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Wednesday, September 3, 2014



Limited Releases: New Arrivals

The Immigrant poster

There are a number of films on this week's list that could find audience in theaters, including Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, Chinese Puzzle, The Discoverers, Horses of God, etc. However, if I were to pick just one, it would be The Immigrant. It has amazing reviews and strong buzz.

Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case - Reviews
A follow-up to Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which was an amazing film. We are still following Ai Weiwei, who was arrested and turned into a political prisoner, because of his public statements that the Chinese Government doesn't like. This film's reviews are even better, at least so far, so hopefully it will do as well at the box office. Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Chinese Puzzle - Reviews
The finale of the The Spanish Apartment, which started in 2002. It has been compared to Before Sunrise, because it follows the same characters at various stages of their relationship. This movie's reviews are not quite as strong as the reviews the three Before Sunrise films earned, but they are strong enough that the movie could find an audience in theaters. Chinese Puzzle opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and one in Los Angeles.

The Discoverers - Reviews
Griffin Dunne plays a college professor whose career has stalled. He takes his two teenage kids, Martin Madeleine and Devon Graye, to a historical conference where he hopes to jump start his career. However, his father goes missing and he has to make a detour and the three of them are stuck in an historical reenactment. This film is earning excellent reviews and the buzz is better than average, so perhaps it will find an audience in theaters. The Discoverers opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City.

Don Peyote - Reviews
Dan Fogler plays a man panicked about his upcoming wedding, who then does too much drugs to get over it, has visions of the end of the world, and decides to make a documentary about his visions. So far there are seven reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and all of them are negative. I assume there will be at least a couple of positive reviews that arrive over the weekend, but not enough to lift this film's Tomatometer Score high enough to make a difference. Don Peyote opens tonight in select theaters, as well as Video on Demand. It will very likely perform better on the latter than the former.

Half of a Yellow Sun - Reviews
Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose play sisters who come from a rich Nigerian family. They were educated in England, but return home. There they drift apart and fall in love, but when civil war threatens their country, they come back together. The novel the film is based on is loved, but the reviews for this film are only mixed. The buzz is better than most limited releases earn, so perhaps it will do well in the short term. Half of a Yellow Sun opens tonight at the Film Forum in New York City with plans to expand over the coming weeks / months. Check out the official site for more details.

Horses of God - Reviews
A film set in Morocco about young Muslims growing up in an environment where fundamentalist religious groups want to convert them and use them as martyrs. The film's reviews are perfect so far and the buzz is quite good. Horses of God opens tonight at the Film Forum in New York City.

The Immigrant - Reviews
Set in the 1920s, Ewa and Magda are two sisters who travel from Poland to the United States, but are separated when Magda is forced into quarantine. Without her sister to help her, Ewa struggles to adjust to her new life, which takes a turn for the worse when she meets Bruno Weiss. The film's reviews are among the best of the week, plus it is earning better buzz than most of the limited releases can hope for. It isn't the only film on this week's list with a shot at mainstream success, but it might have the best shot. The Immigrant opens tonight in three theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Next Year In Jerusalem - Reviews
A documentary about eight elderly Jews who are living in a nursing home who are given a chance to take a ten-day road trip to Jerusalem. There is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, it is positive, but that still suggests a lack of buzz that will likely hurt the film's box office chances. Next Year In Jerusalem opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

A Night in Old Mexico - Reviews
Robert Duvall plays an aging rancher who just lost the farm to foreclosure when his grandson shows up. This is the first time they've met, but the grandfather takes him on a road trip to Mexico to learn more about each other. The reviews are mixed, so despite Robert Duvall's excellent performance, there's little chance this film will find an audience in theaters. A Night in Old Mexico opens in four theaters in select cities nationwide (the official site has the list) as well as Video on Demand.

A People Uncounted - Reviews
A Canadian documentary about the Roma, a group of people who have been unfairly villainized in many places. In fact, they were one of the people targeted by the Nazis during World War II. This film goes into their history and even talks to Holocaust survivors. Its earning perfect reviews so far, but documentaries rarely have breakout success. A People Uncounted opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City and is playing on Video on Demand in Canada.

A Short-History of Decay - Reviews
A man with a bad job is dumped by his girlfriend before learning his father was hospitalized. When he returns home, he realizes his parents have a much better handle on life. The film's reviews are really strong, but just a hair below the 80% level I usually associate with success in limited release. A Short-History of Decay opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City.

SX_TAPE - Reviews
A couple make a sex tape in an abandoned mansion or an abandoned hospital, it depends on which source you look at, which turns out to be haunted. It's a found footage horror movie, which is a subgenre that is overplayed. Also, horror movies usually struggle in limited release. Finally, the early reviews are not good. SX_TAPE opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City, as well as on Video on Demand. It will very likely perform better on the latter than in the former.

Wolf Creek 2 - Reviews
The original Wolf Creek was a huge hit compared to its production budget, despite earning mixed reviews. This time around, the reviews are about the same, but the buzz is a lot weaker. Additionally, it is playing on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are a lot weaker. I'm not sure where Wolf Creek 2 is playing, because the official site appears to be dead.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-05-16

Movies 
 Casse-tete chinois
 Don Peyote
 The Immigrant
 A Night in Old Mexco