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More Films Stall on the Road to the Oscars

October 19th, 2007

Another big list of limited releases this week, including the Canadian film Weirdsville, again. However, unlike recent weeks, none of the films seem destined to be Oscar hopefuls and most will disappear without making much noise at all.

Arnold's Park - No Reviews
A story of a wrongful conviction and revenge. This film was made by The People's Movie Experience, which could be more interesting than the movie itself. TPM Experience is an online community that invites people to help fund movies and even make decisions on the creative process. However, since this film has earned zero reviews, it's impossible to tell if it was successful. Arnold's Park opens tonight in 17 theaters, mostly in Minnesota with the rest in Iowa.

DarkBlueAlmostBlack - Reviews
DarkBlueAlmostBlack, or as it is known in Spain, Azuloscurocasinegro (Gesundheit!), focuses on the life of Jorge and gets its name from the suit he desperately wants. He's stuck in a low paying job helping all of those around him with their problems, and those problems are plentiful. The film works on some levels, but not enough for the demanding art house crowds. DarkBlueAlmostBlack, opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

The Man From Earth - No Reviews
A very cerebral science fiction film with an impressive cast of character actors. This is a very minimalist kind of science fiction movie, so don't expect a look of special effects, or any special effects, but it is the kind that's bound to start conversations. The Man From Earth opens tonight in one theater before coming out on DVD in just a few weeks. The home market it the better venue for this movie, but it is certainly worth checking out.

Meeting Resistance - Reviews
A documentary about the current war in Iraq dealing with the insurgency and why they fight. It was filmed during the first year of the war and while the situation has changed somewhat, this is still an important film to watch. On the other hand, there might be Iraq War fatigue and that could hurt the film's box office chances. Meeting Resistance opens tonight in two theaters including the Cinema Village in New York City and the AMC Loews Dupont Circle 5 in Washington, D.C.

Moondance Alexander - No Reviews
Kay Panabaker (sister of Danielle), stars in this family film aimed at the churchgoing crowd. Limited release is not the best place to open a G-rated family film, and with an opening limited to just Utah, we might not even get box office numbers on Monday. Moondance Alexander opens in more than a dozen theaters, all in Utah, but that might be the last we hear of it.

O Jerusalem - Reviews
A movie about the Jewish / Arab conflict. Although this conflict has lasted centuries, this film starts in 1948 with the creation of the state of Israel. This is a very complex matter, one that is not easily boiled down to a 2-hour movie, or even a 20-hour mini-series, which explains the mixed reviews. O Jerusalem opened on Wednesday in 8 theaters, mostly in New York state with a few in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Reservation Road - Reviews
Not too long ago I had eyed this film as a possible award season player. The film has an amazing cast and is from the director of Hotel Rwanda, who also helped write the script. But so far the reviews are weak, very weak compared to many limited releases and nowhere near what a film would need to be a player. This is quite a shame as there are some great performances in the movie, as even some of the negative reviews point out. However, the film is overwhelmed by the melodrama of the script and in the end the actors can't save it. Reservation Road opens tonight in 13 theaters in major cities nationwide, and while it might survive on star power for one weekend, I don't like its chances when it comes to expansion.

The Ten Commandments - Reviews
The first animated film released by Rocky Mountain Pictures. Their biggest hit so far was One Night with the King, which made more than $13 million. There next biggest hit was Americanizing Shelley, which made less than 1% of that. This film is opening in 830 theaters, which should give it a shot at the top ten. However, it was only recently added to the schedule, and by recently, I mean within the past week. This is simply not enough time to build any buzz, and it's not like the film can rely on reviews to carry it. The distributor is using the same church-based marketing strategy that helped The Passion of the Christ become a massive hit. However, that was the same strategy used by The Nativity story and that film really under-performed, as have most films aimed at the same market this past year or so. It has a slim shot at a place in the top ten, but opening with $1 million or less is just as likely.

Weirdsville - Reviews
This Canadian black comedy expands into the United States this weekend after debuting in its home and native land last weekend. It's an odd duck, but worth checking out.

Wristcutters: A Love Story - Reviews
Patrick Fugit stars as Zia, a victim of suicide who is stuck in special purgatory with all of the other suicide cases. Here he has to find a job, a place to live, and generally has a worse time than when it was alive. The film survives on its creativeness, for the most part, and it does pose some interesting questions. However, art house crowds are demanding and 71% positive isn't going to cut it for most. Wristcutters: A Love Story opens tonight in three theaters, all of them in New York City.

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Filed under: The Ten Commandments, Wristcutters: A Love Story, O Jerusalem, Reservation Road, Moondance Alexander, Meeting Resistance, The People's Movie: Arnold's Park, Weirdsville, Azuloscurocasinegro