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Limited Releases are Worth a Look

November 4th, 2011

It's the first week of November, which should be the start of Awards Season. However, there are not a lot of films that are really wowing critics. In fact, there are more films missing the overall positive level than there are earning award-worthy reviews. The Last Rites of Joe May is the best bet and, if you don't live in New York, try and catch it on Video on Demand. And, if you live up north in Canada, try and get to a showing of Billy Bishop Goes to War.

Billy Bishop Goes to War - Reviews
A Canadian film starring four-time Gemini award winner Eric Peterson. He plays the legendary World War I fighter ace reminiscing about his life. Like most Canadian films, there are not a lot of reviews online. However, unlike many such films, this one is opening wider than just a few cities, although it doesn't truly open till next week in time for Remembrance Day. If you live in Toronto or Saskatoon check it out this weekend. Next weekend, you can see it in Waterloo, Regina, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Abbotsford... Abbotsford? Really? In most cases, the film only has a few showings over a couple days, so check the official site for more details.

Charlotte Rampling: The Look - Reviews
A BioPic about Charlotte Rampling, who has been acting since the 1960s and is still going strong today. The film's reviews are good, but not great and, like I've said countless times in the past, limited releases generally need reviews that are great just to survive in limited release. It is the best reviewed documentary coming out this week, so maybe that will help it out. Charlotte Rampling: The Look opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

Killing Bono - Reviews
This film is set in the 1980s and tells the story of two brothers are trying to become the biggest rock stars to ever come out of Ireland. However, while they struggle to become famous, they are forced to live in the shadow of their former high school classmates who are finding success, U2. So far the reviews for this film are just above 50%, which will likely be fatal for a limited release. Killing Bono opens tonight at the AMC Theatres Village 7 in New York City, before opening in Los Angeles next weekend.

The Last Rites of Joe May - Reviews
Dennis Farina stars as the titular Joe May, a hustler whose health is failing. After an extended stay in a hospital, he goes back home only to find his apartment has been rented out to a single mother, Jamie Anne Allman, and her daughter, Meredith Droeger. His landlord thought he had died and threw out all of his stuff. The lady does offer him place to stay, as she needs help with the rent. He goes to his mob contact, Gary Cole, to try and get one last job. So far this film's reviews are unbelievable; they are the best on this week's list with much of the praise going to Dennis Farina. The Last Rites of Joe May opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City, but is already playing on Video on Demand.

The Other F Word - Reviews
A documentary focusing on the lives of several people who were once icons of the punk movement, but are now fathers. The film's reviews are below the overall positive level and the crossover audience between punk rock fans and documentary fans might be too slim for this film to thrive. The Other F Word opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City and expands to the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles tonight.

Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story - No Reviews
A documentary about Jay DeMerit, an American who dreamt of playing in an European premiere league. (He's now playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps.) I have very low expectations for this film for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests no buzz. It's about soccer, which is never going to be a top-tier sport in the United States. Finally, it is opening in 87 theaters, which is way too many for this type of film.

The Son of No One - Reviews
This film's cast has a lot higher name recognition than most limited releases have, but the reviews are simply terrible. A Tomatometer Score below 20% positive is bad news for a mindless popcorn flick. Channing Tatum stars as a rookie cop assigned to the neighborhood where he grew up, but an unsolved murder that happened in the neighborhood when he was a kid brings up old family secrets. The Son of No One opens tonight in ten theaters, but likely won't find an audience till it hits the home market.

Stuck Between Stations - Reviews
A returning soldier tries to reconnect with a woman he had a crush on while they were both in high school. The film is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, but with only five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, the lack of reviews might be a bigger factor than the current score, as they indicate a lack of buzz. Stuck Between Stations opens tonight at the reRun Gastropub in New York City.

Young Goethe in Love - Reviews
After failing his law examines, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is sent to a provincial court to revive his potential career as a lawyer. Instead he falls for Lotte, a woman who is betrothed to another man. The film's reviews have slipped below the 50% positive level, which will likely prove fatal to the film's chances in limited release. Unless someone is a huge fan of costume dramas, they will likely have better options. Young Goethe in Love opens tonight in two theaters in New York City.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, The Son of No One, Killing Bono, The Other F Word, The Last Rites of Joe May, Charlotte Rampling: The Look, Young Goethe in Love, Stuck Between Stations, Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story