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Limited Releases: Crowded House

April 19th, 2013

There are not a huge number of films on this weeks list, but there are some big releases in terms of theater counts. In fact, there is a trio of films opening in more than 100 theaters and there is a slim chance one of them will be a breakout hit. If I were a betting man, I would go with Home Run. Its reviews are weak, but churchgoers tend not to listen to critics. There are also a trio of documentaries, and a trio of Canadian films. Hopefully there will be at least a couple surprise hits in the bunch.

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay - Reviews
A documentary about Ricky Jay, who is a stage magician and a con artist. To be fair, he's not so much a con artist as he is an expert on con artists and their history. He was a consultant on Heartbreakers, and had a cameo in that movie. He's been a consultant for lot of movies and had acting roles in just as many. This film is earning some of the best reviews of the week and it does have a more populace subject than most documentaries, but I'm not convinced it will find an audience. Deceptive Practice opened on Wednesday Film Forum in New York City.

The Disappeared - No Reviews
The first of three Canadian films on this week's list. It is about a disaster aboard a fishing ship that leaves six men marooned at sea in the cold North Atlantic. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but the film was nominated for two Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars). The Disappeared opens tonight at the Empire Park Lane in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Filly Brown - Reviews
Gina Rodriguez stars as Majo Tonorio, an aspiring Hip Hop artist. She might have finally earned her big break, but it might come at too high a price. There are not many reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and they are merely mixed, both of which are bad signs. Additionally, the film is opening in 188 theaters, which is a lot for a limited release. It is going after the Hispanic audience, so they can target their marketing more, but it is still a long shot.

Herman's House - Reviews
A documentary about Herman Wallace, who was one of the Angola 3. The Angola 3 were three prisoners who became politically active while in prison. They fought to end segregation, end prison corruption, etc. Two of them were also convicted of stabbing a prison guard and sentenced to decades in solitary confinement. This film looks at what happens to someone who is in solitary confinement for extended periods. The reviews are excellent and it should do well in limited release. However, like most documentaries, its potential to expand is limited. Herman's House opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Home Run - Reviews
A faith-based baseball film opening in 348 theaters. 42 doing well at the box office, and this could help this film, as those who were interested in that film might want a more spiritually uplifting alternative. Because of this, the film could find an audience among churchgoers. However, its reviews are just mixed and its potential for cross-over appeal is very limited.

In the House - Reviews
From writer / director Francois Ozon, who has quite a following here. It is also among the best-reviewed new releases of the week. Moreover, it has quite a few big names in the cast. On the other hand, it is a foreign language film, which limits its potential to expand. In the House opens tonight in three theaters, split between New York City and Los Angeles.

The Lords of Salem - Reviews
Written and directed by Rob Zombie and starring Sheri Moon Zombie. There have been more than a few films with these two in the cast and crew. This is the widest limited release of the week at 354 theaters, but its reviews are weak. It would be fine if it were opening wide with major studio support, but as a limited release, it needed to perform better with critics to expend strong enough word-of-mouth to thrive.

Molly Maxwell - Reviews
The second Canadian film on this week's list. It is the first feature-length film by writer / director, Sara St. Onge, and it is the theatrical debut for its star, Lola Tash. Despite this, the film has earned mostly good reviews. Lola Tash stars as the titular character, a 16-year old trying to find her voice in school. She finds her inspiration when a new teacher comes to school. This inspiration becomes more and this complicates things. Molly Maxwell opens tonight at The Carlton Cinema in Toronto, Canada.

My Awkward Sexual Adventure - Reviews
Jonas Chernick stars as an accountant who was dumped by his girlfriend because he's bad in bed. He goes to his friend, Vik Sahay, looking for advice. His friend hooks him up with Emily Hampshire, a stripper in debt. He helps calm the financial storm she is in, and she helps expand his sexual horizons. It's a romantic comedy, so the reviews are not great, but they are better than expected. My Awkward Sexual Adventure opens tonight nationwide in Canada and there are some special screeners. Details are here.

Pawn - Reviews
A thriller about a hostage situation at an all-night diner. It opens tonight in one theater, but comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday. It will perform better on the home market.

Unmade in China - Reviews
A documentary about filmmaking in China and how the political machine there interferes in every step of the process. The film's reviews are good and it should find an audience with fans of art house cinema, but its potential to expand significantly is very limited. Unmade in China opens tonight in Los Angeles and Chicago.


Filed under: Limited Releases, 42, Filly Brown, Pawn, The Lords of Salem, Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, Home Run, Dans la maison, Herman's House, Unmade in China, Jonas Chernick, Ricky Jay, Vik Sahay, Rob Zombie, Sheri Moon Zombie, Francois Ozon, Gina Rodriguez, Emily Hampshire