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Guiding Limited Releases

May 18th, 2012

It could be a bad week for limited releases. There are a number of films that are opening this week that earned more buzz than most limited releases earn, but almost all of them have really bad reviews. The one I'm most interested in is Indie Game: The Movie, which is currently earning 100% positive reviews, but I'm not sure there are enough fans of Indie games to support the film in theaters. Likewise, Polisse and Quill: Life of a Guide Dog are earning great reviews, but foreign language films rarely expand wide enough to earn some measure of mainstream success. Maybe one of them will prove to be the exception.

Crooked Arrows - Reviews
A Native American tries to revitalize his reservation and uses his high school lacrosse team to build community spirit. The film's Tomatometer Score is excellent at 80% positive; however, there are only five reviews online at the moment. It's too early to tell where the film will end up. Also, lacrosse isn't a popular enough sport to carry a movie, while films about Native Americans are too few to predict how well this one will do. Given its early reviews, I hope it finds an audience, but I'm not optimistic it will. Crooked Arrows opens tonight in 55 theaters, which is just too many for this type of release.

Hysteria - Reviews
A dramatization about the creation of the first electromechanical medical device used by doctors on women to cure hysteria through pelvic massage. Today they are called vibrators. The film has an impressive cast, but critics are evenly split on the final product. Some are calling it witty and entertaining, while others are complaining it is overly broad and it is too safe for its subject matter. I don't think it will find an audience in limited release, but it should perform better on the home market. Hysteria opens tonight in four theaters, mostly in New York City.

Indie Game: The Movie - Reviews
A documentary looking at the creation of Indie video games, which could get a boost thanks to crowd-sourcing. Interestingly, this film was also crowd-sourced, having raised its money on Kickstarter. Out of all of the films opening this weekend, this is the one I'm most interested in seeing; however, I am a big video game nerd, so I'm a bit biased on the subject. (Currently I'm playing the alpha version of Towns.) Indie Game: The Movie opens tonight in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Phoenix.

Lovely Molly - Reviews
A newly wed couple moves into her dead father's home, but after he leaves for his job as a trucker, she begins to have dark memories of this home. Or perhaps it's something more. The film is the wrong genre for limited release and its reviews are below the overall positive level, so there's little hope it will find an audience in theaters. It should do better on the home market, where low-budget horror films are usually more richly rewarded. Lovely Molly opens tonight in a few theaters, including the Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood and the AMC Empire 25 in New York City.

Mansome - Reviews
Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary looks at male fashion and how it is changing what some think of when they think of being a man. Morgan Spurlock's first documentary was a huge hit, but he's never recaptured that success. His latest is earning the worst reviews of his career with many critics complaining about the flood of cameos by famous people and a lack of people with real insight. Mansome opens tonight in 20 theaters, which is probably as wide as it will go.

Never Stand Still - Reviews
A documentary about the world of dance that balances performances and interviews. So far there are only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which implies there's not a lot of buzz. Even worse, only one of them is positive. Documentaries rarely escape the art house circuit and weak reviews will kill this film's chances of doing so. Never Stand Still opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Polisse - Reviews
A dramatic look at the Parisian police force, specifically the Juvenile Protection Unit, which deals not only with juvenile delinquents, but also with young victims of crime. This is the best-reviewed narrative film on this week's list and French films do have a larger audience than most foreign language films. However, its subject matter might be a little too rough to expand significantly. Polisse opens tonight at the IFC Center and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City, as well as the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles.

Quill: Life of a Guide Dog - Reviews
A Japanese film about a Labrador puppy chosen to be a guide dog and the blind man he is paired with, who doesn't want a guide dog. The reviews are great, but perhaps a little low for a limited release. On the other hand, I've heard more buzz about this movie that most other limited releases coming out this month and that could help. Quill: Life of a Guide Dog opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

The Samaritan - Reviews
Samuel L. Jackson stars as an ex-con trying to go straight, when the son of his former partner wants him involved in a new scheme, the man just won't take no for an answer. This film had more star power than most limited releases have and I had heard some buzz about the movie, but the reviews will likely kill it. The Samaritan opens tonight in three theaters, one in New York City, one in Chicago, and one in Los Angeles.

Virginia - Reviews
This film not only has an impressive cast for a limited release, but also had a lot more buzz than the average limited release before it hit festivals in 2010. However, at the moment it's Tomatometer Score is 0% positive. Virginia opens tonight at the Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood and the AMC Empire 25 in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Hysteria, Virginia, Lovely Molly, The Samaritan, Polisse, Mansome, Never Stand Still, Crooked Arrows, Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog, Indie Game: The Movie