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Very Limited Releases

July 18th, 2008

Another week without an obvious breakout hit. I'm starting to think we won't have one this summer. Perhaps Hamlet 2 will have what it takes, but as for this week, there are a large number of releases, but none that are opening in more than 2 theaters and very few are earning overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Before I Forget - Reviews
Written, directed, and starring Jacques Nolot. Jacques Nolot stars as Pierre, an aging gay gigolo and a former street hustler who might be forced back to the streets at the age of 58 after his older benefactor dies. The film is one of the best-reviewed releases of the week, but it is still a foreign language film with a niche market and it will be tough for it to escape limited release. Before I Forget opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

The Doorman - Buy from Amazon
A mockumentary about a doorman that falls on hard times after he is blacklisted. This probably sounded like a good idea on paper, at least to the people making the movie, but if the reviews are any indication, the execution was seriously flawed. Additionally, there have been many mockumentaries that have been released lately but almost none of them have thrived at the box office, which is another strike against it. The Doorman opens tonight Village East Cinema in New York City.

Falling for Grace - Reviews
Not quote a new release. This film made its theatrical debut this time last year. It wasn't able to earn strong reviews or last long in theaters, and I see no reason why this time will be different. Falling for Grace opens tonight at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, California.

The Legend of God's Gun - Reviews
A preacher comes into town looking for revenge against the El Sobero bandits. A psychedelic homage to the spaghetti western, the film has a chance at earning a cult following, but will likely have to wait till it comes out on DVD.

Lou Reed's Berlin - Reviews
A concert performance of Lou Reed's third album, Berlin, which is a concept album / rock opera. It earned poor reviews when it was first released and didn't sell well, so Lou Reed never really toured in support of the album and rarely performs any of the songs live. However, in 2006 that changed when he performed the work in its entirety the way he always wanted. This film is a must-see for fans of Lou Reed, but the reviews are not strong enough to suggest enough crossover appeal to thrive in limited release. Lou Reed's Berlin opens tonight in two theaters, the Film Forum in New York City and Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Mad Detective - Reviews
Co-directed by Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai, the latter of whom also co-wrote the movie. The film tells the story of a rookie cop who teams up with a psychic former detective to hunt down a serial killer. Johnnie To's style tends to be polarizing, but so far this film has been earning overall positive reviews, but below those needed to really thrive at the box office. That said, even if it is not earning as strong praise as some other Johnnie To films, he does have a following here and they should be entertained. Mad Detective opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

On the Other Hand, Death - No Reviews
A gay thriller from the same series of novels as Third Man Out and Shock to the System. Neither of those films did well at the box office, and it is unlikely that this one will change that. On the Other Hand, Death opens tonight at the Regency Fairfax cinema in Los Angeles before making its TV debut next week on here! TV.

Take - Official Site
The film takes place over two days, separated by seven years. This is a potentially powerful movie that has some pacing issues and the reviews are not at the level needed to suggest it will thrive at the box office. That said, it is worth checking out, even if you have to wait till the home market to do so. Take opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City before expanding to several theaters in the Los Angeles area next week.

Transsiberian - Reviews
Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson star as a couple traveling from China to Russia on the Transsiberian railroad line when they meet a pair of fellow travelers and end up involved in some serious intrigue. This film arguably has the best shot at escaping limited release out of all of the film on this week's list. Even so, it only has a slim chance. We are still waiting for this summer's sleeping limited release hit, and we are running out of time for it to come. Fortunately, in just over two months, Awards Season begins. Transsiberian opens tonight in two theaters in New York City, including the Angelika Film Center.

A Very British Gangster - Buy from Amazon
One could probably argue when it started, but it is not debatable that there's a recent influx of British gangster movies. So some of the real life gangsters would seem to make ideal subject for a documentary. However, the reviews are barely above the overall positive level and certainly below the level normally associated with films that can thrive in limited release. If the film was trying to be the next Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels then 62% positive wouldn't be too bad. In fact, several critics comment that the film feels like it was made by someone trying to convince him to let him make the next Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. But this is bad news for the documentary's chances at the box office. A Very British Gangster opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Transsiberian, Falling for Grace, Lou Reed's Berlin, Avant que j'oublie, Take, Sun taam, On the Other Hand, Death: A Donald Strachey Mystery, A Very British Gangster, The Doorman