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Limited and VOD Releases: Battle of the Early Award Season Contenders

September 22nd, 2017

Battle of the Sexes

There are a trio of films on this week’s list that are Awards Season adjacent: Battle of the Sexes, Stronger, and Victoria and Abdul. All three earned some pre-release Awards Season buzz, but I’m not sure any of them will be serious contenders. Hopefully at least one of them will be a box office success.

Battle of the Sexes - Reviews
This is one of three Oscar Bait movies on this week’s list. It is about the real-life tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The Tomatometer Score is 88% positive, which suggests it could have breakout success in limited release. However, its average score is just 7.2 out of 10, which means it likely won’t be a major player during Awards Season.

Bobbi Jene - Reviews
A documentary about Bobbi Jene, a ballet star in Israel, who returns to America to bring her art here. The reviews are good, but not great, while documentaries rarely have breakout success in the best of circumstances.

The King’s Choice - Reviews
A World War II film about the Norwegian Royal Family and how they had to deal with the Nazi invasion of their country. The reviews are 79% positive, which could be good enough to thrive in limited release, but as a foreign-language film, it won’t escape the art house circuit.

Loving Vincent - Reviews
I was really hoping this film would earn better reviews than this. It is a fully-animated film, but each frame is a painting. The amount of work that went into this film is mind-blowing, but the script isn't nearly as compelling as the visuals. It is still worth checking out, but maybe wait till you can see it at home.

Stronger - Reviews
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the real life Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both of his legs in the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. This is an obvious Osar-bait film and its Tomatometer Score is over 90% positive. That said, its average score is just 7.6 out of 10. This is still good, but not quite Oscar-worthy. It could get a few nominations, especially if it does well in theaters.

Thirst Street - Reviews
A flight attendant has a one-night stand in Paris and decides to stay there. However, her attempts at turning the one-night stand into a relationship hits a snag. The reviews are good, but not good enough to thrive in limited release.

The Tiger Hunter - Reviews
Danny Pudi stars as a recent immigrant in 1970s Chicago who tries to woo his childhood crush with the help of his roommates. The film’s reviews are 75% positive, which is right on the border between merely good and good enough to thrive in limited release. I think it will find an audience, but it will have to wait till the home market to do so.

Unrest - Reviews
A documentary made by and about Jennifer Brea, a journalist who was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There are only seven reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but all seven of them are positive. Hopefully it will do well at the box office, but documentaries rarely have break out success.

Victoria and Abdul - Reviews
I fear this is going to turn into busted Oscar bait. The cast is great and it was earning some pre-release buzz, but its reviews are merely good and not great. Perhaps Judi Dench will earn some nominations and it could earn an Oscar nomination or two in the technical categories, but it won’t be a major player in the prestige category.

Woodshock - Reviews
Oh boy. Kirsten Dunst stars in this slice of hot mess. It is the first film from writers / directors Kate and Laura Mulleavy, who are famous fashion designers. To be fair, a lot of critics compliment the filmmakers’ visual flair, but the narrative is dull, confused, and / or pretentious. Maybe it is worth checking out, if you are a fan of the designers, but I would wait for a rental.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Big Bear - Reviews - Video on Demand
Happy Hunting - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Houses October Built 2 - Reviews - Video on Demand
Last Rampage - Reviews - Video on Demand
Welcome to Willits: After Sundown - No Reviews - Video on Demand
Happy Hunting is by far the best secondary Video on Demand release of the week. There are only five reviews, but all five are positive. On the other hand, the average score is only 6.8 out of 10, so most critics are not enthusiastic with their recommendations.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Welcome to Willits: After Sundown, Loving Vincent, Woodshock, Stronger, Battle of the Sexes, Victoria and Abdul, Unrest, Kongens Nei, Bobbi Jene, Last Rampage, Big Bear, The Tiger Hunter, Thirst Street, Happy Hunting, The Houses October Built 2, Judi Dench, Steve Carell, Kirsten Dunst, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emma Stone, Danny Pudi, Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy