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Limited Releases are Freaking Out

October 1st, 2010

There are quite a few limited releases on this week's list, include a few that are opening in dozens of theaters. Freakonomics is generating the most buzz, but it doesn't have the reviews to back it up. On the other hand, FUBAR II could do well in Canada. And on a strange note, Ip Man is coming out this week, but it has already been released on DVD / Blu-ray.

Barry Munday - Reviews
What's with Patrick Wilson and castration? I just reviewed a different movie of his where there was a castration scene, while in this movie the same thing happens to him. Here he plays the titular character, a womanizer who is attacked and castrated, with a trumpet. The synopsis on the official site follows that news up with, "To make matters worse, Barry learns he's facing a paternity lawsuit filed by a woman he can't remember having sex with." Really? Becoming a father is worse than being castrated with a trumpet? The critics are complaining that the film has too many quirky characters and not enough humor, which is a problem a lot of Indie comedies have. And even with a cast that includes a number of big names, it has little hope at the box office. Barry Munday opens tonight at the Laemmles Music Hall 3 in Los Angeles.

Chain Letter - Reviews
A teenage slasher about a killer murdering kids that don't pass along an e-mail chain letter. I could see killing those that do pass along chain letters, but not this. The film is opening in just over 400 theaters, which is close to being a semi-wide release, but far too many for a film like this. Also, there are almost no reviews online. Finally, there's direct competition both wide release and limited release. That's just too much going against it to suggest it will be a hit. In fact, just reaching the Mendoza Line might be too much to ask for.

Douchebag - Reviews
Two estranged brothers reunite when one of them is about to get married. They then go on a road trip to find the girl the other had a crush on many, many, many years ago. We soon learn why they were estranged in the first place. This film earned some positive advanced buzz, but the reviews so far are split right down the middle. Also, the film's name will either draw people to theaters, or potentially keep them away. I'm of two minds on that issue. Douchebag opens tonight at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next week.

Freakonomics - Reviews
"Freakonomics" was a book that looked at the world of incentives and how these can cause unexpected results. The film takes five chapters and gives them to five different directors, each making a 20-minute short. The results appear to be quite mixed, both on the micro and macro scale. It's hard to find any critics that love all five parts of the movie. Likewise, the number of critics that like enough of the movie to give it an overall positive review are about the same as the number of critics that don't. It does have a lot of advanced buzz, which could help it thrive, at least for a short while. Freakonomics opens tonight in 17 theaters in select cities nationwide, mostly in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

FUBAR II - Reviews
In 2002 FUBAR was released and it became a global sensation. Okay, it was more of a cult movie than anything else, but it did well enough for a sequel to be made. It's too soon to say if FUBAR II will earn better reviews, but there are a ton of ads for it up here in Canada, at least compared to most native films. If you live I Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, or Toronto and are looking for more adventures of Terry and Dean, then you are in luck this weekend. Otherwise, you can hope it does well enough to expand, or wait for it on DVD.

Hatchet II - Reviews
The original Hatchet came out in 2007, earned mixed reviews, and then bombed at the box office. Because of this, it is a little strange that the sequel is also getting a theatrical release. However, no matter what happens, it is apparently going to break a record as the widest release for an Unrated film at 67 theaters. That's probably too many to thrive, but it could do well on the home market.

Leaving, a.k.a. Partir - Reviews
Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Suzanne, a married woman and mother who gives it all up when she embarks on a passionate affair with a younger man. Not exactly an original script, but Kristin Scott Thomas has been earning a lot of praise for her performance, which might be enough for the film to thrive in limited release. On the other hand, it is a foreign language film, which will limit its ability to expland. Leaving opens tonight in two theaters, Lincoln Plaza Cinema and the IFC Center, both in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Barry Munday, Chain Letter, Freakonomics, Hatchet II, Partir, Douchebag