Review: ‘Wildling’ is dark, coming of age tale.

WILDLING

 **WORLD PREMIERE – 2018 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL**

The feature debut from Fritz Böhm, WILDLING is a spellbinding take on the werewolf legend starring Independent Spirit Award Nominee Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), SAG Award® Winner Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings, Armageddon) and Academy Award® Nominee Brad Dourif (One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest, Child’s Play).

 WILDLING is a unique dark fantasy tale centered on young Anna (Powley) who has been raised in isolation by a man she knows only as Daddy (Dourif) who has done everything possible to conceal the truth about the girl’s origins from her. But when the teenage Anna is suddenly thrust into the real world under the protection of no-nonsense police officer Ellen Cooper (Tyler), it soon becomes clear that the young woman is far from ordinary. Unable to adjust to a normal life, Anna finds herself drawn instead to the wild freedom of the forest while struggling to resist the growing bloodlust that has awakened inside her. This moodily atmospheric thriller combines supernatural scares with a myth-like tale of self-discovery.

There are many elements of Wildling that excited me. The cast is beyond excellent. Bel Powley is undeniably a star. As she never seems to age, she can continue to portray exceedingly young characters. Her onscreen presence is captivating. And while she actually speaks relatively few lines in the film, she owns each scene she appears in. Liv Tyler is as elegant as ever. Never doubt her ability to completely inhabit any role. Brad Dourif is scary as hell. He makes your skin crawl in the best way possible. The lighting is truly something to behold. Extra attention to the sound mixing plays perfectly on the audience’s sense of dread or wonder, depending on the moment to moment needs of the plot.

After all of the positives, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rushed feel of the story. Much of the plot seems to be missing as if there is an entire section of canon that was left out for runtime. I have so many questions pertaining to missing elements (I won’t be too specific because of spoilers) and I was a genuinely baffled by their absence. Some serious plot holes. The emotional transition of all the major players was swifter than feel natural under the circumstances. Finally, if I hadn’t seen Netflix’s original series Big Mouth, perhaps I wouldn’t be so bothered by the final creature FX.

Wilding has a graphic novel turned feature film feeling to it. It’s most definitely entertaining and worth the watch. You can watch the trailer below.

IFC Midnight will release the upcoming thriller WILDLING in theaters in NYC and LA as well as on VOD and Digital HD on April 13.

Tribeca Film Festival Review/Interview: ‘DETOUR’ is a modern noir with two sides of one story.

Tribeca Film Festival logo 2016

detour, tye, emory, bel

Sometimes in life, a single instance, a momentary decision, is something we wish we could change. Thinking that if only you had said something else, gone the other way, chosen another path, your life might be completely different. These “what ifs” might haunt us but unless you’re a Time Lord there isn’t much you can do about them. That doesn’t stop us from wondering what life would be like. In a Tribeca Film Festival world premiere, DETOUR takes us on a ride that begs that very notion.

Harper, a seemingly naive law student, obsesses over the idea that his shifty stepfather is somehow involved in the devastating car crash that leaves his mother lying comatose in the hospital. He drowns his suspicions in whiskey and, with little forethought, finds himself suddenly entwined in conversation with a volatile grifter, Johnny, and his stripper companion, Cherry. As daylight breaks and the haziness of promises made becomes clearer, how will Harper handle the repercussions—and the violent duo—on his doorstep?

From director Christopher Smith (Creep, Black Death, Triangle), Detour is a stylized noir throwback with a trio of lead performances by of-the-moment actors: Tye Sheridan (Mud, The Tree of Life), Emory Cohen (Brooklyn) and Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl). Utilizing a unique split-narrative structure to tell his tale of deception and murder, Smith takes his audience on a twisty, thrilling ride, where it’s never quite clear what or whom can be trusted.

