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Limited Releases Trying to Avoid Dying

August 17th, 2007

There are close to a dozen limited releases on this week's list, many of which are documentaries. A couple of these limited releases could see some widespread success, but that's a different feat of a limited release even under the best of circumstances. And as it is usually the case, the widest releases are not necessarily the ones that have the best shot at escaping their limited release.

7 Days - Reviews
A Mexican movie about a man who gambles $500,000 in order to win enough money to get U2 to his town. It was written and directed by Fernando Kalife and its his first film, and if the reviews are any indication, you can tell. 7 Days opens tonight in eight theaters in southern California.

The 11th Hour - Reviews
A documentary about the global environment concerns and how we are at a tipping point. The movie is narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, who has marginally more star power than Al Gore, but it is unlikely that it will match An Inconvenient Truth at the box office. It should still do well enough to earn some mainstream success, at least compared to most documentaries. The 11th Hour opens tonight in New York and Los Angeles before expanding rapidly over the coming weeks.

American Fusion - Reviews
The debut of writer / director Frank Lin, but while the movie is one of the widest release, there's no advanced reviews and no buzz. American Fusion opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Death at a Funeral - Reviews
Someone at MGM needs to be fired. ... Perhaps everyone needs to be fired. Since the brand was re-launched, the film has had bomb after bomb. Flyboys, Rise of Taj, Blood and Chocolate, Who's Your Caddy, etc. Even films that have done reasonably well with critics, like Mr. Brooks, bombed. (The only exception is Rocky Balboa, and all they needed to do to advertise that movie was playing the theme song in the commercials.) Death at a Funeral is the latest film they seemed determined to ruin; after moving it around the schedule a few times, they are releasing it in 250 theaters with almost no marketing and even though the film is earning respectable reviews, it has almost no chance of expanding beyond that point. Best case scenario has the film earning a couple million and expanding over the next few weeks. Worst case scenario has it earning less than half a million and disappearing from theaters before the end of August.

Delirious - Reviews
Steve Buscemi stars as a small-time photographer who can't seem to get that one break he needs. He helps a homeless man who desperately wants to become an actor, but when his assistant's fame overtakes his own, he looks to get back at him. Excellent reviews and a cast that has a lot of indie cred should help it during its art hour run, perhaps even enough to get into a few mainstream theaters. Delirious opened on Wednesday in two theaters in New York City and expands into three in the Los Angeles area tonight.

The King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - Reviews
One of several documentaries coming out this week, this one has the least serious topic. It deals with the world-record holder for Donkey Kong. Pending environmental disasters, kidnappings, the Holocaust, or some machine that eats quarters. While the topic isn't serious, it is seriously well done and should earn some measure of mainstream success, at least compared to other documentaries. The King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters opens tonight in five theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Austin.

Love For Sale: Suely in the Sky - Reviews
The first of two films from Brazil, this one is a drama about a single mother forced to return to her small village when he husband abandons her. She decides to hold a raffle to sell her body to get out of her town and back to Sao Paulo. Love For Sale: Suely in the Sky opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Primo Levi's Journey - Reviews
A documentary that traces the steps of Primo Levi from Auschwitz to his town in Turin, Italy. The film is earning good reviews overall, but not as strong as some other documentaries coming out this week and will have a hard escaping limited release. Primo Levi's Journey opens tonight Quad Cinema in New York City.

Send a Bullet - Reviews
A documentary about the kidnappings happening in Brazil. The subject matter is fascinating, and the filmmakers get as close as you can get, but there are some concerns about getting to the important, deeper questions. Send a Bullet opens tonight Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Splinter - Reviews
A movie about gangs, revenge and amnesia starring Tom Sizemore. Given the films reviews, making the movie wasn't one of Tom Sizemore's more lucid decisions, and he's not known for his levelheaded nature. Splinter opens tonight in three theaters in the Los Angeles area.

Sunflower - Reviews
The latest from writer / director Yang Zhang, this film is sadly not earning the same level of reviews his previous works did. The film's portrait of a father-son relationship over 30 years is too sentimental for art house crowds but too slow moving for mainstream theatergoers. It a movie without an audience. Sunflower opens tonight at the Lincoln Plaza in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Death at a Funeral, The King of Kong, Manda Bala, Delirious, Xiang ri kui, La Strada di Levi, 7 días, Splinter, 11th Hour, American Fusion