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Monday, September 1, 2014



Friends with Limited Releases

There are plenty of limited releases on this week's list, including a couple that earned some strong pre-release buzz. One of these, Friends with Kids is opening in close to 400 theaters, which is a huge amount for a limited release. It will certainly be the biggest limited release at the box office, but I'm not sure how well it will do on the per theater chart. There are a few films earning amazing reviews, including Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Footnote, and Sound of Noise. I'm not sure any have what it takes to expand significantly, but hopefully at least one of them will find a receptive audience in limited release.

Attenberg - Reviews
A Greek film starring Ariane Labed, as 23-year old stuck in a small town without much going on in her life. Her father, a famous architect, has come home to die, and she's stuck dealing with him. Her only escapes are David Attenborough documentaries; music from her favorite band, Suicide; and her only friend, Bella (Evangelia Randou). The film's reviews are very close to the 80% positive level I generally look for for success in limited release, and it won a number of film festival awards, but I don't expect it to expand significantly, but then again, so few limited releases do manage to expand to any real degree. Attenberg opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Bending the Rules - No Reviews
The latest WWE release. Their track record with critics and at the box office is poor, to say the least. With no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it is likely this film won't improve their batting average. Bending the Rules opens tonight in nine theaters in cities like Hollywood, Miami, Chicago, Memphis, San Antonio, as well as Aurora, Colorado; Great Neck, New York; East Providence, Rhodes Island; and Bremerton, Washington.

The Decoy Bride - Reviews
Alice Eve is a Hollywood actress trying to marry David Tennant, but when the paparazzi threaten to ruin the wedding, they hire a local girl, Kelly MacDonald, to act as a decoy bride to keep the unwanted photographers away. Of course, when David meets Kelly, there is an instant attraction. It's the wrong genre for limited release, it has previously been released on Video on Demand, and its reviews are way too low. I don't have high expectations for this film. The Decoy Bride opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Footnote - Reviews
Uriel Shkolnik and Eliezer Shkolnik are father and son Talmudic scholars. The son has always outshone the father when it comes to recognition of his work through awards and accolades, but, when the father is set to be awarded the nation's highest honor, their relationship becomes even more complicated than before. This film is earning amazing reviews and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. Footnote opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, both in New York City, while it expands to Los Angeles next week.

Friends with Kids - Reviews
The biggest limited release of the week in terms of star power and theaters. Unfortunately, its reviews are middle of the road. The film stars Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt as two single friends. Their other friends, Jon Hamm & Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph & Chris O'Dowd, are married with kids. After seeing how much having kids changes a relationship, they decide the only sensible thing to do is have a child together and then date other people. The film was written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who previously wrote and starred in Kissing Jessica Stein, which was a big indie hit. This film should start a lot better; after all, it is playing in close to 400 theaters and would only need a per theater average of $1,000 to top Jessica's opening. However, I'm not sure about its legs. Opening in select cities is never easy.

Good for Nothing - Reviews
An outlaw shoots up a cantina and kidnaps a woman. But when he gets her alone and tries to rape her, he can't perform. After that, he drags his victim around looking for doctors, medicine men, and herbalists to fix him. Did I mention this is a comedy? Some critics are praising the filmmakers' ability to skewer Western clichés, but more say the central premise is too much to get past. Good for Nothing opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City and there will be a Q&A session tonight after the 7:00 p.m. showing and tomorrow after the 3:00 p.m. showing.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Reviews
A documentary about Jiro Ono, the owner and proprietor of the world famous Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant. When this film was shot, he was 85 years old and was grooming his eldest son to take over the restaurant. This is one of the best-reviewed films of the year and hopefully it will find an audience. Jiro Dreams of Sushi opens tonight at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and the IFC Center, both in New York City. On a side note, just watching the trailer made me hungry. Watching this movie while on a diet would be torture.

Playback - Reviews
A horror film about demonic possession through video playback. So far there are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and they are both negative. It's also the wrong genre for limited release and will likely struggle at the box office. Playback opened on Video on Demand in February and might be opening today or perhaps next week. The official site has both dates.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - Reviews
A Yemeni sheik, Amr Waked, wants to bring peace to the Middle East, and he figures the way to do that is to encourage Salmon Fishing as a popular sport there. He travels to England and through a consultant, Emily Blunt, he works with a fisheries expert, Ewan McGregor, to make his dream come true. Ewan McGregor thinks the plan is impossible, and that would have been the end of it, but a government official, Kristin Scott Thomas, latches onto the idea as a "Good Will" story and wants this dream of bringing fish to the desert a reality. This film has some of the best buzz on this week's list, but its reviews are only good and not great. It does have an amazing cast and if it were opening wide, I would suspect it would do rather well. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen opens tonight in 18 theaters.

Sound of Noise - Reviews
A group of drummers are terrorizing a city and it is up to a music-hating cop to stop them. This Swedish film has cult movie written all over it; however, it might have to wait until the home market to find its audience. Sound of Noise opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City and the Silent Movie Theatre / Cinefamily in Los Angeles.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-03-09

Movies 
 Attenberg
 Bending All the Rules
 The Decoy Bride
 He'arat Shulayim
 Friends with Kids
 Good for Nothing
 Jiro Dreams of Sushi
 Playback
 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
 Sound of Noise