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Limited Releases Exiled to the September Dumping Ground

August 31st, 2007

It's a tough week for limited releases as none of them are pulling in a Tomatometer score of 80% or more, which is generally needed to escape limited release. There are a couple films that could do well, Exiled and The Nines, but even these have uphill roads to travel.

Exiled - Reviews
This is a film that oozes with style, a style that director Johhny To has nearly perfected during the years and years of making Hong Kong Gangster flicks.

The film starts with two groups of two men looking for a man named Wo, who has a price on his head. All five men belong to the same organization and joined together, but their loyalties to each other are in conflict with the orders of their crime lord, Boss Fey. Divided loyalties and organized crime rarely mix well, and that's certainly the case here.

This movie is very high on style, even if it does come at the cost of substance at times. Some of the gunfights seem to be staged in a way to look really cool, not necessarily what would be smart or tactically advisable. (Also, the shooting of the can over and over again seemed a bit silly at times). Also, once you get past the various characters being introduced, there's very little plot to support the style. Even so, there's more than enough action to make up for that.

Fans of the genre should certainly make an effort to check out this film. Even those who are more ambivalent to this type of film will find something to enjoy, as long as they have a high tolerance for violence.

Exiled opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Freshmen Orientation - Reviews
This is the type of comedy one would expect to open wide. On the outside, it has more in common with American Pie than it does with our typical art house offering. Sure, there's the gay angle that will surely limit its appeal, but it could have still opened wider. Reviews for the film are mixed, which wouldn't have hurt a wide opening as much as it does a limited release and while it should expand a little bit, it won't be able to escape its limited beginnings. Freshmen Orientation opens tonight at the Regent Showcase in Hollywood.

Greg & Gentillon - Reviews
A mockumentary from Quebec that is almost more reality TV. In the film, Louis Durand and Thomas Michael play to up-and-coming stand up comics, but most of the rest of the people in the movie are not in on the joke. There have been a lot of improvised mockumentaries made recently, and while this one is earning better reviews than most of them do, it will still struggle to find a wider audience. Greg & Gentillon open tonight at the Carleton Cinema in Toronto and the Empire Granville in Vancouver.

Ladrón que Roba a Ladrón - Reviews
A Spanish language film about two professional thieves who decide to rob a millionaire who made is money by selling worthless health productions through infomercials. There is only one way into his fortress of a mansion: by posing as day laborers. But when their team wants no part of the plan, they decide to team up with real day laborers to pull off the heist. Ladrón que Roba a Ladrón opens tonight in more than 300 theaters, which normally would be way too much for a limited release to survive. However, the targeted release could help it survive where other films have failed.

The Nines - Reviews
Three stories with three different characters, acted by the same actors, interconnected in some ways. This is definitely an art house film and could generate some cult appeal, but the level of insider information could limit its mainstream appeal. I expect it to do well when it opens, but not survive expansion. The Nines opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Self Medicated - Reviews
A drama about drug abuse that is unfortunately more melodrama. The film seems like it a very personal project for writer / director / star Monty Lapica (and it should be as it was partially based on his life), but personal isn't always enough and its only earning mixed reviews. To make matters worse, limited releases need to earn better reviews than wide releases because their target audience demand more (also, there's more competition). Self Medicated opens tonight in 16 theaters, which is probably too many to handle, and it might not be able to expand over the coming weeks.

Strawberry Shortcake: Let's Dance - Reviews
This film actually opens tomorrow and will have a few matinee showings over the weekend in over a hundred theaters. Good for kids who are probably too young to return to school on Tuesday, but not sure anyone who has to deal with back to school will be interested.

Vanaya - No Reviews
An Indian film, but not a Bollywood film. This film focuses on a 14-year old girl who wants to break the caste system in India and become a dancer. Like most films from that country, this one has no advanced buzz and no reviews, but this one should appeal to art house crowds as well as its usual target audience.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Ladron que roba a ladron, Vanaja, Self Medicated, The Nines, Fong juk, Freshman Orientation, Strawberry Shortcake: Let's Dance