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Limited and VOD Releases: Handmade Limited Releases

October 21st, 2016

The Handmaiden

Several films coming out this week are earning nearly unanimously positive reviews. This includes a few documentaries, but also a couple of narrative films that have a shot at some box office success. Moonlight is clearly aiming to win awards and it might do so. The Handmaiden should help grow Chan-wook Park’s fanbase here.

American Pastoral - Reviews
Set in the 1960s, this film stars Ewan McGregor as a former high school athletic star who married a former beauty queen. His life seems perfect, except his daughter has apparently become a radical anti-Vietnam War radical and might be responsible for a bombing. This film has a great cast and it is based on an award-winning novel; however, something clearly went wrong, because the reviews are below 20% positive.

Fire at Sea - Reviews
A documentary about the refugee crisis happening with people fleeing war in North Africa and the Middle East. The reviews are nearly perfect and it could do well in the art house circuit. It won’t do well enough to expand significantly, on the other hand.

The Handmaiden - Reviews
This film is the latest from Chan-wook Park. In it he has adapted a Victorian novel and set it in colonial Japan. The film centers on a rich Japanese woman who hires a new Korean handmaiden, but the handmaiden is actually working for a con artist hoping to marry the woman for her money and then leave her. The film is earning stunning reviews and it was a huge hit in its native South Korea earlier this year. Furthermore, Chan-wook Park does have an audience here. On the other hand, it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of expanding significantly are very limited.

In a Valley of Violence - Reviews
Video on Demand
Ethan Hawke plays Paul, a drifter who finds himself in a small town controlled by Gilly, the violent son of the local Marshal. Since violence is in the name of the movie, you can probably guess Paul and Gilly don’t get along. The film’s reviews are good, but not great. Furthermore, it is playing on VOD and I think it will do better there than in theaters. It is worth a rental.

King Cobra - Reviews
Video on Demand
James Franco plays a porn producer who has to deal with rival pornographers who will stop at nothing to grab his biggest star. The reviews are mixed and it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero.

Moonlight - Reviews
This film is a semi-autobiographical film based on the early life of playwright Tarell McCraney. The film is earning stunning reviews and if it can find an audience in limited release, its Awards Season buzz could grow. The main character is played by three different actors, so that will likely prevent any nominations there, but it should be a favorite for a SAG Ensemble nomination.

The Uncondemned - Reviews
A documentary about the war crimes trials that resulted from the genocide in Rwanda. There are only a handful of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but so far all of them are positive. It is definitely worth checking out, but I fear most people won’t have a chance to see it.

We are X - Reviews
A documentary about the rise and fall, and then reunion, of X, a Japanese heavy metal band. The reviews are 100% positive at the moment, but there are not a lot of them, which suggests a lack of buzz.

The Whole Truth - Reviews
Video on Demand
Keanu Reeves plays a lawyer who helps a friend by defending her son who confessed to killing his father. The lawyer has help from an investigator who might crack the whole case. The film has a great cast, but the reviews are terrible and it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Autumn Lights - Reviews - Video on Demand
Good Kids - Reviews - Video on Demand
Good Kids is earning 50% positive reviews, so if you like films about high school graduates dealing with new possibilities, it is probably worth a rental.

Filed under: Limited Releases, American Pastoral, Good Kids, In a Valley of Violence, The Whole Truth, Moonlight, A Ga ssi, Fuocoammare, Autumn Lights, We are X, King Cobra, The Uncondemned, Jennifer Connelly, Ethan Hawke, Ewan McGregor, Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, Dakota Fanning, James Franco, , Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gabriel Basso, James Ransone, Jim Belushi, Tarell McCraney