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Limited Releases Explode onto Screens

February 2nd, 2007

The limited release market has been rather slow so far this year, but that changed this weekend with nearly a dozen films on this week's list. On the one hand, this means there is plenty of choice for moviegoers. On the other hand, there's no chance that all films will be able to live up to their potential given the competition.

Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? - Reviews
A documentary about a politically idealistic man trying to win an election against a man with more resources, more connections, better name recognition. The film obviously takes its name from the James Stewart film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and should prove popular among those who enjoy political documentaries, or are active is grassroots movements. Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? opens tonight at the Laemmles Grande 4 Plex in Los Angeles.

Constellation - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week, the film is also the worst reviewed. In fact, out of nine reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, none are positive. A family reunites at a funeral and a lot of skeletons in the closet come out. The film feels melodramatic, emotionally manipulative, and has a TV movie-of-the-week feel to it. Constellation opens in more than 200 theatres nationwide.

East of Havana - Reviews
A documentary about the Cuban hip-hop scene specifically through the eyes of three Cuban rappers. The film also deals with the social problems facing Cuba, like crippling poverty, but here the film stumbles a bit not taking all factors into account. Although given some of these factors, it's amazing they were even able to go to Cuba to film. East of Havana opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Factory Girl! - Reviews
A biopic of "it girl" Edie Sedgwick, who was famous for being famous. Some of the performances have been praises, especially Sienna Miller, but overall the movie's a mess. Factory Girl! opens tonight in three theatres, two in New York City and one in Hollywood.

Fired! - Reviews
A documentary about being fired, which is something we all have in common. Actress Annabelle Gurwitch was fired from a Woody Allen play and didn't know how to cope, so she asked her show business friends, and others, how they dealt with being 'let go.' From this she wrote a book and this movie. The movie balances humor nicely with the subject matter and while there's not a whole lot of deep insight into the experience, there is a sort of cathartic feel to it. Fired! opens tonight at the City Cinemas, Village East in New York City.

In The Pit - Reviews
Yet another documentary coming out this week, this one about the construction workers helping to build the second deck of Periferico freeway in Mexico City. The film has earned good reviews, for the most part, but not strong enough to escape limited release. In The Pit opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Partition - No Reviews
Set in Post-World War II India, this Canadian film tells the story of a cross-culture romance between Gian Singh, a 38-year Hindu man, and Naseem Khan, a 17-year old Muslim girl. Much of the movie works and the cinematography is beautiful. However, there have been some complaints with the casting as Kristin Kreuk is neither Pakistani nor Muslim. She is Canadian and is half-Dutch / half-Chinese Indonesian. (The fact that she's Canadian is an important factor here as there are Canadian content rules that productions have to follow in order to qualify for government grants.) More importantly, most who have seen the movie has complimented her performance in it. Partition opens tonight in Toronto, Canada, but the lack of publicity will hurt the film's box office potential.

Puccini for Beginners - Reviews
A lesbian romantic comedy that has rubbed most reviewers the wrong way. It feels like a movie that was made as the result of a Woody Allen / Sex and the City marathon gone awry. Puccini for Beginners opens tonight in two theatres, including the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Raising Flagg - Reviews
This movie was filmed a while ago, but it only now getting a full theatrical release, probably to coincide with Alan Arkin's Oscar nomination for Little Miss Sunshine. Unfortunately, this film is not award worthy, but it does have a certain charm that should draw in a few moviegoers. Raising Flagg opens tonight at the Palm D'Or in Palm Springs.

The Situation - Reviews
The first American film set in the current Iraq civil war, but while that's an interesting piece of trivia, the movie itself it a little weak. It stars Connie Nielsen as Anna Molyneux, a Journalist investigating a story of misconduct by the soldiers. As a thriller, the film is not as effective as it should be, and the subject matter may hit too close to home for it to escape its limited release. The Situation opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

An Unreasonable Man - Reviews
A documentary about Ralph Nader, a man who went from a hero to many for his championing of consumer rights to a pariah after his role in the 2000 election. The film spends equal time of his consumer rights battles that lasted decades and the one election campaign, which just goes to show how important that will be in determining the man's legacy. (On a side note, I don't think Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election. If you look at just the numbers from election night it might seem that way. But polling suggests that a lot of people who wanted to vote for Nader were first time voters, people who were not going to vote otherwise. However, Nader's numbers come election night were lower that the last polling done and this suggests these people decided at the last minute to vote for Gore instead of Nader to prevent Bush from winning. So if Nader had not been running, the margin of victory for Bush would have been greater.) An Unreasonable Man opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Factory Girl, Constellation, An Unreasonable Man, Puccini for Beginners, The Situation, East of Havana, En el hoyo, Fired!, Raising Flagg, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, Partition