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Limited and VOD Releases: Looking for Timeless Limited Releases

October 7th, 2016

Voyage of Time

It is both a great week for limited releases and a terrible one. While there are a number of fantastic films, like Under the Shadow for example, there are very few that have a legitimate shot at box office success. The usual reason for this is Video on Demand. Voyage of Time will likely be the biggest hit on this week’s list, but as an IMAX film, it will likely be in theaters for years.

The Battle of Algiers - Reviews
This is not the first time this film has been re-released. In fact, I mentioned it way back in 2004. I started this job in 2003, so that’s one of my earliest columns. If you haven’t seen The Battle of Algiers, then you really should see it. If you can’t see it in theaters, then the Blu-ray is a good option.

Being 17 - Reviews
This movie focuses on the lives of two 17-year-olds at the same school, one is the bully and the other is the bullied. Then the bully’s pregnant foster mother has complications, so the bully is invited to stay at the bullied's house. This is one of the best-reviewed films of the week, but being a foreign-language film, its box office chances outside of the art house circuit are slim.

The Blinky Bill Movie - Reviews
An Australian animated film about a koala who goes on an adventure. The film’s reviews are good, but family films rarely do well in limited release. Furthermore, it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday. It will do better on the home market.

Blue Jay - Reviews
This film is getting an Oscar-qualifying run this weekend before coming out on VOD on Tuesday. It is one of the better reviewed films on this week’s list, but the short window from theatrical release to the home market will likely kill its box office chances. Then again, it has become clear that VOD is more important to Indie films than the box office, so financially this won’t really matter.

The Greasy Strangler - Reviews
Video on Demand
A father and son run a disco walking tour in Los Angeles. However, when they both fall for the same tourist, it threatens their relationship. This is the wrong genre for limited release, plus it is playing on VOD. I don’t think it will make an impact at the box office.

The Great Gilly Hopkins - Reviews
Video on Demand
A family film starring Sophie Nelisse as a 12-year old foster kid who tries her best to be reunited with her birth mother, even if that means being bounced around from foster family to foster family. The reviews are mixed and the film is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero. That said, a $6 rental is a good deal and worth an afternoon.

MSG: The Warrior: Lion Heart - No Reviews
A Bollywood action movie about a medieval warrior who fought for women to be treated with respect and who appears in modern day to stop an alien invasion. ... I might have read the plot summary wrong. Then again, it is a Bollywood film and some of these are really high concept.

Newtown - Reviews
A documentary about the Newtown massacre and how gun control and mental health initiatives are needed to prevent something like this from happening again. The reviews are excellent and it is worth checking out; however, I feel the need to make two points. 1.) People with mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. Bringing up mental health in this context isn’t helpful, as it further stigmatizes those dealing with these issues, while not solving the underlying problem. 2.) The GOP candidate for president, Donald Trump, is supported by people like Roger Stone and Alex Jones, who think the government faked the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school. I am surprised that he isn’t asked about these conspiracy theories every single day of this campaign.

Phantasm (Re Release) - Reviews - Video on Demand
Phantasm: Ravager - Reviews - Video On Demand
The first and the most recent installments of the Phantasm franchise are hitting theaters this week. These films have a cult following, so I think the latest one will do well. However, it is still a horror film opening in limited release, as well as VOD, so it will find an audience on the home market, not in theaters.

Thank You For Your Service - Reviews
A documentary about mental health care in the military. This is an extremely important issue, but there’s only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, so I fear the film will be ignored.

Under the Shadow - Reviews - Video on Demand
A British-Iranian film that takes place during the Iraq-Iran war. A mother is trying to take care of her young daughter while her husband is in the army. When a missile lands in their home, but doesn’t detonate, it brings with it a malevolent spirit. This film is earning nearly perfect reviews, and it is Britain’s official selection for this year’s Best Foreign-Language Oscar, so that’s a lot to draw in art house aficionados. However, it is also playing on VOD, so its box office chances are negligible.

Voyage of Time - Reviews
An edutainment documentary by Terrence Malick. The film is visually stunning, as you would expect from a Terrence Malick movie, while the narration from Brad Pitt brings a sense of wonder. If you’ve ever seen an IMAX documentary like this, then you know they are worth seeing in all of their IMAX glory.

Secondary VOD Releases:
37 - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Alchemist Cookbook - Reviews - Video On Demand
All in Time - Reviews - Video on Demand
Better Off Single - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Hollow - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Late Bloomer - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Lennon Report - Reviews - Video on Demand
London Town - Reviews - Video on Demand
Torchbearer - Reviews - Video on Demand
There are a lot of secondary VOD releases this week. Some, like The Alchemist Cookbook, are earning good reviews, just not a lot of reviews.

Filed under: Limited Releases, La Battaglia di Algeri, Phantasm, Voyage of Time, Phantasm: Ravager, The Lennon Report, Thank You For Your Service, The Late Bloomer, London Town, The Blinky Bill Movie, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Quand on a 17 ans, Better Off Single, The Greasy Strangler, Under the Shadow, Blue Jay, Newtown, The Alchemist Cookbook, Torchbearer, MSG: The Warrior: Lion Heart, 37, All in Time, The Hollow, Brad Pitt, Terrence Malick, Sophie Nelisse, Donald Trump