Away from Her
directed by Sarah Polley
When Grant (Gordon Pinsent) finally admits to himself that his wife, Fiona (Julie Christie), has Alzheimer’s, he commits her to a nursing home. But as he struggles with being physically and (increasingly) emotionally apart from his wife, she begins a new relationship with another resident in the home (Michael Murphy). Sarah Polley mines some familiar territory in this, her directorial debut, but from the looks of things she does so with honesty, heart and panache. Like Adrienne Shelly’s Waitress (see below), Away from Her might prove to be excellent alternative programming in this kick-off weekend of the summer movie season. Also starring Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson, Wendy Crewson and Alberta Watson.

The Flying Scotsman
directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Lance Armstrong may have made America safe for cycling, but it’s a sport with a significant international following. Case in point, The Flying Scotsman. The film is the true story of Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller) and his quest to revolutionize the sport by developing a new bike despite the protestations of the sport’s old-fogey authority. While the film should appeal to cycling enthusiasts, it’s hard to imagine The Flying Scotsman catching the imagination of the masses a la Lance Armstrong—no matter how hard it’s peddled. Also starring Billy Boyd and Brian Cox.

Lucky You
directed by Curtis Hanson
Even though Lucky You isn’t the first film to deal with the world of high-stakes poker (there’s always Rounders), this is one of the biggest to come along since the explosion in poker’s popularity. But since this is a Curtis Hanson movie, it’s not really about poker; it’s just a metaphor for how the main characters, Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) and Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore), are playing the odds in life. Hanson is an excellent director, but this might be a little too overwrought—even for him. Also starring Robert Duvall and Debra Messing.

Spider-Man 3
directed by Sam Raimi
In a summer of franchise pictures, Spider-Man 3 might be the biggest release. (Of course, the third Pirates of the Caribbean film might have something to say about that.) And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that this third installment of the popular series finds Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) locked in a battle with his dark side, thanks to an evil black suit, a new villain (Thomas Hayden Church), his friend Harry Osbourne (James Franco), who’s bent on avenging his father’s death, and Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), a rival photographer. Add to the mix Peter’s desire to marry Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst), and what you have is a very full film that might be stuffed a little too full for its own good.

directed by Adrienne Shelly
Keri Russell kind of dropped out of the limelight after “Felicity,” but her turn in Adrienne Shelly’s final film, Waitress, as a lovelorn food-slinger with a penchant for concocting excellent pies, has already garnered many positive notices. If you find this film playing near you this weekend, it might be excellent indie counter-programming to the explosive kick-off to the summer movie season happening this weekend. Also starring Cheryl Hines, Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Sisto, Adrienne Shelly and Andy Griffith.