Limited Releases: Inside Track to the Oscars

Inside Llewyn Davis poster

Like last week, it's not a good week on the limited release front. It's busier, but there are almost no films earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. Inside Llewyn Davis is the biggest exception and it is earning Oscar-worthy reviews. Not only are its reviews stunning, but the buzz suggests it should be a major hit as well. White Reindeer is also earning Award-worthy reviews, but it might not have the buzz to escape art house cinemas.

Adventures of the Penguin King - Reviews
A nature documentary about penguins, narrated by Tim Allen. Unless you are seeing it in the U.K., in which case it is narrated by Sir David Attenborough. The film's reviews are only mixed, but the 3D ticket prices might help it at the box office. Adventures of the Penguin King opens tonight in IMAX and other 3D theaters.

Breakfast with Curtis - Reviews
Two neighbors have been feuding for years when a member of one household, an eccentric bookdealer, asks a member of the other household, a shy boy, to help film some videos for his business. Perhaps they can build a friendship that will end the feud. There are only four reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a sign the film lacks buzz. However, they are all positive, so that's good news. Breakfast with Curtis opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City and the Cable Car Cinema in Providence, Rhodes Island.

Inside Llewyn Davis - Reviews
Written and directed by the Coen Brothers. Needless to say, it is earning stellar reviews and even some Awards Season buzz. I don't think it will win the Best Picture Oscar, but it should at least be nominated. Inside Llewyn Davis opens tonight in four theaters, while it expands on the 20th.

Khumba - Reviews
A half-stripped zebra is forced to leave the herd because of some superstitions. Soon he is forced to become a hero. It's not a particularly unique story and it's execution isn't as strong as some of the major studios would handle the story. On the other hand, it is a South African film, so it might be interesting to see how it differs culturally. Khumba opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles.

The Last Days of Mars - Reviews
This film has an awesome cast, but it is an entirely predictable story without even a good twist to separate it from other similar movies. Additionally, it is the wrong genre for limited release and it is playing on Video on Demand as well as theaters. The Last Days of Mars opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Lenny Cooke - Reviews
A look at Lenny Cooke, who in 2001 was ranked as the number one high school basketball player and was seen as the next sure thing. A year later and he wasn't even drafted in the NBA draft. It's a compelling look at how someone with such high potential can squander it. The film's reviews are really good, but not good enough to make the Oscar shortlist. Since it is the heart of Awards Season, there might be too much competition for the film to find an audience. Lenny Cooke opens tonight, or possibly last week. Check out the official site for theater listings.

A Miracle in Spanish Harlem - Reviews
A Christmas film with an Hispanic cast. It's the widest limited release of the week with a theater count of 100; however, there is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes. That's a bad combination.

S#x Acts - Reviews
Sivan Levy stars as Gili, a teenager who recently moved and is starting a new school. She wasn't popular in her old school, but is determined to change that by sleeping with the popular boys in her new school. However, as her boundaries keep getting pushed, the idea of consent gets pushed out of the way. The film's reviews are only good, but not great, with some critics complaining it is too predictable, while it comes across as exploitative. Either way, it likely won't escape the art house circuit. S#x Acts opened on Video on Demand on Tuesday and opens in theaters tonight.

Swerve - Reviews
A man finds a suitcase full of money at the scene of a car crash in the Australian outback. But this puts him at odds with the local corrupt cop. This film noir thriller is only earning mixed reviews, which is terrible for limited release. Additionally, with lots of competition, its box office chances are even weaker. Swerve opens tonight in in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta and Houston.

White Reindeer - Reviews
Anna Margaret Hollyman stars as Suzanne Barrington, a woman whose life seems great, until an accident claims the life of her husband. She then learns he was cheating on her and she struggles to regain a sense of normalcy. The film's reviews are fantastic and even though there is a lot of competition in theaters, it could find a receptive audience. White Reindeer opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, but it expands throughout the month. Check the official site for more details.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-12-06