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Few Limited Releases are Looking Bright

August 26th, 2011

While there are many limited releases coming out this week, very few of them are earning good reviews. It could be a bad week on the per theater chart. Higher Ground has the best shot at success, but Circumstance could do well. Meanwhile, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil opens On Demand today before hitting theaters next month and coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in November. It looks awesome and I can't wait to see it.

Brighton Rock - Reviews
Screenwriter Rowan Joffe makes his directorial debut, and that's a phrase you will read more than a few times in this column. This British gangster film has an impressive cast, but the reviews are only mixed. I think the reviews are going to hurt in the long run, but perhaps the cast and buzz will help it during its opening week. Brighton Rock opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters in more than half-a-dozen cities.

Chasing Madoff - Reviews
This is a very important Documentary, as it shows just how dysfunctional the system is. However, the reviews are quite poor with most critics complaining that the filmmakers tried to hard to make the film compelling by using bad clichés instead of just trusting the subject matter. If you are interested in the subject matter, it is worth checking out, but wait to rent it on DVD. Chasing Madoff opens tonight in ten theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Circumstance - Reviews
One of the better reviewed films on this week's list, but it still fails to reach the 80% positive level one would hope for with a limited release. The film is written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz and it focuses on intolerance in Iranian society. Given the subject matter and the reviews, it could survive in limited release, even if it doesn't do well enough to expand significantly. Circumstance opens tonight in seven theaters, mostly in New York City.

The Family Tree - Reviews
Director Vivi Friedman is making her feature-length debut with this film, but while she has a huge cast with many, many recognizable names, the end result appears to be a terrible movie. Right now the Tomatometer Score is just 8% positive, which would be unacceptable under any circumstance, never mind a limited release, which normally requires much better reviews just to survive. The Family Tree opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

Higher Ground - Reviews
Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut with this film. In the film, she plays Corine, a woman whose husband and child are nearly killed in an accident, and as a result she begins to question her faith. The transition from actor to director is often a bumpy one, but one look at the reviews and you can see that's not the case here. In fact, this film is earning the best reviews of the weekend and combined with the star power, likely will earn the best per theater average. Higher Ground opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and Los Angeles.

Redemption Road - Reviews
Mario Van Peebles' first theatrical release as a director since Baadasssss!, a.k.a., How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass. The only thing better than those names is the film itself, which earned nearly universal praise. It's still too early to tell where this film will end up, but three of the four reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are positive, so that's a good sign. It also has a strong cast with plenty of name recognition, led by Michael Clarke Duncan. That said, it is opening in 26 theaters, which is a lot for a limited release. Hopefully it will find an audience, even if it has to wait for the home market to do so.

Special Treatment - Buy from Amazon
Written and directed by Jeanne Labrune, who previously wrote the screenplay for Vatel. That film didn't win over a lot of critics nor was it a big box office hit. Unfortunately, this film's reviews are even weaker. And as much as I like Isabelle Huppert, I don't think she has the drawing power to make up the difference. Special Treatment opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Brighton Rock, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Circumstance, The Family Tree, Higher Ground, Sans queue ni tete, Redemption Road, Chasing Madoff