi) enlists the help of a French swimming instructor (Vincent Lindon) to prepare him for a desperate cross-channel swim. Philippe Lioret directed.

May 12

BARKING WATER A middle-aged couple, both American Indians (Richard Ray Whitman and Casey Camp-Horinek), review their years together as they travel across Oklahoma. Directed by Sterlin Harjo.

BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO Japan’s national fondness for insects, dissected in a documentary by Jessica Oreck.

CLIMATE OF CHANGE Ordinary people do small but significant things to combat climate change in a documentary directed by Brian Hill. Tilda Swinton narrates.

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF LITTLE DIZZLE Maintenance workers at a product research firm find strange things emerging from their bodies after they eat some experimental cookies. David Russo wrote and directed; with Marshall Allman, Natasha Lyonne, Tania Raymonde, Tygh Runyan, Matt Smith and Vince Vieluf.

METROPIA Tarik Saleh directed this Swedish-Danish-Norwegian animated film, set in 2024, when the residents of Europe have been driven into underground habitats. With the voices of Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgaard and Alexander Skarsgard.

MY LAST FIVE GIRLFRIENDS Still single as he crosses into his 30s, a Londoner (Brendan Patricks) surveys his most recent amours to find out what went wrong. With Naomie Harris, Kelly Adams, Cécile Cassel, Jane March and Edith Bukovics; Julian Kemp wrote and directed.

SWIMSUIT ISSUE The not-so-Full Monty, as a group of middle-aged Swedish males form a synchronized swimming team and practice for the world competition in Berlin. Directed by Mans Herngren.

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