New York Film Festival to open with 18th Century romp from the director of ‘The Lobster’ – Yorgos Lanthimos
Review: ‘PUZZLE’ allows one woman to solve the enigma of herself.
Review: ‘Occupation’ has a full sci-fi miniseries feel in 2hrs
Fantasia International Film Festival Review: ‘Relaxer’ pulls you in with its beautifully weird premise.
Fantasia International Film Festival 2018 Review: ‘Mega Time Squad’ is an editor’s masterpiece.

Review: ‘Blood Machines’ a cyberpunk fantasy, now available on AMC’s Shudder.

Synopsis:
Two space hunters are tracking down a machine trying to free itself. After taking it down, they witness a mystical phenomenon: the ghost of a young woman pulls itself out of the machine as if the spaceship had a soul. Trying to understand the nature of this entity, they start chasing the woman through space.

Inspired by the spirit of the 80’s films and music, BLOOD MACHINES is a 50-minute, sci-fi horror mind-melter told in three chapters, scored by acclaimed and reclusive French synth-wave artist Carpenter Brut, and expanded from their music video of their track Turbo Killer. Starring Elisa Lasowski, Anders Heinrichsen and Noémie Stevens, written and directed by Seth Ickerman.

 

Chapter One:
Mima

This episode is so visually spectacular from the get-go, I exclaimed, “Whaaaaatttt” as soon as I spotted the first spacecraft. The sets are something akin to Star Wars, a video game, and a graphic novel. Great costumes and props add to this lived-in world. It has a solid 80’s vibe and yet it’s still completely timeless. If you don’t want to keep watching as the screen goes black, I will be flabbergasted.

Chapter Two:
Corey

This episode picks up exactly where Mima left off. The attention to detail in the cinematography is hypnotizing. The color choices are rad as hell. But it’s the plot that sneaks up on you in earnest here. The definition of a soul is prominently questioned, as is the psychosexual dynamic between the characters.

Chapter Three:
Tracy

This episode plays upon the many dimensions of the female psyche. The power of sensuality, protective nature, and empathy, and exploration. The visual juxtaposition between scenes is glorious. Wait until you see the climactic choreography. It will blow your mind.

Blood Machines is something entirely unique. While it is meant to invoke a conversation about “man” meeting machine and all the complexities that come with that ever-expanding A.I. issue, out of context it’s a very feminist film. As a woman viewing this magical creation, it made me feel vindicated and more kickass than usual.  It will rock you and entertain to no end. Writer-director Seth Ickerman has given the audience an intelligent and thoughtful piece of sci-fi. Carpenter Brut’s score is intoxicating. I would play that on a loop if given the chance. Genre fans will beg for more. I’m asking, nay imploring, that this story get expanded (AGAIN) in any form. It’s brilliant.

About SETH ICKERMAN:
Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard are two French directors, working for 10 years under the pseudonym of Seth Ickerman. Known for their production design and art direction skillset, Raphaël and Savitri collaborated on various commercials for companies such as LG, Ubisoft, and Samsung. In 2016, they directed the hit music video Turbo Killer in 2016 for Carpenter Brut. 
About CARPENTER BRUT:
Carpenter Brut draws its influences from 80s TV shows and B-movies loaded with synthesizers. The mysterious and discreet man behind the pentagon – or the Brutagram as his fans would call it – evokes an encounter between Justice beats and the universe of John Carpenter. Listening to his home-made EPs, however, one would rather bet on a metalhead background, a crush for Dario Argento, and a force-fed religious education. This would explain his penchant for the occult, his passion for kitsch sounds, and his adoration for all kinds of enjoyment.
Carpenter Brut pays tribute to the post-hippie/pre-AIDS culture that then set the basis of electro and metal to give us a unique, violent, and crazy 80s revival sound.

 

Review: ‘Blood Quantum’ now available on AMC’s Shudder

The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are immune to the zombie plague. Traylor (Greyeyes), the tribal sheriff, must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees, and reserve riffraff from the hordes of walking white corpses. 

Mesmerizing opening cinematography, unsettling imagery, and a stunning bit of animation are all in the first few minutes of Blood Quantum. It’s a hell of a way to begin. All the bloody practical FX, the creative kills, the extraordinary make-up, combined with an awesome plot are just a few reasons why Blood Quantum is an outstanding zombie film. You’re getting 3 distinct acts with the shift in time and a shocking third act you may not see coming. In truth, it is a study of historic irony. While the native American population was decimated by European viruses, in this film they are immune. Even with that advantage, rage from the youngest generation is their ultimate downfall. Writer-director Jeff Barnaby has given us a truly poignant and thoroughly badass film.

The fact that we’re experiencing it now during a world-wide pandemic only makes it more relevant. The exploration of social, economic, and family dynamics are all the more impactful. All of that is a bonus because it’s truly a bloody disgusting zombie flick. Genre fans will live in this film. Extra special mention for the use of Fawn Wood‘s song “Mommy’s Little Guy” at the end. You can watch Blood Quantum now on Shudder.

From writer & director Jeff Barnaby (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Starring:

Michael Greyeyes (True Detective, Fear the Walking Dead)

Forrest Goodluck (THE REVENANT, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST)

Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN)

Olivia Scriven (Degrassi: Next Class & The Next Generation)

Revered MMA trainer Stonehorse Lone Goeman

Brandon Oakes (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

William Belleau (Frontier, SCALPED)

Devery Jacobs (American Gods, The Order, RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Gary Farmer (DEAD MAN, JIMMY P)

Review: ‘TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 2: HORROR AND SCI-FI’ available today on digital and VOD

TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 2: HORROR AND SCI-FI 

The greatest cult horror and science fiction films of all-time are studied in vivid detail in the second volume of Time Warp. Includes groundbreaking classics like “Night of the Living Dead,” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and sci-fi gems such as “Blade Runner,” and “A Clockwork Orange.” 

