Alt Weekly: 'Wuthering Heights' and More

Welcome back to Alt Weekly, a column in which we shine a spotlight on the independent films brave enough to open opposite Hollywood's behemoth blockbusters before rolling out in wider release.

This week, it's a whole slew of indies and docs taking on "Taken 2" and "Frankenweenie."


Filmmaker Cred: Jim Field Smith directed 2010's romcom "She's Out of My League."

Star Power: Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Ty Burrell, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry and Ashley Greene.

Festival/Awards Buzz: This political satire made the festival rounds last fall. Here's our review.

Release Details: 75 screens this weekend. The film's also available on demand through iTunes and cable providers.

See This If… The comedic potential of a butter-carving competition doesn't escape you.


Filmmaker Cred: Director Gotham Chopra is the son of subject Deepak Chopra.

Star Power: See above.

Festival/Awards Buzz: Reactions out of last spring's SXSW Film Festival praised the doc for being honest and insightful, and not just an ego boost for the self-styled spiritual leader.

Release Details: NY and LA this Friday, in addition to being available on demand nationwide.

See This If… You're already curious about the personality of this one-man movement.


Filmmaker Cred: Co-directors Matthew Heineman and Susan Frömke each have storied documentary careers.

Star Power: Uh, America?

Festival/Awards Buzz: Pretty positive since Sundance.

Release Details: These cities this weekend, and on demand starting Friday.

See This If… You're keen to examine in-depth concerns about the state of American healthcare in these pre-election weeks.


Filmmaker Cred: Documentarian Eugene Jarecki previously made "Why We Fight" and contributed to "Freakonomics."

Star Power: None.

Festival/Awards Buzz: Very juicy since its Sundance premiere.

Release Details: New York this Friday, LA and DC next week and more cities to follow.

See This If… You'd rather dig into a doc about the War on Drugs than the flaws of the American healthcare system.


Filmmaker Cred: Director Julian Farino is a TV veteran, with plenty of credits under his belt like "Entourage" and "How to Make It in America."

Star Power: Oliver Platt, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody and Alia Shawkat.

Festival/Awards Buzz: Since its premiere at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, the response has been fairly lackluster. Our own review is more encouraging.

Release Details: A whole slew of screens across the country.

See This If… You've still not had your fill of "American Beauty"-style suburban shenanigans.


Filmmaker Cred: Lee Daniels directed the Oscar-winning drama "Precious."

Star Power: No shortage of it: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Macy Gray.

Festival/Awards Buzz: Most reviews out of Cannes called it an overwrought mess, but our reviewer doesn't think that's such a bad thing.

Release Details: 11 screens between NY, LA, DC, Chicago and San Francisco this Friday.

See This If… You couldn't look away from Daniels' first film, the similarly squalid and well-cast "Shadowboxer."


Filmmaker Cred: This five-part horror anthology was written and directed by the minds behind "The Innkeepers," "The Signal," "You're Next" and "I Sell the Dead."

Star Power: Um, Joe Swanberg?

Festival/Awards Buzz: It's been a big hit since its Sundance premiere, especially with horror fans. Here's our review.

Release Details: These select theaters this weekend. It's also on demand.

See This If… You still get a kick out of found-footage frights and can't wait around for "Paranormal Activity 4" to see some.


Filmmaker Cred: Andrea Arnold has earned acclaim for her features "Red Road" and "Fish Tank," as well as an Oscar for her short film "Wasp."

Star Power: Not really.

Festival/Awards Buzz: Arnold's adaptation has earned much praise since last fall's festival rounds. Our review only adds to that.

Release Details: NY only this Friday, with further expansion to come over the coming weeks.

See This If… You're eager to see a new take on Emily Brontë's classic novel.