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A rundown of what’s new on VOD this week — a bumper crop of indie releases:
The One I Love
RADiUs TWC (the studio behind Snowpiercer andOscar-winner 20 Feet From Stardom) is on a roll of late and they hope it continues with their Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss-starrer from first time director Charlie McDowell. Duplass and Moss play a couple on the verge of divorce when their therapist (Ted Danson) sends them to a vacation house for the weekend.
The surprise twist of the retreat, which the film’s extremely effective trailer does a masterful job of teasing, shifts the film from being a standard couple-in-crisis territory into the realm of a Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze-like fantasy. Some reviewers predict the film will be a crowd-pleaser and has the potential to have broad appeal, but THR’s Todd McCarthy, who appreciated the film’s novel approach, found the film repetitive and at times hard to watch.
The One I Love premiered at Sundance this winter and doesn’t hit theaters until Aug 22, but is available now on VOD.
Rich Hill presents intimate and unfiltered portraits of how the American dream lives inside three resilient teenagers whose upbringing in a depressed Midwestern town has failed to supply them with a path to reach those dreams. The film avoids many of the traps that others fall into when tackling the issue of poverty. It doesn’t romanticize the poor, nor is it a social-action documentary trying to contextualize its subjects’ lives. Instead, it’s a throwback to cinema verite docs of the pre-Ken Burns era.
The 2014 Sundance Jury Prize winner for best documentary opens today in New York (LA on Aug 15) and will be coming to VOD on Tuesday.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Hard Times Hit the Heartland in Sundance Winner ‘Rich Hill’
The Strange Little Cat
Fandor, the indie alternative to Netflix, is getting into the day-and-date game with this gem from young German director Ramon Zurcher. The Strange Little Cat was well received on the the festival circuit in 2013, premiering at Berlin, before making stops at Cannes, TIFF and AFI Fest. And tonight while it theatrically debuts at Lincoln Center, subscribers to Fandor ($10 per month) can stream the film for free.
THR’s Stephen Dalton says Strange Little Cat’s initial set-up “feels like a TV sitcom, but the lively domestic dance that follows plays more like surreal farce,” and concluded the film is, “a fresh and original debut that is purely pleasurable.”
FILM REVIEW: ‘The Strange Little Cat’
In yet another new experiment in the indie-VOD game, the new horror film Lyle, which THR called “a new-millennium riff on Rosemary’s Baby” and won Gabby Hoffman a best actress nod at OutFest, will be released for free on Monday. That’s right, writer/director Scott Throndike and producer Alex Scharfman are giving their movie away on their website. Why?
According to Indiewire, the free release is being timed with the launch of the filmmaking teams’ Kickstarter campaign for their new horror film Putney. The hope being that those who enjoy seeing Lyle for free will put their saved ticket money toward the new film.
Child Of God
While picking up advanced academic degrees, writing books, and being a busy movie star, James Franco somehow finds the time to direct a handful of feature films a year. What’s even more daunting is that he tackles works of literature that most have been written off as unadaptable. This time is Cormac McCarthy’s brutal and at times violent 1973 novel about an outcast (Scott Haze) who descends into madness in the back country of Tennessee.
Reviewers continue to be unkind to Franco as a director, but THR’s David Rooney found there to be something redemptive in this “raw and unpolished” film, writing, “there’s a weird purity to the storytelling even at its untidiest, which enables Franco to remain true to the spirit of McCarthy’s vernacular lyricism.”
Magnolia Pictures is releasing their border town drama today six weeks before it hits theaters in early September. The film’s plot revolves around the investigation into the murder of the sheriff’s wife as a way of exploring the complexities on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border. The film has yet to be reviewed, but it boasts a big-name cast (Ed Harris, Michael Pena, Eva Longoria and Amy Madigan) and Magnolia has a track record of avoiding straight-to-video fare.
NEXT WEEK sees the VOD release of two of the more popular films from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival: indie comedy About Alex (Aubrey Plaza and Max Greenfield) and the high school football doc We Could Be King.
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