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Limited and VOD Releases: Final Releases

August 14th, 2015

Final Girl

It is both a very busy week with nearly a dozen releases on this week's list and a disappointing one. The slate of new releases is really weak, with only Mistress America having a decent shot at box office success. There are a couple of other releases that have the reviews to do well, but are playing on VOD. Of these, People Places Things is my choice for Video on Demand Pick of the Week, although I'm hoping Final Girl is better than its early reviews would indicate.

Air - Reviews
Video on Demand
Set in a world where breathable air has almost run out. Humanity is trying to survive by preserving enough people in suspended animation. We watch as the two engineers try to survive while maintaining humanity's last hope. Like too many films on this week's list, its reviews are weak and its is playing on VOD. Even if you are just looking for a timewaster to watch on VOD, there are better options coming out this week.

Big Sky - Reviews
Video on Demand
Bella Thorne stars as a young lady dealing with agoraphobia, or perhaps a fear of open spaces, which are two very different fears. Her mother, Kyra Sedgwick, drives her to a clinic that can treat her, but along the way, the pair get attacked by two gunmen. This is the wrong genre for limited release, the reviews are weak, and it is playing on VOD. I don't have high hopes for its box office chances.

Final Girl - Reviews
Video on Demand
Abigail Breslin stars as an orphan trained from a very young age to be the perfect killer. Her handler, Wes Bentley, gives her her first mission, take out a group of young men who hunt women for sport. This film is a thriller that is earning mixed reviews and is debuting on VOD. That means its box office chances will be next to zero. However, this also describes Maggie, and that film has performed surprisingly well on the home market. Its sold more units than several wide releases managed this year. Hopefully this one will also do the same.

Fort Tilden - Reviews
Video on Demand
Two best friends try to get to the beach before summer ends. This turns out to be more difficult than they imagined. The film's reviews are over 80% positive, which suggests it could find an audience in theaters. However, it is also playing on VOD, so we know that will likely not happen. On the other hand, if you want to stay in this weekend and watch a movie on VOD, this is one of the better options.

Meru - Reviews
A documentary about the most extreme of mountain climbing. The reviews are excellent, but documentaries like this rarely have breakout success. The market for documentaries is small and when you add in a niche activity like mountain climbing, the target audience shrinks even further. Meru opens tonight in six theaters, five of which have Q&A sessions for selected showings. Check out the official site for more details.

Mistress America - Reviews
Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach team up again after making the fantastic Frances Ha. This film's reviews are not quite as strong, but the buzz is strong enough that it should have no trouble doing well in limited release. It might even do well enough to earn a significant measure of mainstream success. According to every source I've seen, including the official site front page, the film opens tonight. However, if you look at the list of theater openings, there are none that open on the 14th. Strange.

One and Two - Reviews
Video on Demand
Kiernan Shipka and Timothee Chalamet star as two siblings with special powers. When their mother becomes sick, their family life gets bad enough that they try to escape. This isn't a bad premise, but the reviews are very bad. That's not entirely fair, as the individual reviews are not aggressively bad, but the average is 5 out of 10. Most critics say it has a good atmosphere early on, but it never builds to anything substantial. Maybe if you like the cast and genre it is worth a rental, but that's as enthusiastic as I can get.

People Places Things - Reviews
Video on Demand
Jemaine Clement stars as the father of twins, who becomes a single father when he catches their mother in bed with his best friend. A year later he is trying to balance being a single father, a teacher, and perhaps a new romance. The reviews are among the best of week and Jemaine Clement has shown he can lead a hit Indie film. However, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are weak.

Return to Sender - Reviews
Video on Demand
Rosamund Pike stars as a woman who is raped, but when her rapist goes to prison, she tries to befriend him in order to get over the trauma. This is a psychological thriller, so you know there is a twist. Unfortunately, the reviews are terrible, so there's no point in watching it, even on VOD.

Ten Thousand Saints - Reviews
Video on Demand
A coming of age story set in New York City in the year 1988. The cast is good, but the reviews are mixed. It is also playing on VOD, so its box office potential is both weak and immaterial.

Tom at the Farm - Reviews
Video on Demand
Tom travels from the big city to a small rural town for the funeral of his boyfriend, Guillaume. When he gets there, he learns Guillaume's family didn't know Guillaume was gay. Tom agrees to keep this a secret, but since this is a psychological thriller, you know this doesn't go well. The reviews are really good for this film, but being released on VOD will likely result in a terrible box office.


Filed under: Limited Releases, 10,000 Saints, Air, Fort Tilden, People, Places, Things, Mistress America, Final Girl, Return to Sender, Tom a la ferme, Meru, One & Two, Big Sky, Noah Baumbach, Wes Bentley, Abigail Breslin, Jemaine Clement, Greta Gerwig, Rosamund Pike, Kyra Sedgwick, Kiernan Shipka, Bella Thorne, Timothee Chalamet