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Friday, July 25, 2014



Limited Releases and Me

It is a really, really busy week for limited releases. However, of the more than a dozen films on this week's list, only one of them is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, Wagner and Me. That film is a documentary, so even if it does perform well during its opening weekend, it likely won't find any mainstream success. All of the rest are either earning too few reviews to have a Tomatometer Score, or have overall negative reviews. Combined with the previously released Awards Season hopefuls, and there's too much competition for such weak films.

Bad Kids Go to Hell - Reviews
A black comedy that mixes The Breakfast Club with a Teenage Slasher. Black comedy is a hard genre to get right and an even harder genre to market. Plus teenage slashers are just the wrong genre for limited release. Even if it had amazing reviews, it would have a hard time finding an audience in limited release. It should perform better on the home market. Bad Kids Go to Hell opens tonight in 30 theaters, which is just too many.

Buffalo Girls - Reviews
I thought this film opened weeks ago. There's not much more to add. Buffalo Girls opens tonight in Los Angeles.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding - Reviews
A wedding day brings out all of the dysfunction in a British family and the problems in the relationship of the bride and groom. The film's reviews are only 50% positive, which is nowhere near strong enough to suspect it will thrive in limited release. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Cloudburst - Reviews
A Canadian film about elderly lesbian couple traveling from the United States to Halifax, Canada so they can get married. There is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes; however, that's more than most Canadian films have, plus it is positive. Cloudburst opens tonight in Halifax, Canada.

Deadfall - Reviews
After a heist gone wrong, two siblings are on the run and trying to get to Canada with their loot. Left on foot after an accident, they are picked up hitchhiking by a guy traveling home for the holidays. Unfortunately, the home includes a retired sheriff, who doesn't trust the pair. The film's reviews are weak and it has nearly no chance of finding an audience in limited release. Deadfall opens tonight in four theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, and Cambridge.

Delhi Safari - Reviews
A 3D animated Bollywood film. That's unusual. It's an environmental tale about a group of animals who travel to the capital to ask the humans why their forest is being cut down. I don't know how well the original film was received, but the reviews for the English translation are really bad. Delhi Safari opens tonight at the Laemmle's Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.

The Fitzgerald Family Christmas - Reviews
This film has the second best Tomatometer Score on this week's list. It is still just a hair below the overall positive level. The film is written, directed, and stars Edward Burns. The film focuses on a family whose father returns for Christmas after leaving 20 years ago. I don't think it will find an audience in limited release, but its reviews are good enough that it could find one on the home market. The Fitzgerald Family Christmas opens tonight in five theaters, all in New York. Also, Edward Burns will be at several screenings. Check the official site for details.

Hyde Park on the Hudson - Reviews
This feels like busted Oscar bait. Bill Murray plays Franklin D. Roosevelt during the lead up to World War II. Given its subject matter, some have called this a pseudo-sequel to The King's Speech. Given its reviews, there's no chance it will have the same run at the box office or during Awards Season. Hyde Park on the Hudson opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

In Our Nature - Reviews
Zach Gilford and his new girlfriend, Jena Malone, go to his family's summer house for a romantic getaway, but his estranged father, John Slattery, and his father's much younger girlfriend, Gabrielle Union, show up. The film is only earning mixed reviews, so there's very little hope it will find a receptive audience in limited release, despite the better than average cast. In Our Nature opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Lay the Favorite - Reviews
A film set in the world of professional gamblers. Rebecca Hall plays someone who most think is a Ditz, but who actually has a good head for numbers. She teams up with Bruce Willis, but when his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, gets jealous, he has to end their partnership and she takes up with a more dangerous bookie. The film has a good cast and since it was made for an estimated $20 million, one has to assume the studio was hoping for a wide release. Given its reviews, there's no way it will do well enough in limited release to expand wide. Lay the Favorite opens tonight in 61 theaters, which is way too many for this type of release.

The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez - Buy from Amazon
Ernest Borgnine stars as an elderly man recovering from a back injury in a nursing home. The home in run by Barry Corbin, who is a rather cruel owner. Ernest Borgnine wants to get the workers and tenants to to stand up to him, but has trouble rallying them, until they learn he once shook hands with Vicente Fernandez, a Mexican musical legend from the 1970s. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and they are split. The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez opens tonight in two theaters in Los Angeles.

Wagner and Me - Reviews
Stephen Fry is Jewish and he even lost relatives in the Holocaust. He is also a fan of composer Richard Wagner, who was antisemitic in his time and his music was later championed by Adolf Hitler. Stephen Fry travels to a Wagner festival and learns more about the man to see if he can reconcile his love for the music with the antisemitism that surrounds it. This is the only film earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, but as a documentary, its chances of expanding past the art house circuit are slim. Wagner and Me opens tonight at the Quad Cinema and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, both in New York City.

Waiting for Lightning - Reviews
A documentary about skateboarder Danny Way and his attempt to jump the Great Wall of China. The film's reviews are only mixed and skateboarding isn't a mainstream enough sport to boost this film at the box office. Waiting for Lightning opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters in select cities nationwide.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-12-07

Movies 
 Bad Kids Go to Hell
 Buffalo Girls
 Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
 Deadfall
 Delhi Safari
 The Fitzgerald Family Christmas
 Hyde Park on Hudson
 In Our Nature
 Lay the Favorite
 The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez
 Wagner & Me
 Waiting for Lightning