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Limited and VOD Releases: Zookeeper and Others are Having a Wild Time

March 31st, 2017

The Blackcoat’s Daughter

It’s one of those weeks. There are a number of films earning good reviews, and some are earning great reviews. However, none of them are earning loud enough buzz to suggest they will escape the art house circuit. Worse still, there are many like The Blackcoat’s Daughter that are opening simultaneously on Video on Demand, which will all but kill their box office chances.

All This Panic - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary that looks at the lives of seven girls growing up in New York City. This is one of the best-reviewed releases on this week’s list and it could do well for a documentary; however, since it is playing on VOD, it will likely do well on the home market and not in theaters.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter - Reviews
Video on Demand
A horror film starring, among others, Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, and Lucy Boynton. The film’s reviews are 75% positive and the buzz is louder than nearly every other film on this week’s list. However, horror films rarely do well in limited release and it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are slim. It is definitely worth a rental, on the other hand.

Carrie Pilby - Reviews
Bel Powley stars as the titular Carrie Pilby, a genius who suffers from mental illnesses that have left her a shut-in. Her therapist tries to get her into to the world through a series of smaller tasks. The reviews are good, but not good enough for limited release, and it his the home market on Tuesday. I would suggest waiting until you can rent it.

David Lynch: The Art Life - Reviews
A documentary about David Lynch that is earning 100% positive reviews. If you are interested enough in movies to be reading this column, then you almost definitely want to watch this movie.

The Death of Louis XIV - Reviews
This film looks at the final days of King Louis XIV of France. The reviews are good, but I don’t think they are good enough to thrive in limited release. Being a foreign-language film is another hurdle I don’t think the film will be able to overcome.

Despite the Falling Snow - Reviews
Video on Demand
An American spy working in Russia falls in love with the politician she is supposed to be spying on. The film’s reviews are terrible with most of the complaints going to the lifeless script. The average review isn’t nearly as bad as its Tomatometer Score, but it is hard to recommend renting it on VOD.

Donnie Darko: 15th Anniversary Edition - Reviews
I reviewed the 10th anniversary edition when it came out on Blu-ray. It is hitting theaters tonight with a new 4K restoration, while the new Blu-ray comes out on the 18th.

God Knows Where I Am - Reviews
A documentary about Linda Bishop, a homeless woman who tragically starved to death while squatting in an abandoned farmhouse in 2007. The film’s reviews are good, but not great, and documentaries rarely thrive in limited release under the best circumstances.

Here Alone - Reviews
Video on Demand
Lucy Walters stars as Ann, a woman surviving in the woods after an epidemic turned most of the population into zombies. While scrounging for food, she meets Olivia and her step-father, Chris. Ann allows them to stay with her before they travel north, but will being with people help return Ann’s humanity, or will having more people upset the balance of her life? The film’s reviews are in the overall positive level, but not overwhelmingly so. Furthermore, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are weak, to be polite.

Karl Marx City - Reviews
Documentarian Petra Epperlien travels to her home town in the former East Germany to look into her father’s suicide and learns he might be connected to the East German secret police. This is one of the few films on this week’s list earning overwhelming positive reviews and it could do well, for a documentary.

The Zookeeper’s Wife - Reviews
Jessica Chastain stars in this real-life story about a Polish zookeeper who used her zoo to hide and save hundreds of Jews during World War II. The film was expected to open wide, but it is now playing in the dreaded “select cities.” Worse still, its reviews are mixed and well below the level limited releases normally need to thrive.

Secondary VOD Releases:
American Anarchist - Reviews - Video on Demand
Fair Haven - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Great & The Small - No Reviews - Video on Demand
Live Cargo - Reviews - Video on Demand
There are four secondary VOD releases this week and all but one is earning more positive reviews than negative reviews. All are probably worth a look.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Donnie Darko, Carrie Pilby, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, The Zookeeper’s Wife, Fair Haven, Despite the Falling Snow, The Great & The Small, God Knows Where I Am, American Anarchist, David Lynch: The Art Life, La Mort de Louis XIV, Live Cargo, Here Alone, All This Panic, Karl Marx City, Jessica Chastain, David Lynch, Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Petra Epperlien, Lucy Boynton, Gina Piersanti, Adam David Thompson, Bel Powley, Lucy Walters