Review: ‘Blood Quantum’ now available on AMC’s Shudder

The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are immune to the zombie plague. Traylor (Greyeyes), the tribal sheriff, must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees, and reserve riffraff from the hordes of walking white corpses. 

Mesmerizing opening cinematography, unsettling imagery, and a stunning bit of animation are all in the first few minutes of Blood Quantum. It’s a hell of a way to begin. All the bloody practical FX, the creative kills, the extraordinary make-up, combined with an awesome plot are just a few reasons why Blood Quantum is an outstanding zombie film. You’re getting 3 distinct acts with the shift in time and a shocking third act you may not see coming. In truth, it is a study of historic irony. While the native American population was decimated by European viruses, in this film they are immune. Even with that advantage, rage from the youngest generation is their ultimate downfall. Writer-director Jeff Barnaby has given us a truly poignant and thoroughly badass film.

The fact that we’re experiencing it now during a world-wide pandemic only makes it more relevant. The exploration of social, economic, and family dynamics are all the more impactful. All of that is a bonus because it’s truly a bloody disgusting zombie flick. Genre fans will live in this film. Extra special mention for the use of Fawn Wood‘s song “Mommy’s Little Guy” at the end. You can watch Blood Quantum now on Shudder.

From writer & director Jeff Barnaby (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Starring:

Michael Greyeyes (True Detective, Fear the Walking Dead)

Forrest Goodluck (THE REVENANT, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST)

Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN)

Olivia Scriven (Degrassi: Next Class & The Next Generation)

Revered MMA trainer Stonehorse Lone Goeman

Brandon Oakes (RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

William Belleau (Frontier, SCALPED)

Devery Jacobs (American Gods, The Order, RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS)

Gary Farmer (DEAD MAN, JIMMY P)

Review: ‘Butt Boy’, the next midnight cult classic.

Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.

8 minutes into Butt Boy and it was successfully one of the weirdest things I’ve ever watched. 5 minutes more and I was completely horrified but couldn’t look away, much like a brutal car accident on the side of the road. This is a compliment. The plot sounds insane; an unsatisfied man starts putting things up his butt to feel again, becomes obsessed with the sensation, leading him down a dark path. Oh, then enter a grief-stricken detective on a mission and you’ve got Butt Boy. I’m tagging it “supervillain origin story meets addiction fable.” I wish I had been in the room for this screenplay’s creation. A version with commentary will be demanded in the future.

Performances are genre perfect. Over-the-top clichés perhaps at quick glance but with genuinely great acting beats throughout. Combine that with a spectacular set on the tail end (no pun intended) and cool sound and color choices, it’s this year’s most unexpected find. Butt Boy is the kind of cult film that you get exposed to either by a genre cinephile or some random dude late one night who says, “Bro! 2020 is/was fucking crazy! But have you seen Butt Boy?!” Then he makes you watch it and you have no idea what you just watched but now you’re that guy who makes other people watch it because why not share the gag-inducing images, WTF storyline, and 100 percent triumphant ending. To be honest, it was the buzz, first, and then the trailer that got me to watch. Now I feel the need to share. You’re welcome, in advance.

You can experience Butt Boy for yourself right now On-Demand. And you know I’ve left you the trailer below as a snack.

BUTT BOY is directed and co-written by Tyler Cornack (who steps outside from behind the camera to star in the flick as well) and produced by Bill Morean and Ryan Koch, who also co-wrote. Together the three founded the popular Tiny Cinema online channel, which Rice collaborates on and where the concept for the absurdist mystery feature was first conceived.

Review: ‘International Falls’ explores the fine line between comedy and tragedy.

A woman stuck in a small, snowbound border town has dreams of doing comedy when she meets a washed-up, burned-out comedian with dreams of doing anything else.

International Falls is funny from the very first scene. The jokes are witty and rapid-fire. But you can feel a sense of sadness lingering over the comedy. Rachael Harris and Rob Huebel experience feelings of remorse and betrayal, all while making jokes. This script is a nuanced look into depression, ambition, and longing. It’s about choices, both right and wrong. The cool, sometimes awkward, sometimes heartwarming chemistry is awesome to see. I don’t know how much if any, of the dialogue was improvised but Harris and Huebel were perfect casting choices. The location adds to the plot in a massive way. The snow-covered and isolated, smalltown feel, impacts not only the characters and audience. Whether directly or indirectly, the viewer feels as trapped by International Falls as our two leads. There are essentially three main sets, the hotel (predominantly the room), the quaint downtown exteriors, and the stage. The later is intercut throughout the film with Tim’s stand up routines. The combination of Amber McGinnis’ directorial debut and writer Thomas Ward’s screenplay makes for an insightful, laugh-out-loud, dramedy.  There is so much more than meets the eye with this film. Its authenticity will stick with you.

