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Limited Releases - Martial Art via Bollywood

January 16th, 2009

The best word to describe this week's list is 'small.' There are only five films on this week's list. Also, only one film is opening in more than one theater, and only one film is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. They are not the same film, sadly, and it is hard to imagine any of these films becoming big hits. That said, at least Chandi Chowk to China should have a shot at becoming a niche market hit.

Ballerina - Reviews
A documentary by Bertrand Normand that was originally made for French TV. The film profiles five new stars of the Russia ballet, and while some have complained that the film is a little too free with the praise (some going so far as to call it near propaganda) it is still a fascinating look at the subject and for fans of ballet it is worth checking out. Ballerina opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Chandi Chowk to China - Reviews
The widest release of the week is a Bollywood martial arts movie about a cook from India who is believed to be the reincarnation of a ancient warrior who will defend a small Chinese village from vicious smugglers. Throw in a conmen, femme fatale, and a little revenge, and you have all the ingredients needed for an action / comedy. ... Perhaps a few too many ingredients. Yes, the reviews are not great, but since most Bollywood films are not even reviewed by mainstream critics, this is a step in the right direction. Chandi Chowk to China opens tonight in 130 theaters, and while there is almost no chance it will expand significantly after that, it could still become a hit with its target audience.

Cherry Blossoms - Reviews
The only film on this week's list earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. A French / German co-production, the film is about a married couple, Trudi and Rudi. When Trudi learns her husband is terminally ill, she hides the truth from everyone, including her husband. With excellent reviews, it could have the best shot at expanding over the coming weeks. However, it is still a foreign language film, and that's a hard obstacle to overcome. Cherry Blossoms opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City.

Owl and the Sparrow - No Reviews
A Vietnamese film about a 10-year old orphan girl trying to play matchmakers between a flight attendant and a zookeeper, in order to create a surrogate family. The film has won numerous awards at film festivals, and was even nominated for an Independent Spirit Award last year, but there are still no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Owl and the Sparrow opens tonight in Los Angeles at the Laemmles Sunset 5.

The Village Barbershop - Review
John Ratzenberger (Cheers) and Shelly Cole (Gilmore Girls) stars as an old-fashioned barber and the new assistant he is forced to hire. So far the film is earning almost no reviews, but the reviews is has are mostly positive with critics saying it is a pleasant movie like they used to make. The Village Barbershop opens tonight in one theater in New Mexico, but might tour other states later on.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Owl and the Sparrow