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Limited Releases: Lying about Limited Releases

November 8th, 2013

Best Man Down poster

There are quite a few limited releases on this week's list, including several that have earned more pre-release buzz that most limited releases earn. However, many of these films' reviews are good, but not great. The Book Thief is one such film, but it could still find an audience in limited release, although its plans to expand wide are very unlikely to happen. How I Live Now and Great Expectations are in similar positions.

The Armstrong Lie - Reviews
This is the only film on this week's list that is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. This documentary about Lance Armstrong was originally supposed to be about his big comeback into cycling, but then revelations about his years of doping came to light. This is certainly an interesting topic, but it is never easy for documentaries to find a large audience in theaters. The Armstrong Lie opens tonight in five theaters split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Best Man Down - Reviews
Justin Long and Jess Weixler are getting married, but on their wedding day, his best man, Tyler Labine, gets so drunk that he dies. They then try to plan his funeral, but have trouble finding about his life. They track down a female friend, Addison Timlin, and learn that he has a whole other side to his life they didn't know about. I was really looking forward to this movie, because there are several members of the cast I really like. However, the reviews are weak. The film also has been playing on video on demand for a month, so its chances at the box office are very limited. Best Man Down opens tonight in two theaters, one in Scottsdale, Arizona and the other in Vancouver, Washington.

The Book Thief - Reviews
A movie set in World War II about a young orphan girl, Sophie Nelisse, who moves in with her foster parents, Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. She has trouble adjusting to her new life, then World War II breaks out. The book this film is based on is beloved, but the reviews for the movie are merely good and not great. This film was originally set for a wide release, but now it is opening in limited release with hopes to expand. I hope it does, but the evidence suggests it will be difficult. The Book Thief opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and Los Angeles.

Go For Sisters - Reviews
LisaGay Hamilton and Yolanda Ross star as two women who were best friends as children, but whose lives took different turns. Now adults, Yolanda Ross is a former addict just out of prison, while LisaGay Hamilton is her parole officer. But when LisaGay Hamilton's son goes missing, she turns to Yolanda Ross for help navigating the criminal underworld. The reviews are unfortunately mixed so it is unlikely this film will be a hit in limited release. Go For Sisters opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

Great Expectations - Reviews
The Charles Dickens novel adapted to the big screen by David Nicholls and directed by Mike Newell. The film's reviews are good, but not great. Given the director and the subject matter, it could have been an Awards Season contender, but that's not going to happen. It might still find an audience due to its pedigree, but it might have to wait till the home market. Great Expectations opens tonight in dozens of theaters across the nation. You can go to the official site for more details.

How I Live Now - Reviews
Saoirse Ronan stars as an American girl who travels to England to live with relatives. While she is there, a war in Europe begins and the country devolves into a military regime. The film's reviews are good, but not great, which is sadly common this week in limited releases. It is directed by Kevin MacDonald, who has made more than a few critically acclaimed movies during his career, so perhaps that will help this film's chances. On the other hand, it is already on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are very weak. How I Live Now opened tonight in dozens of theaters, check here for more details.

Random Acts of Romance - Reviews
A Canadian movie starring Amanda Tapping, Katharine Isabelle, Laura Bertram, among others. It is about a group of people in various relationships, some of which are healthy, others are not. So far there is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, which is usually a bad sign for a limited release, but at least the review is positive. Random Acts of Romance opens tonight in Toronto.

The Starving Games - Reviews
From the "filmmakers" who brought us the "Movie" franchise (Date Movie, Disaster Movie, etc.). These movies are infamously bad. Even though there are almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I see little reason to suspect this movie will be any better than the rest. The Starving Games opens tonight in theaters, as well as Video on Demand.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, The Book Thief, Best Man Down, The Starving Games, How I Live Now, Great Expectations, The Armstrong Lie, Go For Sisters, Lance Armstrong, Katharine Isabelle, Tyler Labine, Justin Long, Kevin MacDonald, Mike Newell, Saoirse Ronan, Geoffrey Rush, Amanda Tapping, Emily Watson, Jess Weixler, David Nicholls, Laura Bertram, Sophie Nelisse, Charles Dickens, Yolanda Ross, Addison Timlin, LisaGay Hamilton