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No Swan Song for Limited Releases

December 3rd, 2010

There's another eclectic mix of limited releases on this week's list, including a film that could be bound for Oscar glory, another that has been delayed many times in the past, a Christmas film, two Christmas films if you include the re-release of The Polar Express, and more. Will any find some measure of mainstream success. Let's hope so.

All Good Things - Reviews
A movie with Awards Season Buzz attached to it for quite some time; however, now that the reviews are out, they are less than impressive. Some critics are complimenting some of the performances, but the overall result is still less than one would hope for. Also, it has been on the studio shelf for two years because of financial reasons, which could also hurt the film's box office / Awards Season chances, because it looks bad. All Good Things opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

Applause - Reviews
A Danish film about an actress, Paprika Steen, dealing with addiction and trying to recover from the bad choices she made. The film has earned good reviews and earned three Bodil Awards nominations, which are the Danish Oscars, which is to say it is the Danish equivalent of the Oscar and not the same as an Oscar Danish, which is a a Cheese Danish topped by an Oscar Meyer Weiner. Okay, I made that last part up, but I'm sure someone will try it now and if you do, tell me how it tastes, as I'm not allowed to have hot dogs or danishes on my diet. Moving on... The film is not earning a lot of reviews here and that suggests there's not a lot of buzz surrounding the film, plus it is a foreign language film and that's always an obstacle to overcome. Applause opens tonight in two theaters, both in the Los Angeles area.

The Assistants - Reviews
A group of assistants working for a boss from hell decide to combine their forces to take him down. It takes place within the movie industry, so you get the impression that the script is a bit of wish fulfillment and it might be a little too inside for mass appeal. The Assistants opens tonight at the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

Bhutto - Reviews
A documentary biopic of Benazir Bhutto, who was the leader of Pakistan before she was assassinated. A fascinating subject, and so far the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are perfect. However, as a documentary, it will still have a tough climb ahead of it. Bhutto opens tonight in two theaters, the Cinema Village in New York City and the Nuart Theatre on Los Angeles.

Black Swan - Reviews
The biggest release of the week, not in term of theater count, but in terms of box office / Awards Season potential. It's directed by Darren Aronofsky, whose previous film was The Wrestler, which was a major player during Awards Season when it was released two years ago. Natalie Portman is earning a lot of buzz for her performance and many think she could earn her first Oscar nomination since Closer. Getting off to a fast start will certainly help it garner the attention it will need and it should be the biggest limited release of the week in terms of box office dollars, even though its not the widest. However, with a theater count of 18, it won't match The King's Speech's per theater average from last weekend.

Dead Awake - No Reviews
The widest limited release of the week at 55 theaters, which is far too many, expect in specialized cases (churchgoing set, Bollywood films, etc.). This is not one of those film. Additionally, while there are a few recognizable names in the cast (Rose McGowan, Nick Stahl, Amy Smart) there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which further erodes my confidence in the movie's box office chances. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.

I Love You, Philip Morris - Reviews
This film had a lot of buzz surrounding it when it was first going to hit theaters, but it has since been delayed so many times that I was suspecting it would never be released theatrically. Its international numbers didn't really help the situation, as it mostly struggled. I assumed the film was a dud and that it would be dumped direct-to-DVD. However, its reviews are actually quite strong. Perhaps not strong enough to thrive in limited release, but certainly stronger than I was expecting. In the film, Jim Carrey plays a conman sent to prison only to fall in love with a fellow prisoner, the titular Philip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor. So it has good reviews, big names in the cast, and quite a bit of name recognition. Hopefully this is enough to overcome the reputation being delayed repeatedly can cause. I Love You, Philip Morris opens tonight in six theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Meskada - Reviews
The second limited release on this week's list starring Nick Stahl. Here he plays Noah Cordin, a detective called in to investigate a murder that happened in an affluent neighborhood, but the only clue leads back to Noah's hometown, a very poor town. This of course leads to incredible tensions between the two groups, the rich and the poor. Reviews are mixed, but even the positive reviews suggesting it would make a better rental than a theater experience. Meskada opens tonight at the Laemmle's Monica Fourplex in Santa Monica, California.

Night Catches Us - Reviews
The feature-length debut for writer / director Tanya Hamilton, and looking at the reviews, she could have a career ahead of her. The film stars Anthony Mackie as Marcus Washington, who grew up in the turbulent days of the Black Panther movement in Philadelphia, but when he returns many years later, he gets sucked into the life he thought he left behind. Night Catches Us opens tonight in four theaters, including one in Philadelphia.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale - Reviews
An archeological dig in Finland has uncovered the find of the century, Santa Claus. But he's not the jolly fellow we've been told about. So far the reviews are excellent and people who are looking for a bit of counter-programing for the whole Christmas cheer could be in for a treat. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City with plans to expand over the coming weeks into major cities across the United States. On a side note, I've read more than a few reviews where the critic complained that the film was too dark for kids. This is because it is not a kids movie. Do not take your kids to see this movie. It has an R-rating.


Filed under: Limited Releases, I Love You, Phillip Morris, All Good Things, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, Night Catches Us, Dead Awake, Applause, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Meskada, Bhutto, The Assistants