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The Gift of Limited Releases

December 24th, 2008

There's not much time for limited releases to come out if they want to qualify for this year's Oscars, and while most of the potential Oscar have already come out, this week there are a few film that have a shot at earning Oscar nominations at the very least.

Last Chance Harvey - Reviews
A potential sleeper hit during Awards Season. There hasn't been a huge amount of buzz surrounding the movie, but it has quietly earned a couple Golden Globe nominations. Given its reviews, which are good but not great, I don't expect it to become a major winner, but the nods could give it the edge it needs when it comes to earning some mainstream success. Last Chance Harvey opens on Friday in six theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City.

Revolutionary Road - Reviews
There's been a lot of talk surrounding this film's Oscar chances for a while now, which makes its reviews a little disappointing. Granted, only one of the five wide releases earned better reviews, and it was close, but 73% positive is likely not high enough to expand wide, never mind becoming a player during Awards Season. That said, if Kate Winslet adds to her Oscar nomination total thanks to this film, it should still see some degree of mainstream success. Revolutionary Road opens on Boxing Day (this Friday) in three theaters, two in New York City and the other in Hollywood.

The Secret Life of Grain - Reviews
A French drama about a divorced man to struggles with his day-to-day life while dreaming of setting up his own restaurant, a dream that seems less and less likely to come true. This film was arguably the big winner at last year's César Awards winning four of the five films it was nominated for. (La Vie en Rose won five awards after picking up eleven nominations, but its wins were mostly in the technical categories.) The Secret Life of Grain opens on Wednesday at the IFC Center.

Waltz With Bashir - Reviews
Israel's official entrant for this year's Best Foreign Language Oscar, and while it has not yet been nominated, one look at its reviews and no one should be surprised if it is. The film is an animated account of the director's search for lost memories involving an horrific event during his time as a war. The story and the visuals are powerful, but it still has a time climb ahead of it, if it wants to earn some mainstream success. Waltz With Bashir opens tomorrow in Los Angeles before expanding to New York the following day.

Defiance - Reviews
One last movie to report on, which doesn't open this week, which is why it is at the end of the column, and not where it should be alphabetically. By the time the next Limited Release review column is published, it will have opened, and I wanted to talk about it before the end of the year. The film is opening on the final day of the year in order to qualify for the Oscars this year, however, given its reviews, I don't think that will be an issue. This is bad news, as the film has a reported production budget of nearly $50 million, and little hope of earning that back. Defiance opens on Wednesday at the Clearview Cinemas - Ziegfeld in New York City, before opening wide on the 16th of January.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Defiance, Revolutionary Road, Last Chance Harvey, Waltz with Bashir, La Graine et le Mulet