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Thunder Soul and the other Limited Releases Try to Make Some Noise

September 23rd, 2011

It's another week without a lot of limited releases that seem destined for box office success. There are a few films that earned a bit of advanced buzz, but very few of those are earning good reviews. There are two films that are currently earning 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes: Thunder Soul and Weekend. But both might have trouble finding an audience either because they are opening in too many theaters, or because the subject matter makes them a niche film.

Archie's Final Project - Reviews
Gabrial Sunday plays Archie Williams, a high school student who announces for his final project in media class he will record his suicide. And with that announcement, he becomes more popular than he ever has before. This film was shot in 2006 and is only getting a release this week, which is a bad sign. It's reviews are on the weak side, but not as bad as a few other releases on this week's list. Archie's Final Project open at Laemmle's Monica Fourplex in Santa Monica.

A Bird of the Air - Reviews
This film generated a little more buzz than most limited releases, but the reviews are not going to help maintain that buzz. In the movie, Jackson Hurst stars as Lyman, a loner, whose life is interrupted when a parrot flies into his trailer and announces he's an eagle. Fiona, who has had a bit of a crush on him for a while, decides to help him find the parrot's owner, as a way to get closer to him. Rachel Nichols has quite a bit of name recognition, but not enough to overcome the reviews. A Bird of the Air opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City.

Limelight - Reviews
A documentary about Peter Gatien, who was a major night club owner in New York City, until legal problems got in the way. The film's reviews are overall positive, but not overwhelmingly positive and I don't think it's going to be able to find a very receptive audience, especially as it tries to expand outside of New York City. Limelight opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema.

Machine Gun Preacher - Reviews
Another limited release with better than average advance buzz that only managed weak reviews. Gerard Butler stars as a former gang member who finds religion and then goes to Africa to help build an orphanage in the middle of a civil war. However, as he makes enemies with the rebels, he decides to take up arms against them. The reviews are bad, even compared to the The Killer Elite, and there's little hope it will thrive in limited release. Machine Gun Preacher opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Pearl Jam Twenty - Reviews
Cameron Crowe directs this documentary about the rise of Pearl Jam. The reviews are good, but not great, with some critics complaining it won't appeal to non-fans because it's too interested in praising the band instead of learning more about them. That is the minority opinion, on the other hand. Pearl Jam Twenty opened midweek in 60 theaters and earned $280,000 during its opening day. It begins a one-week limited run in a smaller number of theaters starting tonight.

Puncture - Reviews
Chris Evans stars as drug-addicted lawyer, but he's a functioning drug addict. He and his partner, Mark Kassen, take on a case helping a nurse, Vanessa Shaw, who pricked her finger on a contaminated needle. They quickly find themselves as the underdog when a pharmaceutical company comes to the defense of hospital. The film is earning good reviews, but not great reviews. It does have better name recognition than most limited releases have, but the cast doesn't exactly have a lot of Indie Cred. (Chris Evans is best known for his performances in comic book movies.) Puncture opens tonight in four theaters, two in New York City, and one each in Los Angeles and Houston.

Thunder Soul - Reviews
Jamie Foxx narrates this documentary, which is about a group of musicians who reunite to celebrate their old music school teacher who helped integrate their high school music program in the 1970s. The film is earning 100% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is also opening in 35 theaters, which is too many for this type of release. I really hope it thrives in limited release, but I'm a little worried.

Weekend - Reviews
After a party with friends, Russel heads to a bar to pick up a guy for a one night stand. But after meeting Glenn, this one night stand could turn into a lot more. So far the film's reviews are perfect on Rotten Tomatoes, and there's a change this British film will expand somewhat. Mainstream success is likely out of its reach. Weekend opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City and there's even some Q&A sessions tonight and tomorrow.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Archie's Final Project, Puncture, Machine Gun Preacher, Thunder Soul, Limelight, Pearl Jam Twenty, A Bird of the Air, Weekend