Frankly, You Need to Support Limited Releases

Frank poster

As the summer blockbuster season ends, there are a few limited releases that are actually fairly strong. Perhaps they are hoping to take advantage of the lull in blockbusters, or perhaps they are hoping to get a jump on Awards Season. Regardless why they picked this weekend to open, Abuse of Weakness, Frank, and The Trip to Italy all have a chance to thrive in the art house circuit.

Abuse of Weakness - Reviews
A filmmaker suffers a stroke and while recovering, she falls victim to a con artist. This happened to writer / director Catherine Breillat, who first wrote a book about it and then adapted the book into this movie. The film's reviews are excellent, but it doesn't have the same buzz as a couple of other films coming out this week. Abuse of Weakness opens tonight at the Film Society Lincoln Center in New York City.

Dinosaur 13 - Reviews
The discovery of the largest and most complete T. Rex fossil started a decade-long battle over the rights. This documentary is earning good, but not great reviews. However, limited releases usually need great reviews to thrive. Dinosaur 13 opens tonight in 16 theaters nationwide. Check out the official site for more details.

Fort McCoy - Reviews
During World War II, German POWs were kept in prison camps in the United States. This film tells the story of one such camp and a family that lived beside it. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a sign of weak buzz. Additionally, ones there are only mostly positive, not overwhelming positive. So this film will likely not find an audience in theaters. Fort McCoy opens tonight in two theaters in Los Angeles.

Frank - Reviews
This is one of two films on this week's list that is earning strong reviews and loud buzz. Like The Trip to Italy, this one most likely won't find a mainstream audience. It is about a musician who joins a band, whose leader wears a papier-mâché head. That's probably too strange for megaplexes. That said, the reviews are close to award-worthy, so it might find an audience in art house theaters. Frank opens tonight in four theaters, including three in Canada. Check out the official site for more details.

Jake Squared - Reviews
A film director tries to make an autobiographical movie. While filming a party scene, he is visited by ghosts of his parents, as well as other people from his past, including younger versions of himself. Is it a supernatural event? Is he losing his mind? The reviews are terrible, so most moviegoers likely won't care. Jake Squared opens tonight in ten theaters in select cities nationwide, as well as on Video on Demand.

Jealousy - Reviews
Writer / director Philippe Garrel has been making movies for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, this is not one of his best films. It is about a man, who wants to be an actor, but who has failed to make a career of it. He is living with an actress, for whom he left his wife, but her career has also stalled. Jealousy opened on Wednesday at the The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York City and it will expand significantly next weekend. Check out the official site for more details.

Life After Beth - Reviews
Aubrey Plaza stars as the titular Beth, who dies and then comes back as a zombie. Her family and her boyfriend try to keep this a secret, but when she starts eating people it becomes harder to keep it under wraps. It is a good setup and a lot of the cast are being praised for their performances, especially Aubrey Plaza; however, most critics are also complaining that the script just isn't strong enough to carry the film. Life After Beth opens tonight in two theaters, the Angelika Film Center in New York City and the Arclight Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Ragnarok - Reviews
An archeologist believes he has discovered the truth behind the Ragnarok myth and travels to prove he is right. The reviews are mixed, which is terrible news for a limited release. Then again, it is also playing on Video on Demand, so its theatrical results likely won't matter.

Septic Man - Reviews
While investigating a serious water contamination problem, our hero is trapped in a septic tank and turned into Septic Man. The reviews are terrible and this is the wrong genre for limited release, so its box office chances are really low. Additionally, while Septic Man opens in theaters tonight, it is also playing on Video on Demand and is coming out on DVD on Tuesday.

Singham Returns - No Reviews
A sequel to Singham, which gives us a little more information to look at than we do with most Bollywood films. With most Bollywood films, we have no reviews, no official site, etc. and this makes it really difficult to judge its box office chances. The original earned good reviews from critics and audiences alike, but not great reviews. It was a hit in its native India and did okay business here. This film will likely do the same.

The Trip to Italy - Reviews
The Trip starred Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves driving around England eating gourmet meals. This movie is exactly the same, but in Italy. I loved the original and really hope I get a chance to see this one as well. The Trip to Italy opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and the third in Los Angeles.

Saints and Soldiers: The Void - No Reviews
This film is set in World War II and is about a group of American soldiers who spot a German force that is preparing to ambush an Ally supply convoy. The soldier with the most experience taking on tanks is African-American; therefore, the other soldiers don't think he's fit to lead them. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a really bad sign. Then again, it is a sequel to Saints and Soldiers, so perhaps fans of that movie will check it out. Saints and Soldiers: The Void opens tonight in about a dozen theaters in Utah.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-08-15