Review: Award-winning documentary ‘The Push’ now available on VOD platforms.

The Push


Grant Korgan is a scientist and a professional athlete. Grant Korgan should not be able to do the things he does. After sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the belly button down, his entire spirit was deflated. Until he discovered other disabled athletes were training to continue their sports and beyond. Along comes an opportunity of a lifetime; go to The South Pole, and not just go, traverse 100 miles across the polar plateau of Antarctica using only his arms to pull himself on a sled. It had never been done by someone like Grant. His entire journey, from the accident on is documented. He literally had a camera on his person as he hit the ground and, unbeknownst to him, became paralyzed. Not only does he have a camera, but his best friends and extreme sports buddies are also filming him from the bottom of the mountain. The Korgans have a camera running for all the good, the bad, the ugly of recovery and training. The Push is a story of the human spirit and the determination of Grant, his wife Shawna, and Tal, Grant’s trekking partner, and ultimate caretaker on the ice. The bond forged between these two people is unreal. Teamwork doesn’t accurately define their relationship. Tal essentially becomes the lifeguard that Shawna had been. Now she’s not there and Tal has to make decisions for the both of them. Things do not go as planned. It’s impossible to predict how Mother Nature will treat you. Faith is a real driving force in this story. Not the religious kind of faith but the belief that anything can be achieved if you just persist hard enough, long enough. The Push will make you root for these guys to succeed. Challenge after challenge will they make it to the South Pole?  And at the point of real-life danger and all the odds against them, and after all they’ve already achieved, does it even matter? Not only do we experience Grant’s South Pole excursion, but the aftermath. This is where it comes back to the human spirit, once again. There is a lot of soul searching and as Grant says, ” there is a beauty in being broken” and how you choose to view your circumstances. If you’re not crying at the end of this film I don’t even know if you’re a human being. The Push is inspiring and a film that should be shared far and wide for anyone struggling. It’s truly uplifting.

A Gravitas Ventures release, the film has just landed on Amazon and Netflix and other VOD platforms.

THE PUSH

Winner of “Best Documentary” at AmDocs Palm Springs, Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, The Impact DOCS Awards, Long Beach International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Sonoma International Film Festival, and the Vero Beach Wine & Film Festival.

Review: ‘DRIFTWOOD’ is anything but hollow.

You might think that a film without a single word of dialogue would be difficult or tedious to watch. You’d be completely wrong in the case of festival favorite, Driftwood. After a young woman washes up on shore, an older man “rescues” her and brings her to his home to recoup. But all is not what it seems from the very beginning. The relationship between the two is unsettling at every turn. Is the woman an amnesiac? Performances from all three cast members are equally intriguing. Each wanting for something completely different. Again… all without dialogue! The viewer’s insinuations make this story a unique emotional journey. Writer/director Paul Taylor has done something so new and strange, easily running the gambit of humorous to patriarchal grotesque, Driftwood will leave you scratching your head and wanting to watch again and again. The impact is undoubtedly endless.Check out the film’s chilling trailer below…
DRIFTWOOD is now available on ITUNES

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Paul Taylor’s DRIFTWOOD was the 2016 Slamdance Jury Prize winner for Best Narrative Film

Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Review: ‘Killing Ground’ will swear you off camping for life.

KILLING GROUND

The disturbing horror, thriller follows a couple’s romantic camping trip that becomes a desperate fight for survival in this ultra-raw, unhinged kill ride. In need of a break from the pressures of their life in the city, Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) head to a remote beach for a weekend getaway. When they come across an abandoned campsite, with no trace of its occupants, they’re concerned. When they discover a lone, traumatized child nearby, they’re scared. And when they encounter two local weirdos, they’re in for a hell of a bad time. Unfolding in an innovative, time-scrambling structure, Killing Ground delivers both nerve-shredding suspense and gut-punching realism.

KILLING GROUND marks the debut feature of writer/director Damien Power and stars Australian actors Aaron Pedersen (ABC’s “Jack Irish”), Ian Meadows (Network Ten’s “The Wrong Girl”), Harriet Dyer (Nine Network’s “Love Child”) and Aaron Glenane (Truth).

