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Saturday, April 19, 2014



Limited Releases are Mucho Grande

It's not a particularly busy week in terms of total number of limited releases. However, it is a huge week in terms of total theater count, as there are three films opening in hundreds of theaters each. Will any of these films succeed? Jeff, Who Lives at Home has the best shot of the three. Or will any of the much more limited releases find an audience? Of those, The Kid with a Bike has the best shot at finding an audience. Additionally, Intouchables has a sneak peak on Saturday at the Paris Theater in New York City.

Casa de mi Padre - Reviews
Will Ferrell stars as a Mexican rancher, whose family ranch is threatened by massive debts. His brother returns and offers to settle all of the debts, but this gets their family involved in a drug war. Further complications arise when Will falls in love with his brother's fiancee. This spoof of Telenovelas is earning mixed reviews with several critics calling it one of the funniest films in a while. Others are complaining there are basically only two jokes: A.) Will Ferrell isn't Mexican and B.) Telenovelas are weird. That might be enough find a cult audience, but I'm not sure it will thrive in theaters, especially since it is opening in 382 theaters.

Detachment - Reviews
Adrien Brody stars as a teacher, a substitute teacher, who goes from school to school without ever forming any deep bonds with his students or fellow teachers. However, that changes during his latest assignment. It's an inspirational teacher movie that is only earning mixed reviews. Many critics say it is an important story, but just as many say it relies too heavily on clichés and is too heavy-handed in its approach. There are a lot of critics who are in both camps. Detachment opens tonight in two theaters in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next week.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home - Reviews
Jason Segal stars as the titular Jeff, a slacker still living in his mom's basement. He's convinced the universe has a plan for him and all he needs to do is look for signs. And because the universe has a plan, there's no need for him to do anything except look for signs. His brother, Pat, is more motivated, but has issues of his own. His marriage is on the rocks and his wife might be cheating on him. The movie has an amazing cast and it is earning good reviews. On the other hand, it is opening in select cities, which is never an easy task. Jeff, Who Lives at Home opens tonight in 254 theaters and I'm hoping it will at least do well enough to expand a little bit.

The Kid with a Bike - Reviews
This film is earning amazingly positive reviews and even picked up a Golden Globe nomination. The film focuses on an 11-year old boy who is abandoned by his father, but sets out to hold onto that relationship. He meets up with a hairdresser who becomes his surrogate mother, but this new family has its rocky moments. The Kid with a Bike opens tonight in three theaters, IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City, as well as the The Landmark in Los Angeles.

Payback - Reviews
A Canada documentary that looks at debt in all its forms. This includes the simple borrowing of money, to wronging people through exploitation or criminal acts. It also looks at how these debts must be paid back, if they can be paid back. I've read a few very positive reviews, but even these suggest this film might have a really hard time finding an audience. Payback opens tonight in its native Canada, while it opens April 25th in the United States.

People v. The State of Illusion - Reviews
This film mixes documentary elements and drama to talk about how we perceive the world and how our minds can alter the way we interpret reality. The dramatic elements revolve around a man sent to prison after killing a woman in a drunk driving accident, only to find redemption there. There are not a lot of reviews online and while critics often praise the film for sticking with science and not going all new-agey; many also think the dramatic portion of the film doesn't help the film. People v. The State of Illusion opens tonight at the Landmark Varsity Theater in Seattle, Washington and there are Q&A segments on Friday and Saturday evening. Next week it expands to the West Village Stadium 12 in Denver, Colorado, and there are also Q&A sessions on the Friday and Saturday.

Reuniting the Rubins - Reviews
A British film starring Timothy Spall as a lawyer looking forward to retirement, who is guilted into reuniting his dysfuctional family so his mother can see all of her grandkids one last time before she dies. So far this film has earned zero positive reviews out of fifteen on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics are complaining that the characters are mere caricatures used to set up artificial conflicts, so the movie has no emotional heart. Reuniting the Rubins opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center and the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Seeking Justice - Reviews
What happened to Nicolas Cage? At one time he was a huge box office star and made great movies. However, his hit to miss ratio has fallen so far that his films are starting to come out in limited release. Seeking Justice is a vigilante movie with Nicolas Cage playing a man whose wife is attacked. A secret vigilante group offers to eliminate the attacker, but later they will ask a favor from him. He agrees and the criminal is killed; however, six months later the group returns asking him to kill another criminal in return. But this group lied to Nicolas Cage and now his life is in danger. It's not a bad setup for a movie, but most critics agree the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Seeking Justice opens tonight in 230 theaters, but that's likely as far as it will go.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-03-16

Movies 
 Casa de mi Padre
 Detachment
 Jeff, Who Lives at Home
 Le gamin au vélo
 Payback
 People v. The State of Illusion
 Reuniting the Rubins
 Seeking Justice