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Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Limited Releases: What's Cooking?

Chef poster

There are a number of limited releases coming out this week that are earning strong buzz and good reviews. Some of the films that have reviews that are strong enough to suggest box office success are Palo Alto and The Double, as well as two documentaries, Fed Up and Llyn Foulkes One Man Band. However, the film with the best combination of buzz and reviews is Chef.

Aberdeen - No Reviews
A movie about three generations of a Hong Kong family. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so this film will likely fall between the cracks, especially given the competition this week. Aberdeen opens tonight in select theaters.

App - Reviews
The movie is about a university student who receives a mysterious app on her smart phone. At first it offers good advice, but soon it turns creepy and then scary. There is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, which is a sign that there isn't enough buzz. The one review is positive, so that's at least a little hopeful. App opens tonight, but I don't know where. There is no official site for its North American release, and with a name like App Googling it is nearly useless.

Breastmilk - Reviews
A documentary about the importance of breastfeeding and the troubles some have with breastfeeding. The film doesn't have enough reviews for a Tomatometer Score, which is a sign it will slip between the cracks in a busy and strong weekend. Breastmilk opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City and there are a few other screenings planned over the coming weeks. Check out te official site for more details.

Broken - Reviews
A middle-school girl is raped and murdered and her father receives a text telling him the whereabouts of the killer. He gets his revenge, but realizes there must have been more than one person involved. Meanwhile, the cops learn of the death of the young man and begin to investigate. This is far from a unique story and the reviews are only mixed. Plus, it is a foreign-language film, so I just don't see it doing well at the box office. Broken opens tonight at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Chef - Reviews
Written, directed, and starring Jon Favreau. He plays a chef who loses his job in a restaurant in Los Angeles and returns home to Miami where he starts running a food truck to regain his creative edge. One of several movies on this week's list that is earning excellent reviews. However, its buzz is arguably the loudest and there are many who think it is have little trouble earning some measure of mainstream success. Chef opens tonight in six theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Devil's Knot - Reviews
Atom Egoyan's look at The Memphis Three. Given the subject matter and the talent on both sides of the camera, this should have been an amazing movie. Unfortunately, the reviews are bad. The star power might help the film this weekend, but it won't last long. Devil's Knot opens tonight in select theaters in major cities nationwide.

The Double - Reviews
Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon James, an introvert who is ignored at work and can't work up the courage to talk to the woman he loves. His life changes when James Simon arrives (also played by Jesse Eisenberg). They look identical, but James is the opposite of Simon personality-wise. Soon James takes over Simon's life. Excellent reviews and good buzz. This film could potentially earn breakout success, but there is a lot of competition this week. The Double opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles, before expanding over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Fed Up - Reviews
A documentary that looks at the food guidelines and how they are making the American people overweight and unhealthy. The film's reviews are excellent and documentaries about food have been popular recently. Fed Up opens tonight in 19 theaters, including three in Canada. Check out the official site for more details.

God's Pocket - Reviews
A posthumous release for Philip Seymour Hoffman, he plays a man whose step-son dies in an "accident" and he tries to cover it up. The film's reviews are really weak and it opens on Video on Demand next Wednesday, so odds are those interested in seeing it will just wait. God's Pocket opens tonight in three theaters, two in Los Angeles and the other in New York City.

Llyn Foulkes One Man Band - Reviews
A biography of Llyn Foulkes, an artist / musician. The film follows him for seven years and he works on his art. The reviews are among the best on this week's list, but documentaries rarely have breakout success. Llyn Foulkes One Man Band opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City, while there are several other showings scheduled for the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Palo Alto - Reviews
One of a handful of films on this week's list that could find breakout success at the box office. It is based on a collection of short stories by James Franco, who is also part of the ensemble cast. The buzz for the film is very strong, as are the reviews. Opening in limited release is never a sure thing, but this film's odds are much better than average. Palo Alto opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and Los Angeles. Check out the official site for more details.

Stage Fright - Reviews
At musical theater camp, Camilla Swanson wants to be a star, like her mother, but is working in the kitchen feeding the snobby campers. She manages to sneak her way into an audition for the camp's musical and win the lead role. However, the campers soon start to fall victim of a slasher who hates musicals. The film's reviews are weak and it is the wrong genre for limited release. Finally, it is also playing on Video on Demand. Stage Fright opens tonight in seven theaters and doubles that theater count next week. Check out the official site for more details.

The Wedding Video - Reviews
Tim and Saskia are getting married and Tim's brother, Raif, decides to film the wedding preparations as a gift to the couple. Things go wrong. The movie is earning very good reviews, but likely reviews that are not good enough to thrive in limited release. The Wedding Video opened tonight in select theaters. It is also opening in Video on Demand and it will likely perform better there than in theaters.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-05-09

Movies 
 Chef
 Devil's Knot
 The Double
 Fed Up
 God's Pocket
 Palo Alto
 Stage Fright