Follow us on

Not Every Limited Releases is Fantastic

November 13th, 2009

We should be seeing a lot of Oscar contenders coming out in the coming weeks, but while there are a couple of films on this week's list that are earning outstanding reviews, most are not. Some are earning reviews that are good, but perhaps not good enough to survive limited release, while others are not even reaching the 50% positive level.

Dare - Reviews
A look at the lives of three high school students that are about to graduate, but who want to shake up their lives and change who they have been and discover who they are. The film is based on a short film by the same name that was also written by David Brind and directed by Adam Salky. However, given the mixed reviews, perhaps there's not enough material to survive the extended running time. Dare opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox - Reviews
In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes Anderson had Henry Selick designed stop-motion sea creatures, which is where the director got the idea to make a stop-motion movie. However, by the time the project got off the ground, Henry Selick was unavailable. That doesn't seem to have been a problem, as the film is earning some of the best reviews of the year and seems to be a lock to pick up one of the five Oscar nominations for Best Feature Length Animation Film. Hopefully it will do well enough in limited release that its planned expansion in a couple weeks will be worth it. The Fantastic Mr. Fox opens tonight in four theaters, two in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area.

Four Seasons Lodge - Reviews
A documentary about the annual reunion of Holocaust survivors that takes place in the Catskills. Currently the reviews are just below the 80% positive usually associated with films that thrive in limited release. Four Seasons Lodge opened on Wednesday at the at the IFC Center in New York City.

The Messenger - Reviews
Ben Foster stars alongside Woody Harrelson as a soldier returning from the Iraq war. He is assigned to the Casualty Notification service, which is a service in the army that notifies next of kin when a soldier dies. The film is earning 90% positive reviews with ample praise being handed out to the cast and to writer / director Oren Moverman, who is making his directorial debut with this film. (He previously wrote the screenplay for I'm Not There, Married Life, and other movies.) The Messenger opens tonight in four theaters, including two in New York City, as well as one in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland.

Uncertainty - Reviews
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins play a traveling couple who get to the Brooklyn Bridge and, not knowing which way to go, flip a coin. The movie then splits to show how their day would go depending on the outcome of that coin toss. It's an interesting set up, but the results are just mixed. (Earlier in the day the reviews were exactly 50/50, which would have been perfect for a movie about a coin toss.) If you are a fan of the cast, or of the writer / director team of Scott McGehee and David Siegel, then it is worth checking out, but if you don't live in New York City, chances are you will have to wait until the home market to see it. Uncertainty opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe - Reviews
A documentary about the civil rights lawyer who defended some of the most controversial cases of his time, and whose client list grew more controversial as his career progressed. Reviews are good, but they are just below the level usually associated with films that thrive in limited release. There is also a question of how large of a target audience this film might have. William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Women in Trouble - Reviews
The latest from writer / director Sebastian Gutierrez, whose previous theatrical release was Rise - Blood Hunter. Sadly, this movie is earning even weaker reviews than that film earned. Carla Gugino stars as a porn star who discovers she is pregnant, and there is an impressive supporting cast. However, looking at the reviews, the cast might be the only impressive part of the movie. Women in Trouble opens tonight in a handful of theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Dare, Uncertainty, Women in Trouble, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger