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Documenting the Limited Releases

October 6th, 2007

It seems like every limited release this week is a documentary. Of course that's not true as only seven of the thirteen releases are documentaries ... eight if you include Finishing the Game, which is a mockumentary. However, it is Michael Clayton that should become the biggest hit of the group.

Broken - Reviews
Heather Graham stars as Hope, which is something moviegoers should abandon before they walk into the theater. Unintentionally funny seems to be the general consensus here. Broken opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City before expanding into Austin the weekend after.

Desert Bayou - Reviews
A documentary about the Katrina disaster and its what it showed about America and how it needs to deal with divides in race, class, etc. Not the only documentary coming out this week, nor is it the first on this subject, but it is incredibly compelling as it tells stories that others have not. That said, the market place for such films is stretched thin this week and it might prevent this film from finding its audience. Desert Bayou opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City.

Finishing the Game - Reviews
A mockumentary about an attempt to finish Bruce Lee's unfinished film, Game of Death. Reviews are mixed, but fans of martial arts movies should find enough here to be entertained, but even here waiting till it comes out on DVD could be preferable. Finishing the Game opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

For the Bible Tells Me So - Reviews
A documentary about homosexuality and the biblical condemnation of it. It makes the argument that selective reading has more to do with attacks on gay rights than anything in the bible, but for many people this argument will be very familiar. That said, this movie does lay it out very well and it is compelling to those who haven't made up their minds. For the Bible Tells Me So opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

The Girl Next Door - Reviews
A horror film based on real life events that sadly has too much in common with today's brand of Torture Porn. Horror films have done very poorly at the box office this year, especially in limited release, and while this film might earn some measure of cult success on the home market, it's stay in theaters will likely be short. The Girl Next Door opened on Wednesday at the Pioneer Theater in New York City.

The Good Night - Reviews
An amazing cast is wasted on this mediocre story of a former pop star, Martin Freeman, who suffers a mid-life crisis. This film has star power most limited releases can't even dream about, but Jake Paltrow, (brother of Gwyneth Paltrow), isn't able to handle the duo chores of writing and directing. It isn't a total write-off and there is a lot of potential here; perhaps with a little more experience, he would be able to create a more satisfying movie. The Good Night opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center and the Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City.

Kurt Cobain - About a Son - Reviews
A documentary about the live of musician Kurt Cobain. The film is mostly comprised of audio interviews conducted about a year before his death with shots of the places he lived as visuals. Even if you are a hardcore fan of Nirvana, there's something to learn here. Kurt Cobain - About a Son opened on Wednesday in two theaters, the IFC Center in New York City and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Lake of Fire - Reviews
A documentary about the abortion debate, which has raged on for a lot more than 35 years, starting way before Roe vs. Wade. However, this film focuses on the period beginning in 1993 during the 20th anniversary of that landmark decision. The film, which clocks in at two and a half hours, is a balanced look at both sides, which is a difficult thing to do considering how divisive the issue is. But at two and a half hours, even the most passionate person on either side of the debate may grow weary by the end. Lake of Fire opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Michael Clayton - Reviews
In 2005 George Clooney managed to open two movies in limited release and boost them both into mainstream success. In 2006 he tried the same with The Good German and that didn't work out so well. This time around he has the reviews to back up his star power and with a fair share of early Oscar buzz, it should perform marvelously this weekend before expanding the next. Michael Clayton opens tonight in 15 theaters in major cities nationwide, and even a couple in Toronto, Canada.

My Kid Could Paint That - Reviews
A documentary about the rise of fall of Marla Olmstead, who shot to fame in the world of modern art before people started to suspect she wasn't responsible for her paintings. Oh yeah, she's four years old. Her paintings are nothing more than random squiggles, off course a 4-year old could create that. I've seen similar paintings created by monkeys and elephants. A fascinating look at the world of modern art and would make a great companion piece to Who the #$^% is Jackson Pollock?. My Kid Could Paint That opens tonight in 8 theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio - Reviews
In Rome, a group of musicians gather together to help fight xenophobia by performing. The documentary is earning strong reviews, but the niche market might be a little too small to become a hit on the art house circuit. The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio opens tonight at the Bantam Cinema in Bantam, Connecticut.

Sea Monsters - A Prehistoric Adventure - No Reviews
Liev Schreiber narrates this documentary that is more about visuals than education. Then again, this is no surprise for a 3-D film. The film is opening in more than 250 theaters, which is way too many, even for a specialty release, and it will likely struggle at the box office.

Skid Marks - No Reviews
A comedy about two competing EMT teams trying to save their jobs after budget cuts. The name of the two companies: D.I.C. and B.A.L.S. So it should come as no surprise that there are no reviews. Skid Marks opens tonight at the UltraStar Cinemas in San Diego, which is the city it was filmed in.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Michael Clayton, Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure, For the Bible Tells Me So, My Kid Could Paint That, Kurt Cobain: About a Son, Finishing the Game, Lake of Fire, The Good Night, Skid Marks, Desert Bayou, Broken, The Girl Next Door, L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio