Two independent films are seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend. The first is a comedy from Oscar-winning director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Ray) titled The Comedian. Robert De Niro stars as an aging insult comic who must learn to adapt his art for the modern world of technology, YouTube, and social media. De Niro is backed by an outstanding supporting cast including Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Danny DeVito (Hoffa, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), Billy Crystal (When Harry Met Sally, Analyze This), Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets, Reservoir Dogs), Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), and Patti Lupone (Witness, City by the Sea). Despite having an impressive cast and director, the film has received incredibly harsh reviews from critics, who complain the potential of the cast and director are overshadowed by asinine, old-school comedy. Judging from the trailer, however, it looks like an entirely crowd-pleasing, worthy-of-the-times comedy, so don’t leave it off of your list just because of a few critics with no sense of humor! The Comedian is expected to see an expanded release in early February, so look for it in theaters for a good Valentines date!
Also seeing a limited release this weekend is another independent drama, this time from writer/director Bill Purple (New Girl, Speechless) titled The Book of Love. Screenwriter Robbie Pickering (Natural Selection, One Mississippi) co-wrote the film with Purple about an introvert architect who, after the death of his wife, agrees to help a young teenager named Millie construct a raft to make a trans-Atlantic voyage. Starring in the film are actors Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, The Falling), Jessica Biel (Seventh Heaven, Chuck and Larry), and Mary Steenburgen (Elf, Step Brothers). Although it hasn’t received a lot of recognition among the indie circuit, the material definitely looks promising, if not a bit awkward. Jessica Biel was able to convince husband Justin Timberlake to produce and record the film’s score, so there’s a lot of potential with this one. How soon The Book of Love will see a nationwide expansion is still unknown, at least from what I can tell, but if you get a chance check this one out at your local theatre this weekend. Enjoy!