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Will Limited Releases be Perfect or Magical?

August 5th, 2011

While a number of new limited releases this week, only one has generated some advance buzz, The Whistleblower. There is also only one release with overwhelmingly positive reviews, Bellflower. Had the film with the most buzz also been the movie with the best reviews, it would have been the clear choice for best bet. As it is, I don't know if there's any film on this week's list that will escape the art house circuit.

Bellflower - Reviews
One of the best-reviewed limited releases of the week. This film tells the story of two friends who are becoming adults, but not really growing up. (When your hobby is building flamethrowers, "Adult" is not really a term that applies.) When one of the pair falls in love, this upsets the dynamic. Great reviews, but not a huge amount of buzz. Hopefully it can find an audience. Bellflower opens tonight in two theaters: Angelika Film Center in New York City and Nuart Theatre Los Angeles.

Cold Fish - Reviews
A Japanese film about a dysfunctional family that falls under the influence of a charming and rich man, who also happens to be a serial killer. It's as much dark comedy as it is horror, but neither genre tends to do well in limited release. Cold Fish opens tonight at the reRun Gastropub Theater in New York City.

Gun Hill Road - Reviews
An ex-con has trouble reconnecting with his family after getting out of jail. This film is writer / director Rashaad Ernesto Green's feature-length debut, which could explain why the reviews are only mixed. Gun Hill Road opens tonight in a handful of theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Magic Trip - Reviews
A documentary about a drug-fueled road trip taken in 1963 by author Ken Kesey, and a group of counter-culture artists. The reviews are only mixed with the main complaint being that, if you don't know the 1960s, this film won't help explain the appeal to you. Magic Trip opens tonight in four theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City. It is also debuting on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are limited.

Mysteries of Lisbon - Reviews
Based on a Portuguese book that was originally a mini-series, but was cut down for its theatrical release. (The film is still more than four hours long.) It's about the love child of two aristocrats who were forbidden to marry. When the boy searches for his parents, he sets off a chain of events. The reviews for this movie are good, but not great. It is a foreign language period piece, which limits its ability to expand wide, but perhaps it will thrive in limited release. Mysteries of Lisbon opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and IFC Center.

The Perfect Age Of Rock 'N' Roll - Reviews
There have been plenty of films about rock bands on the road and how personality conflicts can tear them apart. This is not one of the best of them. In fact, it has zero positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The Perfect Age Of Rock 'N' Roll opens tonight in two theaters: City Cinemas Village East in New York City and Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles. On a side note, I'm tired of people associating 27 with some musician's curse. There are only seven famous artists who died at that age. A five-minute Google search came up with four musicians that died at age 32 (Karen Carpenter, John Bonham, Cass Elliot, and Keith Moon) and I'm sure there are others. It's hardly a statistical anomaly.

The Whistleblower - Reviews
Rachel Weisz stars as the titular whistleblower in this inspired-by-real-life-story film. There was Awards Season Buzz surrounding this film, but that's unlikely to pan out for two reasons. Firstly, it is opening too early and the flood of contenders in November and December will steal the show. Secondly, it's reviews are too weak. Having a Tomatometer Score of 59% positive would be a little low for a film like this, if it were opening wide. It's far too low for limited release or a contender for awards. Perhaps the buzz can help it during its opening weekend. The Whistleblower opens tonight in seven theaters, just over half in the Los Angeles area and the others in New York City, while it expands to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Canada next week.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Whistleblower, Bellflower, Magic Trip, The Perfect Age Of Rock 'N' Roll, Gun Hill Road, Misterios de Lisboa, Cold Fish