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Limited Releases: Forecast is Cloudy

April 10th, 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria poster

It is an excellent week for limited releases with two films earning stunning reviews and loud buzz: Clouds of Sils Maria and Ex Machina. I think the former has a better chance to expand significantly, but hopefully both will find audiences in theaters. There are also a number of other limited releases earning amazing reviews: About Elly, Black Souls, The Sisterhood of Night, etc. In fact, there are too many to think all of them will thrive.

About Elly - Reviews
A group of friends in Iran go on a vacation by the sea. One of them, Sepideh, brings along her child's kindergarten teacher, Elly, hoping Elly and Ahmad, her divorced friend, will become a couple. However... spoilers happen. This film is earning incredible reviews and was Iran's official entrant in the Best Foreign-Language film in 2009. It has a chance of doing well in limited release. On the other hand, it likely won't do well enough to expand significantly. About Elly opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Black Souls - Reviews
This film follows a family living in rural Italy right near the heart of the real Mafia. The film has earned excellent reviews and it might do well in limited release. However, foreign-language films rarely do well enough to expand significantly. Black Souls opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City, with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Clouds of Sils Maria - Reviews
The biggest release on this week's list, at least in terms of buzz. (It's theater count is more manageable than some releases on this week's list.) Juliette Binoche plays an actress who is going to celebrate the life of the director who gave her her first big break. He cast her in a play as a young lady who becomes romantically involved with an older woman. However, when he dies suddenly, there is talk of celebrating his life by re staging the play, only with Juliette Binoche playing the older lady and an American blockbuster actress, Chloë Grace Moretz, playing the part of the young lady. Both ladies have earned near universal praise for their performances; however, the bulk of the praise has gone to Kristen Stewart, who plays Juliette Binoche's assistant. In fact, Kristen Stewart won for Best Supporting Actress at this year's César Awards. That's high praise indeed. Clouds of Sils Maria opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and the other in Los Angeles, with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Desert Dancer - Reviews
Set in Iran in 2009, this movie is about a group of people who start an underground club to learn dancing, despite the fact that dancing has been outlawed by the Iranian government. It is a powerful story, but the reviews are more in line with a TV movie than a limited release. Desert Dancer opens tonight in nearly two dozen theaters in select cities. Check out the official site for more details.

Dior and I - Reviews
A documentary about fashion, specifically Christian Dior fashion house and the creation of a new line of haute couture. The reviews are great and I think there's some crossover between art house fans and fans of fashion as art, so it could do well in limited release. Dior and I opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City, with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Ex Machina - Reviews
The second of the two big limited releases on this week's list. The film is about an inventor / CEO Nathan, who invites one of his workers, Caleb, to his isolated mansion. There he is introduced to Ava, an artificial intelligence / robot. Nathan says Caleb is there to test Ava to see if she could pass for human. However... This film is earning some of the best reviews of the weekend and A24 has had some success with limited releases earning at least some measure of mainstream success. On the other hand, speculative science fiction like this doesn't often find audiences in theaters. It could be a hit on the home market. Ex Machina opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and Los Angeles. Check out the official site for more details.

Kill Me Three Times - Reviews
Black comedies are really hard to get right and even when they do earn great reviews, they tend to struggle at the box office. Despite having some really funny people in this movie, like Simon Pegg, its reviews are currently just 9% positive. Also, it is playing on Video on Demand.

Lost River - Reviews
The directorial debut of Ryan Gosling. He got a really good cast, but the script, which he wrote, fails to give the actors enough to work with. People interested in seeing Ryan Gosling's directorial debut might check it out, but they will likely see it on Video on Demand instead.

The Sisterhood of Night - Reviews
This film has a great cast of up-and-coming young actresses, including Georgie Henley and Kara Hayward, and the reviews are great. However, its box office chances are weak, because it is also playing on Video on Demand. Hopefully it will find an audience, but it will likely not happen in theaters.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Darbareye Elly, Desert Dancer, Ex Machina, Lost River, Kill Me Three Times, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Sisterhood of Night, Dior and I, Anime nere, Juliette Binoche, Golshifteh Farahani, Ryan Gosling, Georgie Henley, Oscar Isaac, Chloë Grace Moretz, Simon Pegg, Kristen Stewart, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Shahab Hosseini, Kara Hayward, Taraneh Alidoosti