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Limited Releases are Going Wild

April 8th, 2011

There are plenty of limited releases opening this weekend, including a few that are opening wider than usual. Unfortunately, most of the limited releases are either earning poor reviews, or are being ignored by critics. Fortunately, one of the widest releases of the weekend, Born to be Wild 3D, is also one of the films that is earning the best reviews of the week.

The American: The Bill Hicks Story - Reviews
A documentary about stand-up comic Bill Hicks. Early reviews were amazing; however, they have since slumped to merely very good. A lot of the latest reviews have complained that the movie is a hagiography, and a limited one at that. We don't hear from fellow comics, detractors or supporters, nor do we hear about any of the controversies. It's a shame, as he had an interesting life and career. The American: The Bill Hicks Story opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Born to be Wild 3D - Reviews
A documentary about orphaned elephants and orangutans and their human caretakers. Cute overload ensues. And it's not just cuteness that is the selling point, as the film is earning some of the best reviews out of all of the releases this week. It is also an IMAX film and runs only 40 minutes, so it better be incredible to be worth the money. Born to be Wild 3D opens tonight in just over 200 theaters nationwide, and it is not even the widest limited release of the week.

Ceremony - Reviews
Michael Angarano plays Sam, a 20 something slacker who is still upset over his breakup with Zoe. He convinces his friend, Marshall, to take a road trip to Long Island for a little relaxation. However, it's a trick and in reality he just wants to crash Zoe's wedding to Whit. Reviews are rather weak with many critics complaining that the romance between Sam and Zoe is never quite believable, which really hurts a romantic comedy. Ceremony opens tonight in two theaters, the City Cinemas Village East in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

Exodus Fall - Reviews
When an abusive widow and mother, Rosanna Arquette, decides to lock her autistic son in a mental institute, her other two children decide to rescue him and run away from home to their grandmother's house. So far the film has earned more positive reviews than negative reviews, but with only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it's the lack of buzz that is of greater concern. Exodus Fall opens in ten theaters, which might be a few too many.

Henry's Crime - Reviews
A heist film about a slacker, Keanu Reeves, hooking up with James Caan, a man who just got out of prison after being falsely convicted of robbing a bank. He convinces Keanu to help him rob said bank out of a sense of revenge. The film has a good cast (which also includes Vera Farmiga, Judy Greer, Fisher Stevens, among others) but its reviews are below 50% positive. That would be okay for a wide release, but I seriously doubt this film will be able to survive in limited release long enough to expand significantly. Henry's Crime opens tonight at the Landmark Sunshine Theatre in New York City.

Meek's Cutoff - Reviews
An Independent Spirit Award winner, and given its reviews, it's not hard to see why. In the film, Michelle Williams continues her impressive streak of independent films. Here she stars as a woman traveling the Oregon trail in the 1800s in a story that is loosely based on the real life diaries of many women who made the same journey. It's a minimalist western, which will limit its appeal to mainstream audiences, but it could do well in limited release. Meek's Cutoff opens tonight at the Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Meet Monica Velour - Reviews
Dustin Ingram stars as Tobe, an awkward teenager who travels hundreds of miles to meet his favorite porn star, Monica Velour / Linda Romanoli. Monica Velour's career peaked in the 1980s, but Linda Romanoli's a 49-year old single mother dealing with an abussive ex, alcoholism, and just trying to pay the bills. Many critics are praising Kim Cattrall's performance, but the overall reviews are less impressive. Meet Monica Velour opens tonight in two theaters, the Clearview Chelsea in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

No Eres Tu, Soy Yo - Reviews
No Eres Tu, Soy Yo, which I believe means, "It's not you, it's me." It's a romantic comedy from Mexico, which is a remake of an Argentinian film called No sos vos, soy yo. Eugenio Derbez plays a doctor from Mexico whose girlfriend moves to Miami. She's American, so once she gets settled into her new job there, he's going to move to Miami and the pair of them will be married. However, before that happens, she has an affair and breaks up with him. Now he has to deal with the aftermath. It only has one review on Rotten Tomatoes, but at least it is positive. It is also opening in well over 200 theaters making it the widest limited release of the week. It is a targeted release aimed at Hispanics, which is a traditionally underserved demographic, so that could help, but it will still be a tough climb.

Son of the Sunshine - Review
A Canadian movie about a young man (writer / director Ryan Ward) with Tourette's Syndrome who seeks an experimental surgical cure, but while it works, it may have taken away his gift to heal the sick. There's only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, which is actually better than most Canadian films manage, but I've found a several more reviews online that are quite positive. Even so, it is a Canadian film, and these usually never really find an audience theatrically. Hopefully this one will be different. Son of the Sunshine opens tonight at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto, Canada.

Thank You - Reviews
The latest Bollywood release hitting theaters here is about four friends who are serial cheaters, but their wives don't know. One of their wives, Sanjana, finally starts to suspect something and hires a P.I. to follow her husband. This private eye specializes in saving marriages from a cheating husband, but he falls for Sanjana and decides to try to end the marriage. No reviews, but that's common for these films, while the opening theater count is 92, which is normal for Bollywood films. On the other hand, there is always a huge amount of uncertainty with this genre.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Ceremony, Meek's Cutoff, Henry's Crime, Born to be Wild 3D, Meet Monica Velour, American: The Bill Hicks Story, No Eres Tu, Soy Yo, Exodus Fall, Thank You