As a kid, I was an avid camper. After seeing Killing Ground, I may never go again. As a mother, thanks to this film, I’ll never, ever bring my children with me to a remote location where I am more than shouting distance away from lots and lots of other campers… with weapons. Killing Ground is a slow burn of menace that keeps you feeling uneasy and queasy it’s entire 93 min runtime. With a multiple narrative style, you already know something horrible is coming but you’re forced to sit through the time jumps just to get to certain doom. Anything with balls enough to put children in true, murderous harm’s way will get me every time now that I’m a parent. But you don’t have to have kids of your own to be deeply affected by the horrors on screen, you just have to have an ounce more heart than the film’s villains. While last week’s SOLD OUT screening at Fantasia Fest may have left many in the lurch, fear not. Killing Ground actually gets its theatrical and VOD release this week, July 21st. Check out the trailer below.

CANADIAN PREMIERE
  • USA
  • 2017
  • 89 mins
  • English

SCREENING TIMES

CREDITS

  • Directed by: Damien Power
  • Written by: Damien Power
  • Cast: Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane, Ian Meadows, Aaron Pederson
  • Company: IFC Midnight

Review: Jared Leto executive produced doc ‘HOLY HELL’ leaves a singed psyche.

HOLY HELL

Opening Theatrically May 27th, 2016

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A Film by Will Allen

Executive Produced by Jared Leto

*Sundance Film Festival – Official Selection*

What makes something a cult? According to the dictionary a cult is, “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.” If that’s so, then by definition aren’t most religions a cult? Can one individual spew crazy ideas and gather a following of people who seem to be functioning human beings despite the intrinsically ridiculous nature of the information they are being fed? Well, of course. Just ask Donald Trump. Executive Produced by Jared Leto, HOLY HELL takes us into a group defined by the outside as a cult. But what did the members believe then and now?

In 1985, Will Allen became a member of The Buddhafield, a Los Angeles area spiritual group. A recent film school graduate, Allen began to chronicle the group’s activities that centered on their leader, a mysterious individual they called The Teacher, or Michel. Over time, the group’s dark side began to surface, until finally, a shocking allegation against The Teacher tore the group apart – all in front of Allen’s camera. This incredible archive of video footage became the basis for HOLY HELL.

holy hellWill Allen‘s 22 years of footage appear, at first, to resemble a long-lost infomercial from the 80’s. It only takes a few minutes to realize that this is not VHS from our youth but the continuous documenting of a group of people seeking something different. What they ultimately find is a mysterious man who is nothing he claims to be. Utilizing intimate, present-day, sit down interviews with members of Buddhafield combined with Allen’s chronological documentation of the group’s daily activities, HOLY HELL is unlike anything we’ve seen before. To have such unguarded footage and insider knowledge is pretty unprecedented, especially for this length of time. From private therapy sessions to retreats, public outings and the eventual breakdown, each year is more shocking than the last. There are moments that will make you cringe, question your judgement, and certainly, times that will turn your stomach. HOLY HELL is as relevant today as it was when it began its seedling production. It will both open your eyes and terrify you.

Opening Theatrically May 27th, 2016

Review: ‘WELCOME TO HAPPINESS’ is a quirky guide through what-if.

Presents
WELCOME TO HAPPINESS
Opening In Theaters & On Demand May 20thwelcome to happiness poster

What if you had the option to change a single moment in your past? Would you take it? We all think at some point or another, “If only I hadn’t said/done that, things would be so different!” But, do we ever think about the ripple effect of taking back that action? In Oliver Thompson‘s new festival favorite, we’re plunged into a world where this very choice is presented to a select few.welcome to happiness kyle gallner

In WELCOME TO HAPPINESS, Woody (Gallner), a children’s author, rents a strange apartment from his landlord, Moses (Offerman). There’s a magical door in Woody’s closet that allows those who go through it to erase mistakes from their past. While he was once happy to facilitate the passage of the random strangers summoned to his apartment, Woody soon begins to question why he himself is not allowed to go through.

welcome to happiness nick offermanOliver Thompson‘s duel role as writer and director suits this indie gem to a T. Stylistically vibrant and charming, WELCOME TO HAPPINESS is something akin to ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND in look and quirk factor, but most assuredly has its very own unique voice. The colorful cinematography is a brilliant reflection of each character’s momentary mood. The plot has intrinsically intertwined story lines and is full of surprisingly insightful glee all while tackling the ghost of depression. Thompson has achieved quite the feat, no doubt. welcome to happiness still brendan sexton III and

Kyle Gallner‘s performance is honest and down to earth. This might be some of his best work, although he’s always a solid performer. Nick Offerman gets the opportunity to break free from his sardonic persona to tackle a more gentle character. Given the task, he absolutely shines. It’s nice to see this side of him. Olivia Thirlby is a wonder no matter the role and Brendon Sexton III‘s ever discontented presence it perfect for this film. The cast from top to bottom is a true delight.  WELCOME TO HAPPINESS is an immensely thoughtful film without ever taking itself too seriously. This is a rare find. You can catch the movie in theaters and On Demand this Friday, May 20th. Take a peak at the trailer below!

WELCOME TO HAPPINESS Opens May 20th

The film has been awarded ‘Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking’ at the Newport Beach Film Festival, ‘Excellence in Producing’ and ‘Producers Choice’ at the International Festival of Cinema, ‘Best Narrative Feature’ at the deadCENTER Film Festival, as well as ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ at the Phoenix Film Festival. 

Written & Directed by Oliver Thompson

Produced by Bay Dariz, Oliver Thompson, Molly C. Quinn, and Kyle Gallner

Starring
Kyle Gallner (Veronica MarsAmerican Sniper)
Olivia Thirlby (Juno)
Nick Offerman (NBC’s Parks and Recreation)
Molly C. Quinn (ABC’s Castle)
Brendan Sexton III (AMC’s The Killing)
Josh Brener (HBO’s Silicon Valley)
Keegan-Michael Key (Comedy Central’s Key and Peele)
Paget Brewster (CBS’s Criminal Minds)
Frances Conroy (FX’s American Horror Story)

Review: Now available on VOD, film festival favorite ‘ANGEL OF NANJING’ soars.

Balance Films and Blue Bus Productions PresentsANGEL OF NANJING

In the US, depression is a subject we either tackle with prescription drugs or after a suicide. Most of us are so consumed with our own lives, we oftentimes fail to look beyond the emotional scope of our own noses. In a new documentary by Jordan Horowitz and Frank L. Ferendo, ANGEL OF NANJING, one solitary man makes it his mission to save the souls on The Yangtze River Bridge.

SYNOPSIS:

The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous landmarks in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. After hearing reports about this from the news, Chen Si, an average man with no professional training, decided to do something about it. On September 19, 2003, he went to the bridge with a heart-shaped sign that read, “Nothing is impossible. When God closes a door he opens a window.” That morning he saved someone, and has dedicated his life to standing vigil on that bridge ever since. Incredibly, he’s saved over 300 lives since he began.

 

Despite all the lives he’s saved, Chen’s mission has taken an unexpected toll on him. He feels incredible guilt when he learns someone committed suicide while he wasn’t at the bridge, and even more when he is there and is still unable to save them. He’s become a heavy smoker and drinker, and often finds himself battling with depression. He is also under growing pressure from his family to quit, who cannot understand why he spends so much time and money helping others when he has his own family to worry about.

ANGEL OF NANJING

The film has an incredibly organic feeling from its handheld camera work to the pulled back moments when Chen is speaking to the men and women so seemingly desperate to jump. Once rescued, the audience feels as if they’re part of the healing as they are treated to intimate face to face conflict resolution. It is a perfect snapshot into the Chinese culture. Suicide is considered extraordinarily shameful. Chinese media always refers to a desperate or depressed individual as in a “bad mood” in any aftermath coverage. Once you accept the familial implications of a suicide, you begin to understand Chen’s pragmatic approach. Cultural tactics are perfectly balanced with genuine tenderness resulting in incredibly touching rescues. Chen is a complex man, struggling with the sense of responsibility to those in such despair and his own happiness. Horowitz and Ferendo do absolute justice to Chen and this unique scenario. As an added bonus, the film’s score is both haunting and glorious. It is something I would seek out on its own. As a whole, ANGEL OF NANJING is a beautiful story of hope and humanity.

ANGEL OF NANJING

ANGEL OF NANJING is now available! Check out the trailer below…

Award-winning documentary debuted on VOD (iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play) February 16

Winner – Best Documentary, Phoenix Film Festival
Wi
nner – Best Documentary, Catalina Film Festival
Winner – Best Documentary, SaMo Indie Fest
Winner – Best Documentary, Big Apple Film Festival
Winner – Best Documentary, New Jersey Film Festival

Directed by Jordan Horowitz and Frank Ferendo, ANGEL OF NANJING tells the story of an ordinary man doing something extraordinary, and at great personal sacrifice. It is a personal portrait of a man, who in a country of over one billion people, has chosen to dedicate himself to making a difference, one person at a time. 

Love never dies as ‘NINA FOREVER’ comes to theaters and VOD today.

Epic Pictures Presents

NINA FOREVER

Written & directed by Ben and Chris Blaine

nina forever poster

Just in for Valentine’s Day weekend, there is a new trailer and bonus clip from indie horror film Nina Forever.

HOLLY wants to save ROB, has fallen in love with him. She is training to be a paramedic and works a dead end job in a supermarket where Rob is the only remarkable thing; lost and angry since the death of his girlfriend NINA. Drawn into a relationship, the first time they’re in bed together so is Nina. A tangled and bloody mess of broken limbs, she is very much dead but still here, still talking, still angry…

However Holly doesn’t freak out and run – she is determined to be the one who heals Rob’s wounds. She can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it’s what Rob needs, it’s what Holly will do, whatever the consequences…

It’s sounding like a potentially more successful film than the 2014 release of Burying The Ex, starring Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. Seemingly similar premise, but hopefully a bit more promising. Nina Forever has been a hit on the festival circuit following its premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. On their website, http://ninaforever.com/, they have created a Spotify playlist you can access featuring the film’s soundtrack. Great marketing ploy and a bit of extra fun for fans. Just released is a clip from the film. If this is any indication of how weird and wonderful the rest of the story will play out, count me in. Stay tuned to ReelNewsDaily later on today for our full review!

Nina Forever comes the theaters and on  iTunes/VOD and other digital platforms beginning today, Friday, the 12th. Happy Bloody Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

Review: ‘TRANSFATTY LIVES’ makes living for something, everything.

filmbuff logo
Presents
Transfatty Lives posterSo many of us participated in “The Ice Bucket Challenge”. The real question is, how many of us took 60 seconds to Google why we were doing it? Patrick Sean O’Brien‘s inspirational documentary TRANSFATTY LIVES paints a stunning, incredibly raw picture of ALS.
TransFatty_Press_1 Tribeca

At 30, Patrick Sean O’Brien was TransFatty, a New York City DJ, Internet personality, and filmmaker. He spent his days as a beer-drinking creative force, making art films about perverts, vulnerable souls, and Howard Johnson’s restaurants. Then his legs started shaking.

Defying sentimentality, TRANSFATTY LIVES takes you on an emotional roller coaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days into the dark heart of ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease). Given 2 to 5 years to live, Patrick first loses his ability to walk, then move his arms, then to swallow, and even to breathe. With the support of his bewildered friends and family Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself.

As the director and star of his own documentary, Patrick films every step of his debilitating journey from first diagnosis through his current paralysis. Forcefully lacking self pity, he captures the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life as he makes art, gets political, falls in love, fathers a son, and fights extreme depression and paranoia.

At 40, Patrick has completed this film by typing directions to his editors with the movements of his pupils. Miraculously, TRANSFATTY LIVES is not a movie about death. Because, while Patrick’s brain stopped being able to control his muscles, it remains brilliantly alive, allowing him to ask: “What if my diminishing physical abilities can be inversely proportional to my journey inward? And, more importantly, “will there be bacon and unicorns once I get there?”

Still 3 - TransFatty LivesPatrick’s film is moving, impactful, and funny. Narrated by Patrick, mostly through voice-to-text on his computer via eye movements, the structure of the film is high impact with footage from his previous quirky films, photographs of his adventures, and dairy entries starting from 2005, when he was diagnosed with ALS. Completely unafraid, what began as a film about Patrick’s love for Howard Johnson, soon becomes a film about his journey. His crew seem to become a huge part in his care-taking. Along with his family, they are totally immersed in Patrick’s world, as much as someone without ALS can possibly be. If you’re not crying half way through this doc, you may not actually have a soul. Patrick has created a lens through which the audience can begin to understand just how quickly this disease sucks the life out of you physically. Having Patrick as the center of this project is invaluable. Firstly, he’s intensely charming. Using humor and positivity, he is able to put us at ease. But, moments of extraordinary challenge break the surface at every turn, throwing reality back into our faces just as quickly. The film’s balance is sheer perfection. TRANSFATTY LIVES should be seriously considered as awards season ramps up in the coming weeks. Patrick Sean O’Brien is a brilliant filmmaker and one hell of a human being.

TRANSFATTY LIVES is opening in Los Angeles and On Demand on November 20th and in New York on December 25th.
 TRANSFATTY LIVES won the ‘Audience Award’ at The Tribeca Film Festival, Milano Film Festival, and American Film Festival in Poland. It was also a Top 20 Film at HotDocs International Film Festival.

Review: ‘JAMES WHITE’ makes escaping reality impossible.

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Josh Mond’s

JAMES WHITE

Starring Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

James White poster

If you’ve ever watched someone die from cancer… if you’ve ever seen the downward spiral of a loved one… if you’ve ever been lost in a haze a grief and confusion, JAMES WHITE will speak to you. What does a young man, flailing in his own existence, do to cope with the idea that one of these days, his mother will not get better? Is escapism the answer? Josh Mond‘s directorial debut lets us into the skin and brain of one man’s story.

JAMES WHITE

JAMES WHITE- Christopher Abbot & Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

As James’ mother’s health deteriorates, his ne’er do well lifestyle is forced to come to an end, but not before attempting to escape reality after the death of his estranged father. Triggering a getaway trip to Mexico with friends to avoid dealing with life, this drug, alcohol, and sex addled stay comes to an abrupt end when a call from Gail forces him to return to the couch of his childhood NYC home and take care of Mom 24 hrs a day. Struggling to put his bad boy behavior on the back burner, James walks the line between telling the world to fuck off and dropping his very existence to protect the woman he loves most in the world. As the plot progresses, we learn the this is not his first go round with mom’s illness. Do we forgive his behavior because of this? That’s for the individual to decide.

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

Mond’s script is partially based on his own experiences with his own mother. It is unapologetic and raw. You cannot take that away from Mond. No arguing that the film is ever dull or full of shit. It goes there fast and hard. Using cinematographer Mátyás Erdély was a genius move. Having recently seen Son of Saul at this year’s NYFF, his literal in your face, ultra close-up style of shooting, gives James White the immersive feeling the script calls for. I cannot imagine the film being in any other style. From the opening sequence, scored to perfection by co-star Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, with it’s organic feel and LOUD introduction, we immediately enter the world of a man who is grasping at straws to figure out who he is and what kind of person he wants/needs to be.

James White-20

Christopher Abbott gives an purely award-winning performance. His truth is on his sleeve 1000%. Somehow, through all the distasteful behavior he exhibits, you love him. Scott Mescudi is outstanding. As James’ best friend and long time player inside the family, his genuine interactions with Christopher and Cynthia feel so authentic, it’s almost hard to believe that this film isn’t a documentary at moments. Cynthia Nixon‘s portrayal of Gail is epic. With the film’s structure presented from month to month like chapters in a book, we are privy to the physical and mental changes her character endures. No matter the form of media, Nixon creates her own presence and we are lucky enough to witness it. The entire cast deserves all the accolades in the world, as does Mond for delivering a bold story.

JAMES WHITE will capture part of your soul. It allows you to let go and perhaps forgive yourself for past transgressions. Do yourself a favor and see this film.


 

Nominated for Three IFP Gotham Awards:

Christopher Abbott (Best Actor)

Josh Mond (Bingham Ray Breakthrough Actor Award) 

Audience Award

About JAMES WHITE

James White (Christopher Abbott) is a troubled twenty-something trying to stay afloat in a frenzied New York City. He retreats further into a self-destructive, hedonistic lifestyle, but as his mother (Cynthia Nixon) battles a serious illness James is forced to take control of his life. As the pressure on him mounts, James must find new reserves of strength or risk imploding completely.  The directorial debut of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE producer Josh Mond,  JAMES WHITE, which had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2014 where it was the winner of the “Best of Next” Audience Award, is a confident and closely observed debut that explores loss and the deep relationship between a mother and son.  Abbott’s strong central performance is aided by a stellar supporting cast featuring Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”), Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi (“Comedy Bang! Bang!”), and Ron Livingston (DRINKING BUDDIES). Shot on location in New York City with an intimate visual style, JAMES WHITE follows its lead into deep, affecting places while still maintaining its fragile humanity. 

The Film Arcade will release JAMES WHITE on November 13th 

Review: ‘THE CONNECTION’ out on DVD, Blu-Ray, and HD Digital!

The Connection posterA stylish, ’70’s-period crime thriller inspired by true events, THE CONNECTION tells the story of real-life Marseille magistrate Pierre Michel (Academy Award® Winner Jean DujardinThe Artist, The Wolf of Wall Street) and his relentless crusade to dismantle the most notorious drug smuggling operation in history: the French Connection. In his crosshairs is charismatic and wealthy kingpin, Gatean, who runs the largest underground heroin trade into the States. Though the fearless and tenacious Michel, aided by a task force of elite cops, will stop at nothing to ensure the crime ring’s demise, Zampa’s “La French” always seems one step ahead. As La French mounts its retaliation, Michel will be forced to make the most difficult decision of his life: to continue waging his war, or ensure his family’s safety, before it’s too late.The connection
This film is massively dynamic. From the crisp and well framed cinematography to the outstanding cast. Dujardin proves he is still a star as Michel. He owns every moment on screen as his presence is captivating. Gilles Lellouche as Gaëtan ‘Tany’ Zampa is just as powerful. In a script where both men are equally determined to protect their legacy, Dujardin and Lellouche are movie magic when they appear on screen together. The film is action packed. Even with a runtime of 135 mins, it never seems like it drags. If you’re a fan of Netflix‘s new series Narcos, The Connection is right up your alley.The connection 2 still
It deserves the multitude of praise and awards is has garnered thus far. Director Cédric Jimenez (also one of the screenwriters) clearly knows his stuff. I’d love to see more from him asap. The overall look is pretty killer from the slick wardrobe to the soundtrack of the era filled club scenes. They nailed it.  While the idea of cops and gangsters is anything new, I still think this film keeps your interest with it’s mixture of action and plan of action. The acting is beyond solid with a vast array of bad guys to run through. DVD extras include a featurette on the making of The Connection as well as some great deleted scenes. We highly recommend you catch this film and thankfully, now you can!
 
Product Information
Language: French                                                     
Subtitles: English
Widescreen: Yes
Length: 135 min.
Year: 2014                                        
Genre: Action/Foreign
Rating: NR
CC: No
DVD
SRP: $24.99                                                  
Blu-Ray
SRP: $29.93
About Drafthouse Films
Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is a curated brand of provocative, visionary and artfully unusual films new and old from around the world. Following the earnestly simple motto of “sharing the films we love with widest audience possible,” Drafthouse Films debuted in 2010 with the theatrical release of Four Lions, which was named of Time Magazine’s “Top 10 Films Of The Year.” Their diverse and unique slate includes the highly-acclaimed, Oscar® nominated documentary The Act Of Killing produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, 2013 SXSW Midnight Audience Award winner Cheap Thrills starring David Koechner (Anchorman), British auteur Ben Wheatley’s psychedelic trip into magic and madness, A Field In England, Ari Folman’s Cannes Film Festival selected sci-fi epic The Congress starring Robin Wright, Harvey Keith, Jon Hamm and Paul Giamatti, Midnight Movie sensations Miami Connection andThe Visitor and rediscovered classics Wake in Fright and Ms. 45. Recent and upcoming releases include Dutch thriller Borgman, Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, Sundance Award-winning documentaries The Overnighters and the recently acquired Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s stunning follow up to The Act of Killing. Drafthouse Films distributes films theatrically, through home video, VOD and their direct-to-consumer platforms integrating into the ever-growing Alamo Drafthouse entertainment lifestyle brand, which along with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas includes: Mondo, the collectible art boutique; Fantastic Fest, the largest international genre film festival in the US; and the pop culture website Birth.Movies.Death.

 

Review: ‘GUIDANCE’ is an underachiever’s playbook.

Guidance_posterFormer child star, alcoholic, narcissistic David is in desperate need of a job. Using the internet, his acting skills, and his ability to overachieve only when taking the path f least resistance, he gets hired as a high school counselor. Hilarity ensues in the form of lies, awkward social encounters, and a seemingly misguided sense of self redemption. Guidance_DavidBikingWriter/Director/Star Pat Mills‘ nonchalance and willingness to look like a total whack job makes each scene a joy to watch. He has an Adam Pally quality about his timbre and tone and comic timing, which is a huge compliment. Rule breaking and advice a playboy playmate might give are the driving fores behind the comedy. His connections with the kids are genuine and as a former high school substitute teacher and current actor/writer, this film resonates pretty personally (minus the scamming and alcoholism). Guidance_2Knowing that Mills has another film in the pipeline makes me excited. He clearly understands funny, situational comedy and structure. Sharp wit, keen observational skills, and the brilliant use of self motivational voice overs make Guidance a must see. GUIDANCE opens theatrically in NYC on August 21 (Village East) and LA on August 28 (Sundance Sunset Cinema) with a national release to follow.

