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Limited Releases and Going to Hell and Back

October 7th, 2011

There are quite a few releases on this week's list that are opening with stronger buzz than the average limited release manages. However, none of the higher profile films are earning better than average reviews. Maybe one of them will be able to ride the buzz to a strong opening weekend before word-of-mouth catches up to them, but there's also a chance none of them will attract a sizable audience over the weekend. There are two films earning perfect review at the moment, Hell and Back Again and Flying Monsters 3D, but that might not be enough for either to find an audience, since they are both documentaries.

1911 - Reviews
An historic epic about the birth of China as a modern nation. The movie stars Jackie Chan, but that appears to be the only thing the film has going for it. Its Tomatometer Score is in the single digits, plus it is about historic events most people here don't have firsthand knowledge of. Finally, it is opening in 33 theaters, which is just too many for a film like this.

Blackthorn - Reviews
Sam Shepard stars as Butch Cassidy and in this film, Butch Cassidy doesn't die in a standoff with the Bolivian army, but instead grows old and eventually tries to return to the states to see his family one last time. The reviews are good, but not great. Also, not only is it opening in five theaters tonight, it is opening in Video on Demand, which will further erode its box office chances. Maybe it will surprise, but I am not optimistic.

Dirty Girl - Reviews
It looks like Weinstein Co. could have another miss on their hands. Despite earning quite a bit of buzz, this film is earning really weak reviews. Juno Temple could be on her way to becoming a major star and has several big films coming out relatively soon. Also of note, this is writer / director Abe Sylvia's first feature-length film, but if he does have a career, this will likely not be looked at as a highlight. Dirty Girl opens tonight in nine theaters, which is a lot givin the film's reviews.

Flying Monsters 3D - Reviews
A 3D documentary about not quite dinosaurs. Strictly speaking, pterosaurs are not true dinosaurs the same way ichthyosaurs are not true dinosaurs. That said, if someone described them as flying dinosaurs, most people would know what you are talking about. So far the reviews are perfect, although there are not a lot of them online. The IMAX film isn't a feature-length release, but this edutainment release could find a more receptive audience than some of the other limited releases on this week's list. Flying Monsters 3D opens tonight in six theaters in cities from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon to Jersey City, New Jersey.

Hell and Back Again - Reviews
A documentary about the difficulties returning soldiers have to deal with, including dealing with physical wounds and emotional trauma. So far the reviews are perfect, but the subject matter might limit its potential audience. The Afghan War is now the longest war in United States history, and fatigue may have sent in. Hell and Back Again opens tonight at the Film Forum in New York City.

Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence - Reviews
I'm of two minds when it comes to this film. On the one hand, I have no idea why this film was made. It's not like the first movie was a huge hit with moviegoers or with critics. On the other hand, the original was controversial, so maybe the studio is hoping this film will be even more controversial and that will draw people in. I don't think it will happen, but the film is a major wildcard. Human Centipede 2 debuts tonight in 18 theaters, but that might be as wide as it goes.

The Sons of Tennessee Williams - Reviews
A documentary about a very early example of gay liberation, which is an interesting story, but the critics are saying this movie does little with the subject matter that we haven't seen before. The Sons of Tennessee Williams opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Dirty Girl, The Sons of Tennessee Williams, Hell and Back Again, Blackthorn, Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, Xinhai geming, Flying Monsters 3D