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Limited and VOD Releases: Taking a Gamble on Limited Releases

September 25th, 2015

Mississippi Grind

While it isn't a quiet week for limited releases, nearly all of the buzz is directed towards two films, 99 Homes and Mississippi Grind. The former will likely be the biggest box office hit, but the later is a gambling movie, so it is the one I most want to see.

99 Homes - Reviews
Andrew Garfield stars as a man whose home is foreclosed on. In order to provide for his family, he gets a job at the company that evicted him. The film is earning some of the best reviews on this week's list and it is also earning the loudest buzz. 99 Homes opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

The Anomaly - Reviews
Video on Demand
It's not often we see films with zero positive reviews. When we do, there's not much that needs to be said.

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about Lizzie Velasquez, a woman who suffers from a rare congenital disease that prevents her from having any body fat. This disease led to her being bullied as a child and more recently was featured in a YouTube video calling her the ugliest women in the world. Since then, she's become an anti-bullying motivational speaker. The reviews are excellent, but like most documentaries, it will likely find a much bigger audience on the home market rather than in theaters.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead The Story of the National Lampoon - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about National Lampoon, a name that used to be synonymous with comedy. However, the name has also been attached to too many terrible movies to list here. The film is earning excellent reviews and much stronger buzz than most documentaries earn. That said, I still don't think it will be a box office hit and will perform a lot better on VOD. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead opened tonight at the IFC Center in New York City with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

The Keeping Room - Reviews
An action western film set just after the Civil War. The film's cast is impressive, but the reviews are only good and not great. I would love it if this film found an audience, but it will probably have to wait till the home market to do so. The Keeping Room opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles. Check out the official site for more details.

Lost in Hong Kong - Reviews
The film focuses on a husband / father who is going on a vacation with his family, including his brother-in-law. However, the vacation is actually a cover for a mid-life crisis, because he hopes to bump into his ex-girlfriend. There are almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and the ones that are there are mixed. On the other hand, it is a Chinese film and that demographic is growing in terms of box office strength.

Mississippi Grind - Reviews
Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds play as two gamblers who meet and decide to go on a road trip to a big poker tournament. This is one of four films on this week's list that is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. It is also one of two films that might find earn some measure of mainstream success. (The other two critically-praised films are documentaries.) Mississippi Grind opens tonight at the Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Misunderstood - Reviews
Video on Demand
This is only the third film directed by Asia Argento. It focuses on a young girl, Aria, whose parents are going through a divorce and are neglecting her as a result. Her previous two films didn't win over many critics, but this one is earning overall positive reviews. Sadly, limited releases tend to need overwhelmingly positive reviews to thrive. Worse still, the film is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are even weaker.

Pay the Ghost - Reviews
Video on Demand
The latest installment in the "What happened to Nicolas Cage's career?" The film is earning just 11% positive reviews and it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero.

Stonewall - Reviews
A message movie directed by Roland Emmerich. Roland Emmerich is gay and has actively supported gay causes, so it is not that big of a shock that he would want to tackle this subject. On the other hand, he is best known for making movies in which famous landmarks are destroyed, while his ability to handle real history is, well, less than stellar. . Sometimes these films are fun, but they are rarely critical successes. Even so, this film's Tomatometer Score is just 9% positive, which is much lower than expected. Additionally, there has been controversy, as many who are knowledgeable about the Stonewall Riots have accused Roland Emmerich of whitewashing history and the erasure of the Trans community. Finally, the film is playing in over 100 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release.

Filed under: Limited Releases, The Keeping Room, Pay the Ghost, 99 Homes, Mississippi Grind, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead The Story of the National Lampoon, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, Stonewall, Incompresa, Gang jiong, The Anomaly, Nicolas Cage, Asia Argento, Roland Emmerich, Andrew Garfield, Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Lizzie Velasquez, Giulia Salerno