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Everlasting Limited Releases - UPDATE!

March 6th, 2009

There are 12 films on this week's list, starting with a film called 12. There are also a trio of Canadian movies, a couple Indian movies, and more international flavor. That said, I'm not sure any have what it takes to thrive in limited release. Update: There are three more films that were late additions to this list. They can be found at the end.

12 - Reviews
The Russian film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It is a remake of 12 Angry Men, but set in Russia with a cross-section of the modern Russian population. Not as good as 12 Angry Men, but then again, few films are. 12 opened on Wednesday in five theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles are, but also in New York City.

13B - No Reviews
An Indian thriller, which is a bit unusual as most films from India are Bollywood musicals. Here it is about a family whose lives are taken over by their new TV. No review on Rotten Tomatoes, but I have seen a few online, and most are mixed. On a side note, this movie might also be called Yaavarum Nalam, or even 13B yil ...Yaavarum Nalam. Hopefully they are not three separate movies with the same or similar names. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the target audience reacts to the change in genre.

Dhoondte Reh Jaoge - No Reviews
An Indian film being released in six theaters without any reviews, but at least I found an Official Site. One quick look at the synopsis, and this feels like the Bollywood version of The Producers. With a built in niche market, these films tend to do rather well in limited release here. However, at just six theaters, this is more limited than usual. Not sure if this is a bad sign, or if this will help its per theater average.

Everlasting Moments - Reviews
This film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, but was passed over for Waltz With Brashir. Waltz With Brashir did earn better reviews, but 85% positive still suggests a strong shot at expansion, even with the foreign language aspect. Everlasting Moments opens tonight in five theaters, three in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area.

Explicit Ills - Reviews
Writer / director Jim Jarmusch takes a turn at producing this film, which was written and directed by actor Mark Webber, who is making his debut behind the camera. So far the reviews are good, good enough to suggest some ability to expand. The buzz, on the other hand... It's not bad, but given the producer and some of the cast (Rosario Dawson, Paul Dano, etc.), I would expect more. Explicit Ills opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center in New York City, before expanding to Los Angeles next week.

Fados - Reviews
A documentary about the Portuguese musical tradition called Fados, or Fate. It is part of writer / director Carlos Saura's dance trilogy, the others being Tango and Flamenco. Reviews so far are perfect, but with only six reviews, there are not enough to suggest strong buzz or the ability to expand. Fados opens tonight at the Lincoln Plaza in New York City.

The Green Chain - No Reviews
A Canadian drama that looks at the complex topic of the forest industry from those who work directly in the industry, to those who live in communities who depend on logging, to those fighting to protect old-growth forests. I haven't seen many reviews online, but the ones I did see compliment the movie on its balance, which is a hard thing to maintain with practically any topic like this. The Green Chain opens tonight at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver, B.C.

Horseman - No Reviews
The widest release of the week, and there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That's a really bad sign. There's a lot of star power in the cast compared to most limited releases (Dennis Quaid, Zhang Ziyi, and more) and this might help draw in some moviegoers. However, limited releases live and die on their reviews, and no reviews might be worse than bad reviews. Horseman opens tonight in 75 theaters, but I think that will be as far as it goes.

One Week - Reviews
Joshua Jackson has been spending a lot of time working in his native Canada making movies, including this film. In it he plays the lead, a man who learns he has one week to live, so he decides to take a motorcycle trip across the country to Tofino, British Columbia. The "Terminal Illness" storyline is not unique, nor is the road trip, but it is still worth checking out. One Week opens tonight in major cities across Canada.

Saving Luna - Reviews
A Canadian documentary about a Killer Whale calf that became separated from its pod along the coast of British Columbia. It is also about the people Luna affects, and their reactions, which range from using him to advance the cause of conservation, to treating him as the reincarnated spirit of a tribal leader. Reviews are strong, but it is opening in Halifax tonight, which is at the opposite end of the country. Not sure how that will affect its box office chances.

Sherman's Way - Reviews
A buddy comedy / road trip / coming of age movie that borrows liberally from the collected pool of clich├ęs of those three genres. With little buzz and very weak reviews, there's little chance this film will be able to expand, despite some star power (Enrico Colantoni, Lacey Chabert, Donna Murphy, M. Emmet Walsh). Sherman's Way opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

Shuttle - Reviews
A horror / thriller opening in limited release. When was the last time that this release strategy worked for this kind of film? I guess that would be Let the Right One In, but before that, the last time this worked was years and years ago. Add in just three reviews, and only one of those positive, and there's very little hope for this film's theatrical release. Shuttle opens tonight at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles, before expanding into Boston and Seattle next week.

Phoebe in Wonderland - Reviews
Starring Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning, stars as the titular Phoebe. Phoebe is a 9-year old girl who is confused by the number of rules she has to deal with and wants to play Alice in her school's production of Alice in Wonderland. However, her erratic behavior starts to become a concern, both at school and at home. So far the film's reviews have been mixed, just below the overall positive level. This wouldn't be a serious issue for a wide release, but it could prove fatal for a limited release. Phoebe in Wonderland opens tonight in a dozen theaters in major cities nationwide.

Reunion - Reviews
Writer / director Alan Hruska creates his third film, the first two being Nola and The Warrior Class. Here he tells the story of a group of college friends reuniting after the death of one of their group. It is being compared to The Big Chill, which is hurting its chances with critics, but with more star power than many limited releases (including Christopher McDonald, Cynthia Stevenson, and others), it might beat expectations at the box office. Reunion opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

Tokyo! - Reviews
An anthology film with three segments directed by three directors, all about life in Tokyo. These directors include Michael Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Joon-ho Bong, director of The Host; and Leos Carax, who is probably best known for The Lovers on the Bridge, but hasn't directed anything in a decade. Originally the film was supposed to be released last December, but was pushed back till now. This is not a good sign going from the heart of Awards Season till early Spring. Tokyo! opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema New York City, and will know by the end of the weekend if this move was a wise one.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Tokyo!, Phoebe in Wonderland, Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, The Horsemen, 12