Volume 2 is significantly shorter in runtime than Volume 1, coming in at 83 minutes. That being said, the amount of backstory and insider info is aplenty. I am a huge horror and sci-fi buff and I found myself hearing a plethora of great new stories from the cast members of some of my favorite films. Cast, crew, and critics discuss the highs and lows of their original releases and how they influenced what was yet to come in cinema history. They get into the political subtext and how some of the most iconic dialogue and choreography were improvised. The first half tackles horror while the latter half talks about sci-fi classics. Tom Savini gives us some fantastic insight into the set, makeup, and stunts from Romero‘s Dawn Of The Dead. Bruce Campbell‘s perspective on what made Army Of Darkness a later hit is cool. Wait until you find out what has happened to the house in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre! Malcolm McDowell talking about A Clockwork Orange will damn near make your year. Despite the length and the mouthful of its title, Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films Of All-Time Volume 2: Horror and Sci-fi is just as fun as its predecessor. I cannot wait to dive into Volume 3: Comedy and Camp coming in June. Check out the trailer below. Volume 1 and 2 are now available on Digital and VOD. Genre fans of all ages and predilections will adore this series.

TITLE: TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 2 HORROR AND SCIFI
ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL: May 19, 2020
HOSTS: Joe Dante, John Waters, Ileana Douglas and Kevin Pollak
CAST: Jeff Goldblum, Sean Young, Joe Morton, Malcolm McDowell, Bruce Campbell, Roger Corman, John Sayles, Mary Woronov, Ed Neal and Rob Zombie
RUN TIME: 83 minutes

 

Review: ‘FAIRYTALE’ is nothing short of magic.

Synopsis: United States, the 50s. Amongst stuffed poodles, whiskey-infused teas, sinful mambo lessons, and threats of alien invasion, Mrs. Fairytale spends her days locked in her dream home and without a moment to breathe. A surreal world where anyone can finally be who they want to be, but behind which hides another upsetting reality.

Sebastiano Mauri‘s directorial debut, based on Filippo Timi‘s play, Fairytale is a deliciously eccentric cinematic experience. The glorious opening shots where Mrs. Fairytale’s face is hidden are simply genius. The over-the-top 1950’s sets, with their saturated color schemes and patterns, not to mention the glaringly flat and ever-changing window visuals, make for the highly stylized wonder that is Fairytale. And that is the literal first minute of this film. The sheer absurdity of every single aspect of this film is magic. The physical theatricality of the blocking, performances, and lighting is such a deliberate choice it must mirror Timi’s original staged version. I could not imagine this film being presented in any other way.

Mrs. Fairytale is what happens when you combine Miss Yvonne and Pee-Wee Herman and make them take the Playhouse scenario seriously. I genuinely mean this as a compliment. Fairytale has all the markings of a cult classic. The visual transitions between scenes are colorful dreams. The underlying message is what’s most important. Fairytale is about living your truth and loving who you want to love. It’s wrapped in a farce, making it all the more entertaining. The very final act takes a sharp left turn, but it more of a “why not?” moment. It is equally as enchanting and impactful.

Filippo Timi as our lead is perfection. If someone doesn’t give him an award I will be angry. I said it, angry. You cannot overlook the specificity of his individual beats. They are so funny because they are so genuine. Think Lucille Ball level of hilarity. If you aren’t belly laughing, someone needs to check your pulse. Supporting cast members are all spectacular. The costumes are a beautiful mix of garish and period-accurate. They add another element to the performances you’ll have to see to understand.  Trust me when I say they have weight to them.

You can watch Fairytale today on DVD and VOD. There is nothing like it. I see 100’s of films a year. I have no doubt Fairytale will land in my top ten list in 2020.

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 review: Angela Bettis clocks in for ’12 Hour Shift’

It’s 1998 and over the course of one 12 Hour Shift at an Arkansas Hospital, A Junkie Nurse (Angela Bettis), Her Scheming Cousin (Chloe Farnworth) and a group of black market Organ-Trading criminals (Mick Foley, David Arquette, Dusty Warren) start a heist that could lead to all of their demises.

Angela Bettis is horror royalty in my book. Watching her interpret Brea Grant’s script is heaven. During this uncertain, weird, and exhausting time in our history, watching an overworked nurse with vices for days adds an extra element of terrifying WTF. Bettis is a revelation. The weight of desperation and the constant barrage of emotional abuse is palpable. It is written on her face. There is so much backstory bubbling under the surface. I would watch an entire series developed from 12 Hour Shift. (Hint, Hint)

The opening scene is divine in establishing the attitude of Bettis’ character. It’s a symphonic white trash word vomit. The attention detail of Y2K paranoia and the late ’90’s in general land perfectly between over-the-top and completely legit. If you lived through it, you’ll laugh and nod. But it’s the delicious moral dilemma that Grant has given us that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. We’re definitely rooting for bad over worse and it is fun as hell. The climax is so batshit crazy it’s like watching a ping-pong tournament; super fast and just as fantastically absurd. Performances all around are stellar. Practical FX are gagworthy and wonderful. The final scene is actually the most frightening. Brea Grant, I’ll be looking forward to a sequel to 12 Hour Shift, ASAP.

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 review: Short films, ‘I Can Change’, ‘Beyond Noh’, ‘Grey Zone’, ‘Look At Me’.

