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Limited and VOD Releases: Don’t be in Denial

September 30th, 2016


There are more than a few films on this week’s list that were made to win Oscars. Of these, Sand Storm is the best. However, Denial has the biggest box office potential.

American Honey - Reviews
Sasha Lane stars as Star, a homeless teenager who runs away to join a group of similar people who travel the country selling magazine subscriptions so they have enough money to continue their journey. The reviews are good, but not quite good enough that I’m confident it will do well in theaters.

Among the Believers - Reviews
A documentary about an extremist Islamic cleric who is fighting against the Pakistani government in order to force Sharia law onto the population at large. On a side note, I feel the need to point out that Muslims in America support gay marriage more than Evangelical Christians, Mormons, and some other branches of Christianity do. The reviews are excellent and this film is worth checking out. Just remember that Muslims who live outside of the area likely have very little in common with these extremists.

Clinton, Inc. - No Reviews
A documentary about Hillary Clinton that uses Dick Morris as a source. If you know who Dick Morris is, you will know why this is funny. If not, don’t Google Dick Morris and Toe Sucking. Instead, Google Dick Morris and Fox News Fired. He was fired from Fox News for being so wrong about the 2012 presidential election. That’s the most noteworthy thing he’s done in the past decade. On the other hand, this is one of the wider limited releases of the week, playing in 20 theaters and the target audience won’t care that there are no reviews.

Danny Says - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about Danny Fields, who helped shape music throughout his career. The reviews are mixed, mainly because critics are complaining that we don’t learn enough about the man. If you like rockumentaries, then it is worth a rental.

Denial - Reviews
Rachel Weisz plays historian Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued by holocaust denier David Irving, played by Timothy Spall. This movie feels like Oscar bait, but the reviews are merely good. It has a great cast, but there’s not a lot here to set it apart from other, similar Oscar-bait movies. It could still be the biggest limited release hit of the week.

Do Not Resist - Reviews
A documentary about the militarization of American police and how this breeds a culture where escalating violence is the first instinct. The reviews are great and this subject is timely, but there’s competition in this genre this week.

Harry & Snowman - Reviews
A film about a Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, who rescued a horse that was on its way to be turned into glue. Together, they became champions in show jumping. The reviews are excellent, but documentaries rarely have breakout success.

I Belonged to You - No Reviews
A Chinese romantic comedy that opened wide in its native China yesterday and earned first place with just over $11 million. There are no reviews here and romantic comedies rarely do well in limited release, so it likely won’t do well here. On the other hand, with the growth of the Chinese movie industry, it is always interesting to see if one of their films will be a breakout hit here instead of the other way around.

Long Way North - Reviews
This is a French-Danish animated film about a young lady living in Russia who dreams of following in her grandfather’s footsteps, by becoming an explorer. However, her parents have already arranged a marriage for her. Animated films rarely do well in limited release, but this one is earning 100% positive reviews at the moment, so maybe it will succeed where others have failed.

L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties - No Reviews
A Chinese animated film based on two fantasy books. There are no reviews, but it is opening day-and-date in both China and several major international markets, as well as here. That’s worth keeping an eye on. If this does well, we could see more releases like this. Unfortunately, animated films rarely do well in limited release and this film has direct competition in that regard.

A Man Called Ove - Reviews
A widower spends his days enforcing block association rules that no one else cares about. He was such a pain that the block association stripped him of his official status, but that didn’t stop him. When new neighbors arrive, and accidentally run over his mailbox, they draw his attention and his ire. However, he soon begins a friendship with them. This is Sweden’s official selection for the Best Foreign-Language Oscar, which would normally help the film with the art house crowd, except there’s direct competition on this week’s list.

The Pit - Reviews
A 1980s horror film that wasn’t a big hit when it came out, nor was it praised by critics. However, it developed a cult following on the home market. It is getting a re-release this week and a Buy from Amazon: Blu-ray release on the 18th of October. I put in a request to review it, so hopefully a screener will show up.

Sand Storm - Reviews
A Bedouin woman has to deal with the personal insult of her husband taking a new, much younger wife. She also learns that her daughter is in a relationship with a classmate, which is something forbidden by their culture. She has to decide whether to go with her culture, or fight to give her daughter more than she could have. The film is earning amazing reviews and it is Israel’s official selection for this year’s Best Foreign-Language Film at the Oscars. It could get nominated. Given the reviews, it should at least get short-listed.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Flock of Dudes - Reviews - Video on Demand
Laid in America - No Reviews - Video On Demand
Maximum Ride - No Reviews - Video on Demand
Milton's Secret - Reviews - Video on Demand
Passage to Mars - Reviews - Video on Demand
Weak selection of secondary VOD releases this week, as Flock of Dudes is the closest we have to a film with overall positive reviews.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Maximum Ride, American Honey, Denial, Milton's Secret, Among the Believers, Tout en haut du monde, Harry & Snowman, En man som heter Ove, Passage to Mars, Danny Says, Sufat Chol, Do Not Resist, Laid in America, Clinton, Inc., I Belonged to You, Flock of Dudes, The Pit, L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties, Timothy Spall, Rachel Weisz, Ruba Blal Asfour, Lamis Ammar, Sasha Lane