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Tuesday, July 29, 2014



Limited Releases: Lockedown

From the Rough poster

It is a busy week for limited releases, but most of the films are earning weak reviews. Several are earning reviews that would be good if they were opening wide, but not good enough to suggest they will thrive in limited release. There are a few of films with truly great reviews, including Blue Ruin, which not only has amazing reviews, but also earned a number of film festival awards. Both Last Passenger and Locke are also earning close to 90% positive reviews, but none of them really feel like limited release hits.

Bicycling with Moliere - Reviews
This movie came out last year in Canada as Molière à Bicyclette. It's reviews haven't improved since then and it might not do as well in the United States as it did in Quebec. Bicycling with Moliere opens tonight at the Film Forum in New York City.

Blue Ruin - Reviews
A man returns to the town where his estranged family live to get revenge on another family, one of whom killed his parents. One act of violence begets another and things spiral out of control. This film is earning the best reviews of the weekend, at least at the moment. (It is close enough that it could slip into second place with one or two bad reviews.) It also won the FIPRESCI Prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival, which should help the buzz. On the other hand, Blue Ruin is not only opening in 12 theaters tonight, but it is also playing on Video on Demand.

Bright Days Ahead - Reviews
The film is about a woman, Caroline, who has a midlife crisis and begins an affair with a younger man. There are only four reviews and they are split 50/50. Bright Days Ahead opens tonight in four theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York city.

For No Good Reason - Reviews
A documentary about Ralph Steadman, an illustrator who worked with Hunter S. Thompson. The reviews are weak with many critics complaining that it is unfocused and shallow. For No Good Reason opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles.

From the Rough - Reviews
The story of Dr. Catana Starks, who was the first African-American woman to coach a collegiate sports team. There are only two reviews, which suggests the buzz is limited. They are both positive, which is at least something. From the Rough opens tonight in select cities. The official site has a Zip Code find-a-theater function.

The German Doctor - Reviews
One of three films dealing with World War II on this week's list. This one looks at a notorious Nazi and the family who unknowingly helped him hide from justice. The film's reviews are good, but not great. There are also a lot of film's opening in limited release this week, so the competition is tough. The German Doctor opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles.

The Girl and Death - Reviews
Set in post-World War II Russia, this film tells the story of an older doctor who travels to the place where he met the love of his life and then flashes back to tell that story. The reviews are really weak, weak enough that they would be an issue if it were opening wide. The Girl and Death opens tonight in New York City and expands to Los Angeles next month.

The Girl on the Train - No Reviews
A film about a documentarian who is traveling to make his next movie, but meets a girl on the train and decides to follow her instead. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which indicates a lack of buzz. Then again, I'm not 100% sure it is coming out tonight, as the official site doesn't even have a trailer yet.

Last Passenger - Reviews
A group of passengers learn the commuter train conductor has hijacked their train. The film's reviews are excellent, but this isn't exactly the genre that does the best in limited release. Also, it is opening in too many theaters. Last Passenger opens tonight in select theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Orlando.

Locke - Reviews
Tom Hardy plays a man whose life seems to be in order, until her learns a women he had a one-night stand with is about to give birth to his child. The film's reviews are the best on this week's list and could become the biggest hit as well. Locke opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly among New York City and Los Angeles. It also expands next weekend. Check out the official site for more details.

The Machine - Reviews
Two men create an artificial intelligence robot for humanitarian purposes, but the government steals it and tries to turn it into a weapon. The films reviews are very good, but I'm not sure they are good enough to thrive in limited release. The Machine opens tonight in theaters, as well as on video on demand.

Walking with the Enemy - Reviews
Set in World War II, this film tells the story of man who stole a Nazi uniform and pretended to be the enemy in order to find his family. The reviews are very weak. Worse still, Walking with the Enemy opens tonight in way too many theaters. Check out the official site for details.

Who is Dayani Cristal - Reviews
A documentary that tries to learn the story of an undocumented immigrant whose body was found in the Arizona desert. The reviews are good, but not great, so its chances of earning a measure of mainstream success is nearly zero. Who is Dayani Cristal opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Young & Beautiful - Reviews
Written and directed by Francois Ozon. The film is about a 17-year old girl who loses her virginity and becomes a prostitute. ... I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the message that sends. The reviews are good, but not great. On the other hand, Francois Ozon has a big enough following here that it might do well in limited release regardless. Young & Beautiful opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-04-25

Movies 
 Molière à Bicyclette
 Blue Ruin
 Les beaux jours
 For No Good Reason
 From the Rough
 Wakolda
 Last Passenger
 Locke
 The Machine
 Walking with the Enemy
 Jeune & Jolie