Beyond Noh

Beyond Noh rhythmically animates 3,475 individual masks from all over the world.

The transitions are meticulously crafted. The specific choices of masked on a downbeat are no accident. Even though you are experiencing over 3 thousand masks in under 3 and a half minutes, each one make an impact much larger than you can immediately process. I actually spotted one we inherited years ago. The story behind it makes us fearful to toss it. It presently lives in a closet. Beyond Noh is a simply stunning short.

 

I Can Change

The night before his wedding, an underachiever (John Hoogenakker) receives the power to stop time, so he attempts to make major life changes his fiancé (Lucy Cudden) wants him to make, all before morning.

The transitions are meticulously crafted. The specific choices of masked on a downbeat are no accident. Even though you are experiencing over 3 thousand masks in under 3 and a half minutes, each one make an impact much larger than you can immediately process. I actually spotted one we inherited years ago. The story behind it makes us fearful to toss it. It presently lives in a closet. Beyond Noh is a simply stunning short.

Look At Me

On a winter night in New York City, a young, intoxicated boy’s (Connor Vasile) fate is determined by his brief encounters with strangers, and a deeper American truth is exposed.

This poignant short puts a mirror up to society, especially here in New York City. We want to believe we’d do right by own fellow city dwellers, but the longer you live here the thicker the protective armor becomes. The writing and editing lead you to out yourself in multiple character’s shoes. It’s incredibly well done from every single angle. This is one of the festival’s best this year.

 

Grey Zone

On an urban crosswalk, Neta (Rachel Yaron) finds herself following a man (Udi Pers) who touched her abruptly and without her consent.

In the era of #MeToo, this short is incredibly powerful. From the specific dialogue choices to women empowering other women, to the recapturing of your own narrative. All this in just 10 minutes. It’s a brave film.

 

Review: ‘A Good Woman Is Hard To Find’ puts power back in the most deserving hands.

Forced into an emotionally and physically abusive relationship under unusual circumstances, Sarah must navigate her family’s safety and survive financially. Essentially being held hostage by the ripple effect of a drug dealer’s irrational behavior, she strives to regain control of the situation all while attempting to solve the murder of her husband. The intrusive nature of the plot will stifle the viewer. You will not even realize how long you’ve been holding your breath.

Sarah Bolger, who terrified me in Emelie, now plays the complete opposite. She’s a woman on a mission for good. You will root for her. You will be nervous for her. You will cheer her on as she finds her voice. What she must do in self-defense is gruesome. Each beat is so genuinely played, you will not soon forget this performance.

There is a beautiful dichotomy in the fact that she is being terrorized and is financially empowered by her captor. But the abuse is not limited to him. She is verbally assaulted and disrespected where she goes. The assumptions made by everyone in her path are insulting and cruel. As a woman, this film is excruciating to watch. This is a complete complement to the authenticity of the judgment and misogyny (not just from men) that we deal with on a daily basis.

The practical FX are gruesome but completely necessary to feel connected with Bolger’s crisis. The augmented sound editing combined with slow-motion dynamics in a particular scene is visceral. A Good Woman Is Hard To Find proves to be an amazingly insightful commentary on power dynamics and a pretty satisfying story of revenge.

Review: ‘How To Build A Girl’ is a a coming-of-age film that rocks.

How To Build A Girl illustrates the rise and fall of cool in search of self-actualization. Authenticity is the name of the game. The social climb from nobody to somebody inevitably comes with a lot of bad decisions. Why be yourself when you can be someone completely different? Beanie Feldstein is a damn treat, as usual, in this film based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Set in the early ’90s during the blossoming of an awkward, literature obsessed 16-year-old, we are treated to a glow-up of her own making. In an attempt to be seen, feel relevant, and pay the bills for her financially struggling family, she takes her first real criticism and rackets up the mean. But fame and risky behavior come with a price. What is the real price for selling your soul?

Beanie Feldstein‘s physical commitment to this role is sheer perfection. The unabashed, emotionally driven weirdness we all possessed at 16 is right there on the screen. You will fall in love with the beautiful mess she portrays. It’s the romanticism she believes in that will capture and keep your heart. If you didn’t already realize it, Beanie Feldstein is a star, ladies and gentleman. Thankfully, for fans of the original novel, the screenplay is adapted by Moran and with direction from Cory Giedroyc, the film will not only serve to a YA audience but pretty much everyone. The cameos in the film are beyond impressive. The laughs are plenty but the true undertones of the film are universal. That first taste of freedom and feigned adulthood oftentimes backfire. Who can’t relate to those themes? Some of us (most of us) are still trying to figure that all out.

Available today ON DEMAND!

 

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 interview: Filmmaker Justin Fair on his highly stylised short, ‘Sloan Heart Neckface’

