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Limited Releases - Deluge of Limited Releases

December 21st, 2006

We are again flooded with limited releases this week, most of which were obviously made with Oscar glory in mind. That said, only a few will earn any nominations and none here are likely to be the big winner on Oscar night, but there are still more than a enough to satisfy even the most dedicated cinemaphile.

Children of Men - Reviews
This film was one of those that I assumed would be a player during award season. However, the Golden Globe nominations have been announced and this film was strangely overlooked. This was not the only such film to not earn any nominations (The Good German and The Good Shepherd, for instance), but with the others their reviews were well below what I was expecting. This film is earning 90% positive, which is better than two of the three big winners and on par with The Departed. This makes the oversight is even more confusing, but hopefully this won't extend to the box office. Children of Men opens in more than a dozen theatres in major cities on Christmas Day and should expand throughout January.

Curse of the Golden Flower - Reviews
A costume drama set in 10th century China dealing with a rift in the Imperial family. Ever since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, these films have become a staple of the import market and usually do very well (not as well as that film, but they earn their keep). However, these things are cyclical and a downturn in demand is bound to happen sooner than later. Curse of the Golden Flower opens tonight in New York City before expanding into more cities tomorrow.

Letters from Iwo Jima - Reviews
Originally scheduled for next year so as to not compete with Flags of Our Fathers at the Oscars. However, when that film failed to win over audiences, this film was moved up. This plan seems to have backfired as the movie only earned two Golden Globe nominations (and I don't think it qualifies as a Best Foreign Film for the Oscars because it is an American production). Even so, the reviews are amazing and this film as a definite shot at escaping limited release. Letters from Iwo Jima opened yesterday in five theaters in New York City, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles area.

No Restraint - Reviews
A documentary about the artist, Matthew Barney, who also created a number of avant garde films. These works include Drawing Restraint 9 and the Cremaster series. This film will help bring his work to a wider audience, but it is still likely to appeal mostly to his fans. No Restraint open yesterday at the IFC Center.

The Painted Veil - Reviews
The film begins its quest for Oscar, and with nominations for Independent Spirit Awards and Golden Globes, it has a real shot at winning some. While the overall reviews are excellent, there are some who are complaining that it feels more like an attempt to win Oscars than a movie or that the source material hasn't aged well. Regardless, those are minor complaints and most who give it a chance should walk away satisfied. The Painted Veil opened yesterday in four theatres in New York City and the Los Angeles area with a planned expansion for mid-January.

Snow Cake - Reviews
After debuting in three cities last week, this Canadian film expands nationwide this Friday and into the States on Christmas Day. The film has been earning amazing reviews, but the lack of publicity has been hurting it north of the border while the competition is tight for limited releases in the States. Even so, hopefully good word of mouth will help it do well at the box office.

Venus - Reviews
This could be the last time for Peter O'Toole to win an Oscar, (not counting his lifetime achievement award). And while he may be a sentimental favorite, he still has to be seen as a bit of a long shot at this point. On the other hand, Venus seems poised to escape limited release and earn some measure of mainstream success. It seems every year at this time at least one British limited release is able to make that leap and this year it's, Venus. The film opens tonight in three theatres, 2 in New York City and 1 in Los Angeles.

Words of My Perfect Teacher - Reviews
A documentary about a Buddhist teacher and his three students, one of which is the director. Because of this, there is a certain lack of objectivity to the film, but the subjects are still interesting enough for the film to work. Words of My Perfect Teacher opens on Friday in three theatres, all in California.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Children of Men, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Painted Veil, Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia, Venus, Snow Cake, Words of My Perfect Teacher, Matthew Barney: No Restraint