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Big Fan of Limited Releases

August 28th, 2009

There are seven limited releases on this week's list, including a number earning very impressive reviews. That said, I can't see any films that strong shot at mainstream success. Big Fan has a chance, if its reviews hold strong, but most will have to wait till the home market to find an audience, if they find an audience.

Big Fan - Reviews
Written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, who previously wrote The Wrestler. It is also the dramatic debut for Patton Oswalt, who is best known for his stand-up comedy work. So far the reviews are excellent, but there's been a lot of talk that the film is tough to market. Let's hope this is not the case. Big Fan opens tonight in two theaters, including the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Mystery Team - Reviews
As kids, Jason, Duncan, and Charlie used to solve crimes committed by kids, and have for ten years, all the way through high school. Now that they are adults, they get a case that could prove they are real detectives: Double Homicide. They've gone from solving cases about stolen bicycles to trying to figure out who killed a little girl's parents. It's an interesting premise, but with only one review, it's hard to tell if it was executed well. Given the background of the principle actors (sketch comedy) there's a very real chance the movie will feel like a 5-minute skit stretched perilously thin. Hopefully that's not the case. Mystery Team opens tonight at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas, before expanding into Florida in a couple of weeks.

The Open Road - No Reviews
A father and son take a road trip to visit their wife/mother. It's the widest release of the week, but there are no reviews, which is a terrible sign, especially for a limited release with quite a bit of star power behind it. The Open Road opens tonight in 14 theaters select cities nationwide.

The September Issue - Reviews
A documentary about the September issue of Vogue, which is apparently the bible of the fashion world. The film focuses on Vogue's editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, and her team of editors, as they deal with Fashion Week, shoot, re-shoots, etc. The reviews are good, but I'm not sure they are good enough to thrive in the competitive limited release market. We will find out on Monday if I am wrong. The September Issue opens tonight in six theaters, mostly in New York City.

Sheltered Life - Review
A Canadian film about three teenagers dealing with adjusting to life in a women's shelter. Since it is a Canadian movie, there are almost no reviews to find online, but the one I did find was positive. On the other hand, one review, no official site, and a Canadian release means it will likely not find an audience in theaters. Sheltered Life opens tonight at The Royal in Toronto, but hopefully it will expand, and failing that, at least find an audience on the home market.

Still Walking - Reviews
This film is the latest from writer / director Hirokazu Koreeda, who previously made Nobody Knows. Amazingly, this film is earning better reviews, which is nearly mathematically impossible. As for its box office chances, it could find a receptive audience on the art house circuit, but there's little chance it will expand enough to grab any real mainstream success. Still Walking opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

We Live in Public - Reviews
A documentary about the life of Internet innovator, Josh Harris. Josh Harris was an innovator that was ahead of his time, but he was also mentally unstable and his quest for fame and publicity drove him too far. I'm not sure someone who was (nearly) driven to madness on a quest for fame is the best subject for a documentary, as it feels like you are feeding this man's mental instability, but so far the critics are almost universal in their recommendation for the film. We Live in Public opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The September Issue, Big Fan, Still Walking, The Open Road, We Live in Public, Mystery Team