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Without Limited Releases

April 25th, 2008

Only eight limited releases this week, none of which seem destined for mainstream success. Despeite earning merely average reviews, Then She Found Me might have the best chance at expanding thanks to its director. But even so, it will likely have to wait until the home market to find an audience.

Deal - Reviews
A movie about the high-stakes world of professional poker. This movie is coming out in far too many theaters for a limited release and with far too few positive reviews. In fact, it has earned no positive reviews so far. A movie that is so bad that reading the reviews is more entertaining that watching the film itself. Worse still, there have been a few poker movies that have come out in the wake of the card game's rise in popularity and none have managed to have breakout success. Deal opens tonight in 50 theaters, but that is likely as far as it will go.

A Plumm Summer - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week, this is a family film that critics have said feels like it was made in the 1970s. This is both a compliment and a complaint. On the one hand, it feels almost like an homage to films from a simpler time. On the other hand, there's a reason they don't make films like that any more and the movie is slow and artificial. There's an additional problem with the film's box office chances, namely it’s a kids movie and kids are not known as the biggest supporters of limited releases. That said, it should do better on the home market. A Plumm Summer opens tonight in nearly 60 theaters, mostly in California, but some in Montana where it was filmed.

Rogue - Reviews
A horror film opening in limited release. You can pretty much dismiss its box office chances now. There have been several such films that have tried to open in limited release over the past year, none have been successful. In fact, opening above the Mendoza line would be impressive. The killer crocodile movie is earning better than expected reviews, at least so far, but it is unlikely that that will be enough to save its theatrical run. Rogue opens tonight 10 theaters in major cities nationwide.

Roman de Gare - Reviews
A French thriller that only did moderate business in its native market. The film was written and directed by Claude Lelouch, who won an Oscar back in 1967 for A Man and a Woman. This film is not up to that level. In fact, it is earning reviews that might not be strong enough to survive the harsh competition during limited release. Roman de Gare opens tonight in two theaters in New York City, including the Angelika Film Center.

Standard Operating Procedure - Reviews
A documentary about the horrors of Abu Ghraib made by Errol Morris, who previously made The Fog of War, among other films. That film earned amazing reviews and took home the Oscar for Best Feature-Length Documentary. This movie is not going to repeat that performance. However, it is still earning better reviews than most films and given its subject matter it should be seen by as many people as possible. Standard Operating Procedure opens tonight in two theaters in New York City, including the Angelika Film Center.

Then She Found Me - Reviews
Helen Hunt makes her directorial debut with this movie. This is not an easy transition, but, while the film is not perfect, it is earning reviews that are very near the overall positive level. (In fact, if one negative review were switched to a positive, it would hit the overall positive level.) It definitely does suggest that with a little more experience, Hunt has a future behind the camera, if she so chooses. But it is only mildly successful on its own and it probably better served on the home market. Then She Found Me opens tonight in 9 theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Up the Yangtze - Reviews
A documentary about the Yangtze river in China, which will be the home to the largest hydroelectric dam in the world; however, this dam will also displace more than a million people. It is at once a powerful symbol of modern China, and a symbol of how China's economic growth comes at the cost of sacrificing the wellbeing of poor and the environment. The film has earned strong critical praise, and even an award up here in its native Canada and should draw in audiences, but it will likely have to wait until the home market to do so. Up the Yangtze opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Without the King - Reviews
A documentary about the last ruling monarch in Africa, King Mswati III of Swaziland. Not only is Swaziland one of the poorest nations in the world, it also has the lowest life expectancy as well at just 31 years old. (To put that into perspective, imagine you haven't gotten your driver's license yet, and you are already considered middle-age.) While the film has earned a perfect score with critics (going 12 for 12), most of the time the praise is tempered. Still, easily worth checking out, even if you have to wait until the home market to see it. Without the King opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Then She Found Me, Roman de Gare, Up the Yangtze, Standard Operating Procedure, Deal, A Plumm Summer, Rogue, Without the King