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Limited Releases Are Better Than Fair

November 5th, 2010

After weeks of waiting for the flood of Awards Season hopefuls to finally come out, it appears the wait is over with no less than three releases that could be vying for Oscars on February 27th of next year. Client 9, 127 Hours, and Fair*Game could all be in contention that night, while the latter two could be competing against each other. On the other hand, the competition could hurt at the box office.

127 Hours - Reviews
Danny Boyle directs and James Franco stars in this real life story about a man who becomes trapped while rock climbing and has to... (What he does is not really a spoiler, because it is based on a real life story, but I'm still not going to mention it here.) One look at those reviews and you have to think this film will be a contender come Oscar night, is might even do as well as Danny Boyle's previous film, Slumdog Millionaire. 127 Hours opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer - Reviews
A documentary about Eliot Spitzer, who went from one of the most powerful men in America, and one of the most dedicated regulators of Wall Street, to the center of a major sex scandal after it was revealed he was a major client of an escort agency. The reviews are excellent, while the subject matter is still timely enough that it could do very well at the box office, at least compared to most documentaries. Perhaps it might even score a major nomination or two. Client 9 opens tonight in three theaters, all in New York City.

A Drummer's Dream - Review
A Canadian documentary about drummers. It is written and directed by John Walker, who has a few award-worthy documentaries under his belt (Men of the Deeps and The Fairy Faith, for instance). As a Canadian release, it has been hard to find reviews online, but almost all of them I have found have been positive. A Drummer's Dream opens tonight at the The Royal Cinema in Toronto, Canada.

Fair*Game - Reviews
A political thriller about the outing of undercover a C.I.A. Agent, Valarie Plame, as payback for her husband, Joe Wilson, who exposed lies told by President Bush in his State of the Union Address. The highly charged nature of the film could help it at the box office, while the reviews are very good. On the other hand, the highly charged nature of the film could divide its potential audience, while the reviews are only good, but not great, and limited releases usually need great reviews to thrive. Fair*Game opens tonight in close to 50 theaters in cities nationwide.

Four Lions - Reviews
A black comedy about four terrorists trying to strike in the U.K. Hmmm.... a black comedy about terrorism. You know, despite its amazing reviews, I don't think it will find an audience here. Four Lions opens tonight in eight theaters in major cities nationwide.

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench - Reviews
Jason Palmer and Desiree Garcia star as the titular Guy and Madeline, two lovers whose paths (nearly) cross a number of times in this musical. So far the reviews are very good, but below the 80% positive level that is usually associated with success in limited release. Also, it's a very busy week for big releases, and this film might slip between the cracks. Guy and Madeline opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Making the Boys - No Reviews
A documentary about the making of Making the Band, which was groundbreaking in its portrayal of gays in mainstream media. Could be a good movie, but there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so it's hard to tell. That said, the lack of reviews is bad news on its own. Additionally, the official site doesn't even say where it is playing.

Red Hill - Reviews
A classic Western story of a con coming into town to get revenge of the police that put him away, only it is set in modern day Australia. The film has earned some good reviews, and some great buzz from genre critics, but it might still have to wait till the home market to find an audience. Red Hill opens tonight in five theaters, two in New York City, two in the Los Angeles area, and the fifth in Austin, Texas.

A Touch of Grey - No Reviews
Barb has an idyllic life; she's a wife, a mother, and a career woman. So she gets three of her friends together, and a lot of wine, to figure out what went wrong. It's not that she doesn't like her life, but she misses the passion she had when she was younger. The film marks the writer and directing debut of Sandra Feldman, who has previously done stunts in a number of films, including The Day After Tomorrow and Mean Girls. A Touch of Grey opens tonight in Vancouver and Halifax.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Fair*Game, 127 Hours, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Red Hill, Making the Boys, Four Lions, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench