Review: ‘Dirty God’ has power in performances and writing.

In Dirty God, a young mother from London must pick up the pieces in the aftermath of an acid attack that leaves her with disastrous scarring. Living in a looks-obsessed world, and without that as her currency, Jane must move on with her new life, personal difficulties, and the unfortunate occurrences of everyday humiliation.

Vicky Knight as Jade is a revelation. Her expression of physical and emotional pain in all its nuance makes Dirty God as successful as it is. She just wants a bit of normalcy. From the fear her own daughter displays, to the reaction of peers, to confronting her ex and attacker in court, to feel loved, the daily battle screams from the screen. One of the most impactful scenes comes when she purchases a burka. Hiding the majority of her body gives her the confidence to act with freedom. It’s an exhilarating scene to experience with her. The emotional scars are as relevant as the physical ones. Knight, who was burnt as a child in real life, can represent the undercounted number of women that have been attacked in this manner.

Jade attempts to connect with others online. Those scenes are incredibly profound in the grand scheme of her arch. The most difficult thing is watching people treat Jade in a subhuman manner. It’s positively atrocious. The entire conversation around the importance of appearance in society, ableist behavior, and kindness, in general, is one for the ages. Dirty God is inspired and important viewing where the human divide and vitriol are so wide and prevalent. It’s an awesome statement on bullying and an even bigger one for self-esteem.

OPENING IN SELECT THEATERS ON NOVEMBER 13

 Laemmle link: https://linktr.ee/dirtygodfilm

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS ON DECEMBER 15th

Dark Star Pictures will release DIRTY GOD with a virtual release through Laemmle Theaters in LA, Gateway Film Center (Virtual) in Columbus, and more theaters to be announced on November 13, 2020. The film will also be made available on digital platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango Now, Direct TV, and through local cable providers on December 15, 2020. The film has a running time of 104 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.

 

Review: ‘Koko-Di Koko-Da’ is a frightening grief allegory.

KOKO-DI KOKO-DA

Elin and Tobias are a happily married couple who regularly vacation with their young daughter. The family is on a dreamy holiday when an innocuous case of food poisoning derails their plans and forever alters the course of their lives.

Three years later, the once loving couple is on the road again to go camping, looking for one last chance to go back to the way things used to be. But what once was is lost, and our characters instead find themselves having to relive the same nightmarish events, as that day and the horrors it brings repeat themselves infinitely. Together, they must overcome their trauma, reconcile with their past and fight for their lives. Over, and over, and over again.

Easily one of the most out there films of 2020, Koko-Di Koko-Da is a twisted version of Groundhog Day meets The Babadook. Things aren’t going to fix themselves in any manner. Communication is everything. This is the weird parallel message of this film. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing, the fact that that these two are doomed to be slaughtered by crazies over and over or that their anger, resentment, and sadness have manifested into the death of their relationship literally and metaphorically. Koko-di Koko-da undoubtedly eludes to the cyclical nature of grief.

Performances from Leif Edlund and Ylva Gallon manage anchor this story in a harsh reality amidst the madness. They will have you yelling at the screen but also rooting for them to escape their endless nightmare. A white cat appears as a warning. I believe it represents their daughter from the beyond the grave screaming, “Fix this or this is the eternity you’ve chosen!” The bizarre but strikingly beautiful nature of the film does not end there. The shadow puppet scenes are morbid magic. The clues and visual storytelling are laid out to counter the terror perfectly. Without a doubt, Koko-di Koko-da is one of the most unique films of 2020.

KOKO-DI KOKO-DA

Director – Johannes Nyholm (THE GIANT)

Cast – Peter Belli, Leif Edlund, Ylva Gallon, Katarina Jackobson, Brandy Litmanen

 VIRTUAL THEATERS (November 6)-Including: Los Angeles and New York (Laemmle Theaters) and major cities including: Philadelphia (Film Society), Cleveland (Cinematheque), Columbus (Gateway Film Center) and Durham (Carolina Theater) and more to follow.
Link to buy tickets: https://linktr.ee/KokoDiKokoDa

VOD (US & Canada) (December 8): Including: Apple TV/ iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, You Tube, Fandango Now, Dish Network and all major cable providers (Including: Comcast/Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox and Verizon Fios)

Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival 2019 (WINNER! AQCC-Camera Lucida Prize), and Fantastic Fest 2019

Review: ‘Entwined’ is a dark and intoxicating fairy tale.

Panos, a city doctor, relocates to a remote Greek village to offer his services to the underserved community. It’s love at first sight when he sees Danae, who lives in isolation and with a mysterious skin condition. Determined to cure her, Panos will soon discover Danae is not the helpless princess he thought she was, and time is of the essence for both of them.

