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Limited Releases Go to Hell

September 6th, 2013

As usual the weekend after Labor Day, it's a very busy week in limited release. Unfortunately, it is a case of quantity over quality. There are a couple of films earning good reviews: a foreign language film, Populaire, and a documentary, Red Obsession. It is unlikely either of them will find a large enough audience in limited release that they will be able to expand significantly. On the other hand, Awards Season is just around the corner, so fans of limited releases won't have to wait long before they will be flooded with options.

36 Saints - Reviews
A serial killer movie where the killer in question thinks if he can kill 36 righteous people, he can plunge the world into darkness. It's the wrong genre for limited release, plus there are almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and finally, all of the reviews are negative. 36 Saints opens tonight in 9 theaters, but that is likely as far as it will go.

Adore - Reviews
Naomi Watts and Robin Wright star as two life-long friends each of whom falls in love with the others' son. The critics are praising their acting, but complaining about just about everything else. Adore opens tonight in dozens of theaters nationwide, as well as Video on Demand.

Dead Before Dawn 3D - Reviews
A horror comedy opening in limited release and with weak reviews. Normally this would spell bad news, but with direct competition from a bigger film, Hell Baby, it will likely prove fatal. Dead Before Dawn 3D opens tonight in 10 theaters in select cities nationwide.

Good Ol' Freda - Reviews
A documentary about Freda Kelly, the long time secretary for The Beatles. There are not many reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and most of them are negative. As some of the critics have commented, you just don't learn much about The Beatles or their secretary during this movie. Good Ol' Freda opens tonight at the Sundance Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Hell Baby - Reviews
This is a parody of evil baby / demonic pregnancy movies. There have been a surprising number of those films, given the specificity of the genre, and there are some big names in this one, especially compared to most limited releases, but the reviews are weak, and it is the wrong genre for limited releases. I suspect it will perform better on the home market. Hell Baby opens tonight in ten theaters in select cities nationwide.

Populaire - Reviews
A French comedy starring Déborah François, as Rose. Rose is living in the 1950s and is expected to marry one of the local men and live a rather dull life. However, she discovers she has a gift: she can type really fast. The reviews for the film are good, but not great. It is a foreign language film, but there are enough fans of French cinema that it could do well in the art house circuit. Populaire opens tonight in three theaters in New York City.

Red Obsession - Reviews
A documentary about wine, more specifically the massive new demand in China for expensive red wine. Here's an idea to fill that demand. Take the cheapest wine you've got, and slap an expensive label on it. Done. They've done studies where you can fool "wine experts." First give them some white wine and ask them to describe the taste. Then, after merely dyeing the white wine red, the experts will tell you it tastes completely different. So I have little sympathy for people getting suckered into buying expensive wine, especially if it is counterfeit. That said, the reviews are universally positive at the moment and it could find a receptive audience among art house aficionados. Red Obsession opens tonight in theaters, as well as Video on Demand.

Salinger - Reviews
A documentary about J.D. Salinger, his book, The Catcher in the Rye, and its impact. Unfortunately, J.D. Salinger was notoriously reclusive, so there's not a lot to talk about when it comes to the man. Instead, they talk to a ton of celebrities about what they think about the book, but they talk to so many, that for most, you only hear one or two sentences before they have to move on. The end result is very unsatisfying. Salinger opens tonight in four theaters, two in New York City, one in Los Angeles, and I'm not sure where the fourth is, because they don't say on the official site.

Tio Papi - Reviews
A film aimed at Hispanics about a wild bachelor who suddenly becomes a father. Didn't this just come out last week? This is incredibly bad timing. Worse still, the reviews are terrible. I doubt this will thrive in theaters, not even with the target demographic. Tio Papi opens tonight in 20 theaters, but that is likely as wide as it will go.

Touchy Feely - Reviews
An independent comedy that has fallen for a lot of the pitfalls encountered by indie comedies. It is well-acted, but the "humor" comes from quirky characters and not actually humorous situations. This is such a cliché when it comes to indie comedy that I'm surprised Lynn Shelton fell for it, because her previous film was so good. I'm sure she will bounce back. Touchy Feely opens tonight in New York City and Portland, Oregon, before expanding to Los Angeles and Seattle next week.

The Ultimate Life - Reviews
A prequel / sequel to The Ultimate Gift. That film earned mixed reviews, but did well with the churchgoing community, especially on the home market. This film's reviews are even weaker, but the target audience might still support it in theaters. The Ultimate Life opens tonight in more 400 theaters.

Winnie Mandela - Reviews
This film screams Oscar Bait. Unfortunately, its reviews are among the worst for any film coming out this week and it has little hope of finding an audience in limited release. Winnie Mandela opens tonight, maybe. I can't seem to find a theater listing.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Winnie Mandela, 36 Saints, Populaire, Dead Before Dawn 3D, Tio Papi, Salinger, Hell Baby, Good Ol' Freda, Adore, Touchy Feely, The Ultimate Life, No se Aceptan Devoluciones, Red Obsession, Lynn Shelton, Naomi Watts, Robin Wright