INTERNATIONAL FALLS stars Rachel Harris (Lucifer, Suits), Rob Huebel (Children’s Hospital, Transparent), and Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan, Weeds)

The film has been an official selection at 22 film festivals across the country and has won multiple awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at 5 different festivals. The film festivals giving the film their highest honor, include the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Naples International Film Festival, the New York No Limits Film Series, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Tallgrass International Film Festival in Wichita.

The award-winning film opens Friday, March 20 in Austin,
Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston,
Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle

 

Review: ‘ A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE’ is eternally mysterious.

PRESENTS THE ACCLAIMED NEW MASTERPIECE
FROM LEGENDARY JAPANESE DIRECTOR SHUNJI IWAI
A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE
リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁
Synopsis: Nanami is an apathetic, part-time junior high school teacher, whose only solace comes from connecting with others on “Planet”, a new social network service. One day, a young man named Tetsuya messages her and asks to meet in person. The two begin dating and quickly become engaged. When Testuya begs Nanami to increase her guest list for the wedding, Nanami reaches out to online-friend, Amuro, a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, who hires actors to play Nanami’s guests on her big day. A few weeks following the ceremony, Tetsuya’s mother confronts Nanami with allegations of lying and cheating. Heartbroken and despondent, Nanami checks herself into a hotel and manages to get hired there as a maid. One day, Amuro offers Nanami a housekeeping job in an old mansion, whose sole resident’s infectious spirit helps Nanami to open her heart. However, Nanami soon realizes that Amuro, the mansion, and its occupant aren’t what they seem – and even dreams have limits.
There is something otherworldly about Iwai Shunji‘s latest film. While A BrideFor Rip Van Winkle runs just minutes shy of 3 hrs, the story is vastly engrossing. Our beautiful lead actress, Haru Kuroki, gives us an honest and quietly bold performance that allows us to feel each beat in real time with her. We are along for the ride just as much as she is. The classical soundtrack adds an ethereal quality to mysterious turns in the script. To speak too much about the plot would ruin it for the viewer. I can say that it will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. It certainly speaks to the power of social media. It tackles isolationism and the yearning to feel truly connected physically and emotionally. A Bride For Rip Van Winkle will surprise and delight to no end. You can check out the trailer below and catch the film in theaters this Friday.

A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE opens in cinemas November 10th!

Color
Japanese Language with English Subtitles
179 minutes
Not Rated

Review: ‘Indivisible’ takes the family bond to the extreme.

INDIVISIBLE
(Indivisibili)In a complex and incredibly nuanced new film, sisters must decide if physical and emotional separation is what they need to survive. Indivisible is a story of exploitation and personal desire.
Daisy and Viola are conjoined twin sisters living in the suburbs of Naples. They are blessed with beautiful voices and, thanks to their performances at local weddings, communions, and baptisms, have become the breadwinners for their entire family. Kept isolated from the world by their exploitative father, their lives are turned upside down when one of them falls in love for the first time… and they discover that it is possible for them to be separated.
Angela and Marianna Fontana play conjoined twins Dasy and Viola. Sought after for their singing talents and local idolatry, everyone wants a piece of them. Born into a selfish family living off the girls’ fame, they are forced to perform, threatened by guilt and permeating greed. While one sister yearns to be surgically divided, the other feels devastated by the idea. In bold performances from these real-life twins, we are rooting for their ultimate happiness. Despite being attached at the hip, each young woman gives a brilliant performance. Full of dreams and determination, these ladies own the screen is presence and ability. Battling religious fanaticism and the seduction of escapism, our leading ladies ooze with charisma. Indivisible takes a heartfelt and intimate approach to dismiss the sideshow mentality. Every theme in this script is some sort of double entendre. With beautiful cinematography on top of a clever and unexpected script, Indivisible is one of a kind.
The film is currently playing in New York City and opens theatrically in Los Angeles today. A national rollout will follow.

100 mins | Italy | in Italian with English subtitles | 2016

Written and Directed by Edoardo De Angelis
**NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE – TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016**
**WORLD PREMIERE – 73RD VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**

**OPENING NIGHT – OPEN ROADS**

Review: ‘GIRL FLU’ is contagious fun.

Growing up is awkward. No one is ever really prepared to deal with puberty, whether it’s the child or the parent. In Dorie Barton‘s brilliant directorial debut, Girl Flu, one little girl isn’t the only one that comes face to face with what it means to become a woman.

Synopsis:

Bird, 12, has to become a woman whether she wants to or not when – in the worst week of her life – she gets her first period, is ditched by her impulsive, free spirited mom, and learns that you can never really go back to The Valley.

 

Girl Flu is truly an endearing film. Funny, relatable, and just enough edge to surpass the afterschool special pigeonhole, it’s a directorial debut that Dorie Barton can be proud of. Whether the reality of the plot is who is really raising whom, we are treated to some incredibly sold performances from the entire cast. Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) brings Jenny to life; an ill-equipped, young mother, raising a 12-year-old, who never quite grew up herself. Her crunchy and pot smoking morning rituals annoy the hell out of her daughter and her boyfriend, played by Jeremy Sisto (Waitress). Sackhoff is a beautiful balance of super flighty and genuinely sincere. Sisto, solid as ever, navigates his evolving feelings for mother and daughter alike adding to the heart and humor of a universal milestone. Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), as mom Jenny’s best friend, is damn hilarious. Not surprising for Matarazzo, as she lights up the screen in every role she plays. The real breakout star, without a doubt, is our major lead Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock) as Bird. Humiliated and bullied, surviving on the resiliency she’s been forced to develop, she is whip-smart, vulnerable, and a total pro in this role. Irrational child logic is what makes this script so honestly entertaining. We laugh because we’ve been there. The cool soundtrack is the perfect addition. It’s been a fan favorite at over two dozen film festivals so far and it’s easy to see why. You can catch GIRL FLU on VOD (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play) today, September 29. Check out the trailer below!

 

Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Reviews: ‘Dead Shack’ and ‘Bitch’

DEAD SHACK

While staying at a run-down cabin in the woods during the weekend, three children must save their parents from the neighbor who intends to feed them to her un-dead family.

Dead Shack is a gore filled, one-liner extravaganza. Starting off with a bang and never letting up, this film is an ode to nosey teens everywhere who have had to fend for themselves by growing a pair/ perhaps being a tad too brazen. You’ll laugh, you’ll squirm, you’ll be really impressed by the performances. With some stunningly sweeping cinematography and cool 80’s electronic score, Dead Shack should not be missed. Good thing for the masses, it’s being released later this year! If you’re not at Fantasia 2017 for this afternoon’s screening, for now, you can check out the trailer below.

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

SCREENING TIMES

CREDITS

  • Directed by: Peter Ricq
  • Written by: Philippe Ivanusic, Davila LeBlanc, Peter Ricq
  • Cast: Lizzie Boys, Lauren Holly, Gabriel LaBelle, Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Donavon Stinson
  • Company: Raven Banner Entertainment Inc.

BITCH

The provocative tale of a woman (Marianna Palka) who snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband (Jason Ritter) is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law (Jaime King) as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis.

Bitch thrusts you into the mind of a stay-at-home Mom’s breaking point. Creative editing and brilliant storytelling allow the audience to enter into Mom’s psyche and understand why the story happens in the first place. Ritter‘s loathsome performance (a complete compliment) is an awesome foil to Palka‘s brave portrayal of the film’s titular role. Virtual high fives to our leading lady for writing and directing this spectacular movie, as well. This film has way more heart than one might think. It speaks to connection and who is truly the alpha in the household. As with Dead Shack, if you missed Bitch‘s screening at the fest, you’re in luck. The film is getting a wide release later this year!

CANADIAN PREMIERE
  • USA
  • 2017
  • 96 mins
  • English

SCREENING TIMES

CREDITS

  • Directed by: Marianna Palka
  • Written by: Marianna Palka
  • Cast: Jason Ritter, Jaime King, Marianna Palka
  • Company: MPI Media

OFFICIAL SELECTION: SUNDANCE 2017, BAMCINEMAFEST 2017, CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL 2017

Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Review: ‘SUPER DARK TIMES’ is both a flashback and omen of horror.

SUPER DARK TIMES

Teenagers Zach and Josh have been best friends their whole lives, but when a gruesome accident leads to a cover-up, the secret drives a wedge between them and propels them down a rabbit hole of escalating paranoia and violence.

Set in the early 90’s, before Columbine was an event engrained in history, a child’s innocence was not as easily spoiled as the kids in Super Dark Times. As someone who grew up at the same time as the main characters, I can attest to the typical dangers that surrounded our childhood. We were affected by the national news when a child was kidnapped, but that was about it. On the first evening of this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, audiences will see a film so brilliantly composed from the colors and textures of the costumes and cinematography to the incredibly disturbing storyline from screenwriters Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski. The power of an act of violence changes a person. Born from that awkward time in our lives comes the idea that fear can control the room, where the older/stronger kids ruled the proverbial schoolyards. Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes made you popular and badass and oftentimes, intimidating. Super Dark Times taps into those ideals in that very specific time in history, and yet it has a creepy timeless factor once you understand the full plot. With elements of the surreal, you will find yourself asking who is showing us the truth at any given moment. Director Kevin Phillips takes us on a sickening journey, one that’s become all too familiar as the years have rolled by.

