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Limited and VOD Releases: Dirty 30 is Apt Description

September 23rd, 2016

Queen of Katwe

Like last week, approximately 30 films open in limited release this week. That is far too many and all but ensures most will not find an audience. Furthermore, it means I have to be a little more liberal when it comes to pruning releases that don’t have enough buzz to talk about. There are lots of films that still made the cut, including a few highlights: The Age of Shadows, Audrie & Daisy, The Dressmaker, The Lovers And The Despot, My Blind Brother, and Queen of Katwe. Some of these are playing on VOD, so they will go nowhere in theaters. Several are aiming for Oscars, including Queen of Katwe, which will expand semi-wide next week.

The Age of Shadows - Reviews
A South Korean film set in the 1920s about the Korean resistance to Japanese occupation. It involves a Korean-born Japanese police office sent undercover to stop the Korean independence movement from getting explosives. The film has been a huge hit in its native country earning nearly $50 million in just two weeks. It is earning 100% positive reviews and it is the country’s official entrant for Best Foreign-Language Oscar, so it could do well on the art house circuit.

Audrie & Daisy - Reviews
A documentary about several high school students who were sexually assaulted. Those crimes were filmed and spread online. It is the most important film to come out this week, but the subject matter is really difficult to watch.

Beauty and the Beast - Reviews
It’s Beauty and the Beast, so there’s not much that needs to be said about the plot. It’s a bad version of the story, so even if you are a fan, there are better options out there.

Chronic - Reviews
Tim Roth stars as a live-in nurse who works with terminally ill patients. He is struggling with depression, so he needs his patients as much as they need him. He will have to deal with his past and the guilt that is at the heart of his depression. The film’s reviews are right on the boundary between merely good and good enough to thrive in limited release.

Closet Monster - Reviews
A Canadian film set in Newfoundland. It is about a gay teenage boy, who is in the closet for fear of what his father would do if he were to find out. The film is earning amazing reviews, some of the best of the week, but it is a Canadian film and those rarely find audiences in theaters.

The Dressmaker - Reviews
Kate Winslet stars as a woman, who had worked the in fashion houses of Paris, returning to her small town in Australia to deal with her mother. However, she left under suspicion of a crime and the rumors begin to circulate when she returns. This is the biggest film in terms of buzz, but its reviews are only mixed. It apparently has a bit if a dark streak to it and dark comedies are particularly hard to sell to critics and / or audiences.

Girl Asleep - Reviews
Bethany Whitmore plays a social outcast who is about to turn 15. Her parents throw her a surprise party, but when that goes poorly, she goes to sleep and dreams about ... something. I’ve read three reviews and I still don’t know how to describe it. It is certainly intriguing and it is one of the better films on this week’s list.

Goat - Reviews
Video on Demand
Two brothers’ relationship is strained when the younger pledges for the elder’s Frat and the hazing becomes too hard to take. Like many films on this week’s list, it is earning great reviews, but it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero.

I.T. - Reviews
Video On Demand
I hate this movie, but not for the reasons critics hate it. Films with names that are really short tend to screw with search engines making it really hard to do research. Then again, it is likely that this film will disappear from theaters so fast it won’t matter.

It’s Only the End of the World - Reviews
A writer returns to his home town to announce to his family that he’s dying. There are a lot of great actors in this French-Canadian movie, but critics are saying it’s melodrama.

London Road - Reviews
A musical based on the the Steve Wright killings from 2006. It uses actual testimony and interviews for the lyrics of the songs. Critics are giving it good reviews, but audiences are not. It is just too out there to appeal to mainstream audiences.

The Lovers And The Despot - Reviews
Video on Demand
Okay... this is a documentary based on one of the strangest stories in North Korea / South Korea history. I don’t even want to say what it is about. I will say the reviews are great and it only cost $5 to rent on Amazon, so it is worth checking out.

My Blind Brother - Reviews
Video on Demand
Adam Scott plays a star athlete, who is blind. Nick Kroll is his slacker brother, who acts as a personal assistant. They take their sibling rivalry to a new level when they accidentally start dating the same woman, Jenny Slate. The reviews are really good, good enough that it might have had a chance at box office success. However, it is playing on VOD and most people who want to see it will prefer seeing it at home.

Queen of Katwe - Reviews
This is one of the wider limited releases of the week, as the film opens in just over 50 theaters this Friday and expands semi-wide next weekend. In the film, newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars as a young woman, who lives in poverty with her mother, Lupita Nyong’o. A man, played by David Oyelowo, was an orphan who grew up in the same neighbourhood. He comes back to start a chess program to give the youths there a chance to escape poverty. She joins and since her story was made into a movie, you can probably guess what happens next. Some critics are complaining about the movie being too cliché; however, the overall reviews are excellent. If the film does well at the box office, it could earn some serious Awards Season buzz.

SoulMate - Reviews
A Chinese film about two women who have been friends since childhood, but whose friendship is in danger due to the pressures of adult life. The film made more in its 5-day opening in China than it cost to make, so it should break even there, eventually. Its box office chances here are not as positive. There have been some Chinese films that do well in limited release, so it has potential.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Dirty 30 - No Reviews - Video On Demand
End of a Gun - No Reviews - Video on Demand
The Free World - Reviews - Video on Demand
Total Frat Movie - Reviews - Video On Demand
The only secondary VOD release I’m interested in seeing is Dirty 30 and that’s mainly because of the cast. The movie has no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to judge it by.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Juste La Fin Du Monde, The Dressmaker, London Road, Closet Monster, Chronic, La belle et la bête, Queen of Katwe, The Lovers And The Despot, End of a Gun, Dirty 30, Goat, Total Frat Movie, My Blind Brother, The Free World, I.T., Girl Asleep, Audrie & Daisy, The Age of Shadows, SoulMate, Kate Winslet, Tim Roth, Adam Scott, Nick Kroll, David Oyelowo, Jenny Slate, Lupita Nyong'o, Madina Nalwanga, Bethany Whitmore