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Dear Limited Releases

March 4th, 2011

There are a few releases of note this week, some because of their strong reviews (Uncle Boonmee); some because of the unusual distribution route (Red State); some because of the actor-turned-director (Happythankyoumoreplease). Overall, there should be something for everyone.

Abel - Reviews
This could be the best reviewed release of the week. Or it might not actually be opening this week. The titular Abel is a 9-year old boy who is about to be institutionalized when his mother takes him home for a week to see if that change can help him. It doesn't. Instead he decides he's the head of the family and treats his older brother and sister as if they were his kids, and then starts treating his mother as if she were his wife. Things become even more complicated when his estranged father actually comes home.

Bereavement - Reviews
Alexandra Daddorio stars as a kid whose parents are killed in a car crash, so she has to live with an aunt and uncle on a secluded rural farm. One day while jogging, she sees someone living in an abandoned slaughterhouse. You can pretty much guess how this ends. It's a prequel to Malevolence and it is earning better reviews, but as a teenage slasher, the odds of the film thriving in limited release are low. Especially with direct competition from a film better suited to art houses. Bereavement opens tonight in 30 theaters, which is likely too many.

Dear Lemon Lima - Buy from Amazon
When Vanessa (Savanah Wiltfong) is dumped by her boyfriend, Philip (Shayne Topp), she first tries to win him back by emulating his new girlfriend, Megan (Meaghan Martin). Then she bands together with her fellow misfits to try to win the Snowstorm Survivor competition. This is not the kind of film you normally think of when it comes to limited releases. It is also opening on Video on Demand tonight, which further erodes its chances at the box office. On the other hand, its reviews are quite good, even if there are not a lot of them, and I hope to get a chance to review it when it comes out on DVD / Blu-ray. In the meantime, Dear Lemon Lima opens tonight at the Culver Plaza Theatres in Los Angeles.

Happythankyoumoreplease - Reviews
Josh Radnor is best known for his role in How I Met Your Mother, but he makes his writing and directing debut in this movie. The film is about a group of 20 somethings making the transition to adulthood. It's a story that's been done countless times in the past and given the critical response to this film, it's been done better. The film does have a lot of name recognition among the cast, which could help it during its opening weekend, but I'm not bullish about the film's long term chances. Happythankyoumoreplease opens tonight at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles.

I Saw the Devil - Reviews
The latest film from director Jee-woon Kim to make it stateside. His previous films include A Tale of Two Sisters and The Good, The Bad, and The Weird. After a serial killer kills his fiancee, a secret service agent decides to get revenge by kidnapping him, torturing him, and then letting him go. ... Only to repeat the process again and again. Reviews are good, but it is the wrong genre for limited release and it will likely struggle to find an audience. On the other hand, it could do well on the home market. I Saw the Devil opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Old Cats - Reviews
The film centers on a family dispute in which an elderly mother is trying to prevent her daughter from learning that her memory is going, while the daughter would be eager to take advantage of that to get rich. There's only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is negative. It looks like this film will slip between the cracks.

Red State - Reviews
Kevin Smith hits a genre he's not known for, the Teenage Slasher. So far the reviews are mixed, even for the genre, but I'm more interested in seeing if Kevin Smith's plan to self-distribute the film works. If it does, it it has the potential to open up the movie making industry to limitless new voices. You can buy a professional quality HD camera for less money than a car, but trying to get a movie into theaters is a barrier most independent filmmakers can not overcome without the help of a studio. Granted, Kevin Smith has name recognition most independent filmmakers don't have, as well as a built in fanbase, but this could still be an important test of self-distribution. Red State has a special screening on Saturday at the Radio City Music Hall as part of a special evening Q&A session.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - Reviews
One of the best reviewed limited release of the week.In this Thai film, writer / director Apichatpong Weerasethakul tells the story of a dying man whose is surrounded by his family has he recalls all of his past lives. However, many critics have noted the plot is such that the details are unimportant. Uncle Boonmee opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City, but expands to Los Angeles tonight.

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom - No Reviews
Julia Stone plays Elizabeth, an 11-year old girl who learns she is adopted. Determined to find out who her real mother is, she consults her Ouija board and heads off to find her real mother. It's a Canadian movie that opens tonight in Quebec before expanding in a couple weeks to the rest of Canada. Perhaps by then there will be more reviews online.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Happythankyoumoreplease, Red State, Akmareul Boatda, Gatos viejos, Dear Lemon Lima, Bereavement, Loong Boonmee raleuk chat , Abel