Review: ‘Synchronic’ will surprise you time and time again.

SYNCHRONIC

Synopsis:
When New Orleans paramedics and longtime best friends Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are called to a series of bizarre, gruesome accidents, they chalk it up to the mysterious new party drug found at the scene. But after Dennis’s oldest daughter suddenly disappears, Steve stumbles upon a terrifying truth about the supposed psychedelic that will challenge everything he knows about reality—and the flow of time itself.

At this point, all I really need to see to get excited is “A Moorhead and Benson Film” on my screen. You literally never know what you’re going to get except that it will most likely make you question your own reality. Synchronic is yet another visual and storytelling mindfuck. After the success of Spring and The Endless, Jaime Dornan and Anthony Mackie headline their newest trippy installment. The camera work is as dizzying as the plot. You are plunged into the darkness immediately. The editing is a damn triumph. You cannot look away in fear of missing the smallest clue. When the plot is actually revealed, an entirely new layer of insanity is unleashed. It is a head trip of epic proportions. It’s what fellow Whovians like to call “Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey”. Now that my nerd is sufficiently showing, I can gladly report that the awesome flows throughout the film will nuance and heart. These men are flawed. Fully fleshed out human beings with serious issues. Throw in a mystery drug that’s is traumatizing users, oftentimes killing them in the most bizarre ways and you’ve gone from drama to sci-fi spectacular. Synchronic is beyond engrossing for all of the reasons above… and so much more.

Dornan is great as the privileged guy who takes his family for granted. When his daughter disappears into thin air, the performance ramps up. Mackie has the challenge of not only portraying a man whose body is failing him but to convey the magnitude of Synchronic to the audience. Both performances give us very different things. Their chemistry is spot on. But it is Mackie that must be the driving force for Moorhead and Benson’s creation. Their films are so carefully crafted in story and visual treats that we are compelled to sit up a little straighter as we audibly exclaim, ‘WFT!” That’s the beauty of this team. The breadcrumbs are there. The social commentary is unmissable. Synchronic will be lauded as another fantastic notch in the belt of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, there is no doubt about that. It may be the film that moves them from indie genre filmmaker crushes to household names.

In Theaters & Drive-Ins October 23rd

Directed by: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (The Endless)

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton, and Ally Ioannides

 

Coming Soon… Matthew Schuchman‘s interview with Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson.

Stay tuned to Reel News Daily for the inside info on SYNCHRONIC!

Fantasia 2020 review: ‘The Paper Tigers’ is a funny, action packed crowd-pleaser.

Synopsis

Action/Dramedy
Three childhood Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men – now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and overcome old grudges to avenge his death.

Making its world premiere at Fantasia 2020, The Paper Tigers is endlessly funny with amazing fight choreography. Any time a moment gets serious, a hilarious joke is cracked. It keeps the pace alive and well. Writer-director Writer-director Bao Tran has given audiences a real treat. When I told my husband about the plot, he lovingly jested “I liked it better when it was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” And yes, it has a fantastic nostalgia that the series also possessed, and you cannot avoid comparisons to The Karate Kid. These are all genuine compliments. This film is sheer perfection for my generation because it feels like a love letter to martial arts films but has that extra something unique. As someone who is also currently binging Cobra Kai, The Paper Tigers arrives at the right moment.

The plot is unexpected. We get to delve into friendship, loyalty, parenting, and the reality of aging all through a mystery. There is nothing I didn’t enjoy about the film. The fight sequences are super engrossing and again, any moment that veers into the weighty territory is carefully cut with humor. The editing reveals more backstory information little by little with flashbacks all caught on camcorder footage. It’s a great touch. The Paper Tigers is an awesome introduction to anyone who hasn’t seen a martial arts film before. It will ease you into the genre all while capturing your heart… and make you laugh out loud. What more can you ask for?

Review: ‘The Beach House’ is an atmospheric chiller.

A romantic getaway for two troubled college sweethearts turns into a struggle for
survival when unexpected guests – and eventually the entire environment – exhibit
signs of a mysterious infection.

So I have to admit that the night after I watched The Beach House I had some of the weirdest dreams since beginning lockdown in Mid-March. A lot of horror films are incredibly formulaic, not that I’m complaining about that. Sometimes all you want is a final girl and a monster to die, there’s almost a comfort in that. The Beach House is not your average genre fare, and that is awesome. There is a quiet unnerving that creeps in from the very beginning. You almost can’t put your finger on it. You will not notice just when you begin to lean into the clearly underlying tension being built up. The dynamics between our four characters have a grounded and yet completely off-kilter foreboding. A nod to mother nature being a vengeful creature is something that figures prominently. While it has elements of Stephen King‘s The Mist, M.Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening, and H. P. Lovecraft‘s Colour Out Of Space,  there is most definitely something special about Jeffrey A. Brown’s writing and directorial debut.

As someone who grew up going to smaller Cape Cod towns, sometimes on the offseason, I felt that isolation of being the only ones in a neighborhood. I also felt the dread it would bring if something ever went awry. Liana Liberato is my hero in this film. She’s a freaking superhero as far as I’m concerned. I have been following her as of late in this year’s Banana Split and To The Stars. She is a force of nature, no pun intended, in the role of Emily. I guess the irony of her character’s major is what baffled me the most. It metaphorically and physically consumes her and oh man, do you want her to succeed. The script might be all the more unnerving because we’re living through a pandemic that could kill us if we inhaled it. Nature is pissed off and frankly, I don’t blame it. Strong performances from Noah Le Gos, Jake Webber, and Maryann Nagel round out our two couples who could not be more different from one another. While Emily and Randall do not seem to suit one another at all, Mitch and Jane feel like genuine life partners. It’s a plot point that will keep you engaged and aware throughout.

The Beach House highlights flight or fight from different perspectives. That will ring more true upon viewing. The sense of dread is genuinely palpable as most of the action occurs in what feels like painstakingly real-time. It’s uncomfortable to watch and isn’t that what we’re all looking for in a good horror film? You can watch The Beach House now on AMC’s Shudder. It’s a fine way to celebrate this weird summer.