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Smart Choice in Limited Releases

April 22nd, 2005

This week we have not one but two films opening in, 'Select Cities.' Long time readers know how much I dislike this release strategy as it usually results in a very poor box office performance. Fortunately there is also an anticipated documentary to pick up the slack.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Reviews
The amazing story of the biggest corporate scandal of all time, or at least it was when it happened, I think it might have since been beaten. This documentary is not only about one of the most important topics, it is also one of the most convincing as well. The film is also more entertaining and heartbreaking than 90% of what comes out of Hollywood these days, making this movie a must see. The film opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City (Lincoln Plaza and Sunshine Cinema), and one in Houston, Texas (River Oaks Theatre), while expanding into 40 more next weekend.

Game of Their Lives - Reviews
Based on the real life exploits of the 1950 United States World Cup Soccer team, this should be an amazing and inspiring movie. It should be, but it's not. There's a couple of problems with the movie, most notably the fact that the English Soccer Team was also made up of working class stiffs who were given almost no chance to win either. It was England's first appearance in the World Cup; their team was paid even less than the Americans and was made up of miners and factory workers. The only difference is England has since become one of the major powers in the sport, while it took the United States 40 years to return to the tournament. The film opens in more than 5 dozen theaters tonight, but that could be as wide as it gets.

Madison - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week is also earning the weakest reviews. The film was made more than 4 years ago. Its original distributor shelved it, but now it finally hits theaters this week. Like the previous film, this one will have a tough time at the box office for similar reasons, just more extreme. Weak reviews, a release that is too wide for its ad campaign, lack of interest in Hydroplane Racing. According to the movie's official site, 400,000 people attend such races every year, compared to the nearly 2.5 million that watched Major League Soccer last year. The film opens in 93 theaters in 16 cities tonight, but will really struggle to hold on to those screens in the coming weeks.

The Man Who Copied - Reviews
One of the most usual names I've come across while doing research for this job. Làzaro Ramos stars as a man ... who ... well, copies. Seriously, he's just a man working as a copy machine operator who goes home every night to draw comics about his perfect fantasy life while spying on his neighbor. This life of drudgery continues until one day when he witnesses something that causes him to take action and use his photocopying skills to save the day. It's an unusual start to a pretty standard story, but its quirky and engaging enough to be worth checking out.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Madison, The Game of Their Lives