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Limited Releases Double Down

July 29th, 2011

There are five films opening in limited release that are earning Tomatometer Scores of 80% or better. There are also a couple others earning reviews that are good, but not great. That's a lot of competition and sadly it likely means a few of them won't live up to their potential as a result. Some, like Attack the Block, might have to wait till the home market to find an audience. Others won't be as lucky.

All In - Reviews
A documentary about the relative rise in popularity of poker. (Personally, I think it can be attributed to the pocket cam, the camera that allows people at home to see what cards the players are holding. It makes the game a lot more TV friendly. Bigger TV audiences means more money at the largest tournaments, and more money means more people playing, and more people playing means bigger TV audiences, and the circle continues.) It was made in 2009 and is only coming out now, plus there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm not saying the film is destined to bust, but it wasn't dealt pocket aces either.

Assassination Games - Reviews
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins star as two hitmen going after the same drug kingpin for different reasons. One is doing it just for the money, the other for revenge. The film is the wrong genre and there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so I don't think it will find an audience in limited release. That said, it's Jean-Claude Van Damme, so I want to see it. (Bloodsport is still one of my favorite guilty pleasures.)

Attack the Block - Reviews
This film has earned a lot of advanced buzz, with some people go so far as to call it Shaun of the Dead, but with aliens. The two films do share some producers, as well as Nick Frost. There is a chance this buzz could backfire, especially if the movie is mediocre, but so far the reviews are almost as strong as the reviews Shaun of the Dead earned. I don't think it will do as well at the box office, but I hope it does well enough to earn some measure of mainstream success, while its chances on the home market are better. Attack the Block opens tonight in seven theaters in major cities nationwide, as well as one in Toronto, Canada.

The Devil's Double - Reviews
Dominic Cooper stars as both Latif Yahia, an average Iraqi, and Uday Hussein, the son of Saddam Hussein. Latif was forced to become Uday's body-double, and therefore had to learn to act like Uday, a job that is made worse by Uday's psychotic nature. There's been a lot of buzz going into this movie, but the reviews are only good and not great. Perhaps the buzz will carry it through the opening weekend. The Devil's Double opens tonight in five theaters.

The Future - Reviews
Written and directed by Miranda July, who previously wrote and directed Me and You and Everyone We Know. That film earned great reviews. This film is earning even better reviews. It stars Miranda July and Hamish Linklater, as a couple about to have serious responsibility in their lives (they are adopting a cat) so they decide to take a month off and live their dreams. It sounds weird (especially since we hear the thoughts of the cat as it waits to be adopted) but the reviews suggests it could find a large enough audience in limited release that it can expand significantly. I don't think it will go wide, but it could earn some mainstream success. The Future opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Good Neighbours - Reviews
Good Neighbours is a Canadian film, hence the "U" in "Neighbours". Three neighbors in an apartment building bond over a shared fascination with a local serial killer. But as the serial killer claims more victims and people stay inside more, the three learn their their good neighbors have a few dark secrets of their own. The reviews started out incredibly well, but have since softened to just over the overall positive level. That's probably not enough to thrive in limited release, but it could find an audience on the home market. Good Neighbours opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

The Guard - Reviews
Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson star as an FBI agent and a small town cop who have to work together to take down a drug kingpin. It's a buddy cop black comedy. Black comedies are notoriously hard to sell; however, the combination of the star power of the cast and the film's incredible reviews could be enough for this film to become one of the exceptions. The Guard opens tonight in select theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Life in a Day - Reviews
This film began as a YouTube experiment where 80,000 people uploaded 4,500 hours of footage about a day in their lives. That footage has been culled into a 90-minute documentary. It's a bit of a risk, as the massively different styles and quality could result in a movie that was little more than a mess. However, the reviews suggest it paid off. It might still struggle to find an audience, as it is opening in nine theaters, which is a lot for a documentary. Additionally, there are more than a few films opening with amazing reviews, so the competition is tight.

Point Blank - Reviews
A nurse saves the life of a dying criminal, but later is knocked unconscious and his pregnant wife is kidnapped. Now he is forced to help the criminal escape from the hospital or he will never see his wife again. The reviews are great, but this is not your typical limited release, which makes predicting its chances a little dicey. Point Blank opens tonight in seven theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City.

Spiderhole - Reviews
Four artists decide to squat in an empty house to live the bohemian artist lifestyle; however, the house they choose turns out to not be as empty as they thought. It's the wrong genre for limited release, the reviews are weak, and the film opened on Video on Demand on Wednesday, so there's little hope for the film's box office chances.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Guard, Attack the Block, Life in a Day, The Future, All In: The Poker Movie, The Devil's Double, Good Neighbors, A bout portant, Assassination Games, Spiderhole