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Limited Releases are Rocking and Moviegoers are Happy

October 11th, 2008

The official start of Awards season is nearing, and the number of potential mainstream hits coming out in limited release is growing. Of the dozen films on this week's list, there are a few of note, including Happy-Go-Lucky, RocknRolla, and Breakfast with Scot, but for wildly different reasons.

Ashes of Time Redux - Reviews
Wong Kar-wai re-edits his lone entry in the martial arts genre. The original Ashes of Time came out in 1994 to amazing reviews and even won several awards, both in its native Hong Kong and abroad. Re-editing the film was risky, but so far the critical reception is equally strong and it is worth checking out for fans of the original specifically, or of the genre in general. Ashes of Time Redux opens this weekend in five theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Billy: The Early Years of Billy Graham - Reviews
A BioPic about legendary Televangelist, who started way back before that term was considered an insult by most people. As you can probably tell by the name, this movie focuses on the early years. It could appeal to the churchgoing crowd, which might be enough to top $1 million over the weekend, but the few reviews available suggest there's little crossover appeal. Billy opens in nearly 300 theaters in major cities, mostly in the Bible-belt and not in Los Angeles or New York City, where most limited releases open.

Breakfast with Scot - Reviews
A Canadian movie that is a first, as it features a gay storyline and had the official support of a major league sport, namely the NHL. However, while this is worth noting, the film itself is only earning tepid reviews. It is quite predictable in a sitcom / after-school-special kind of way, but it still has its charms and should be seen. Breakfast with Scot opens this weekend in five theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Choose Connor - Reviews
A coming of age story mixed with politics, neither of which is particularly uncommon in movie. Additionally, not only will the film not win many converts based on originality, many who do see it will simply be reminded of better films. It is still worth checking out, but for most a rental will suffice. Choose Connor opens this weekend at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Fall of Hyperion - No Reviews
Part of the Everyday Gay Heroes line made by Here! TV and released by Regent in theaters. In theory, this is a smart plan, as it not only grabs the gay niche market, but also should appeal to wider audiences since there's nothing gay-specific about the general plot. (If you want to see what 'gay-specific' plots are like, check out Another Gay Movie and its sequel.) Fall of Hyperion opens this weekend at the Regent Showcase in Hollywood.

Happy-Go-Lucky - Reviews
One of the best-reviewed films of the week, it has the potential to be a player come Awards Season. This film is about an insanely optimistic woman, whose rosy outlook on life is a source of misery for those around her. The fact that it has Awards Season potential should help it out over the weekend at the box office. Happy-Go-Lucky opens tonight in four theaters, half in New York City and the other half in the Los Angeles area, before expanding nationwide in two weeks.

Ice Blues - A Donald Strachey Mystery - No Reviews
The latest in a line of mystery movies aimed at gay moviegoers. This franchise is obviously popular enough with its target audience to keep making more, but there's no attempt at crossover appeal, which is a shame since there's no legitimate reason for gay themes to restrict a film's audience. Ice Blues - A Donald Strachey Mystery opens this weekend at the Regent Showcase Theater in Los Angeles.

Lola Montes - Reviews
A re-release of the 1955 film, which was the last directorial credit for German director Max Ophüls. Max Ophüls was nominated twice for Oscars, but not for this movie. This film is certainly better than most new movies that are coming out, and fans of German filmmaking form the era should check it out. But for those who want an introduction to the man, check out Madame de... instead.

Nights and Weekends - Reviews
Starring Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg, who play a couple trying to deal with a long-distance romance. The film was also written by Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg, as well as directed by Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg and produced by Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg. This is not the first time the pair have worked together, but looking at the reviews, it is easily the best project for either of them. It is probably too small of a film to get noticed by many Awards Season voters, but if it opens well, that could change. Nights and Weekends opens this weekend IFC Center in New York City.

RocknRolla - Reviews
Guy Ritchie returns to the world of the British gangster. Of the five films he's made, four have been part of this particular genre (and the lone exception is not worth mentioning). However, while Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are great films, this one is not. It's not as crazy strange as Revolver, which I would consider underrated, but it also doesn't have the charm of his earlier work, if charm is the right word. RocknRolla opened on Wednesday and has nearly made as much money in two days as Revolver made in total, while it expands nationwide on Halloween.

Saving Marriage - Reviews
A documentary about same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, which is of particular instance now as it appears gay marriage in California is in danger. Politically it is an interesting topic, but it feels like a bit of history repeating as it is the battle against anti-miscegenation laws, just 40 years later. Saving Marriage opens this weekend at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco before expanding next weekend to Massachusetts, among other places.

Talento de Barrio - Reviews
One of the wider limited releases of the week, but not one of the best. The film was a huge hit in its native Puerto Rico, earning more than $500,000 over its opening weekend, on a budget of $1.5 million. However, critical reception here has been... poor. To be frank, the film's being savaged as an overly violent vanity project for real-life reggaeton star Daddy Yankee and the film is no better than 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Strictly for fans of the music. Talento de Barrio opens this weekend in nearly two-dozen theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and others.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, RocknRolla, Happy-Go-Lucky, Ashes of Time Redux, Breakfast with Scot, Saving Marriage