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Descending on the Limited Releases

November 18th, 2011

It's a great week for limited releases, but not because there are a huge number of releases, but because this week The Descendants comes out. This is Alexander Payne's first feature-length film in seven years. (He directed a segment of Paris, je t'aime since then.) His previous three feature-length films all earned at least one Oscar nomination and it would be a major shock if this film didn't also perform well during Awards Season. There are other films coming out this week, including a few earning good reviews, but their box office chances are dwarfed by this movie's potential.

Another Happy Day - Reviews
Weddings can bring families together, but it will take more than the marriage of her estranged son to help Lynn get through the weekend. The film's reviews are mixed; in fact, they are currently at exactly 50% positive. On the one hand, even many of the negative reviews are praising the acting. On the other hand, even many of the positive reviews are complaining that the characters are just too unsympathetic to want to spend much time with. Another Happy Day opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

The Descendants - Reviews
This film has everything going for it, including an Oscar winning writer director, Alexander Payne; an ensemble cast lead by an Oscar winning actor, George Clooney; buzz most limited releases would kill for and award-worthy reviews. It opened in five theaters on Wednesday scoring nearly $40,000, while it expands into two dozen more theaters this weekend. It should easily be the biggest hit on this week's list. It should open bigger than Sideways or About Schmidt and, if the Oscar buzz grows, it could be this year's Up in the Air. Pie in the sky, it could be this year's The King's Speech.

Eames: The Architect and the Painter - Reviews
A documentary about Charles and Ray Eames, a husband and wife team whose designs helped create modernism. They were also quite interesting people, in addition to their work. Unfortunately, the film's reviews are only good, but not great and, as I've said countless times in the past, limited releases usually need great reviews to survive. Eames: The Architect and the Painter opens tonight in three theaters, one in New York City, one in Los Angeles and one in Providence, Rhodes Island.

The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch - Reviews
A billionaire is killed, while his secret adoptive son is locked away in prison under false drug trafficking charges. Meanwhile, forces move in to take over the now deceased man's empire, before his legitimate heir can make his claim. This French action film is only earning mixed reviews, which is bad news, as it is not the right genre to thrive in limited release, so it needs a bit more help than most. The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch opens tonight in four theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also debuts on Video On Demand.

The Lie - Reviews
Actor Joshua Leonard makes his feature-length directorial debut with this film. He also stars as a wannabee musician, who had to get a real job, when he got his girlfriend pregnant. Flash forward to about a year later and he can't bring himself to go to work, so he calls up his boss and tells him his daughter is sick. The next day when he doesn't want to go to work, he has to come up with a bigger lie. The film's reviews are good, but not great. The cast has better name recognition than a lot of limited releases have, which might be enough to help it thrive for a little while. The Lie opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City.

Tomboy - Reviews
When 10-year old Laure moves with her family to a new town, the local kids mistake her for a boy, so she decides to take on the name Michael. This is only the sophomore effort by the writer / director, CĂ©line Sciamma, but with near perfect reviews, it could find a receptive audience among art house fans. It should improve upon Water Lilies' box office numbers. Tomboy opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Tyrannosaur - Reviews
Peter Mullan stars as Joseph, an unemployed alcoholic with a violent temper. He is helped by Olivia Colman, who seems to really understand him. He then learns why; her husband has the same violent temper. The film marks the feature-length directorial debut for Paddy Considine and it is one of the few films on this week's list that is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. Hopefully this will help it thrive. Tyrannosaur opens tonight in five theaters, including the Angelika Film Center in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Descendants, The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch, The Lie, Another Happy Day, Tomboy, Tyrannosaur, Eames: The Architect and the Painter