Synopsis: Sloan (Clara Mamet) has a not-so-low-key crush on Neckface, an anonymous graffiti artist. Neckface (Raúl Castillo) has less-than-resolved intimacy issues and a no relationship policy. Which he makes abundantly clear to his obsessive fan girl. That is, until Neckface realizes he and Sloan may be the same kind of crazy; and embarks on a mission to win her back. Which may or may not involve exploiting his roommate (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), stealing a much-coveted pair of sneakers, and incurring the wrath of a ferocious lunch lady.
Appearing in the New York Shorts Program at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival 2020, Sloan Hearts Neckface is something special. It’s an incredibly engaging 15 minutes. It was like watching a tennis match of NYC characters. As a New Yorker, it really felt like home. It’s visually vibrant and quite emotionally turbulent. I was lucky enough to speak with filmmaker Justin Fair on what makes Sloan Hearts Neckface as unique as it is. Check out our interview and the teaser trailer below.
Did the initial script look and feel like the now finished film?
Yes! I hope so anyway. I hope we captured what was great about the script. Some things we captured quite literally from what was written, a lot we cut, and a lot we elaborated on, but I hope the essence remained intact.
I adore that each character has a signature color. Whose decision was that?
It’s great to hear that translates! We had an extremely talented Art Director, Lydia White, who lives in a Shell House. She created these beautiful mood boards consisting of a lot of Blues and Reds and we decided to run with that. I wanted not only for the characters to have a certain color, but also to have those colors impose themselves on the other characters at certain times of the story.
Have you ever had someone who was, shall we say, “a little more than enthusiastic”, pursue you?
Haha. I can’t say that I’ve ever been pursued in the way Sloan pursues Neckface in the film. I’ve never had that pleasure.
Who does the art on the letters?
We had a whole team of artists work on the art. I thought it important that each character’s artwork came from a different artist. The Neckface character actually had several artists: Jeff Weinberg did the sketches on the Priority Mail stickers, Landon Webb designed all but one of the tags. The big practical tag that Neckface rips off the fence was done by John Gagliano. Jenny Herbert created all of Sloan’s artwork. Henry White did Lester’s portraits of Sloan, and Ruth Sylvestre did the other Lester drawings. Really proud of all their work, thank you for asking.
Are Neckface’s tags real? 
Absolutely not haha! There’s actually only one practical tag in the film and that was one made on our own materials. The rest of the tags that appear on subway beams, buildings, and monuments were created and then added afterward by a great VFX guy, Matt Brant. He did all the compositing, tracking and rotoscoping.
I love that this is essentially a string of monologues. Did Ian Grody sit in on casting? 
It is a string of monologues! Initially, it was just two monologues that Ian wrote for a magazine, if I’m not mistaken. Later he expanded it to several more monologues for an evening of staged readings at NYU- which is where we met. He eventually adapted it into the short film script. Ninety percent of the actors in the film are friends of Ian and mine. We never held auditions.
Do you have a favorite short film?
No, I can’t say I do. I don’t get to see enough of them. There are a lot of places online to see them now, but I prefer to see them in a theater. The earliest short films I remember seeing are Charlie Chaplin’s. I still have a big love for them.
What directors inspire you?
So many greats. I love both the classics and contemporary stuff. For inspiration, I look to Scorsese, Cassavetes, Kubrick, Ozu, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, Denis Villeneuve, Wes Anderson
What is the most rewarding part of directing for you, and also what is the most challenging? 
The most rewarding part of directing is for me is being surprised by my collaborators. If your collaborators feel like they can take risks and be heard and their contributions will be honored (as opposed to having their job/performance dictated to them), then they will give to the film in beautiful and surprising ways. In other words, if I’ve created the space for everyone involved to feel like they own a piece of the film, then we all got to do what we came to do and that love will show up on the screen. That’s when I feel most successful as a director. The most challenging part of directing is the discipline of rolling with the punches because things will always go wrong. When they do, the challenge is to embrace it as a chance for creative problem-solving. I try and trust that it’s just the film finding its own way. It pretty much always leads to something better than what was planned.

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 interview: Best Narrative Short Winner- writer/director Abraham Adeyemi and his film ‘No More Wings’

At a divergent point in their lives, two lifelong friends (Ivanno Jeremiah, Parys Jordon) meet at their favorite South London fried chicken shop.

 

The directorial debut from Abraham Adeyemi, ‘No More Wings in the Don’t Look Back program was the winner of the Best Narrative Short Competition at Tribeca 2020. Once you experience the film for yourself, you’ll immediately understand why. With captivating storytelling, in a mere 10 minutes, you will experience two lifetimes of memories, regrets, and choices. There is a heavy cyclical feeling you cannot shake as you watch. The authenticity of the writing, directing, and performances will stick with you long after the credits. I was lucky enough to interview Abraham during the festival and get to peek behind the curtain of the process and the mindset. I cannot wait to see what is coming to audiences next.

 

 

Abraham, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me about this extraordinary short. This feels like a major labor of love for you. Can you describe the specific inspiration for a story that will undoubtedly resonate with so many?

Hi Liz, thank you for having me and for the kind words about the film! Sure thing. Well, whilst this film isn’t biographical… My upbringing wasn’t too dissimilar to the two characters. I was raised in South London, went to a Grammar School… What really inspired me was spending some time thinking about two friends I grew up with whose lives have turned out quite differently, and imagining what it might be like if they were to meet at this point in their lives. And, above all in some ways, trying to understand why their lives have turned out differently when things were so similar for them.

 

What did you learn from your mentorship with Sam Mendes? 

There was something that Sam said to me on set of 1917 which I actually wrote down… He said that I needed to make sure there was somewhere on set that I could be to concentrate and watch takes alone, without anyone’s opinion and that I always needed to be sure for myself that “this is what I wanted”. As I learned whilst on set, there are times where – for a host of different reasons – people might think they hit a scene but if it’s not how you imagined it, even the smallest detail, then it means it needs to be done again until it is. And whilst I didn’t have the gigantic set-up that Sam had – it was like a blacked-out marquee with TV screens and all sorts of tech that probably cost more than our film – in our own low budget way, we were able to ensure that I could concentrate and watch takes back without anyone else’s opinions but my own.

 

Being both writer and director, did you find yourself changing the script as you shot?

