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Carmike testing limited release films in local market

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by Trevor Kupfer

Sure Carmike Cinema has had a kids movie series, and even a horror series, but February will mark the cinema corporation’s first attempt to bring independent and arthouse releases to the local, Eau Claire branch. The eight films in the series are extremely limited releases – so much so that it’s hard to find information for a few – and would otherwise never find their way anywhere near big screens in the Valley.

While local cineastes will rejoice, being that it’s not often limited-release films come here, this is not necessarily a sign of things to come. Consider the series a month-long test to see if this market responds to lesser-known cinema. So buy a few tickets, tell your friends, cross your fingers, and hope it will.

The screenings (which are subject to change, and already have once) include film festival favorites and critically acclaimed award winners, many of which wouldn’t even screen in most large markets. They include the music documentary Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (Feb. 6-12); the action flick Ashes of Time Redux (Feb. 13-19) from Chinese director Wong Kar Wai (2046, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together); the American Indian crime drama Frozen River (Feb. 20-26); Czech war satire I Served the King of England (Feb. 27-March 5) from director Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains); the highly popular must-see-twice Synecdoche, New York (March 6-12), the directorial debut of innovative screenwriter Charlie Kaufman; Pray the Devil Back to Hell (March 13-19); Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (March 20-26); and The Other End of the Line (March 27-April 2).

Based on the information you will find on the web (through imdb.com or rottentomatoes.com), the films to get most excited about are among the Carmike’s art series.

The art series includes wider, critically acclaimed releases – most of them documentaries and foreign films – from a few recognizable filmmakers. These include the music documentary Anita O’Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer; the action flick Ashes of Time Redux from Chinese director Wong Kar Wai (2046, In the Mood for Love, Happy Together); the American Indian crime drama Frozen River; and Czech war satire I Served the King of England from director Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains).

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