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Amazing Limited Releases

September 27th, 2008

There's a long list of limited releases opening this week. However, only one of them, Obscene, is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews.

All Roads Lead Home - Reviews
A move that aims for inspirational and falls short. Way short. It's zero for six on Rotten Tomatoes right now, and it is not that all the reviews are negative, they are enthusiastically negative. All Roads Lead Home opens tonight in nearly four dozen theaters in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City, and the surrounding areas.

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela - Reviews
A Philippine movie about a transsexual prostitute named Raquela. This is clearly a niche market film, which is hurt further by its reviews. Not only are they mixed, there are only two of them, which suggest weak buzz. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City and the Regent Theater in Hollywood.

Choke - Reviews
We are still looking for the break-out limited release hit of the year, and there was a lot of buzz that this could be it. However, that seems like a curse at the moment. Reviews for this film fell from 85% positive early to barely more than 50% positive now. Granted, that's better than any of the wide releases are earning, but that's not a high level to reach this week. Additionally, like too many limited releases coming out this week, Choke is opening in too many theaters, 434 specifically.

Forever Strong - Reviews
An inspirational sports story, which are generally pretty solid players at the box office. However, the sport in question here is Rugby, which is not popular enough to draw in crowds. This could explain why the film is only opening in 261 theaters. I don't know if there's any Mormon connection to this movie, but it was filmed in Utah and a disproportionate number of its theaters are in that state. This is a mixed blessing, as Utah is not well known for huge openings, but at least it has some history with limited releases.

Humboldt County - Reviews
A film by first time writer / director team Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs. It stars Jeremy Strong as Peter, a man whose life is not turning out as he had planned, so he heads to Humboldt County, which is populated by a lot of pot growing and smoking residence. It is a bit of a culture clash story, but the results are only mixed. Additionally, it is opening in 10 theaters, which is a bit much for a limited release of this nature. Humboldt County opens tonight in 10 theaters, mostly in California, but also in Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Austin, Texas.

Johnny Got His Gun - No Reviews
A story of a man hit by an artillery shell on the last day of World War I. This a remake of the film from 1973, which earned great reviews. (It was also used as part of the video "One" by Metallica.) So far this film has note been reviewed, which is not a good sign. Johnny Got His Gun opens tonight at the Dobie Theaters in Austin, Texas.

The Lucky Ones - Reviews
Another movie about the current Iraq War, this one looking at three returning soldiers on a road trip across the country. It features a number of strong performances, but the story is too emotionally manipulative to be effective. Also, The Lucky Ones is opening tonight in 425 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release and that is going to further hurt its chances.

Obscene - Reviews
A documentary about publisher, Barney Rosset, who published Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterley's Lover, and other novels that were declared obscene at the time. Fortunately, he fought back and won many victories for free speech. Easily the best film on this week's list, it should do well in limited release, but its chances at expanding are limited. Obscene opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Shoot on Sight - Reviews
A film dealing with the after-effects of the terrorist attacks in the U.K., specifically dealing with a Muslim member of Scotland Yard. Terrorism is not a subject that has done well at the box office for a long time, and this film is not earning the reviews needed to overcome that. Finally, it is opening tonight in 30 theaters in select cities, which is going to be the deathblow to this film.

Smother - Reviews
What happened to Diane Keaton? After Something's Gotta Give, it looked like she was returning to peak form, but, since then she's had a serious decline at the box office, and more troubling, with critics. Now this film is earning better reviews than her last two films, but that matters little, as they are not good enough to suggest that it will expand significantly. Like too many other limited releases, Smother is opening tonight in the dreaded select cities.

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot - No Reviews
I love the name of this movie. However, with no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it is hard to say whether there is anything else about the film to love. I can't even find information on showtimes, so I can't confirm it is coming out this weekend.

Whaledreamers - Reviews
A documentary about the spiritual connection between whales and the aboriginal people of Australia. The film has a lot to say, perhaps too much, and occasionally it struggles under the weight of the message. That said, it is amazing to look at, and there's enough here that it is worth checking out; however, most can wait for a rental on the home market. Whaledreamers opens tonight in a handful of theaters in places like New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Choke, Shoot on Sight, Forever Strong, The Lucky Ones, Humboldt County, All Roads Lead Home, Whaledreamers, American Loser, Obscene, Johnny Got His Gun, Smother, The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela