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Limited Releases have Conviction

October 15th, 2010

It looks like we are getting closer and closer to Awards Season with two Oscar potential films coming out this week. At least there are two films that look like they were made to win Oscars. I'm not sure either has what it takes. Other limited releases include two films opening in several hundred theaters, both of which could struggle. There should be at least a couple to find some measure of mainstream success, but I'm unwilling to bet which films those will be.

Carlos - Reviews
A biopic about the infamous terrorist, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a.k.a., Carlos the Jackal. This film was a TV mini-series back in its native France, a five-and-a-half hour long mini-series, but it has been cut down to a two-and-a-half hour long movie here. Both versions have been earning praise, so it could find a receptive audience here. However, there's also a chance people will wait for the home market to see the full version. Carlos opens tonight in two theaters, including the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Carmo, Hit the Road - Reviews
A Spanish smuggler is attacked by bandits but is rescued by a beautiful woman, the titular Carmo, who then helps him escape. It's writer / director Murilo Pasta's first film, which could explain why it isn't winning over too many critics. The weak reviews will likely spell disaster for the film at the box office. Carmo opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Conviction - Reviews
Hilary Swank has won two Oscars for Best Leading Actress. That means any film she is in that can be thought of as an Awards Season player will have high expectations placed upon it. Given the film's reviews, perhaps too high. It's not a bad movie; in fact, it is earning nearly identical reviews to Hereafter. However, it is not Award Worthy and it might struggle in limited release. Conviction opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and the Los Angeles area.

Down for Life - Reviews
A look at the life of a Latina gang leader and how it affects her home life, school, etc. Not a whole lot of reviews online (and none on Rotten Tomatoes) but word is that it is authentic. This is not surprising, as many of the cast were picked from that life. The lack of reviews, and the lack of buzz that represents, will probably result in a poor box office performance, but perhaps it will surprise. Down for Life opens tonight in five theaters in Texas.

Down Terrace - Reviews
A story of a father and son in business together. Unfortunately, that business is crime. Worse still, business is bad and the pair have to deal with a disintegrating relationship, as well as a possible informant. The film's reviews are excellent and are currently just over the 80% positive level. However, it is opening the same weekend as two films that could be considered Oscar Bait, which is tough competition to go against. Additionally, black comedies are a tough sell at the best of times. Down Terrace opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles.

Gerrymandering - Reviews
A political documentary about the art of drawing electoral boundaries. Okay, I'm probably one of only five people interested in this subject, so I should be surprised it is not earning good reviews. It's hard to make an interesting movie about a rather boring subject. On the other hand, it is fun to read a review that mentioned Michael Moore in a complimentary way. (One critic said his style was needed to make this subject interesting.) Michael Moore constantly gets good reviews, but he's treated poorly by critics who want to appear impartial. Gerrymandering opens tonight in five theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Hereafter - Reviews
Clint Eastwood's sixth film in the past four years. Given his run of success since Mystic River, having his name on the film is enough to consider this film an Awards Season player. However, reviews for the supernatural film are not great. They are better than average for a wide release, but not strong enough for a limited release. Fortunately for its box office chances, it is already scheduled to open wide next weekend, so this is more of a prestige release than a true limited release. Hereafter opens tonight in six theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

I Want Your Money - Reviews
The widest release of the week debuting in more than 500 theaters. This documentary is written and directed by Ray Griggs, who previously made Super Capers, which managed zero percent positive reviews before bombing at the box office. This movie will undoubtedly do better, as it would be hard to do worse. I don't know if it will be a big hit, but come Monday one side of the political spectrum will be doing a lot of gloating. Personally, I'm looking at the long run to see if this film can top Inside Job in total.

N-Secure - Reviews
This film is opening in more than 400 theaters, but so far there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. In many ways, that's all you need to know to judge the film's box office chances. It also has a first time director, two first time writers, but a few cast members with familiar names (Essence Atkins and Tempestt Bledsoe, for instance). I think the negatives outweigh the positives by a large margin and box office success is unlikely.

Samson and Delilah - Reviews
The best reviewed release of the week, this Australian film was the countries official selection for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but failed to pick up a nomination. (It is currently earning reviews that are as good as any of the five nominees.) Hopefully these reviews will help it find the audience it deserves. Samson and Delilah opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

The Trouble With Terkel - Reviews
This film is being described by many who have seen is as the Danish South Park. I haven't seen enough reviews to know if that's a compliment or not. It was made back in 2004, and it was low-budget to begin with, so the animation quality isn't up to today's standards. The warped story might help it find an audience, but it will likely have to wait till the home market for that to happen.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Down Terrace, Conviction, Carlos, Carmo, I Want Your Money, , Inside Job, Hereafter, N-Secure, Down for Life, Gerrymandering, Samson & Delilah