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What Would Jesus Watch? Limited Releases, Of Course!

November 16th, 2007

A rather mixed bag of limited releases this week with a couple that were pushed back from earlier, wide releases and a couple of busted Oscar bait movies. This leaves only a handful of movies worth checking out, including a pair of documentaries: I for India and What Would Jesus Buy?.

Albert Lamorisse Double Shot
Two short films from Albert Lamorisse are being re-released this weekend as a double-shot. The Red Balloon and The White Mane both won at the Cannes Film Festival while The Red Balloon also won an Oscar for best screenplay. Both films are showing at the Film Forum tonight before being released on DVD for the first time this spring.

Breakfast with Scot - Reviews
Thomas Cavanagh stars as a gay ex-hockey player whose long-term relationship is thrown into turmoil when young boy shows up due to a number of complicated events. The film has a lighthearted charm to it, but it is not particularly memorable. Breakfast with Scot opens tonight in major cities in Canada.

Eleven Men Out - Reviews
I don't have high hopes for this film's box office chances as it is aiming at a niche market among niche markets. First of all, it is in Icelandic, which is not a language that that is spoken a lot here. Secondly, it is gay cinema, which hasn't been able to become mainstream, even after the success of Brokeback Mountain. Thirdly, it's about soccer, which has had less success at the box office than gay cinema has. Add in weak reviews, and its box office chances are weak. Eleven Men Out opens tonight at the Regent Showcase Theater in Hollywood.

I for India - Reviews
This documentary is 40 years in the making. Starting in 1965, a recent U.K. immigrant starting documenting his new life and sending the film back to India to his family, who would in turn document their life there and send film back. So far the film is earning perfect reviews and with the immigration debate raging, it is also very topical. I for India opens tonight at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre in New York City.

Margot at the Wedding - Reviews
I think it is safe to call this movie busted Oscar bait. Given the release date, the theater count, the cast and crew involved, it is safe to say this film was made to win Oscars. However, with reviews that are barely more than 50% positive, the movie simply isn't strong enough to win awards. In fact, it isn't strong enough to survive the tight limited release market. Margot at the Wedding opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center and the Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City.

Redacted - Reviews
Brian De Palma's latest film deals with one of the most brutal events in the current Iraq war. It is sure to disturb many people and there has even been calls for a boycott by Bill O'Reilly. The political pundit claims the movie will inspire hatred in many Muslim men and might even cause them to commit acts of violence against the United States. However, the movie is based on real life events and it seems much more likely that actual events would cause this rage, and not just to Muslim men but everyone who knows the story, and blaming the movie is like shooting the messenger. Regardless of the validity of the boycott, we will have to wait until The Paris Business Review reports on the situation to see if it was effective. Redacted opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters, but with weak reviews and a subject matter that hasn't been able to draw in crowds, it's box office potential is not great.

Smiley Face - Reviews
Anna Faris stars as Jane F., a struggling actress who accidentally eats her roommate's marijuana laced cupcakes. Originally set for a wide release on April 20th. (4/20. Get it? It's a pot joke.) The movie was removed from the schedule at the last minute before being dumped in limited release. This is stoner comedy, but it is earning better reviews than most of the other films coming out this week and could find an audience on the home market. Smiley Face opens tonight Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Southland Tales - Reviews
Written and directed by Richard Kelly, who made Donnie Darko, this film certainly had a lot of people interested, but that feeling has waned since the movie was completed last year. Since then it was bounced across a couple of release dates before being released this week in the dreaded select cities. Perhaps if the film earns strong word-of-mouth it could find an audience on the home market, but most critics agree that it is a mess. Curiosity might draw in a few moviegoers, but I don't think it will be enough for the movie to expand.

What Would Jesus Buy? - Reviews
From producer Morgan Spurlock, who made Super Size Me, comes this documentary about Reverend Billy, a street preacher trying to stop the Shopocalypse. An anti-commercialism film aimed at the biggest shopping season of the year. It's a simple point, but while the movie is effective, it might be preaching to the choir. What Would Jesus Buy? opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles and other cities next week.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, Margot at the Wedding, Southland Tales, Le ballon rouge, What Would Jesus Buy?, Redacted, Breakfast with Scot, Smiley Face, Strákarnir okkar, I for India, Crin-Blanc