Who doesn’t love a good blockbuster? Big budgets, thrilling action, and entertaining set pieces will continue to drive audiences to the movies, and for good reason. However, cinema art can also provide us with great moments that capture our curiosity and spark our imagination. In fact, some of the most critically acclaimed movies of all-time, and many Academy Award® winners, could be labeled as “cinema art.”
So, what is “cinema art?” Frequently produced and distributed outside the major studio system on a relatively small budget, cinema art movies typically handle serious matters in an artistic and often experimental way, geared towards more of a niche market rather than for a mass audience. In an artform where social realism takes precedence, on-location filming is favored over studio sets and sometimes amateur actors are even used.
Stretching back to the origin of movies, the genre has provided some of the most recognizable and talented filmmakers in cinema who have put their uncompromising visions onto the screen with a unique flare and style that is all their own. Foreign language movies are also included in this genre, recognizable by many of the same features with the addition of subtitles, although rarely referred to as “cinema art” in their respective countries. Instead, they are more commonly known as “auteur” or “national” cinema, the former originally coined in France to distinguish filmmakers of the French New Wave (a movement and form of European cinema art from the 1950s and 1960s).
Below are a few cinema art movies to keep an eye on this week as they debut in select Regal theatres nationwide:
BLINK OF AN EYE
Runtime: 1hr 28min
Starring: Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Darrell Waltrip, Michael Waltrip
Directed By: Paul Taublieb
Written By: Paul Taublieb
Based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, Blink of an Eye provides an inside look at the 2001 Daytona 500, focusing on Michael Waltrip’s star-crossed friendship with driving legend Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Writer/director Paul Taublieb’s work spans documentaries, feature-length movies, and creative-driven action sports events and content. His latest documentary, Blink of an Eye, features interviews with Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Richard Childress along with Ty Norris, the former Executive Vice President of Motorsports for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Country music star Trace Adkins makes a special audio cameo.
Well Go USA Entertainment
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Romance
Runtime: 1hr 48min
Starring: Masataka Kubota, Nao Omori, Shota Sometani, Sakurako Konishi
Directed By: Takashi Miike
Written By: Masa Nakamura
A young boxer and a call girl fall passionately in love while getting innocently caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.
Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike blends genres in this noir-tinged yakuza movie that screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The acclaimed auteur is no stranger to the prestigious festival, having two Palme d’Or nominees on his résumé—Wara no tate (2013) and Ichimei (2011).
LUCY IN THE SKY
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 2hr 4min
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Colman Domingo, Ellen Burstyn
Directed By: Noah Hawley
Written By: Brian C Brown & Elliott DiGuiseppi and Noah Hawley
Determined and driven astronaut Lucy Cola is deeply moved by the transcendent experience of seeing Earth from the vastness of space. When she returns home, Lucy’s world suddenly feels too small, and her connection with reality begins to unravel.
How life changes after the transcendent experience of traveling to the vastness of space was one of the questions that intrigued filmmaker Noah Hawley, who makes his feature debut in this movie inspired by real events. “The adjustment of having gone up to see the celestial everything and then you come back and go to Applebee’s—it’s a very weird transition that seemed really interesting to me,” says Hawley. The humanity of Lucy’s story is what drew Academy Award®-winner Natalie Portman to the leading role. “To be an astronaut, you obviously have to be the best of the best—the brightest, the hardest working, the most physically fit, the most mentally capable, the most socially apt,” says Portman. “And then she just kind of falls apart. I think it’s so human to see someone who’s so high-functioning be fallible.”
ROGER WATERS: US + THEM
Genre: Documentary, Music
Runtime: 2hr 15min
Starring: Roger Waters
Directed By: Sean Evans, Roger Waters
Director Sean Evans collaborates with Roger Waters, co-founder, creative force, and songwriter behind Pink Floyd, to document the acclaimed musician’s 2017-2018 Us + Them tour. The documentary, filmed in Amsterdam on the European leg of the tour, features songs from Waters’ legendary Pink Floyd albums (The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, Animals, Wish You Were Here) and from his latest album, Is This The Life We Really Want?
Roger Waters: Us + Them marks the second feature documentary of frequent collaborators Sean Evans and Roger Waters. The two’s first documentary together was Roger Waters: The Wall in 2014. Their latest collaboration utilizes state-of-the-art visual production and breath-taking sound to deliver a movie that seeks to inspire with its powerful music and message of human rights, liberty, and love.