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Rising to the Occasion

June 24th, 2005

Usually limited releases only open in a few theaters, but this week we have two that open much wider. One opens in several dozen theatres, while the other opens in a few hundred.

Drivers Wanted - Reviews
A comedy about Pizza delivery men and the horrors of their job (bad tippers, angry dogs, slow drivers, etc.). It's getting a lot of comparisons to Clerks in terms of its subject matter and style, but not in terms of quality. It's not a bad movie, but it's not quite good enough to recommend. Drivers Wanted opens tonight in Rochester, New York, where it was filmed

Elevator to the Gallows - Reviews
This 1957 French film-noir classic is being re-released in one theater in New York City this weekend. The film deals with a very common theme in film-noir, the perfect murder, but does it in a style that proved that director Louis Malle was a master. Hopefully this release is just to give film buffs a chance to see it on the big screen before it comes out on DVD.

Lila Says - Reviews
A Coming of Age movie about the relationship between a shy Arab boy and a sexually provocative French girl. The film is earning a lot of critical praise, much of which is going to newcomer Vahina Giocante who plays the titular Lila. The film opens in two theaters tonight before expanding over the coming weeks / months.

March of the Penguins - Reviews
This documentary follows a group of Emperor Penguins has they travel by the hundreds from the feeding grounds by the ocean to their mating grounds far inland. Morgan Freeman is an excellent choice for the narrator, and the visuals are stunning. Some may complain about the anthromorphizing, but that's more of a matter of personal taste. The film opens in four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles before expanding wide.

Paheli (Puzzle) - No Reviews
A Bollywood film that tells the story of a ghost who falls in love with a newlywed woman. The film pushes suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, but that's part of the film's charm. The film is a remake of a 1973 film called Duvidha that revolutionized Indian cinema. This film won't do the same, but for the most part it is good escapist entertainment.

Rize - Reviews
The best new release of the week is also the widest limited release. Perhaps too wide. I'm not a fan of releasing a film in, 'select cities,' since it makes marketing the film much more difficult. However, with these reviews hopefully I'm wrong. The film is a documentary look at a dance style that sprung up in Los Angeles after the 1992 riots. The dance moves are incredible, the dancers are amazingly athletic and when the filmmakers just sit back and let us watch there's almost nothing that compares. Rize opens in 352 screens tonight in select cities.

Yes - Reviews
Excellent performances are mostly wasted on a script that tries too hard to be witty and comes off as pretentious. For instance, the use of Iambic Pentameter makes the film feel like a parody of an art-house film rather than a serious work. Yes opens in seven theaters in New York City and Los Angeles tonight.

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Filed under: Rize, Yes