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Limited Releases: Are There any Divine Limited Releases?

April 24th, 2015

The Water Diviner poster

If there is a theme with this week's limited releases, it is actors making their directorial debuts. There are three such films, including The Water Diviner. None of these film are earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, but The Water Diviner comes the closest.

24 Days - Reviews
A French crime thriller based on real life events involving the kidnapping of a Jewish man by an anti-Semetic gang. The reviews are good, but not great, and limited releases generally need great reviews to thrive. 24 Days opens tonight in 15 theaters and on iTunes. Check out the official site for more details.

Adult Beginners - Reviews
I heard some good buzz about this film, but sadly its reviews are barely 50% positive and nowhere near the level needed to thrive in limited release. It might find an audience, but it will likely have to wait till the home market to do so.

After the Ball - Reviews
A romantic comedy inspired by Cinderella and set in the world of fashion. The film's reviews are weak, even compared to the average romantic comedy, while rom coms rarely do well in limited release. Additionally, it is playing on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are even worse.

Because I Was a Painter - Reviews
A documentary about artwork created by Jewish artists... from inside concentration camps. The reviews are 80% positive; however, there are only five of them on Rotten Tomatoes, so that number could change dramatically if the next review that comes in is negative. Also, the official site has broken links, so I can't find its theater count.

Blackbird - Reviews
A 17-year old African American boy is growing up in a Southern Baptist community. On the outside, he is the perfect son, student, friend, etc. However, he's gay and in the closet and this is causing a lot of turmoil. The cast is strong, but the reviews are really weak and so are its box office chances. Blackbird opens tonight in just over a dozen theaters. Check out the official site for more details.

Emptying the Skies - Reviews
A documentary about the mass poaching of European songbirds. This is one of the few films on this week's list to be earning overwhelmingly positive reviews, but as a documentary, its chances of expanding significantly are very limited. It is also playing on Video on Demand, which is rare for a documentary. Emptying the Skies opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Chicago. Check out the official site for more details.

Ever Since We Love - No Reviews
There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but that's common for films from China. However, like Bollywood films, the lack of reviews don't seem to have an effect on the film's box office chances.

Forbidden Games - Reviews
A French film from 1952 about World War II, as seen through the eyes of a 10-year old boy and a 5-year old girl. The reviews are amazing, but it is a re-release, so its box office chances are very limited. Forbidden Games begins a two-week run at the Film Forum in New York City.

The Forger - Reviews
An art forger is released from prison early with the help of a crime syndicate in exchange for doing one job for them. He must forge a famous painting and then replace the original during a heist. I love heist movies, but with a Tomatometer Score of just 4% positive, this one is clearly skippable.

Just Before I Go - Reviews
Seann William Scott stars as a man whose life has fallen apart, so he decides to kill himself. However, before he does, he decides to travel to his home town to confront the people who made him who he was. This film is the directorial debut for Courteney Cox, but the film is a bit of a mess. It goes for dark humor before trying to transition into a sentimental ending. Furthermore, there is no official site, at least not one I could find. (If the studio doesn't link to it, it likely doesn't exist.)

Kung Fu Killer - Reviews
A serial killer is going after kung fu masters and the only one with the martial art skills to stop him is currently in jail. The police release the man, on the condition he helps them catch the killer, but soon both the cops and the killer are after the newly released man. This is one of the few films on this week's list that is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. This film isn't your typical art house film and it is playing in 27 theaters, which is a lot for a limited release. Perhaps it will find an audience, but it will likely have to wait till the home market to do so.

Laugh Killer Laugh - Reviews
A jewel thief awakens from a coma with a changed personality. The cast is good, but the reviews are not. The official site doesn't even say where it is opening, which is also a really bad sign.

Lou! - Reviews
A French kids movie focused on Lou, a 12-year old girl who lives with her immature mother. It's a kids show, so its chances with critics were never great. That said, so far all five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are negative. Like one critic said, maybe if you are a Francophone Tween girl you will be interested in the movie.

Misery Loves Comedy - Reviews
A documentary directed by Kevin Pollak about a fellow stand-up comic and what got them into the business. The reviews are weak with a lot of critics saying that the film is obviously on a subject that Kevin Pollak loves, but he's not an experienced enough director to get the audience to feel the same way. Misery Loves Comedy opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, as well as on Video on Demand.

The Water Diviner - Reviews
The biggest limited release of the week, both in terms of buzz and theater count. It stars Russell Crowe, who also makes his directorial debut. The road from actor to director isn't always a smooth one, but the film's earning overall positive reviews. Unfortunately, limited releases generally need overwhelmingly positive reviews to thrive. Additionally, the film is playing in 320 theaters and I fear that might be too many to thrive.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Forger, Adult Beginners, Blackbird, The Water Diviner, Misery Loves Comedy, Just Before I Go, After the Ball, Parce que j'étais peintre, Laugh Killer Laugh, Yi ge ren de wu lin, Jeux interdits, Lou! Journal infime, Emptying The Skies, 24 jours, Wan Wu Sheng Zhang, Courteney Cox, Russell Crowe, Kevin Pollak, Seann William Scott, Lola Lasseron