Detour-bel

The cast, comprised of Hollywood’s young up and comers Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, and Bel Powley, make this noir throwback as successful as it is. With suspicion and grief fueled motives and a $20,000 agreement, murder and mayhem are the goal. Powley, coming off her extraordinary breakout performance in Diary Of A Teenage Girl, is a stunning presence on screen. Caught somewhere between girl next door and Middle American white-trash, her quiet strength and sympathetic nature make the character of Cherry more intriguing than one might think. Emory Cohen, who was completely unrecognizable from his appearance in Brooklyn, takes on the role of Johnny with vigor. With a badass exterior, and hair trigger temper, Cohen’s  best moments are built in fear and protection. Tye Sheriden‘s Harper is whip smart and more cunning than at first glance. This young man is so incredibly comfortable in his own skin, he probably could have played Johnny had he and Cohen’s wardrobe’s been reversed. Detour-tye

Writer/Director Christopher Smith‘s script is sharp. While I knew about the multi-narrative plot going in, I wasn’t expecting to have to remain on my toes as much as I did. In fact, when I initially left the theater, I waxed poetic with a colleague for a good 25 minutes. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the glorious look of the film. Shot on wide-angle lenses in South Africa (which is skillfully made to look like a road trip from America to just across the border into Mexico), Smith’s choices of color and set dressing are key to the ever so slight differentiation in the two narratives. I completely agree with producer Julie Baines, who I was fortunate enough to run into during interviews, who backed up the notion that once you’ve seen the film for the first time, you’ll want to go back and follow the breadcrumbs knowing what you now know. That is exactly how I felt the morning after. I needed to see it again. Baines also reinforced the infectious chemistry between the three leads, both on and off the screen. Think a more complex version of Sliding Doors with a noir aspect. Detour is aptly named.

I was able to sit down with Tye, Emory and Chris over the weekend. You can listen to a spirited and totally down-to-earth interview below. Ladies and Gentleman, Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, and Christopher Smith on their new film DETOUR… (and other musings). Enjoy!

 

Remaining screenings at the fest are Rush only, but definitely worth trying to check out now!

4:00 PM – THU 4/21 BOW TIE CINEMAS CHELSEA 9Icon-fg-map RUSH
9:30 PM – FRI 4/22 REGAL CINEMAS BATTERY PARK 11-1Icon-fg-map RUSH

Review: ‘A ROYAL NIGHT OUT’ contains light introduction to feminism.

poster for a royal night outWhat little girl, at some point or another, didn’t want to be a princess? I wanted to be Princess Leia but I’m pretty sure that still counts. What I didn’t think about back then was the oppressive sense of duty and decorum that stunted normal adolescent growth.Sarah and Bel for ARNO

A ROYAL NIGHT OUT is a film about one perfect, glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. They are Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor at and the night is 8 May 1945, V-E Night. The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of World War II in Europe. It is known the young princesses, aged 19 and 14, slipped out of the palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz. They apparently returned to Buckingham Palace just after midnight. Directed by acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited), A ROYAL NIGHT OUT is an affectionate ‘what-if’ story about the adventures Elizabeth and Margaret might have had on the joyous night that brought the whole of London together.

crowd still a royal night outSarah Gadon‘s portrayal of Elizabeth is absolutely stunning. She gives us the perfect mix of proper royal behavior, wide-eyed innocence and subtle heroism. She is elegant and soft all while giving us a beautifully timed coming of age performance thanks to writers Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood and, of course, Julian Jarrold‘s direction. You can see Sarah in Dracula Untold, the upcoming 11/22/63, and as the face of Armani Beauty. Bel Powley, who was outstanding in Diary of a Teenage Girl, takes only somewhat of a backseat to Gadon as sister Margaret. Reminiscent of Prince Harry today, as second in line for the throne, she is more carefree and much more outspoken, constantly telling people that no one cares what she does. Her rambunctious energy is electric. Jack Reynor is the object of young Elizabeth’s fascination. Firstly as a savior and secondly as a teacher. His opinions shape her sheltered view of what the country really thinks of the war and the royal family. Emily and Rupert ARNORounding out the cast are heavy hitters, are Rupert Everett as the King and Emily Watson as The Queen. We are treated to moments that will throw your memory back to blockbuster The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth. This is a key part of the emotional growth experienced by Elizabeth. A Royal Night Out will play particularly well with a YA audience. It’s a great family film that parents can take their children to. It contains a soft entrance of feminist message, with both princesses trying to break free from familial duty for just a brief moment in time. It’s subtle but eased into slowly and appropriately for the plot, the period, and the audience. With meticulous sets, gorgeous costumes and a message of culture and class relations, A Royal Night Out is a real victory.

You can check out the trailer below:

Directed by:                       Julian Jarrold

Written by:                         Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood

Starring:                              Sarah Gadon, Bel Powley, Jack Reynor, Rupert Everett, and Emily Watson

Produced by:                     Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae

Running Time:                  97 Minutes / Rating:  PG-13bel and sarah a royal night outA ROYAL NIGHT OUT comes to theaters today!