Early Year Doldrums Lead to New Discoveries

Oahu cinemas looked a lot like desert landscapes in January and February . . . barren and uninviting.

Before this weekend, if I had to guess how many times the average Oahu resident saw a movie since the new year started, I would have to guess that they probably saw just one movie in theaters. Even those who enjoy going to the movies on a regular basis (such as myself) have had a hard time finding anything of value to watch in cinemas for the past month and a half.

Typically the beginning of the year marks somewhat of a dead period for Hollywood. I’m not exactly sure why that is (maybe they want to give their films breathing room for potential Oscar nominations), but whatever the case may be; what is a moviegoer to do? Just check out the options we had from Hollywood for January & February:

Collage of Hollywood film movie posters.January Major Studio Releases

  • Country Strong
  • Season of the Witch
  • The Dilemma
  • The Green Hornet
  • No Strings Attached
  • The Mechanic
  • The Rite

February Major Studio Releases

  • The Roommmate
  • Sanctum
  • The Eagle
  • Gnomeo & Juliet
  • Just Go With It
  • Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
  • Big Mommas: Life Father, Like Son
  • I Am Number Four
  • Unknown
  • Drive Angry
  • Hall Pass

Until now we haven’t had anything all that great in theaters from Hollywood (outside of The Green Hornet maybe). Things do finally start to pick up this weekend with the release of I Am Number Four and Unknown.

What we have had though, is an influx of smaller art house cinema that has stepped in and filled the void that has been left by Hollywood. I know that art house cinema isn’t for everyone, however, there are some good selections to be had from the crop of smaller films that have been playing at our local theaters. You just have to do a little research about these films beforehand, go in with an open mind, and I’m sure anyone could find something to like from these smaller films. Take a look at these art house, Asian, and foreign films that have played in local theaters since the beginning of the year:

Collage of art house, asian, and foreign film posters.January Art House/Foreign Releases:

  • Dear Doctor
  • I Love You Phillip Morris
  • Made In Dagenham
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
  • Lebanon
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Ong Bak III
  • Blue Valentine
  • The Way Back
  • Another Year
  • Ip Man 2

February Art House/Foreign Releases:

  • The Company Men
  • Finding Mr. Destiny
  • Somewhere
  • The Illusionist
  • Biutiful
  • Oscar Shorts: Animated
  • Oscar Shorts: Live Action
  • Casino Jack
  • Barney’s Version

People tend to think that the only time of the year when Hawaii gets really diverse and unique films playing in a theater are the 7-10 days in April and October when HIFF is up and running. To those people I say, you need to get out more. The films just mentioned have played at different theaters around Oahu and the beginning of the year is a perfect time to bring this kind of content out in cinemas since Hollywood has only been dumping junk for us to see.

Granted, you do need to get out there and check theater listings to see what’s playing, and yes, sometimes you might even need to drive farther to see some of these features than you would to your regular theater. However, I have always been a proponent of the fact that we need to support what we have before we can get what we want.

So, before the Academy Awards and a decent slate of March films approach us in the coming weekends, if you haven’t already done so, I’d suggested double checking what’s playing in cinemas again and don’t be afraid to take a chance on some of these films you may not have heard of.

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