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Will Severance Rule the Limited Releases?

May 18th, 2007

It's a bad week for limited releases with only a couple managing to earn overwhelmingly positive reviews, and none of the wider releases earning even moderately positive reviews. Of the films on this week's list, the one I'm cheering for the most is Severance, but its chances are mixed.

Brooklyn Rules - Reviews
After a successful preview last weekend, this movie opens in earnest this Friday. The film took in a bundle in its lone theater, which suggests it has some mainstream appeal, as does a cast that includes Alec Baldwin, among others. It better have some mainstream appeal because 64% positive reviews isn't going to cut it with the art house crowds. Brooklyn Rules is playing in 8 theaters this weekend, mostly in the New England area, but there are also a few in California.

Even Money - Reviews
A cautionary tale about the horrors of gambling. There's a couple of problems with the movie, but mainly it is a overly melodramatic ensemble drama that probably would have never earned a theatrical release had one of the stars, Forest Whitaker, not won an Oscar earlier in the year. (Also, I have issues with people calling gambling evil and addictive. Personally, I've known more people who were addicted to shopping than gambling.) Even Money opens in six theaters, but even with a large cast full of big names, it will likely have trouble at the box office.

Fay Grim - Reviews
The latest film to be released simultaneously in theaters and on HDNet before being released on DVD on Tuesday. This has never worked out well in the past, and given the film's reviews, there's little hope it will work out this time. Fay Grim opens in 29 theaters, which is as far as it will go.

Flanders - Reviews
A French film by writer / director Bruno Dumont, who is best known here for Twentynine Palms. (Although that is far from his best movie.) This film is not earning significantly better reviews and will likely struggle just as much to find an audience here. Flanders opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Hollywood Dreams - Reviews: The Numbers and Rotten Tomatoes
Tanna Frederick stars as Margie Chizek, a perspective actress who just arrived in Hollywood and who almost immediately falls into an amazing opportunity. Written and directed by Henry Jaglom, whose films are an acquired taste. Unfortunately, I have not acquired it yet. Hollywood Dreams opens tonight in five theaters, which is slightly more than expected, but it will still have trouble finding an audience.

Once - Reviews
The best-reviewed new release of the week, this is an Irish musical set on the streets of Dublin. The film was a good-sized hit in its native Ireland and should have some potential here. Once opened on Wednesday in two theaters, the Sunshine Cinema in New York City and the Arclight in Los Angeles.

Private Property - Reviews
The prolific Isabelle Huppert stars in this movie as a woman trying to recover from her divorce in this French / Belgian co-production. The is the second feature-length film for writer / director Joachim Lafosse, and there's no sophomore slump here. On the other hand, as a foreign language film from a relatively unknown director, it will have a tough time finding an audience here. Private Property opens tonight at the Cinema Village and the Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City.

Severance - Reviews
A British film about a team-building retreat that goes wrong. Really wrong. We're talking limbs flying here. This is one of the best-reviewed movies of the week, and although it might be a little too British in its dark humor, it also has a great shot at finding at least some mainstream success. Severance opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: Angelika Film Center and AMC Empire 25.

The Wendell Baker Story - Reviews
Written and directed by Luke Wilson, this movie has taken a long time to get to theaters. If the reviews are any indication, it wasn't worth the wait. The film has a quirky indie feel to it, and a slow cool, but that's not enough for it to work overall. The Wendell Baker Story opens tonight in 17 theaters but will have to wait until the home market to find an audience.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Once, Brooklyn Rules, Hollywood Dreams, Severance, The Wendell Baker Story, Fay Grim, Even Money, Nue propriété, Flandres, Hei yan quan