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Friday, August 22, 2014



Limited Releases: Begin the Weekend with a Limited Release

Begin Again poster

There are more than a dozen limited releases on this week's list, including two films that are opening in limited release this week with a scheduled wide expansion next week. Unfortunately, I don't have high hopes for either of those two films. There are some films worth checking out, including a pair of documentaries, The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz and Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, both of which are also playing on Video on Demand. The film I hope has the best start is Snowpiercer, a South Korean film that is earning amazing reviews.

America: Imagine a World Without Her - No Reviews
The second documentary from Dinesh D'Souza. It is the follow-up to 2016: Obama's America, which was a terrible movie; however, it was a very profitable one. I don't think this one will be as profitable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, 2016 opened during the Republican National Convention and according to many stupid people, I mean political pundits, 2012 was seen as a very close presidential race. (Personally, I predicted all 50 states correctly months in advance of the election. As soon as it was clear Mitt Romney would be the nominee for the GOP, I knew how the race would end.) This time around, there are the midterm elections, but that's not generating nearly as much buzz. Also, the Tea Party party is in a bit of a battle with Establishment GOPers right now, and they might not be in the mood to support a movie like this. That's not to mention Dinesh D'Souza was recently found guilty of breaking campaign finance laws and that could also hurt box office numbers. Two points on his conviction. Firstly, American campaign finance laws are so lax that you have to go out of your way to break them. Secondly, the candidate he was supporting when he broke the law lost by a three-to-one margin. How can he be so stupid as to break the law when it was an obvious lost cause. America: Imagine a World Without Her opens tonight in Houston and Atlanta before expanding nationwide on July 4th.

La Bare - Reviews
A documentary about La Bare, one of the biggest male strip clubs in the world. It is directed by Joe Manganiello, who starred in Magic Mike, so there is a connection there. Unfortunately, there is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes. It is positive, but this still suggests a fatal lack of buzz. La Bare opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters in select cities. Check out the official site for more details.

Begin Again - Reviews
The second of two films opening in limited release this weekend and expanding wide next week. This one is written and directed by John Carney, who previously wrote and directed Once, so there is a lot of buzz for this movie. The cast is certainly bigger and the reviews are good enough for a wide release, if it can survive its opening weekend in limited release. I'm not sure it will. Begin Again opens tonight in five theaters with a wide expansion planed for next Wednesday.

The Breakup Guru - Reviews
The film focuses on a Breakup Guru, someone who helps clients breakup. For his latest job, he decides the best way to do this is to get the client's mistress to fall in love with him. There is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes and it is negative. It will likely be forgotten quickly. The Breakup Guru opens tonight in a dozen theaters, including four in Canada.

Drones - Reviews
This film deals with two soldiers trying to take out a terrorist, one on the ground and the other miles and miles away controlling a done. It is a message movie, which is admirable, but the reviews are only mixed, so it likely won't get its message to many people. Drones opens tonight on Video on Demand, while according to the official site, it makes its theatrical debut tomorrow.

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz - Reviews
The story of Aaron Swartz, a computer programmer that helped create a lot of what people use on the internet today. He also become a freedom of information activist and in a moment of civil disobedience got into a ton of trouble with the government. The prosecutor decided to make an example of him and the prospect of spending decades in prison led to depression and eventually suicide. The reviews are excellent and hopefully the film will find an audience in theaters. The Internet's Own Boy opens tonight in select city and is also playing on video on demand.

Jackpot - Reviews
Kyrre Hellum stars as Oscar Svendson, a man who wins 1.7 million krone ($300,000) with some colleagues at work by betting on a soccer pool. They celebrate and then he wakes up covered in blood with a shotgun in hand, with eight dead bodies around him and cops pointing guns at him. It's a black comedy that is earning good reviews, but not great reviews, so it will likely not find an audience in theaters. Jackpot opens tonight in select theaters, as well as Video on Demand.

Nothing Bad Can Happen - Reviews
A German film about a homeless boy who is a devote Christian who lives with a "heretic" who abuses him. This film is "inspired" by a true story, but it is mostly crap. In the real story, the family thought the boy was mentally retarded and abused him because of that. The entire religious vs. atheist angle is entirely made up for the movie. It might not be the only thing made up. Given the torture porn nature of the film, saying it is based on a true story, but changing something as fundamental as the motivations is unacceptable, at least in my opinion. Nothing Bad Can Happen opens tonight at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles.

Postman Pat: The Movie - Reviews
An adaptation of a British kids show. In the movie Postman Pat tries to win a TV talent show and is replaced by a robot. The reviews are merely mixed and this is the wrong genre for limited release. Worse still, I doubt one in ten kids in the United States have ever heard of Postman Pat. Postman Pat: The Movie opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles.

Punjab 1984 - No Reviews
A Canadian-Indian co-production about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. It focuses on one mother whose son goes missing and is presumed to be a terrorist. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and no official site, so I'm not sure where it is playing.

Radio Free Albemuth - Reviews
This is an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel about alternative realities and shared hallucinations and other weird goings on. Philip K. Dick was a great author, but like most films based on his novels, this one is earning weak reviews. Some ideas just work better on the page than on the screen. Radio Free Albemuth opens tonight in ten theaters in select cities nationwide.

Siddharth - Reviews
A Canadian-Indian film about a father who is living in poverty and who has to give his son to work. When he gets out of debt and tries to get his son back, he learns his son might have been captured by human traffickers. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but the ones there are mostly positive. Siddharth opens tonight in a selection of theaters.

Snowpiercer - Reviews
A South Korean film that made a bundle at the box office. It finished as the tenth biggest hit in its home market and has more than $80 million worldwide so far. It is a post-apocalypse dystopian film that has a rather strange setup, but the reviews are amazing and it could find an audience here. Snowpiercer opens tonight in eight theaters in major cities nationwide. Check out the official site for more details.

They Came Together - Reviews
A spoof of Romantic Comedies by the same people who made Wet Hot American Summer. The reviews are very good and the star power is a lot better compared to most limited releases, but I'm not sure it will find an audience for two reasons. One, it's the wrong genre for limited release. Two, it is also debuting on Video on Demand. They Came Together opens tonight in dozens of theaters across the United States and three in Canada... Including Abbotsford.

The Villain - No Reviews
A man with a troubled past finally turns things around when he meets a woman and falls in love. However, when she is killed by a serial killer, he embraces his dark past and looks for revenge. This is a Bollywood film, so it is not surprising there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. This does make it harder to predict its box office chances, but I know so little about the genre that isn't unusual.

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger - Reviews
A documentary about James J. Bulger, a notorious Boston crime boss who was the inspiration for The Departed. The film deals with the corruption surrounding the James J. Bulger, who was allowed to operate as a crime boss by the FBI, as long as he fed them information on rivals so they could make busts. The reviews are excellent and should do well, for a documentary. Whitey opens tonight in two theaters in the Boston area, as well as on Video on Demand.

Yves Saint Laurent - Reviews
A biopic of famed designed Yves Saint Laurent. He certainly led an interesting life; however, the reviews suggest this isn't an interesting movie and it will likely fail to find an audience in limited release. Yves Saint Laurent opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-06-27

Movies 
 Snowpiercer