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Limited and VOD Releases: Some Lovely Limited Releases

June 5th, 2015

Love and Mercy

In another improvement to our news this week, the Limited Releases column is expanding to cover both limited and VOD releases. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “aren't you already talking about VOD on the Home Market Releases column?” Yes. However, those are for VOD releases for films that already played in theaters some time ago. This column will include films that debut on VOD either before, or simultaneously with, their theatrical release. We think this it an important change, as too often the Limited Release column was “Limited Releases Playing in New York City and Possibly Los Angeles.” For people in most of the rest of the country, there were no films on the list playing anywhere near them. This week, there are at least a few films worth checking out, including We Are Still Here, which is playing on VOD and Love and Mercy and Testament of Youth, which are theatrical-only releases that both have a shot at mainstream success.

Freedom - Reviews
Video on Demand
Cuba Gooding, Jr. was recently in the excellent The Book of Negroes. However, this similarly slavery-themed film is far from excellent. In fact, so far all 13 reviews are negative. They are not aggressively negative, but negative nonetheless.

Hungry Hearts - Reviews
Video on Demand
Newlyweds Mina and Jude have the perfect relationship. But when they become parents, Mina wants to protect their new son from any contaminants, and becomes obsessive to the point where she might kill her son trying to keep him safe. The reviews are mixed and it likely won't find an audience in theaters, but if you are a fan of the genre, it might be worth renting on VOD.

Love and Mercy - Reviews
A biopic of Brian Wilson, lead singer of the Beach Boys, played by Paul Dano in the 1960s and John Cusack in the 1980s. This seems like an Awards Season contender, but its release date is probably too early for that. It is opening in nearly 500 theaters, which is usually too many for an art-house film, but its reviews could help it earn some measure of mainstream success. If it does open in the top ten and expand over the coming weeks, then perhaps that will keep it in the minds of Awards Season voters long enough.

The Nightmare - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about sleep paralysis that is being described as a horror-documentary. The reviews are good, but not great, while I'm not sure this genre mash-up has a large enough target audience. On a side note, I've only experienced sleep paralysis once and that happened just two days after I had learned about it in my psychology course in University. Had I not known what was happening to me, it would have been a truly scary event.

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence - Reviews
A Swedish film about... I'm not sure what. It is one of those art-house films that's a little too art-house to describe. The reviews are excellent, but it has very little potential to expand significantly. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence opened on Wednesday in two theaters, both in New York City, with more showings planned over the coming weeks / months. Check out the official site for more details.

Police Story: Lockdown - Reviews
Video on Demand
The latest installment in the Police Story franchise. The franchise has been around for nearly 30 years, but the quality has really dropped and so far this film is earning zero positive reviews. If you are a fan of the genre, stick with the first three installments instead of watching this one. Crime Story is arguably the best.

Testament of Youth - Reviews
A coming-of-age story set in World War I. It focuses on Vera Brittain and is based on a very popular novel. Its reviews suggest it should find an audience in limited release, but I'm not sure it will expand wide enough to earn some measure of mainstream success. Testament of Youth opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area. Check out the official site for more details.

United Passions - Reviews
This might be the worst-timed movie release of the past several years. I'm not a fan of soccer, but even I'm super happy Sepp Blatter is going down. The only way this film succeeds is if people hate-watch the movie.

We Are Still Here - Reviews
Video on Demand
The film tells the story of a couple who had just lost their teenage son to a car accident. They move to a new house to get over their loss, but this house is haunted and demands a sacrifice. It is one of the best-reviewed new releases of the week and it is opening on VOD. It is also opening in theaters, including the Cinema Village in New York City, where it is playing for this weekend only.

Wild Horses - Reviews
Video on Demand
This film has a strong cast, including Robert Duvall, who also wrote and directed the film. Unfortunately, the critics are calling it a dull mess. Wild Horses opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as on VOD.


Filed under: Limited Releases, En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron, The Nightmare, Love & Mercy, Hungry Hearts, We Are Still Here, Testament of Youth, Jing cha ju shi 2013, Wild Horses, Freedom, United Passions, Police Story, John Cusack, Paul Dano, Robert Duvall, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Alicia Vikander, Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher