Limited Releases Will Make You Laugh

I mentioned last week that every summer there is usually one limited release that has break out success and expands, if not wide, at least wide enough to earn a real measure of mainstream success. This week, we have that first film that might reach that level of success. Frances Ha not only has the best reviews on this week's list, but it also has an impressive pedigree. There are also a couple foreign language films that might find an audience on the art house circuit, Augustine and Pieta, but their chances to expand significantly are much more limited.

Augustine - Reviews
Set in the 1800s, this film focuses on a teenage chambermaid, Soko, who suffers a seizure that leaves her partially paralyzed. She is then taken to an all-female hospital where she is institutionalized. There, a doctor, Vincent Lindon, begins to take an interest in her case. The film is the feature-length debut for writer / director Alice Winocour and the reviews are amazing. Additionally, there is a market for French cinema in art house circuits, so it could thrive. On the other hand, like most foreign language films, its chances of expanding significantly are limited. Augustine opens tonight in five theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Aurangzeb - Reviews
A Bollywood action film about a cop going undercover in a organized crime family. There are no reviews and the film is opening in just over 60 theaters, which would normally be fatal, but this is common for Bollywood films.

Black Rock - Reviews
Three women go into the woods to rebuild their friendship, but a run-in with three Iraq and Afghanistan vets turns deadly and they are in a fight for their lives. The film's reviews are weak and this is the wrong genre for limited release. Many critics are saying writer / director / star Katie Aselton is improving, but not enough to give the film a positive recommendation. Black Rock opens tonight in more than two dozen theaters, as well as video on demand.

The English Teacher - Reviews
I had high hopes for this film. The cast is impressive, and the director has an extensive resume on TV. However, the reviews are weak. There is some praise going to the cast, but the script is taking a lot of critical hits. Additionally, the film is playing on Video on Demand, which will further hurt its box office chances. The English Teacher opens tonight in two theaters, both in Los Angeles, before expanding to new cities over the coming weeks.

Erased - Reviews
Aaron Eckhart stars as a former CIA agent who learns that he and his estranged daughter, Liana Liberato, are targeted by a worldwide conspiracy and have to go on the run. It's the wrong genre for limited release and it is earning mostly negative reviews. On the other hand, a lot of the negative reviews merely complain that it is to derivative of better films and that it is entirely forgettable. In other words, it's fine for a rental and should do better on the home market. Erased opens tonight in 51 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release.

Frances Ha - Reviews
The best-reviewed new release of the week. Not only that, but it is co-written and directed by Noah Baumbach and co-written and stars Greta Gerwig, both of whom have serious Indie Cred. This should be a breakout hit of the weekend. It could be the breakout hit of the summer. Frances Ha opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and Los Angeles.

Pieta - Reviews
Written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk, who has previously made films like 3-Iron and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring. This film earned a lot of praise in its native South Korea, and its reviews here are 80% positive, which suggests it will find some success. Pieta opens tonight in major cities nationwide.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-05-17