There were no major changes whilst we were shooting, no. I did quite a lot of work on the script beforehand. I initially wrote the script with just my writer hat on. Then, eventually, I had to switch to the director hat. On the morning of the first shoot day, I made a final few tweaks – things that probably came off the back of the rehearsal we did the day before – but I went in pretty happy with what we had on paper and I was more concerned about getting great performances and how things looked visually. On occasion, actors may have asked me if they could tweak a line, or just done it off their own volition and I’m usually fine with that as I trusted the actors I was working with and their understanding of the characters they were playing.

 

Thank you for adding subtitles. It was helpful to put regional slang in context. It was reminiscent of how our vernacular changes when we are most comfortable. 

Ah, thank you! I’m really glad the subtitles helped. That was actually a suggestion made by Sharon Badal at Tribeca and I’m really glad I took the advice if it means ultimately that it made it more accessible for a wider, global audience.

 

How long did you shoot for?

We shot the film over two summer nights, which also meant shorter nights! Once that sunlight even began to creep up… It was game over. The first night we shot felt straightforward but the second night… The pressure was really on. But it could have been worse, up until about ten days before the shoot I was still clinging tightly to an ambition of shooting the film as one continuous shot and my first thoughts – maybe an hour into the shoot – was that I was so glad that I was convinced to scrap that idea. 

 

Having three distinct roles, writer, director, producer, which was most enjoyable, which the most frustrating, which did you learn more from?

Ooh I love this question! I enjoyed all of them but the one which I am without a doubt most in my element with is the writing. I always say in life that I am most at peace when I have my head buried in writing and, actually, in these strange times it’s been the saving grace for my sanity. I’d have to give the frustrating award to producing because there are just so many things that go wrong but I can’t complain because, for all the hard work I did, my producer Abiola Rufai did 100x more in producing! So my frustrations must be so minimal compared to all she has to deal with… Without a doubt, I learned the most from directing. As a producer, I’m always learning but you have to remember, this was my first time directing and prior to this, I hadn’t been to film school nor taken a conscious interest in directing. From the moment I won the competition that gave me funding for this film (where one of the rules was that whoever wins must also direct the script), I had approximately ten weeks to learn how to direct. That was reading books, studying the art of filmmaking,  the great advice that my more experienced peers were able to give me and so much more. Directing was definitely a steep learning curve but I’m so excited to get behind the camera again (something I never thought I’d say!).

 

Can you give us any clues about your upcoming feature-length script? 

Which one?! There’s a concept for a No More Wings feature. 

But, as for the one I reckon you’re asking about… I’m holding it tightly to my chest but what I will say is that Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise is one of my favorite films. The entire trilogy, in fact, I love those. 

 

Abraham, congratulations on Tribeca. I cannot wait to share your film with our readers.

It’s been a pleasure talking with you, thank you for taking the time to watch the film and talk to me.

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 Shorts Program review: ‘Update Required’

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 Shorts Program- UPDATE REQUIRED

Out of this world Sci-Fi shorts.

Playing in this program:

Toto

Rosa Forlano, a 90-year-old Nonna, falls in love with a Robot while teaching it how to make spaghetti. Unfortunately, her recipe is forgotten after a software update.

A charming look at companionship through the eyes of a 90-year-old woman and her robot. Marco Baldonado, writes, directs, produces, and voices our titular character. It’s a lovely look at generational relationships in more ways then you’d expect.

Abducted

A tongue-in-cheek Southern thriller about a rookie cop’s (Jenna Kanell) first date gone horribly wrong.

This film immediately sent me into panic mode as a woman. Never leave your drink unattended. Don’t worry, the universe works in mysterious ways.

Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die

Jack (Justin Kirk) works at a suspension facility where people choose to halt their lives. On the night of his suspension, Jack’s life takes a turn when he meets Jo.

Justin Kirk plays a heartbroken man who is confronted with his own mortality. This film beautifully explores the small moments that make living so wonderful.

A Better You

Living in a dystopian, neo-steampunk world, a shy young man named Douglas (Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh) invests in a customizable carbon clone to help him win the girl of his dreams.

This shirt is a gorgeously stylized look at being confident in your own skin. It’s one of the most endearing performances of the festival this far.

Carmentis

An injured and grief-stricken miner (Ben Mortley) on the desolate planet Carmentis must overcome his personal demons in order to survive, but can he get there before the planet freezes?

Human instinct Vs the AI created to protect it. This short is completely unpredictable. It’s a beautiful commentary on the fragile human spirit.

The Light Side

An aging Sith Lord (Joseph Ragno) must come to grips with his past and discover why humility may be the greatest force in the galaxy.

Utilizing a booming voice over from Tim Plewman combined with lead actor Joseph Ragno’s physical performance, this film shines with true humor. It is pure fandom fun with a side order of redemption.

System Error

George works at a convenience store, desperately hoping for a friend. But George is a robotic service unit, and robotic service units do not have friends. Not yet, anyway.

This short challenges how emotion and information alter a being’s perception of others. It will leave the imagination running wild. I can safely say I would watch an entire series or full-length feature based on the storytelling laid out in this 13-minute cut. It sounds like I’ll be getting my wish, as the filmmakers have a development deal at Screen Australia for a dystopian rom-com TV show based on the characters in System Error. I could not be more excited. There is so much more to explore and laugh at here.

