Review: ‘The Night Clerk’ keeps you guessing until the very final moment.

SYNOPSISWhile on duty, a young, socially challenged hotel clerk (Tye Sheridan) witnesses a murder in one of the rooms but his suspicious actions land him as the lead detective’s (John Leguizamo) number one suspect.

Tye Sheridan is immensely talented, this is a solidly indisputable fact. In The Night Clerk, he takes on the role of Bart, a young man with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. In order to be socially accepted, he studies the behavior of other people; the inflection of their voice and their body language. His honesty in one on one conversations with others is nothing short of jarring. His attention to detail is astounding, his split-second observations revealing. Truth be told, he is spying on the guests of the hotel where he works.

John Leguizamo plays detective Espada. He nails this role. He’s a hardass but very sly in the way he handles his job. He’s really great in this role. Helen Hunt plays his mother. Her Mama Bear persona is viscerally familiar to me, personally. She is gentle with Bart and commanding with Detective Espada. The yearning to protect, teach, and soothe is palpable. The moments of acquiescence really hit home. It’s all done with love.

Ana De Armas plays a mysterious hotel guest Andrea. Her kindness and grace pair well with Sheridan. Their chemistry is genuine. The scenes between the two actors are the perfect balance of sensual and heartwarming. But there’s a duality to this role that keeps you on your toes.

Tye Sheridan‘s specificity hits close to home as a mother of a child on the spectrum. The eye-contact avoidance, repetitive verbiage, comfort in routine, the incredibly high intelligence are all things I have experienced first hand. The care with which he handles this role is refreshing. Major applause from a community who tends to see over-the-top characterizations of loved ones.

The script challenges your concept of right and wrong. It grabs you from the first scene and never lets up in its intrigue. It is a love story and mystery all in one. The performances are simply stellar. The Night Clerk is a smart film. Writer-director Michael Cristofer weaves a tale that is nuanced and thrilling. Everyone involved should be extremely proud.

Saban Films will release the thriller film THE NIGHT CLERK in select theaters, on demand and digital on February 21, 2020.

Review: ‘Keep The Change’ is a laugh out loud funny and charming as hell.

Set in New York, the story centers on the struggles of David as he comes to terms with his own high-functioning autism, when he unexpectedly falls for a quirky and outgoing woman whose lust for life both irks and fascinates him. Keep the Change is based on an award-winning short film developed by Rachel Israel and Brandon Polansky that was inspired by Polansky’s experiences at Adaptations, a community for adults on the autism spectrum.

Keep The Change premiered last year at The Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and won awards for best U.S. narrative feature and best new narrative director along with a special mention for the Nora Ephron Prize.

This film is a sidesplitting winner. Outside of the documentary genre, we’re not often let into the world of adults on the autism spectrum. Keep The Change follows the beginnings of a relationship between two very different individuals who are ultimately seeking to be accepted and cherished for who they are. The issues of self-love, sexuality, class, are addressed in endearing and tongue-in-cheek ways. Newcomers and leads Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon have an insane chemistry. The two appear to be polar opposites making their banter all the more entertaining. Any time you pit a glum and cynical individual against an outgoing and seemingly innocent one, interesting things are bound to happen. The dialogue is biting, witty, and oftentimes offensive, keeping the viewer on their toes and thoroughly amused. Writer/director Rachel Israel has given us a true gem. This unique romcom will undoubtedly charm the pants off of you and teach you some much-needed tolerance.

Kino Lorber will open the film in New York on March 16th at the Quad Cinema, in Los Angeles on April 20th at Laemmle Town Center and Laemmle Royal Theatre followed by a national rollout.

Keep The Change stars newcomers Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon. Written and directed by Rachel Israelthe film also stars veteran actress Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”), Tibor Feldman and non-professional actors with Autism, Nicky Gottlieb and Will Deaver. 

Tribeca Film Festival review: ‘Autism in Love’ puts faces to preconceived notions.

Autism In Love

Lindsey and Dave

Love is something we cannot explain. It is like magic. Isn’t is difficult enough to find love for two average people? What if you were not considered to be average? It can be torturous to express how we feel. What if you add autism into the mix? Autism is on a wide spectrum. Autistic adulthood is not a common topic of conversation. Director Matt Fuller brings us into the world of 4 extraordinary people; Lenny, Stephen, Lindsey and Dave in the new documentary Autism in Love. 

Autism in Love- Lenny

Lenny

Lenny is an unemployed young man, living with his immensely supportive mother. He has a fondness for video games and longing for a girlfriend. He is extremely aware of his autism and believes that it impedes him from finding love. Highly emotional, Lenny’s struggles have a visceral affect on even Fuller. In a moment of breaking the wall, even with the director out of sight, Lenny is visibly upset and tells Fuller not to cry. He says, “I would rather be a normal man than an autistic person with a million dollars.”

Geeta and Stephen

Geeta and Stephen

Stephen is a middle aged savant who knows every answer on Jeopardy before we’ve even finished reading the clue, makes hot dogs for his parents every Sunday, and has a distinct cadence reminiscent of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Married to a lovely woman named Geeta, he has a routine that he lives by that has only recently been disrupted by the fact that after 17 years with Geeta, she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While Stephen’s autism is much more obvious, you can see the adoration in his eyes even if he is unable to express it verbally.

Dave and Lindsey

Dave and Lindsey

Lindsey and Dave have been dating for years. Labeled “High-functioning”, the two are an endearing match. Both are ready to take the next step, with Lindsey being the more verbal on the subject and Dave taking a seemingly more intellectual route. You instantly fall in love with this couple and cheer them on from the get go. The juxtaposition of these four individuals is a beautifully crafted story. The added struggle of being on the spectrum is something not many of us consider when searching for a mate. I think that Autism in Love is an important doc that let’s us gaze into a world often fraught with misconception, without gawking.

 

Here is a clip from Autism in Love