By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 7, 2011 at 9:34AM
Two indie films with strong casts are available right now on VOD before they hit movie theaters on November 11. Magnolia is releasing controversy-magnet Lars von Trier's Melancholia, starring Cannes best actress winner Kirsten Dunst, on OnDemand, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation and Zune.
One of Von Trier's most beautiful, haunting and accessible films, Melancholia might have won the Palme d'Or if the puckish filmmaker hadn't made the self-destructive, admittedly stupid press conference remarks that have overshadowed the film itself, which deserves to be considered seriously on its own merits. On the other hand, sometimes controversy sells: Melancholia, which went over well at the NYFF, is outperforming all previous Von Trier films in the UK. "I think the movie has a chance to be the cocktail party film of the fall," says Magnolia's Eamonn Bowles, who booked it for a qualifying run in the L.A. area last August. If the critical reaction in November warrants an Oscar campaign for Dunst, Magnolia will go for it, he says.
Melancholia boasts a stunning, surreal, digitally-altered, slo-mo prologue set in an elaborate castle and gardens right out of Marienbad, referencing everything from the pre-Raphaelite Lady of Shalot to Wagner’s soaring Tristan and Isolde. It brooks comparison not only to the examination of nature and survival in The Tree of Life and Take Shelter, which also deals with mental illness and nature gone wrong (and dead falling birds), as well as Another Earth, which also puts in the sky a potentially dangerous alternate planet.
Remember that long-postponed Graham King movie London Boulevard, starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley? Well, the R-rated romantic gangster flick is being released not by King's distribution outfit FilmDistrict, but by IFC Films, and is already available on VOD. Produced by Redmond Morris and Colin Vaines, the romantic thriller is adapted from the novel by Ken Bruen by The Departed Oscar-winner William Monahan, who makes his directorial debut with a strong UK cast that also includes Ben Chaplin and Ray Winstone. This movie did NOT go over well in the UK (Tomatometer ranking, 32%).
Here's the synopsis:
After three years behind bars, Mitchel (Farrell) emerges from Pentonville Prison with good intentions. But when his old friend Billy (Ben Chaplin), a low-level gangster who’s looking for backup on a job, meets him upon release, Mitchel joins him in exchange for a place to live. While entangled in the past, Mitchel becomes involved with Charlotte (Knightley), a movie star holed up in a Holland Park mansion against the paparazzi. Touched by her beauty and vulnerability, he quickly falls into the role of protector, fending off aggressive reporters and stalkers, as well as Billy’s ploy to rob the house of its expensive art and vintage cars.
As the attraction between them grows and their relationship deepens, Mitchel and Charlotte make plans to start anew in Los Angeles. But Mitchel has already caught the eye of powerful and ruthless mob boss Gant (Ray Winstone), who sees him as a potentially valuable asset to his business. When Mitchel rebuffs a lucrative job offer, Gant sets out to ensnare him in a violent web of extortion and murder. As Gant’s tactics become increasingly vicious and deadly, it becomes clear he would rather see the younger man dead than free. Knowing no one close to him is safe from Gant’s wrath, including Charlotte and his troubled sister Briony (Anna Friel), Mitchel decides to take a drastic move to settle things between them once and for all.