Free Film Festivals For Everyone! SXSW on amazon & Global Film Festival coming soon

Even non-prime members can watch the SXSW films available on amazon. You just need an amazon account, no credit card needed! You’ve got through May 6th to watch. Each film has an introduction by the director, so you really get a festival feel. It’s a great way to see a perspective without leaving the house! https://www.amazon.com/adlp/sxsw

Although it doesn’t include festivals from South America or Africa, this “global” film festival is bringing programming from 20 festivals right to you also for free! I’m looking forward to seeing what programming they will have for us! May 29th to June 7th

https://www.youtube.com/weareone

  • Annecy International Animation Film Festival – Annecy, France
  • Berlin International Film Festival – Berlin, Germany
  • BFI London Film Festival – London, UK
  • Cannes Film Festival – Paris, France
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival – Mexico
  • International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM) – Macao (China)
  • Jerusalem Film Festival – Jerusalem
  • Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) – Mumbai
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival – Czechia
  • Locarno Film Festival – Switzerland
  • Marrakech International Film Festival – Marrakech, Morocco
  • New York Film Festival – New York, NY
  • San Sebastian International Film Festival – Spain
  • Sarajevo Film Festival – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Sundance Film Festival – Park City, UT
  • Sydney Film Festival – Sydney, Australia
  • Tokyo International Film Festival – Toyko, Japan
  • Toronto International Film Festival – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Tribeca Film Festival – New York, NY
  • Venice Film Festival

Review: ‘TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 1 MIDNIGHT MADNESS’ available now!

SYNOPSIS: From “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to “The Big Lebowski” and everything in between, this fascinating deep-dive documentary begins its celebration of the greatest cult movies of all-time discussing the birth of the midnight movie.
I was 13 the first time I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My life was forever changed in every way. I was a Catholic school kid who knew that a lot of what I was being taught felt wrong. I had danced since the age of two and had seen how music and showmanship affected an audience. This film was singlehandedly responsible for my college choices and the path I’ve taken ever since. There is something about a cult film that makes you feel at home. You’re in a room filled with people who get “it”, free-spirited, open-minded individuals with a sense of humor. What’s better than that? TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 1 MIDNIGHT MADNESS is now available for everyone to experience themselves. With sitdown interviews with some of the greatest stars and directors of the most famous midnight madness films like Pink Flamingo, Reefer Madness, Freaks, The Warriors, just to name a few. This doc is a genre, cult, cinephile’s dream. It discusses the cultural shifts that occurred because of these films. How they influenced not only the audience but films that came after. There will be two more volumes; VOLUME 2 HORROR AND SCI-FI & VOLUME 3 COMEDY AND CAMP. I cannot wait to see who and what come up in the last two docs. They are undeniably fun and incredibly informative. What until you find out who was originally supposed to star in Point Break! You’ll feel like you’re in good company watching these films and maybe even add some films to your watch list (at least you should). So, set a virtual watch party with friends and catch Volume 1 now! Check out the trailer below!
TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 1 MIDNIGHT MADNESS – April 21
RUN TIME: 105 minutes
CAST: Jeff Bridges, Pam Grier, Rob Reiner, Barry Bostwick, Michael McKean, John Turturro, Gary Busey, Jeff Goldblum, Fran Drescher, Penelope Spheeris and Peter Bogdanovich

COMING SOON:

TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 2 HORROR AND SCI-FI – May 19
TIME WARP: THE GREATEST CULT FILMS OF ALL-TIME VOLUME 3 COMEDY AND CAMP – June 23

Review: Murder and mayhem prevail in ‘Why Don’t You Just Die’, now available on Digital HD and Blu-ray.

Synopsis:   Matvey has just one objective: to gain entry to his girlfriend’s parents’ apartment and kill her father Andrey with a hammer to restore her honor. But all is not as it initially seems, and Matvey’s attempts to bludgeon the family patriarch to death don’t quite go to plan as Andrey proves a more formidable – not to mention ruthless – opponent than he anticipated… and Matvey, for his part, proves stubbornly unwilling to die.

Hypersaturated colors and super creative camera work makes this film incredibly stunning in its own right. Add in some awesome sound editing and superb fight choreography, Why Don’t You Just Die! is a hell of a good time. Did I neglect to say it’s also hilarious? Yeah, it’s hilarious. What essentially starts as a battle royale between a father and his daughter’s boyfriend becomes one of the coolest films of the year so far. It has a very Pulp Fiction vibe in its nonlinear storytelling. It’s truly brilliant. You will not be able to predict what’s coming next. The amount of fake blood they must have purchased for this film, I cannot even imagine. Performances are wonderful all around. Writer, director, editor Kirill Sokolov kills (no pun intended) every aspect of this film. Each facet of this film is slightly augmented bringing it to another level of greatness. I cannot wait for people to see this. It is a beautifully twisted version of justice. Take a look at the trailer for a taste of the blood-soaked dark comedy that is Why Don’t You Just Die!

Arrow Video is releasing the film on Digital HD on April 20th and April 21st on Blu-ray.

Why Don’t You Just Die!: Russian w/ English subs / 95 min

Why Don’t You Just Die! has received critical acclaim from festivals around the globe, taking home the New Flesh Award for Best First Feature and Silver Audience Award at Fantasia, Best European Feature Film at MOTELx, Best Director at Fantaspoa, Best Feature, Best Director and Best VFX Awards at Grimmfest.

 

Review: ‘The Quarry’, SXSW 2020 selection is available today!

SYNOPSIS: From the novel by Damon Galgut comes this searing thriller, a tale of sin and redemption set in the wilds of Texas. After murdering a traveling preacher, a fugitive drifter (Shea Whigham, Joker) travels to a small town and poses as the man he killed. Though the congregation loves the drifter’s sermons of forgiveness, the local police chief (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water) is suspicious of the man. Soon a gruesome discovery at a local quarry forces the killer to fight for his freedom.

