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Wednesday, August 20, 2014



Limited Releases: The Good Life

Life Itself poster

It is a busy week with several releases spread over three days. Unfortunately, most movies opening this week are earning weak reviews and many of them have almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The lack of buzz and the weak critical response will likely prove fatal. Fortunately, there is an exception as Life Itself is earning amazing reviews. A Hard Day's Night is also worth checking out, as it is getting a 50th anniversary.

Beyond the Edge - Reviews
A 3D documentary that reenacts the first assent of Mount Everest. The reviews are good, but not great, with several critics complaining that while it looks great, it doesn't get into the subject matter with enough depth. Beyond the Edge opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Bobby Jasoos - No Reviews
Vidya Balan stars as a woman named Bobby Jasoos, who wants to become a detective. Like most Bollywood films, there are no reviews, so it is nearly impossible to tell how well it will do in theaters. Bobby Jasoos opens in the usual Bollywood hotspots.

Cinemanovels - Reviews
Grace's filmmaker father recently died and while she had been estranged from him for years, she decides to help set up her father's retrospective. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and only one of those is positive. Cinemanovels opened on Thursday at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles.

Gerontophilia - Reviews
A Canadian movie opening north of the border this weekend. It is about a young man who hasn't quite grown up. He has a girlfriend his own age, but prefers to spend time with the older gentlemen at the nursing home where his mother works. So far there are only four reviews on Rotten Tomatoes; however, that's more than most Canadian films have before they are released. Plus, all four reviews are positive. Gerontophilia opens tonight in Toronto and Vancouver.

The Girl on the Train - Reviews
A documentarian is traveling to interview his latest subject when he spots a woman on the train and becomes obsessed with her. I thought it came out in April, but it was pushed back at the last minute. This likely won't have a major effect, as there are still almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and all of them are negative. Also, I'm not 100% sure it is coming out this week either, as the official site is silent on that issue. The most important task for an official site for a limited release is telling people when and where a movie opens. If you don't do that on the home page, you better have the link to that list front and center.

A Hard Day's Night - Reviews
One of the best Rock'n'Roll movies of all time. However, it recently came out on Blu-ray, so I'm sure a lot of people who love it already own it. That said, it is worth checking out in theaters if it is playing near you, and it probably is. A Hard Day's Night gets a re-release starting tonight in more than 100 theaters. Check out the official site for more details.

Heatstroke - Reviews
A research scientist travels to Africa on a scientific expedition with his girlfriend and his teenage daughter. While there, he stumbles into the camp of some arms smugglers, who kill him. It is then up to his girlfriend to escape and protect his daughter. Could be an interesting story, but the the critics saw otherwise complaining that it relies on clichés and doesn't do enough to develop the characters or build up the suspense. Heatstroke opens tonight, but I'm not sure where, because there is no official site. The distributor's official site makes no mention of it. It is coming out on Video on Demand, so I guess the lack of a theater listing isn't an issue.

Life Itself - Reviews
One of the best movies of the year and an early contender for Best Feature-Length Documentary Oscar. If you are a fan of movies, which I assume you are or you wouldn't be reading this column, then this is a must see. If you are interested in film critics, then I assume you will be pre-ordering this movie as soon as it appears on Amazon.com. Life Itself opens tonight in nearly two dozen theaters, check out the official site for details, as well as on Video on Demand.

Premature - Reviews
What is supposed to be the best day of high schooler Rob Crabbe's life turns out to be the worst, then he has to re-live it again and again till he gets it right. The film is the wrong genre for limited release and its reviews are only mixed, so it will likely flop at the box office. Premature opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.

School Dance - Reviews
A high school boy tries to get the attention of the girl of his dreams by joining the schools dance team. It is the wrong genre for limited release, there are almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, most of the reviews are negative, and it is also opening on Video on Demand. There's almost no chance it will find an audience in theaters. School Dance opened on Wednesday, but I don't know where, because the only official page is a Facebook page and it is promoting the Video on Demand side of the release more than the theatrical one. Not a good sign.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-07-04

Movies 
 A Hard Day's Night
 Premature