Review: “PEOPLE PLACES THINGS” will charm the pants off you.

People Places Things poster1PEOPLE PLACES THINGS tells the story of Will Henry (Jemaine Clement), a newly single graphic novelist father balancing single-parenting his young twin daughters, writers block, a classroom full students, all the while exploring and navigating the rich complexities of new love and letting go of the woman who left him.People Places Things 1

Clement‘s asurbic brand of wit and delivery is the driving force behind the entire film… a million thanks, of course, to writer/director Jim C. Strouse for the script and casting Jemaine. Genius move for this piece of writing. Clement has you laughing out loud from the very first scene. Charming and genuine, the character of Will struggles to balance fatherhood, personal romantic, and career satisfaction. His affection for two of our wee leading ladies, Aundrea and Gia Gadsby, radiates off the screen. These kids are real naturals and their chemistry with Clement is a pure delight. Stephanie Allynne as Charlie (Will’s ex) does a fantastic job as one giant, narcissistic mess of a woman. She makes this character easy to loathe. Regina Hall is Diane. A strong, intelligent mother whose walls are understandably pretty high up. Clement and Hall make a lovely comic pair. Their witty, rapid fire back and forth is super relatable. Jessica Williams, who I am most familiar from her hilarious corespondent spot on The Daily show, plays Kat (One of Will’s students and Diane’s daughter). Her performance is down to earth and refreshing. I look forward to seeing more of her on the big screen. People Places Things 2During the scenes where Will teaches his class, there is a wonderfully cathartic flow, not only through the use of dialogue but Will’s graphic novel panels. The visuals speak volumes where words become useless. The music is a fun addition and lends to the perfect pace. Jim C Strouse has given us one hell of a gem. People Places Things is a pure joy from start to finish. With a superb cast and a clearly skilled writing and directing style, I strongly recommend you seek out this film.

PEOPLE PLACES THINGS opens in theaters Friday, August 14th

Review: “Fort Tilden” is a generational face palm.

fort tilden posterIt’s a generation that makes you want to punch them. Millennials aren’t  all bad, that’s definitely not what I’m saying, but we all know a few bad apples… or orchards that give us the feeling of arson. I’m sure that 10 years ago, when I was 25, someone wanted to strangle me over whatever drama seemed life threatening at the moment. Let’s be serious though, it’s a running joke that we have a real problem with a generation that we just have to urge to physically shake until their bobble heads fall off… but we don’t… because sometimes it’s such delicious fodder that sitting back and watching is much less stressful and way more entertaining, as long as they don’t disrupt your way of living, of course. Enter onto the scene, festival favorite Fort Tilden.fort tilden 5The entire plot of the film ( Harper and Allie try all day to get to the beach) is pretty much the perfect metaphor for their reality. Fort Tilden is bravely tongue in cheek but also unapologetically the truth. Shiny objects distract, social media owns them, money might as well be made exclusively by Monopoly, and yet someway, somehow they make their way through this world and promptly demand a cookie. They have balls and you have to respect that. Bridey Elliott‘s performance as Harper, daughter of a CEO and self proclaimed “artist” is brash, rude, and does not care what you think. Elliott is hilarious in her sincerity. Clare McNulty as manic and failed overachiever Allie, is sweet and high strung and equally as genuine in her performance as Elliot. The two are a fantastic match with a genius give and take. Their ability to whine, complain, ignore everyone and make it both endearing and horrendous should earn them attention and applause.fort tilden 1The quarter life crisis now seems much longer and much more ridiculous that ever before. One the flip side of the coin, Fort Tilden is also ans awesome commentary on the lack of parenting going on today. Virtual high fives to writer/directors Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers for throwing the millennial cliche in out faces so damn well.  Fort Tilden makes it way to theaters and VOD Friday, August 14. Get There.

Liz’s Review: ‘THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD’ is a classic brought back to life

The King and the Mockingbird Poster_Rialto

When I was a child I revelled in my mother and father reading bedtime stories.  I grew up on classic Disney fairytales and Tom & Jerry reruns. As an adult, nothing makes me happier than reliving those moments and sharing that joy with the next generation. At this year’s New York Film Festival, I was treated to a film that has been around for ages, but for me was a brand new tale to pass down. Read More →