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Limited Releases vs. Evil

September 30th, 2011

The list of limited releases this week includes a few films that are earning amazing reviews while going after very different target audiences. Take Shelter should please fans of art house dramas and has the best shot at earning some measure of mainstream success. Benda Bilili! is the best bet for fans of documentaries, but its potential to expand is more limited. Meanwhile, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is anything but the typical art house film, but its reviews are so good that it deserves to find an audience, even if it has to wait till the home market to do so.

American Teacher - Reviews
Matt Damon narrates this documentary that can be seen as an antidote to Waiting for Superman. While that film earned amazing reviews, while this film's reviews are weaker and I fear it won't be seen by as many people. American Teacher opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Santa Monica.

Benda Bilili! - Reviews
A documentary that looks at a group of mostly disabled musicians living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has seen some serious fighting in recent years. The film's reviews are incredible and it could find a receptive audience in art house theaters, but its potential to expand is limited. Benda Bilili! opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Force - No Reviews
The widest release of the week is a Bollywood action thriller about a vigilante cop. It's opening in 58 theaters and there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Normally this would be a really bad sign, but this is typical of the genre.

Margaret - Reviews
This film was shot in 2005, but while the director, Kenneth Lonergan, was coming up with a cut he liked, all hell broke loose. And by that I mean everyone started suing everyone else. That's all been cleared up now, but the end result is only mixed and limited releases need better reviews than this to survive. Margaret opens tonight at the The Landmark in Los Angeles and the Sunshine Cinema in New York City.

Munger Road - Reviews
St. Charles, a suburb of Chicago, was the location of a tragedy when a school bus was hit by a train on Munger Road. Now it is rumored the area is cursed and once a year the spirits return. This year, four kids decide to test this legend, and end up missing. The cops, led by Chief Kirkhoven, have to deal with this and the return of a killer. I don't have high hopes for this film's box office chances, as it has almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and it is the wrong genre. Granted, the one review is positive and it should perform better on the home market. Munger Road opens today at the Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 in St. Charles, so if you live in the area, check it out.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! - Reviews
A documentary about Sarah Palin, who recently asked her supporters to give her money if they want her to run for the GOP nomination. This does make the film a little more relevant than it otherwise would be, but a lot of critics are still asking, 'Why bother?' Sarah Palin: You Betcha! opens tonight in six theaters, split between New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, before expanding next weekend.

Take Shelter - Reviews
Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain play Curtis and Samantha, husband and wife and loving parents to, Hannah (Tova Stewart), their six-year old daughter, who happens to be deaf. When Curtis starts having nightmares about an upcoming massive storm, he begins to rebuild the storm shelter in their backyard. The film is earning incredible reviews, and while it is still a little early for Awards Season buzz, maybe this film will last in theaters long enough to enter the heart of Awards Season. Take Shelter opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and the third in Los Angeles.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil - Reviews
Two groups of people head into the woods on vacation: a group of preppies and two loveable hillbillies. Due to a misunderstanding, the former tries to kill the latter, which is a twist on the teenagers in the woods horror sub-genre. The film is earning amazing reviews, especially among genre critics; however, it is been released on Video on Demand for a while now, while the home market release is just two months away. That might make it hard to convince people to see it in theaters. Finally, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is opening in too many theaters, 30 to be specific, so it will likely struggle to earn a sizable per theater average.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Margaret, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Take Shelter, Benda Bilili!, Force, Munger Road, American Teacher, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!