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Some Hot Limited Releases (And Some Not)

February 8th, 2008

Ten limited releases this week, including... two opening in 100 theaters or more, two opening in one theater each, two Canadian films, two starring Joel Moore, two earning perfect reviews, and two others earning 10% positive, or less. (There is some overlap in that list.) Needless to say, with such a wide selection, there should be something for everyone.

Bab'Aziz - Reviews
An Iranian film about a blind dervish traveling through the desert with his granddaughter trying to find the dervish reunion using only his faith as his guide. The film moves at its own pace, which is fine for fans of art house cinema, but it is unlikely to expand into multiplexes. Bab'Aziz opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City before touring around the country in the coming weeks.

The Band's Visit - Reviews
The best reviewed film on this week's list, that is of the films that were reviewed by more than a few critics. This is an Israeli film that details the cultural issues in the Middle East. This is territory that many, many other films have walked through, but the theatrical debut of writer / director Eran Kolirin manages to find a new way of visiting it. The Band's Visit opens tonight in 7 theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area and should do well enough to expand.

The Hottie and the Nottie - Reviews
I really thought this movie would earn the worst reviews of the week. However, both How to Rob a Bank and Fool's Gold managed worse. The film stars Paris Hilton, which is reason enough to avoid it. But it also stars Joel Moore, from Spiral (see below), and Christine Lakin, both of whom have real talent. Hopefully they will get to work on better projects in the future. The Hottie and the Nottie opens tonight in more than 100 theaters and will likely open below the Mendoza line.

How to Rob a Bank - Reviews
A heist flick that is too hip for its own good and the film is earning, so far, zero positive reviews. The movie has some talented actors, but writer / director Andrews Jenkins' script just doesn't have enough to sustain the movie, even with a running time of just over 80 minutes. Probably would have been more successful as a 30 minute short. How to Rob a Bank opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

In Bruges - Reviews
After a botched job, two hitmen are ordered by their boss to a small town in Belgium, Bruges, to wait for the heat to die down. However, things here also don't go as planned. In Bruges opens tonight in nearly 30 theaters; however, while its reviews are good, they are not great and it might struggle in limited release. It should find an audience when it hits the home market, on the other hand.

Normal - Reviews
The first of two Canadian films on this week's list, this one is not earning good reviews as the ensemble drama doesn't have the subtlety to be effective. Normal opens in its native land tonight in both Vancouver and Toronto.

One Piece: The Desert Princess and the Pirates Adventures in Alabasta - No Reviews
An anime film from Japan that is based on the same graphic novel series as the TV series, One Piece. Anime is definitely still niche market here, which makes the opening theater count of 100 more than just a little risky. It will be interesting to see how well it does at the box office.

Spiral - Reviews
Adam Green and Joel Moore return from Hatchet in this thriller, this time with Joel starring, writing and co-directing. A character study with a decidedly dark side to it, the film also stars Amber Tamblyn as the muse to Joel's artist as the two socially isolated people try to find a connection. Spiral opens tonight at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles and the Alamo Draft House in Austin, Texas, which doesn't normally get openings like this. Additionally, the film makes its home market debut in two weeks and is worth checking out regardless of how one does it.

Ugly Me - Reviews
One of the wider releases of the week, the film is earning perfect reviews. However, it has only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and that's not a good sign for its box office chances. The film is a romantic comedy about a beautiful woman, Bárbara Mori last seen stateside in My Brother's Wife, who decides to pretend she is ugly to avoid the attentions of men. Ugly Me is opening in more than two-dozen theaters tonight, which is probably too many, too soon. But it deserves to find an audience.

Up The Yangtze - Reviews
A documentary from Canada about the damning of the Yangtze river in China. The film is earning impressive reviews with many critics commenting on how cinematic and powerful the movie is. Up The Yangtze opens tonight in Toronto, Canada, before expanding to Vancouver next week and Montreal the week after that.


Filed under: Limited Releases, In Bruges, Bikur Ha-Tizmoret, Bab'Aziz - The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, The Hottie and the Nottie, How to Rob a Bank, Pretendiendo, Spiral