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Limited Releases are in Full Bloom

January 20th, 2012

Among the number of limited releases coming out this week, there are a surprisingly high number of films earning overwhelmingly positive reviews: Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Coriolanus, Crazy Horse, and The Pruitt Igoe Myth. Unfortunately, three of those four films are documentaries and those rarely earn any measure of mainstream success. I don't think there's enough buzz behind Coriolanus to make up the difference.

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life - Reviews
A documentary biopic of Carol Channing, who has been performing for more than 60 years. The film is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews and should not only please fans of the star, but create new ones. Carol Channing: Larger Than Life opens tonight at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles before expanding into New York in a couple weeks.

Coriolanus - Reviews
Ralph Fiennes directs this modern adaptation of the Shakespeare play. The film has earned incredible reviews, but despite its earlier Oscar qualifying run, it has been ignored by the major award voters. Hopefully it won't be ignored by moviegoers as well. Coriolanus opens tonight nine theaters in major cities nationwide.

Crazy Horse - Reviews
A documentary about the Crazy Horse, which is arguably the world's most famous strip club. Although to call what the performers do their stripping is doing them a disservice, because with impressive choreography and technical presentation, the acts have more in common with Cirque du Soleil than what most people think of when they think of stripping. The film's reviews are excellent and perhaps it will find a receptive audience in theaters. However, like most documentaries, it will likely have to wait until the home market to earn most of its revenue. Crazy Horse opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

The Flowers of War - Reviews
This film looks at the war crimes committed by the Japanese against the Chinese people during the lead up to World War II. This is a very important topic for a movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers decided the story wasn't powerful enough, or wouldn't be engaging enough for western audiences, so they included Christian Bale as an alcoholic American looking for redemption. It turns a powerful story into little more than melodrama. The Flowers of War opens tonight in 30 theaters in major cities nationwide.

The Pruitt Igoe Myth - Reviews
Pruitt Igoe was a public housing complex built in St. Louis in the 1950s. It was meant to be a place where low income people could live and was meant to replace the slums they had previously lived in. However, by the 1970s, the building was in such disrepair it had to be torn down. The film tries to look at the problems that led to this and find their roots, and to separate the truth from the myths. So far it has 100% positive reviews, so while it might not have many answers, critics feel the film is worth checking out. The Pruitt Igoe Myth opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next week.

Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston - Reviews
A documentary about Roy Frowick Halston, who was a major fashion icon, but was also well known for his decadent lifestyle. The film's reviews are not strong with many critics complaining that the filmmakers spent too much time interviewing other celebrities instead of trying to find any real insight on their subject. Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next month.

Watching TV with the Red Chinese - Reviews
Three exchange students from China come to New York to study. They learn a bit about American culture from their new neighbor, a teacher, but mostly from watching TV. When one of the students becomes involved with the teacher's sometime girlfriend, the friendship between the two becomes a lot more complicated. Reviews for the film are weak with many critics complaining that the story isn't strong enough and the filmmaker tried to compensate with quirkiness. Watching TV with the Red Chinese opens tonight at the BIG Cinemas Manhattan.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Coriolanus, Jin líng shí san chai, Crazy Horse, Watching TV with the Red Chinese, Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth