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Getting to the Heart of Limited Releases

January 14th, 2011

There's a wide selection of limited releases this week, including one that was previously thought to have a chance at opening wide. Unfortunately, as is usually the case at this time of year, there are not many quality releases and the best bet for mainstream success is Barney's Version, which previously had an Oscar-qualifying run.

Barney's Version - Reviews
After its Oscar-qualifying run in December, and a limited release in its native Canada, this film expands wide in Canada and opens in limited release in the United States. Its overall reviews are among the best of any release this week, but perhaps not as strong as they will need to be to thrive in limited release. Paul Giamatti's performance, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, is the biggest draw. Hopefully that will help it find an audience. Barney's Version opens on Friday in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area, while expanding wide in Canada.

Burning Palms - Reviews
An ensemble cast tackles five stories that mostly deal with sex and suicide. The reviews are overwhelmingly negative, and quite viciously so in some cases. The final story, with Zoe Saldana as a rape victim who tracks down her attacker, is the only one earning praise, but its likely not enough to save its theatrical run. Burning Palms opens tonight in four theaters, split between the Los Angeles area and Florida.

Every Day - Reviews
Liev Schreiber and Helen Hunt star as a married couple trying to cope when her estranged father moves in with them. The film has a great cast, but so far it is only earned mixed reviews. With the film's target audience split between Oscar-contenders that are expanding and the Golden Globe awards show, this movie could get squeezed out at the box office. Every Day opens tonight in three theaters, two in the Los Angeles area and the other one in New York City.

The Heart Specialist - No Reviews
A romantic comedy set in a predominantly African-American hospital. This movie was made in 2006, but it took five years to get a theatrical release. That's not a good sign. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That is also not a good sign. It is opening in more than 400 theaters, which is way too many for this type of release. Perhaps a targeted releases with an under-served audience could help it thrive, maybe even squeeze into the top ten. However, missing the Mendoza Line is just as likely.

I'm Dangerous With Love - Reviews
Dimitri Mugianis is a former drug addict who got clean with the help of Ibogaine, a drug used in shamanistic rituals in many African cultures. He now uses this drug to help others get clean, but in the United States, Ibogaine is just as illegal as the drugs he's trying to free people from. It's an interesting subject, but the critics are split on the final film. I'm Dangerous With Love opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.

Ong Bak 3 - Reviews
The original Ong Bak earned excellent reviews and performed extremely well for a limited release, especially a foreign language / martial arts movie. Ong Bak 2 was a critical and box office disappointment, earning mixed reviews, and barely getting noticed at the box office. Ong Bak 3 hopes to turn that trend around, but so far its reviews suggest it will have a tough time doing so. They are not bad, but they are just as mixed as before. This suggests fans of the franchise will wait until the film hits the home market to check it out. Ong Bak 3 opens tonight in three theaters, one in New York City and the other two in Hawaii.

Plastic Planet - Reviews
A documentary about plastics, which are incredibly useful in our day-to-day lives, and nearly ubiquitous. Unfortunately, due to their very nature, plastics can become a serious health concern, as they can leech into food, mimic hormones in the body, and totally ruin a meringue by holding onto fat. The film has a lot to talk about, which is a bit of a problem, as some critics are complaining it lacks focus. It's still getting better reviews than a lot of other film's on this week's list, but probably not enough to thrive in limited release. Plastic Planet opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

A Somewhat Gentle Man - Reviews
Ulrik is a member of a crime syndicate who just got out of prison. He's looking to reconnect with his estranged son and maybe start a new life. However, his boss has a new assignment for him: to kill the man that ratted him out. The reviews for this film are good, but I don't think they are good enough to thrive in limited release. Perhaps it will find an audience on the home market. A Somewhat Gentle Man opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Barney's Version, Burning Palms, En ganske snill mann, Every Day, Ong Bak 3, The Heart Specialist, Soy peligroso con el amor , Plastic Planet