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Limited Release: Oscars are the Star of the Week

January 30th, 2015

Timbuktu poster

The list is a little shorter than usual, not because there are few limited releases coming out this week, but because we have a spotlight review for one of them. So to keep things a little more manageable, I'm going to focus on films that are either earning great reviews, or that earned some pre-release buzz. Speaking of great reviews, Timbuktu is living up to its Oscar nomination with 97% positive reviews. Also coming out this week are the Oscar Nominated Shorts, so fans of short films should rush out to theaters.

2015 Oscar Shorts - Reviews: Animated, Live Action, and Documentary
This years selection of Oscar-nominated short films are being released as a mini-film festival. If past years are any indication, this film will open well and earn more than $2 million at the box office.

Big News From Grand Rock - Reviews
Nothing happens in Grand Rock, which is great if you like living in a quiet small town. It's terrible if you are a journalist working for the local paper. Leonard Crane has a simple solution to this problem: He lies. He just makes up stories to report based on whatever movie he last saw. It works, until a reporter from the big city comes to investigate his latest big break. There are not many reviews online, but the ones I did find were mostly positive. Big News From Grand Rock opens tonight in select cities in Canada.

Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience - Reviews
I have no idea how to react to this. This is a super popular TV show coming out on IMAX. If this works, this could be a great new revenue stream for both TV shows and IMAX theaters. However, are people going to go to theaters to see two episodes of a TV show they likely already pre-ordered on Blu-ray? I'm not convinced. Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience opened this week in more than 200 IMAX theaters.

Girlhood - Reviews
A young lady with a bad home life drops out of school to join a female gang. This is one of the better films coming out this week, but it is a surprisingly crowded week for great films. I really hope it find an audience, for foreign-language films almost always are limited to art house theaters. Girlhood opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City, with planned expansion over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Hard to be God - Reviews
This a posthumous release for writer / director Aleksei German. It was close enough to completed that when he passed away his family was able to finish it. Fortunately, the reviews are amazing, so it is clear his family did a good job assembling the final product. Hard to be God opens tonight at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

Suburban Gothic - Video on Demand
Richard Bates, Jr.'s follow-up to Excision. This isn't a body horror movie, but a horror comedy. This is a hard genre to get right. Can it find the balance between the horror and the humor? Is it worth checking out? Read our review for my opinion.

Timbuktu - Reviews
A family lives in the desert outside of Timbuktu and is mostly unaffected by the religious extremists who have taken over that city. However, the peaceful nature of their lives can't last forever. This is an Oscar-nominated film that is earning nearly 100% positive reviews, so it should find an audience among art house aficionados. Its chances of expanding significantly are much more limited.

Wild Card - Reviews
Jason Statham stars in this remake of a Burt Reynolds film from the 1980s. The cast is excellent and the film has a $30 million budget, so one assumes this film was originally planned for a wide release. However, the reviews are terrible, so it is being dumped in select theaters and on Video on Demand.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, Suburban Gothic, Wild Card, Timbuktu, Trudno byt bogom, Bande de filles, 2015 Oscar Shorts, Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience, Academy Award Short Film Nominations, Burt Reynolds, Jason Statham, Ennis Esmer, Aleksei German, Richard Bates, Jr.