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Limited Releases: From A to Z

October 31st, 2014

Horns poster

It's a really bad week for limited releases. There are only three films earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, but two of them are documentaries and the other is an experimental 3D film, so their chances of earning some measure of mainstream success are nearly zero. The most prominent new release on this week's list is Horns, but its reviews, its genre, and the fact that it is playing on Video on Demand suggests it won't find an audience in theaters.

The ABCs of Death 2 - Reviews
The first film earned bad reviews and went nowhere at the box office. This film is earning better reviews, but it is still the wrong genre for limited release, while it is playing on Video on Demand.

All You Need is Love - Reviews
A documentary about refugees from Cambodia living in Thailand, specifically a group of kids going to the Good Morning School in Mae Sot. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and one of them is negative. The negative review says the movie feels more like an ad asking for donations to the Good Morning School than an insightful documentary, while the positive review admits it would work better in a shorter form. All You Need is Love opens tonight in three theaters, one in New York City and the others in the Los Angeles area. Check out the official site for more details.

Goodbye to Language - Reviews
An experimental film by Jean-Luc Godard. It's shot in 3D, which is an added level of strangeness. It could find an audience in the art house circuit, but it won't go mainstream. Goodbye to Language opened on Wednesday in two theaters in New York City with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

The Great Invisible - Reviews
A documentary about the BP Gulf Oil Spill and its effects, which are still being felt today, despite the fact that it has faded from public view. This film is earning some of the best reviews of the weekend, but ironically, it might not do well, because the BP Oil Disaster has faded from public view. The Great Invisible opened in two theaters on Wednesday and expands to a third on Friday. Check out the official site for more details.

Hit by Lightning - Reviews
Jon Cryer plays a man who meets the woman of his dreams over the internet. There's just one problem, she's married and she wants him to kill her husband. This is a Black Comedy, which is a very tricky genre to get right, and the reviews suggest they got it wrong. Additionally, the film is playing on Video on Demand, so its box office numbers will be negligible.

Horns - Reviews
Daniel Radcliffe stars as a man whose girlfriend is raped and murdered and he's the most likely suspect. When someone tells him she prayed for his soul, he tells her he asked the devil to punish whoever is guilty. Soon he sprouts a pair of horns and the people in the town start to act really crazy. This film is a horror / comedy or perhaps a dark comedy, which are two genres that are really hard to pull off. Looking at the film's Tomatometer Score and it is clear most critics think the film failed somewhere in the execution. "Tonal shifts" is the usual complaint. That said, it is the most prominent new release of the week and it could do well... at least it could do well on Video on Demand. Horns opens tonight in select cities.

Missionary - Reviews
A single mother becomes romantically involved with a Mormon missionary, but when she tries to work it out with her ex-husband, the missionary snaps. This is the wrong genre for limited release and the reviews are below 40% positive, which would be an issue, even for a wide release. (Strangely, there are critics who are calling this film anti-Mormon, but also critics who are saying Mormons will enjoy it more, because they will get the Mormon specific details that others won't get.) Missionary opens tonight in theaters, as well as on Video on Demand. It will perform better on the latter than the former.

Point and Shoot - Reviews
A documentary about Matthew VanDyke, a man who decided to travel the world, but who winded up in Libyia just before the revolution started. And since he had made friends who became rebels, he joined them. The film's reviews are good, but not great, and there are a few documentaries coming out this week that earned great reviews, so this one will likely fall between the cracks. Point and Shoot opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City with plenty of other theaters showing it over the coming weeks / months. Check out the official site for more details.

Private Peaceful - Reviews
An anti-war movie set in World War I focusing on two brothers, both of whom sign up to fight for their country, and both of whom are in love with the same woman. (On a side note, Izzy Meikle-Small plays Young Molly in this movie. She also played Young Katy in Never Let Me Go, Young Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, and Young Estella in an episode of the TV mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations.) The reviews are good, but not great, and as I've said in the past, it usually takes great reviews for a limited release to thrive. Private Peaceful opens tonight in two theater, one in New York City and the other in the Los Angeles area.

Revenge of the Mekons - Reviews
A documentary about the Mekons, a British Punk band from the 1970s that evolved to include elements from Folk music and Country & Western. The reviews are perfect at the moment, but I'm not sure how many fans the group has, but I don't think it is enough to help the documentary thrive. Revenge of the Mekons opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show - Reviews
A documentary about showrunners, who are the people who run TV shows. There are not a lot of reviews and they are not overwhelmingly positive. It might appeal to those who want to be part of the industry, but it doesn't have mainstream appeal. Showrunners opens tonight at the Arena Cinema in Los Angeles, as well as on Video on Demand.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The ABC’s of Death 2, Adieu au langage, Horns, Revenge of the Mekons, Point and Shoot, The Great Invisible, Missionary, All You Need Is Love, Private Peaceful, Hit by Lightning, Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show, Jon Cryer, Jean-Luc Godard, Daniel Radcliffe, Isobel Meikle-Small, Matthew VanDyke