CANADIAN PREMIERE
  • USA
  • 2017
  • 102 mins
  • English
  • Directed by: Kevin Phillips
  • Written by: Ben Collins, Luke Piotrowski
  • Cast: Sawyer Barth, Owen Campbell, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Amy Hargreaves, Charlie Tahan, Max Talisman
  • Company: The Orchard

Exclusive Clip from the upcoming film FOR HERE OR TO GO? coming to theaters this Friday! The battle over legal immigration and the H-1B visa has many familiar faces.

Reel News Daily is exclusively premiering a clip from the politically relevant film, FOR HERE OR TO GO?, a film about a young Silicon Valley software engineer Vivek Pandit, who is poised to become a key hire at a promising healthcare startup, but when the company realizes his work visa has less than a year remaining, the offer disappears. American in mind and Indian at heart, FOR HERE OR TO GO? is a contemporary story of ambition and ambivalence fueled by one’s immigration status that characterizes the dilemma of modern cultural displacement.
The clip could actually be considered a hilarious metaphor for the rest of the film, check it out below:

Starring: Ali Fazal  (Furious 7), Melanie Chandra (CBS’s “Code Black”), Omi Vaidya  (TV’s “Brown Nation”), Amitosh Nagpal (in his International Debut), Rajit Kapur (Making of the Mahatma) and Samrat Chakrabarti (Viceroy’s House)

The film will be released in theaters on March 31st.

Review: ‘BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS’ aren’t always what you expect.


Best and Most Beautiful Things poster

Synopsis: In rural Maine, a bold and magnetic 20-year-old woman named Michelle Smith lives with her mother Julie. Michelle is quirky and charming, legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with big dreams and varied passions. Searching for connection, Michelle explores love and empowerment outside the limits of “normal” through a provocative sex-positive community. Michelle’s joyful story of self-discovery celebrates outcasts everywhere.

Emmy Award-winning producer ofFriends”, Kevin S. Bright met Michelle while teaching a filmmaking class at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston years ago, the school Helen Keller went to. The director, Garrett Zevgetis also volunteered his time at the school. Independently, both were completely struck by her authenticity and exuberance, and have been involved with Michelle and her story ever since. While filming, they discovered the startling lack of opportunities available for all people to fully engage in our society, and the need to fix the fear and misunderstanding people have towards those considered “other”.

best-and-most-beautiful-things_still-7When we all graduated from high school, we had big dreams. Perhaps, moving away from home and starting a career, finally being able to go out when we wanted, eat what we wanted, buy whichever shoes she wanted from shoe hero, and party until dawn. Michelle is much like any other young woman. She’s trying to find her way in the world by following her passions without judgement or outside pressure. The only difference being, Michelle is legally blind and on the autism spectrum. Much like myself, she’s a total fangirl. She likes the dry wit of Daria, attends convention, yearns for acceptance and respect in her niche groups. She acts appropriately for her age. The film follows her for several years post graduating. Through her love life, job searches, and striving for her independence. All seems pretty “normal” until you propose her challenges to those who function without them. Her Mom suggest she attend her brother’s basketball game and at first her protest seems nothing more than a bored and annoyed sister, unwilling to cheer on a sibling just because their interests don’t align. But,  once you listen to her reasoning, as a viewer, will gain further insight into the life of someone forced to live differently. It’s a perfect turning point in the film. You finally get to walk in her shoes and mind for a brief moment. Although, director Garrett Zevgetis, does and excellent job early on with a blurred focus lens to help explain how Michelle figuratively sees the world around her. It is incredibly effective. Above all, this is the story of a young woman whose almost constant stream of self-esteem and positivity shines like a beacon of hope for anyone that has ever felt left out or chastised for being slightly different. I wish I could be as outwardly upbeat every single day and now perhaps I’ll take a second breath and thank my lucky stars I have the life I do. Michelle asks us to love who we are as much as she loves who she is. She asks us to “unlearn normal”. In a year where so much has happened to us as a country, maybe it’s time to take her advice.bestandmostbeautifulthings_still2

BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS opens in NYC on Friday, Dec 2nd, and in LA Dec 9th. Check out the trailer below:

Websitehttp://bestandmostbeautifulthings.com

Facebook: BestandMostBeautifulThings

Twitter@BestandMostFilm

RT: 90 Minutes

ACCOLADES
Independent Film Festival Boston 2016
Won
Special Jury Award, Best Documentary Feature
Florid a Film Festival 2016
Won
Special Jury Award, Individuality of the Human Spirit
Superfest International Disability Film Festival 2016
Won
Best of Festival Award, Feature
Tulsa American Film Festival, 2016
Won
Best Documentary Feature Film
SXSW Film Festival 2016
Nominated
SXSW Grand Jury Award, Documentary Feature