Cinematical's Indie Roundup: 'Kisses,' 'Standing Ovation,' 'Udaan'

Indie Roundup is your (striving to be) weekly guide to what's new and upcoming in the world of independent film.

Opening This Week: As we (by which I mean me) try to settle back into a good weekly routine, let's start with what's opening in limited release. Against the intelligent thrills of Christopher Nolan's Inception, which is likely to draw a fair portion of indie-oriented audiences, we see only a few contenders. Our friends at indieWIRE list the drama Kisses on their release calendar. Described as an Irish "romantic coming-of-age film," Kisses was originally slated for release late last year through Oscilloscope. Written and directed by Lance Daly, the film is centered around two kids who run away from home and spend Christmas night together on the streets of Dublin. It will be available via cable on demand systems at the same time it opens in New York and Los Angeles (on Friday), before rolling out to other theaters across the country in the next few weeks.

In the musical Standing Ovation, American tweens compete in a music video competition; the family film is booked into dozens of theaters across the country, per their official site at Facebook. Stewart Raffill (The Philadelphia Experiment, Tammy and the T-Rex) wrote and directed. And the Hindi-language drama Udaan follows a young man who returns to his family after eight years in a boarding school. He harbors dreams of becoming a writer, while his father wants him to be an engineer. I can't figure out from the official Facebook page if the film is actually opening in the U.S., but it looks intriguing.

After the jump: Who Killed Nancy and an expansion for The Kids Are All Right..
'Who Killed Nancy' posterUpcoming Releases. When Nancy Spungen was found dead in October 1978, her boyfriend, ex-Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, was quickly accused of her murder, generating sensational headlines before the musician overdosed on heroin a few months later. Their ill-fated love affair was immortalized by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in Alex Cox's Sid and Nancy (1986), and that would seem to be that, until author Alan G. Parker started poking around into a very cold case at the behest of Sid's mother.

Parker re-examined police evidence and interviewed 182 people, resulting in a book titled Sid Vicious: No One is Innocent. He has also made a documentary about the case, entitled Who Killed Nancy, and the film will be released on July 30 in New York (at the Cinema Village) and will also be available through cable VOD systems. Reviews out of the UK, where it was released last year, indicate that many of the interviewees spoke in warm, favorable tones about Sid Vicious and his life "before Nancy," so it could prove to be illuminating, even if you're not particularly interested in the 'murder mystery' angle.

Expanding Soon. Leaping out of the gate with a terrific opening weekend, Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right averaged a "quite staggering" $72,127 per screen, according to indieWIRE. As Peter Knegt points out, though, the film opened at just 7 theaters in 5 markets. Industry analyst David Poland cautions at The Hot Blog: "It's always dangerous to project too much off of numbers like this, when the film has big commercial elements and a strong core of the interested in major metropolitan and gay communities."

The big commercial elements? Julianne Moore and Anette Benning as a lesbian couple whose children finally meet their sperm donor father. Those "major" communities? Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco. The film will expand in those markets and also push into Boston, Denver, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, and Scottsdale, Arizona this weekend, before expanding much wider the following weekend (Check the official site for theater listings.)

In his review out of Sundance for Cinematical, Kevin Kelly wrote: "Where The Kids Are All Right really succeeds is in showing how a lesbian couple is no different than a gay or a heterosexual couple. They have the exact same hangups and foibles that we do. There's infidelity, mistrust, suspicion, fight, love, hope, fear, a worry that your partner is falling out of love with you, and everything else that goes along with a relationship. There's no agenda here, showing us that gay families are any better or are any worse than straight couples." If that message comes across, most effectively through word of mouth, Focus Features may well have a breakout indie hit that crosses over to mainstream audiences.