Review: ‘Day 13’ proves no good deed goes unpunished.

When 17-year-old Colton is left at home to babysit his little sister for the summer, he develops a crush on Heather, the beautiful girl who just moved into a mysterious old house across the street. He falls in love with her from afar — but also witnesses her foster father grow increasingly threatening towards her. When Colton suspects the man belongs to a Satanic cult, and is preparing to ritually murder her, he resorts to desperate measures to intervene. Once he learns the real truth, it is more horrifying than anything he had ever imagined.

Take a little Disturbia, add a bit of Fright Night, and a pinch of Rosemary’s Baby and you’ve got yourself Day 13. The slow burn mystery feels a bit predictable about halfway through. Then 45 minutes in, “Oh, hello. That’s new!” You are, without a doubt, rooting for Colton. He’s a genuinely nice guy, even if he mysteriously has a ton of cash for a high school kid. Also, his mother is a terrible person (who leaves their two kids alone for 16 days?!) and his sister acts like an 8-year-old even though I’m sure she’s meant to be at least 13. That’s A LOT for a kid to deal with. Oh, and besides the fact that his new love interest seems to be held captive by her adoptive father who definitely deals in some dark arts shadiness.

Alex MacNicoll as our leading man is charming and down to Earth. He’s totally believable as a brave and gentlemanly boy next door. The mystery girl next door is played by Genevieve Hannelius. She has an authentic Taissa Farmiga vibe ala American Horror Story, season 1. One of the most entertaining parts of the film is J.T. Palmer as Colton’s best friend, Michael. He is the audience. I loved his commentary.

That climactic twist. Sure, I’ve seen enough horror films to know when something seems “too easy”. I’ve learned two things from Day 13; first, maybe don’t leave a teenager home alone to take care of his younger sister, and second, no good deed goes unpunished. If only Colton could have been bored for 3 more days. The film is definitely entertaining. I have to admit I was fully into Colton’s ambitious plan to solve the mystery. I was certainly on the edge of my couch when he attempts to rescue Heather. You’ll need to get to the bottom of what’s really plaguing this girl… and Colton. Day 13 is now available on VOD. Check out the trailer below.

Day 13 – VOD Release 8/4/20 – Will be Available on:
Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Xbox, Playstation, Vudu, Fandango & Vimeo
Click Below to Choose Your Platform!
Cast:
Alex MacNicoll, Martin Kove, Genevieve Hannelius, Darlene Vogel
Director: Jax Medel
Writer: Dan Gannon | Walter Goldwalter
Producer: Richard C. Brooks
Genre: Horror / Thriller
Language: English
Production Country: United States

Review: ‘Disclosure’ is an emotional nail biter that warrants discussion.

From writer/director Michael Bentham, a film that hammers home the notion that “there are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth.” DISCLOSURE follows two couples who go to war over an allegation of child-on-child abuse. Australian documentary maker Emily, and her journalist husband, Danny, are reeling from an allegation of abuse their 4-year-old daughter Natasha has made against a local politician’s 9-year-old son, Ethan. Ethan’s parents, Joel and Bek, arrive unannounced at Emily and Danny’s house intent on convincing the couple that Natasha’s allegation is a fabrication. Accusations, arguments, and the ultimate search for leverage turn their civil conversation into a vicious confrontation.

Couple Vs couple tangling over abuse allegations between their children is one of the most visceral watches of the year, especially as a parent and former teacher myself. Disclosure boasts glorious performances and incredibly effective editing. Geraldine Hakewill, Mark Leonard Winter, Tom Wren, and Matilda Ridgway are simply outstanding and the use of a stationary camera allows the focus to remain on the nuanced beats within each scene. Long takes add to the tension and push a voyeuristic, “How long have you been standing there?” type of position for the audience. The dialogue is so weighty that you cannot separate your feelings from the characters. That’s great storytelling. We also explore the dynamics of gender roles, political fallout, past trauma, and marriage. One of the most intriguing is the way men communicate and the way women do. The avoidance, passive-aggressiveness, versus directness, is fascinating. At one point all bets are off and these couples will do anything to protect both their children and their own self-interest. Whose side will you be on? The fact that this is based upon a true story makes the entire thing all the more horrific. This is a lose-lose scenario no one wants to be a part of, but it does beg a larger discussion in the #MeeToo era: believing victims, victim shaming, trauma treatment, and all that comes with it. Writer-Director Michael Bentham gives us a bold film that deserves your attention. The film makes its North American debut tomorrow. Take a look at the trailer for a peek at what the audience is in store for.

DISCLOSURE arrives on VOD on 6/30 and DVD  7/7

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.

Review: ‘CLAIRE IN MOTION’ stars Betsy Brandt in a desperate search for her missing husband.

Breaking Glass Pictures will release the upcoming psychological drama/thriller 

CLAIRE IN MOTION

 in theaters and On Demand January 13, 2017. 

CLAIRE IN MOTION is the second feature film by filmmaking team Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell (Small, Beautifully Moving Parts) and stars Betsy Brandt (CBS’ “Life in Pieces,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) in a breakthrough performance that twists the missing person thriller into an emotional take on uncertainty and loss.

Three weeks after Claire’s husband has mysteriously disappeared, the police have ended their investigation and her son is beginning to grieve. The only person who hasn’t given up is Claire. Soon she discovers his troubling secrets, including an alluring yet manipulative graduate student with whom he had formed a close bond. As she digs deeper, Claire begins to lose her grip on how well she truly knew her husband and questions her own identity in the process.

Playing the convincing role of math professor and mom comes so naturally to Betsy Brandt, one might actually think this film was based on a true story. With facts and figures guiding her everyday life, she quickly learns they aren’t going to help figure out who she really married. The plot moves swiftly. There is no lag time between the opening scene and transitioning entering the mysteries. The pace and editing are such that you can feel the immediate push from the outside world on both Claire and her son to accept the fact that husband and father are not coming back. It is the quintessential, “You think you know someone,” piece. It lends you to wonder who your significant other is when they’re not with you. Work friends, hobbies, the gym, lunches, seemingly mundane moments impact us each day so why would they not impact your partner in the same profound way? But, the torturous unanswered questions left in the wake of any ended relationship are the ones that stick with us. Claire In Motion is a quiet and yet profound look into reaching beyond yourself and into the lives of those around us.

Narrative Spotlight Audience Award – SXSW Film Festival 2016

Official Selection, New American Cinema – Seattle International Film Festival 2016

TITLE: CLAIRE IN MOTION
IN THEATERS AND ON DEMAND:  January 13, 2017
DIRECTOR:  Lisa Robinson, Annie J. Howell
WRITERS:  Lisa Robinson, Annie J. Howell
CAST:   Betsy Brandt, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Chris Beetem, Sakina Jaffrey
GENRE:  Psychological Drama, Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: Breaking Glass Pictures