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Throwing Limited Releases a Bone

June 11th, 2010

We are still waiting for our first breakout success off the year on the limited release front. There are a couple films on this week's list that could be the first, including the dramatic film Winter's Bone and the documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Both are earning reviews that are 90% positive, or better, and hopefully both will find receptive audiences starting this weekend.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky - Reviews
A period piece about the relationship between fashion designer, Coco Chanel, and composer, Igor Stravinsky, in the 1920s. It's the type of film that could do well in limited release, but its reviews are merely mixed and well below the 80% positive normally associated with success. Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and one in Los Angeles.

Jerusalema - Reviews
Inspired by a true story, this movie is about the rise of a crime boss in South Africa during the end days of the Apartheid and the aftermath of its end. The film won a number of awards at several film festivals, but so far the reviews here have been rather weak. Granted, there are only three of them on Rotten Tomatoes, which is too few to really judge the film. Then again, that's not a good sign either. Jerusalema opens tonight in four theaters, half in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City and Houston, Texas.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work - Reviews
A documentary about Joan Rivers, who has been in the entertainment business for more than 50 years. Obviously there's a lot to talk about in this film and with reviews that are currently 90% positive, even those are more casual fans of the comedienne's work should check it out. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work opens tonight in nine theaters, roughly evenly split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

The Lottery - Reviews
A documentary about the debate between public schools and charter schools focusing on one county where there is a lottery system for the 3,000 applicants hoping to grab one of the 475 spots in an alternative school. Mixed reviews aside, I've seen a lot of studies into the matter and there's very little solid evidence that suggests charter, private, alternative schools perform any better than run of the mill public school. In fact, the number one factor in determining the success a child will have in school is parental involvement, which is something no school system has much control over. (Unless they force the parents to participate under threat of throwing their kids out of the school. Can't do that in a public school.) The Lottery opens tonight at the Big Cinemas Manhattan in New York City.

Winter's Bone - Reviews
Jennifer Lawrence stars as Ree Dolly, a 17-year old girl who is searching for her father. Her father is a drug dealer who is out on bail, but has skipped town. Since he put up his house as collateral, if she can't find him, her and her siblings will be thrown out. So far this film has earned incredible reviews. Reviews that are so good that if it were released in the winter, I would be talking about Awards Season buzz. In fact, it won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Hopefully it will be a big winner at the box office as well.Winter's Bone starts its theatrical run tonight in five theaters, two in New York City and three in the Los Angeles area.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, Jerusalema, Winter's Bone, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work