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Welcome to the Limited Releases

October 29th, 2010

Another week and I'm still waiting for the flood of Oscar hopefuls to come out. There are a couple of high profile films making their theatrical debut this week, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and Welcome to the Rileys, but neither are earning good reviews. While the movies that are earning excellent reviews are mostly documentaries and foreign imports.

Bellamy - Reviews
This film was directed by Claude Chabrol, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 80, after a career that spanned more than 50 years. His last movie stars Gérard Depardieu as Inspector Bellamy, who while on his annual vacation with his wife gets involved in an inspection. The reviews for the film are excellent, and fans of the director will certainly want to see his last film, so hopefully that will be enough to find an audience. On the other hand, it is a foreign language film and its potential to expand is limited. Bellamy opens tonight at IFC Center and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema, both in New York City.

Eichmann - Reviews
A dramatization of the confession of Adolf Eichmann, who is infamous for being the man in charge of the mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps. The term "Banality of evil" was coined to describe how seemingly normal people could be convinced that acts of evil were normal. It's an interesting subject, but the reviews are not strong. Eichmann opens tonight at the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Reviews
The end of the Millenium trilogy is not as strong as the way it started, but given the success of the first two films, earning some measure of success is very likely. It earned $500,000 in just two weeks in Canada, which is actually better than the previous installment. And given the relative size of the two markets, it should do more than $5 million here in total, possibbly reaching $10 million. On the other hand, it is opening in more than 100 theaters, which is always a risk.

Monsters - Reviews
A film made to answer the question, "Can you make a monster movie for almost no money?" The answer is yes, but the resulting movie isn't quite as strong as one could hope, with many critics complaining that it doesn't live up to its premise. The reviews are better than the average wide release, but that's likely not enough to find an audience before the home market. Monsters opens tonight at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles and the Sunshine Cinema in New York City

Shake Hands With the Devil - Reviews
A Canadian film about the atrocities in Rwanda. It's the same subject matter that was portrayed in Hotel Rwanda, but this movie focuses on Roméo Dallaire, the Force Commander for the UN forces, who saw the genocide coming but couldn't convince anyone at the UN to intercede. The film earned 12 Genie nominations (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars) but was shut out on awards night, while its reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are just mixed. I think comparisons to Hotel Rwanda will hurt the film, but it is still worth checking out.

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields - Reviews
A documentary about Stephin Merritt, singer-songwriter who is incredibly famous, among a very small group of people. The reviews are excellent, so much so that it could be worth checking out, even for those who have never heard of him. Strange Powers opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Walkaway - Reviews
Four stories about the various stages of love and marriage from an Indo-American perspective. Like many films aimed at this target audience, it is opening in more theaters than most limited releases, but there's little chance for mainstream appeal. Walkaway opens tonight in 26 theaters across the nation.

Waste Land - Reviews
The film follows Vik Muniz, an artist, as he travels back to his home in Brazil, and to the worlds largest garbage dump. There is photographs the catadores, or the scavengers that pick through the garbage and using their images, and the garbage, recreates famous works of art. So far the film's reviews are perfect, so hopefully it will find an audience. Waste Land opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next weekend.

Welcome to the Rileys - Reviews
After losing their daughter, a couple (Melissa Leo and James Gandolfini) are falling apart. But when the husband meets a young girl (Kristen Stewart) who is a runaway, and a stripper, and more, he sees a chance to save her where he wasn't able to save his own daughter. This was seen as a potential Awards Season player; however, its reviews are merely mixed. Many are still praising the performances, even if the script lets them down. Welcome to the Rileys opens tonight in ten theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City and near Boston, Massachusetts.

Wild Target - Reviews
Bill Nighy stars as a hitman that falls in love with his intended target, Emily Blunt, who just conned a crime boss, Rupert Everett. The film opened in its native U.K. over the summer, but it did not do well. Looking at its reviews, it is clear why, and it will very likely struggle here as well. Wild Target opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Shake Hands with the Devil, Luftslottet som sprängdes, Wild Target, Welcome to the Rileys, Monsters, Eichmann, Bellamy, Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields, Waste Land, Walkaway