With a haunting score, Entwined is often the most effective when you have you don’t know what’s happening. Danae keeps you under her spell with her childlike innocence and otherworldly dialogue. Is she a princess held captive and pure from outside influence? She is positively enchanting. For Panos, that’s precisely the problem. In his attempt to be her hero, he falls victim to the mystery in the forest. Speaking of the woods, they are an entire character in Entwined. As is the ever-burning fire in Danae’s isolated cabin. But is he truly trapped?

Performances are lovely. Anastasia Rafaella Konidi’s work lies somewhere between an 11-year-old girl and a centuries-old seductress. Prometheus Aleifer is everything we need him to be. He is brave, soft, and swept away by the mystery of this young woman. Director Minos Nikolakakis uses a mix of mythology and horror folklore to capture the audience. The cinematography and sound editing add to both the menace and beauty. Bravo to the makeup team for creating such horrifically beautiful pieces that cover Anastasia Rafaella Konidi‘s body. The script’s cyclical nature will both frustrate and fascinate, most likely as intended. Entwined is aptly named. This will become more apparent as you watch. While I was able to predict a major plot point, I did not mind it. The ending was a complete surprise. You, too, will fall under the spell of this irresistible film.

ENTWINED 

OPENING IN VIRTUAL THEATERS FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 WITH A NORTH AMERICAN VOD RELEASE TO FOLLOW ON SEPTEMBER 8 ON ALL MAJOR PLATFORMS.

VIRTUAL THEATERS (August 28)-Including: Los Angeles (Laemmle), New York (Alamo On Demand), Philadelphia (Philadelphia Film Society) and major cities.

VOD (US & Canada) (September 8): Including: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu,  Direct TV, Dish Network and all major cable providers.

*****Official Selection: Toronto International Film Festival and many more.******

DIRECTOR: Minos Nikolakakis

WRITTEN BY: Minos Nikolakakis, John De Holland

CAST: Prometheus Aleifer, Anastasia Rafaella Konidi and John De Holland 

Panos (Prometheus Aleifer), a city doctor, relocates his practice to a remote village and quickly falls for Danae (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi), who lives in isolation with a mysterious skin condition. Determined to find Danae a cure, Panos learns of her dark secret and that all is not what it seems.

RT: 89 minutes; Color; Language: Greek with English subtitles; Rating: Not Rated (Horror/ Fantasy)

Distributed in North America by: Dark Star Pictures

Review: ‘The Prey’ survives cliché.

Undercover Chinese cop Xin (newcomer Gu Shangwei), is on a secret international mission when a surprise raid puts him in a remote Cambodian jungle prison that plays by its own rules. Ruthless warden (Vithaya Pansringarm of ONLY GOD FORGIVES ) sells prisoners as human prey for rich hunters looking for thrills in the jungle. 

After years of hunting down ruthless criminals, Xin suddenly finds himself running for his life. If Xin manages to survive this sadistic game, he’ll walk out of the jungle the same way he came in: as a free man. If Xin fails, he’s just another hunting trophy.

The Prey starts off with a bang, literally. Frankly, the action does not let up from there. I was instantly cheering for our leading man. An audible, “Oh Hell, Yes!” could be heard from me less than 10 minutes in. We’ve all read The Most Dangerous Game, and there are innumerable film versions. The Prey takes a fresh look at the story. Filmed from inside a corrupt Cambodian prison to the surrounding jungle, you’ll find yourself really “feeling” Xin’s (Gu Shangwei) pain, both emotionally and physically. There’s particularly sick humor to the performance of the Warden (Vithaya Pansringarm) that is akin to Ready Or Not. Performances all around are undeniably stellar. One issue that seemed unnecessary was a subplot that dealt with mental illness. It didn’t make much sense to the overall storytelling and in the end, felt silly. On the upside, the action and violence are unrelenting. The fight choreography was wildly entertaining. You will not have time to get bored watching The Prey.  What else could action fans want? Not much.

THE PREY

OPENING IN VIRTUAL THEATERS FRIDAY, AUGUST 21 WITH A NORTH AMERICAN (US & CANADA) VOD RELEASE TO FOLLOW ON AUGUST 25 ON ALL MAJOR PLATFORMS.

VIRTUAL THEATERS (August 21)-Including: Los Angeles (Laemmle), New York (Alamo On Demand) and major cities.

VOD (August 25): Including: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu,  Direct TV, Dish Network and all major cable providers.

 

*****Official Selection: Busan International Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival,  Fantasia Film Festival.*****

DIRECTOR: Jimmy Henderson (JAILBREAK)

WRITTEN BY: Jimmy Henderson, Michael Hodgson, Kai Miller

CAST: Byron Bishop, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Nophand Boonyai, Vithaya Pansringarm (ONLY GOD FORGIVES), Gu Shangwei

Loosely based on Richard Connell’s story of survival and adventure The Most Dangerous Game,  THE PREY comes from writer/director Jimmy Henderson and the team behind genre festival hit JAILBREAK.