If you live in LA, you have seven days to catchthis new movie about the battle of wills between Maze Prison hunger strikers and Margaret Thatcher's regime that took place in 1981. Michael Fassbender (300) is mesmerizing in the lead role of Bobby Sands, doing a Christian Bale Machinist self-nihilism act. The rest of you/us will have to wait until 2009 to see Hunger. Or you could save it on your rental queues though this is not an ideal way to experience it. It's a brutal challenging film, fond of jaw dropping sustained takes and the ease of pausing at home or thinking "i'll finish this later" will dilute its cumulative power.
I've thought long and hard about L.A. only "qualifying runs" for Oscar and I'm considering disqualifying them for my own awards (I allowed for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days last year... but it still felt off. It's the principle of the thing. It makes me crazy) One week qualifiers circumvent what I've always believed was a crucial aspect of cinema: the audience. You. Only industry and press can see these movies and here's the thing: movies should not be hard to see. If you can afford a ticket, nobody should be keeping your desired movie from you. The cinema is an artform for the masses [however abusive the masses happen to be to it with their dollars, continually requesting more talking dog movies and whatnot --but that's another topic. Sorry for the tangent. -ed.] and should remain that way.
It saddens me that the Academy, who regularly tweak their rules, still allow for these one-week qualifiers. Even though it's technically legal it's like cheating. It's a loophole. You are not really a 2008 movie if you open at one theater in one city for one week and then remove yourself quickly to plan for 2009. The idea, for all films that try this tactic, is to win Oscar nods and hope that that will boost their profile when they open for real. But this is rather like trying to pay rent by buying yourself a lottery ticket. It's not easy to get Oscar nods --particularly for small art films -- and many films that go this route never make good on their "opening in February/March" claims when they find themselves without Oscar nods... which is the case more often than not. Oops. The system as it is stinks; It's not healthy for these small movies, it screws with the structural calendar idea of awards systems and most importantly, it's no good for the movie loving audience who are left out of the conversation altogether.