 

A fugitive, a local sheriff, and the resident town criminal all cross paths for a simmering thriller based on mistaken identity. You will recognize that the script is based on a novel in its slow-burn feel of storytelling. In reality, you’re getting a lot of information constantly, but the quiet, abandoned, small-town feel immediately affects the tone of the film. I found myself unable to decide who I should be rooting for even though it is morally very clear cut. That is 100 percent due to the nuanced performance from this relatively small cast. While the novel takes place during South African apartheid, the universal theme of racism is very much prevalent in this film. It will launch the plot towards its inevitable tragedy.

We have a mini Boardwalk Empire reunion with Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon. Pitted against one another, their chemistry is magic. You will find yourself pulled into their dynamic. These fully fleshed out and flawed people are a perfect character study, especially with Whigham and Shannon in the roles. Both gentlemen are given the opportunity to play off of Catalina Sandino Moreno. It’s a masterclass in subtly from every angle. This film is about the script and people. The sparsity of sets and costumes adds to your focus. The ending is something you will never see coming. Overall, The Quarry is a solid thriller that brilliantly highlights superior acting and great direction.

Lionsgate and Grindstone, a Lionsgate Company will release the thriller film THE QUARRY on demand on April 17, 2020.

THE QUARRY stars Shea Whigham (Joker, “Boardwalk Empire”), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Showtime’s “The Affair,” Maria Full of Grace), Bobby Soto (“Narcos: Mexico,” A Better Life) and Bruno Bichir (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Che: Part One). The film was directed by Scott Teems (That Evening Sun) who co-wrote the film with Andrew Brotzman (Nor’easter). The film is based on Damon Galgut’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

Review: ‘Butt Boy’, the next midnight cult classic.

Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.

8 minutes into Butt Boy and it was successfully one of the weirdest things I’ve ever watched. 5 minutes more and I was completely horrified but couldn’t look away, much like a brutal car accident on the side of the road. This is a compliment. The plot sounds insane; an unsatisfied man starts putting things up his butt to feel again, becomes obsessed with the sensation, leading him down a dark path. Oh, then enter a grief-stricken detective on a mission and you’ve got Butt Boy. I’m tagging it “supervillain origin story meets addiction fable.” I wish I had been in the room for this screenplay’s creation. A version with commentary will be demanded in the future.

Performances are genre perfect. Over-the-top clichés perhaps at quick glance but with genuinely great acting beats throughout. Combine that with a spectacular set on the tail end (no pun intended) and cool sound and color choices, it’s this year’s most unexpected find. Butt Boy is the kind of cult film that you get exposed to either by a genre cinephile or some random dude late one night who says, “Bro! 2020 is/was fucking crazy! But have you seen Butt Boy?!” Then he makes you watch it and you have no idea what you just watched but now you’re that guy who makes other people watch it because why not share the gag-inducing images, WTF storyline, and 100 percent triumphant ending. To be honest, it was the buzz, first, and then the trailer that got me to watch. Now I feel the need to share. You’re welcome, in advance.

You can experience Butt Boy for yourself right now On-Demand. And you know I’ve left you the trailer below as a snack.

BUTT BOY is directed and co-written by Tyler Cornack (who steps outside from behind the camera to star in the flick as well) and produced by Bill Morean and Ryan Koch, who also co-wrote. Together the three founded the popular Tiny Cinema online channel, which Rice collaborates on and where the concept for the absurdist mystery feature was first conceived.

Review: ‘Endings, Beginnings’ is the emotional roller coaster we didn’t know we needed.

In present-day Los Angeles, Daphne (Woodley), a thirty-something woman, navigates love and heartbreak over the course of one year. Daphne becomes intertwined with friends Jack (Dornan) and Frank (Stan) after meeting them at a party. During that time, she will unlock the secrets to her life in a sudden turn of events and in the most surprising of places. 

There’s something emotionally tangible about the editing and performances in Endings, Beginnings. Woodley is easily the representation of every viewer after an adult relationship comes to an end. There is a grounded, vulnerability that feels familiar. But out of context that could sound boring. What you’re getting with this script’s progression is all the aspects of the human experience; passion, volatility, depression, exhaustion, excitement, lust, self-loathing, hope, and everything in between.

Shailene Woodley has earned this script. It’s an awesome platform for her abilities. The dynamic between Woodley and Dornan vs Woodley and Stan is like night and day. This is a joy to watch because as the plot rolls along you begin to realize this isn’t truly a film about the two relationships. They are the springboard. Sebastian Stan and Jaime Dornan are brilliant, beautiful foils for one another in every single way. Both equal parts passionate and sexy but for very different reasons. While this lets Woodley showcase her ability to play both a light and dark side of her personality, it’s merely the beginning of this story. At the heart of it, the film is about self-actualization. It’s about forgiveness and growth through your mistakes and the mistakes of others. The script is complex and rewarding. I highly recommend Endings, Beginnings for everything that it represents, which is a lot. At the end of the film, you’ll easily take a huge breath in and exhale any expectations you had at the start of the movie. Drake Doremus has given us a perfect watch right now.

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the romantic drama,ENDINGS, BEGINNINGSin On Digital April 17, and On-Demand May 1, 2020.

ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS is directed by Drake Doremus (Equals, Like Crazy) who co-wrote the script with Jardine Libaire, who makes her feature screenwriting debut.  The film stars Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent franchise), Jamie Dornan (50 Shades franchise, A Private War), Sebastian Stan (Captain America franchise, “Gossip Girl”), Matthew Gray Gubler(500 Days of Summer, “Criminal Minds”), Lindsay Sloane (Bring It On, She’s Out of My League) and Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer,” Singles). 

 

Review: ‘The Other Lamb’ will haunt and hypnotize.

THE OTHER LAMB
A girl born into an all-female cult led by a man in their compound begins to question his teachings and her own reality.

