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Limited and VOD Releases: Autumn Years and Oscar Glory

August 21st, 2015


It might not be a good week for limited releases overall, but we do have a potential Oscar nominee opening this week. Grandma is not only earning the best reviews of the week, but Lily Tomlin is earning some early Awards Season buzz.

After Words - Reviews
Video on Demand
Marcia Gay Harden stars as a woman who has a mid-life crisis and travels to Costa Rica as a result. The film's reviews are weak, too weak to even recommend renting it on VOD.

The Curse of Downers Grove - Reviews
Video on Demand
A horror film that is earning terrible reviews and also playing on VOD. It has no chance at the box office.

Digging for Fire - Reviews
Video on Demand
A married couple are having difficulties when the husband finds a rusty gun and what looks like a human bone buried in the back yard. He then neglects his family in order to search for more clues. The reviews are good, but not great, and it begins on VOD on Tuesday, so its box office chances are weak.

Grandma - Reviews
Out of all of the films on this week's list, this one has the best combination of reviews and buzz. It's not even close. The film co-stars Julia Garner, as Sage, an 18-year old who just found out she's pregnant. She turns to grandma, Lily Tomlin, to help her out. While the overall reviews are great, Lily Tomlin is starting to earn Awards Season buzz. It's her first starring role in nearly 30 years, so voters might be eager to welcome her back. Grandma opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area. Check out the official site for more details.

Guidance - Reviews
Pat Mills wrote, directed, and stars in this Canadian film. He plays a former child star who has never grown up. When he's fired from yet another acting job, he decides to fake his resume and get a job as a school guidance counselor. The reviews are excellent, but Canadian films rarely do well in theaters. We are just not good at promoting our work. Guidance opens tonight in three theaters, including one in Toronto, Canada. Check out the official site for more details.

The Iron Ministry - Reviews
A documentary about the creation of the world's largest train network. The reviews are good, but this is not a subject that will likely have wide appeal among the average moviegoer. The Iron Ministry opens tonight in four theaters in major cities nationwide. Check out the official site for more details.

Learning to Drive - Reviews
Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley star in this movie and they are earning great praise for their performances. Sadly, critics are complaining that the script isn't nearly as good as the actors. Rent it when it hits the home market. Learning to Drive opens tonight in four theaters, spit evenly between New York City and Los Angeles.

She's Funny That Way - Reviews
Video on Demand
At one point, this film was scheduled to open wide in early May. Now it is being dumped on VOD / limited release at the end of August. That's a huge fall as far as release dates / scheduling goes. Given its reviews, it is not too surprisingly. Last minute update: Just got pushed back to October. The studio must have no faith in this movie, if they would be willing to change the release date with that little notice.

Slow Learners - Reviews
Video on Demand
Two teachers who are best friends are both hopeless when it comes to romance. They decide that over summer they are going to transform themselves into sex fiends. You can probably guess where this ends. Unfortunately, there are only four reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so it is too soon to tell what the critics think. If you are okay with the genre clich├ęs, then it is likely worth renting on VOD.

Some Kind of Beautiful - Reviews
Video on Demand
This film is earning 0% positive reviews and it is playing on VOD. Next.

Station to Station - Reviews
A documentary set on a train that spends one minute each with a series of artists, writers, etc. The reviews are good, but the film's chances of expanding wide are slim, even for a documentary. This just screams art house circuit. Station to Station opens tonight at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Some Kind of Beautiful, Learning to Drive, She's Funny That Way, Digging for Fire, Grandma, Guidance, Station to Station, Slow Learners, The Curse of Downers Grove, The Iron Ministry, After Words, Patricia Clarkson, Marcia Gay Harden, Ben Kingsley, Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Pat Mills