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Proud History of Oscar Contenders

September 23rd, 2005

Another dozen films open in limited release over the weekend including some films than are legitimate Oscar contenders. And others that are not.

7 Days - No Reviews
A man bets $500,000 of someone else's money on a single Soccer game in order to win enough money to get U2 to play in his hometown of Monterrey in Mexico. One of the wider openings this weekend at 29 theatres, but is unlikely to top A History of Violence or Oliver Twist on the box office charts.

Daltry Calhoun - Reviews
For a while there it looked like Johnny Knoxville was going to star in quality film. However, so far all of its reviews on Rotten Tomatoes have been negative; a main complaint is that the film tried too hard to have an independent feel. There are some good performances, especially from relative newcomer Sophie Traub. Daltry Calhoun opens in 13 theatres in major cities.

Dear Wendy - Reviews
Jamie Bell burst onto the scene with Billy Elliot but hasn't come close to recapturing the magic of that film. This film will be a step up from his last, but will still struggle to find a mainstream audience. Dear Wendy opens in 7 theatres in New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois including the Nuart Theatre and the Angelika Film Center.

Dil jo bhi kahey - No Reviews
The latest Bollywood film to reach these shores. It is about an Indian family living in Mauritius, which is a small island nation off the coast of Madagascar. The main focus of the story is the cross-culture romance between the son and a daughter of a prominent white family. Dil jo bhi kahey opens in 32 theatres this weekend.

Dirty Love - Reviews
One of those films that makes you ask why. Why was it even made in the first place? The film was written by and stars former Playboy Centerfold Jenny McCarthy and with one positive review is earning much better reviews than I expected. The film opens in 45 theatres tonight, but may not earn a $1,000 per theatre average over the weekend.

Dorian Blues - Reviews
A coming of age coming out story that is too formulaic to be truly effective, but there are some good performances in the film. Dorian Blues opens in two theatres in New York City, Quad Cinema and Clearview Cinemas.

A History of Violence - Reviews
Out of all the movies opening tonight, this one has the best chance at earning Oscar glory. Not only does the film have an excellent cast, it is being directed by David Cronenberg. One of the most daring directors around, he is known for creating imaginative films but this one could be one of his best financial successes. A History of Violence opens in 14 theatres tonight and should be the leader of the Per Theatre Charts over the weekend before expanding during the coming months.

Into the Fire - Reviews
One of the weaker new releases this weekend, the film tries to explore the post 9/11 psyche, but is too overly melodramatic to work. The film opens tonight at the Sunshine Cinema in New York City.

Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D - Reviews
The latest IMAX movie reunites Tom Hanks with NASA for a 3-D trip to the moon. Using both real photographs and computer animation, this is an amazing look at the journey to the moon and is timed to coincide with the new plans to put a man on the moon. However, those plans will likely be scraped because of budget restraints. The film opens in 82 theatres across the country making it one of the widest IMAX releases of all time.

Occupation: Dreamland - Reviews
A documentary with a similar theme to Gunner Palace, but with even better reviews. This time the filmmakers follow the US Army's 82nd Airborne division during their 2004 stint in Falluja. It opens in the Cinema Village in New York City and the Clinton St. Theater in Portland, Oregon.

Oliver Twist - Reviews
An obvious Oscar hopeful that is not earning strong enough reviews to be a major contender. That is not to say it's a bad film, but it's no where near Roman Polanski's previous film. Due to the pedigree, it may still be earn some nominations, especially for costumes and set design. Oliver Twist opens tonight in 5 theatres in New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto, Canada.

Proud - Reviews
The movie tells the real life story of the only African American crew to take a Navy warship into combat in World War II. It's an important story, but the movie is hampered by a low budget (its production budget was a mere $1 million). Even so, it's worth checking out, even if most people will have to wait till the home market to see it. Proud opens in 19 theatres in the Baltimore / D.C. area and hopefully will do well enough to expand across the nation.

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Filed under: A History of Violence, Oliver Twist, Dear Wendy, Daltry Calhoun