The Other Lamb relies, almost entirely, on the abilities of Raffey Cassidy and Michiel Huisman. These two could have a film of their own. You will find yourself yearning for more once the credits roll. So many questions remain, and I do mean that as a compliment. The intensity brought by both these actors adds to the eerie nature of the plot. There is a visceral pull that makes you keep watching even as you are horrified by the subject matter. A film about abusive misogyny and subversive female empowerment in the strangest of circumstance equals brilliant storytelling in my book.

The vivid cinematography makes for a stunning viewing experience on its own. Add in the chilling screenplay, engrossing editing, and breathtaking performances from the almost entirely female cast and you have a gorgeous portrait of brainwashing and inevitable betrayal. The Other Lamb has an otherworldly feel. It will make your skin crawl as it grips your body entirely with its storytelling.

Below you will find a clip that very beautifully illustrates the mood of The Other Lamb.

The film comes to your screen today April 10th. Check out the trailer below.

THE OTHER LAMB– A FILM BY MALGORZATA SZUMOWSKA
Written by Catherine S. McMullen
Starring Raffey Cassidy (Vox Lux, The Killing of a Sacred Deer),
Michiel Huisman (The Invitation, Game of Thrones), Denise Gough (Colette)
About Director MALGORZATA SZUMOWSKA

Born in Kraków, Małgorzata Szumowska is one of the most prominent Polish directors of today. Szumowska has been honored with several international awards, including the Teddy Award for IN THE NAME OF at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival and the Silver Leopard Award for 33 SCENES FROM LIFE at the 2008 Locarno Film festival. Her film, ELLES (2011), featuring Juliette Binoche and Anaïs Demoustier, was sold to over 40 countries. BODY (2015) won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 65th Berlinale and her film, MUG (2018), was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Berlinale. Szumowska’s latest film, THE OTHER LAMB, a 2017 Black List script starring Denise Gough, Raffey Cassidy, and Michiel Huisman debuted at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and will open in April courtesy of IFC Films.

Review: Playing upon the superstitious nature of sailors, ‘SEA FEVER’ pits science against unfounded fear and pride. 

SYNOPSIS: Siobhán’s a marine biology student who prefers spending her days alone in a lab. She has to endure a week on a ragged fishing trawler, where she’s miserably at odds with the close-knit crew. But out in the deep Atlantic, an unfathomable life form ensnares the boat. When members of the crew succumb to a strange infection, Siobhán must overcome her alienation and anxiety to win the crew’s trust, before everyone is lost.

The open ocean intimidates the hell out of me since my biggest fear is drowning. Am I afraid of walking under ladders and breaking mirrors? Guilty. Have I grown up to believe in fairy tales and old wives’ tales? Absolutely. Does my very own sister work in the maritime industry? You’re catching on here. Sea Fever exists to torment me.

Hermione Corfield plays Siobhán, a Ph.D. student placed on a fishing boat for her studies. What she lacks in interpersonal skills, she makes up for in brains and intuition. Battling the folklore of the sailors on board, she is faced with a creature of unknown origins that has an agenda of its own. The cast has instant chemistry and the setting of a confined and creaking ship makes for a skin-crawling experience on its own. Adding a “sea monster” element and all that comes with it makes for both a tragic and truly terrifying viewing experience. You will live in the claustrophobia of the scenario. The sound editing and cinematography combined with a cast doing complete justice to writer/director Neasa Hardiman‘s script is the perfect storm for scary.

Gunpowder & Sky, via their sci-fi label DUST, will release SEA FEVER  on Digital April 10, 2020. 

SEA FEVER stars Hermione Corfield (Star Wars: The Last JediMission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman 1984, Gladiator), and Dougray Scott (Batwoman, Mission Impossible 2), and is the feature debut from BAFTA-winning director/writer Neasa Hardiman (Happy Valley, Jessica Jones).

Review: ‘We Summon The Darkness’ makes satanic panic rock.

On the way to a heavy metal concert, Alexis (Alexandra Daddario) and two girlfriends hear a news report of a local murder believed to be tied to a series of satanic killings. After the show, the girls invite three guys to join them at the estate owned by Alexis’s father, a fire-and-brimstone preacher (Johnny Knoxville). What starts as a party suddenly turns dark and deadly in this devilishly entertaining thriller.

The amazing connection between heavy metal music and satanic worship in the ’80s is exploited to it’s fullest and most awesome extent in We Summon The Darkness. This film flips the script on the typical slasher film. Not only does it challenge religious extremism, but it puts the power in the hands of our three female leads. While we’re used to a final girl, this script does what few did back in the day. Some of my favorite genres films A Girl Walks Home Alone A Night and High Tension, take female characters that would otherwise seem the victim and make them the antagonist. We Summon The Darkness splits the difference.

The chemistry between Alexandra Daddario and Maddie Hasson is off the charts cool. You’ll find yourself rooting for something you never thought you would because it’s entertaining as hell, no pun intended. The kills are fun, which always sounds weird no matter how much horror I consume. We also get everything 80’s you ever wanted, iconic tunes, over-the-top decor, bitchin’ cars, big hair, and cocaine. It’s no surprise that with a team of Marc Meyers and Alan Trezza, We Summon The Darkness has, at the very least, sequel potential.

Saban Films will release the horror/thriller WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS on VOD and Digital HD on April 10, 2020.

WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS stars Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch, San Andreas), Johnny Knoxville (Bad Grandpa, Jackass), Keean Johnson (Midway), Maddie Hasson (“Impulse”), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Amy Forsyth (Hell Fest) and Austin Swift (Live by Night).  The film is directed by Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) from a script by Alan Trezza (Burying the Ex).