Review: ‘Echo Boomers’ pushes all the boundaries.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out) stars in this gripping crime-thriller filled with pulse-pounding twists and turns. A recent college graduate Lance Zutterland (Patrick Schwarzenegger) leaves school in debt, realizing everything he had worked towards was built on a lie. When he is pulled into a criminal underground operation, he finds his peers fighting the system by stealing from the rich and giving to… themselves. With nothing to lose, they leave behind a trail of destruction but with the cops closing in, tensions mount and Lance soon discovers he is in over his head with no way out.

With superb writing and slick editing, Echo Boomers is intoxicating. With Patrick Schwarzenegger’s voice-over narration the flow feels like a novel, and I do mean that as a compliment. This could easily be further developed into a long-running series. There is a lot to unpack in all the right ways. There’s a psychological subtext to each character that is carefully crafted. The cinematography is sharp, combined with the immersive score, you cannot help but love this crew.

Michael Shannon does what Michael Shannon does best. He lives and breathes every role. He is somehow terrifying and more approachable all at once. Patrick Schwarzenegger is amazing. He grabbed my attention in last year’s Daniel Isn’t Real. I recommend casting him in everything he has time for. He has the innate ability to connect with his castmates on a truly grounded level. He is comfortable in his own skin. You feel like you know him. He is undeniably magnetic. The nuanced dynamics in the screenplay let everyone have impactful moments. You can easily argue this is a true ensemble piece.

I cannot stress enough how fantastic the writing and directing is. This could have gone off the rails in a heartbeat or come off as an Ocean’s franchise ripoff but it holds its own and then some. It’s wildly entertaining. There’s something about Echo Boomers that makes it unique from any other film in 2020. It’s brimming with complexity, action, drama, suspense, and some unbelievable performances. The stakes keep getting higher and higher and even though you know it’s morally reprehensible, you’re all in. You can watch Echo Boomers now in Theaters, On Demand, and Digital from Saban Films.

ECHO BOOMERS stars Patrick Schwarzenegger (Daniel Isn’t Real, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Gilles Geary (“The I-Land”), Hayley Law (“Riverdale,” “Altered Carbon”), Jacob Alexander (I Don’t Know How She Does It), Oliver Cooper (Project X), Kate Linder (“The Young and the Restless”), Lesley Ann Warren (“In Plain Sight,” Victor Victoria), Alex Pettyfer (The Last Witness, I Am Number Four), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, 99 Homes).  The film is directed by Seth Savoy (“Blood Brothers”) from a script by Kevin Bernhardt (Shiner, Peaceful Warrior), Jason Miller (“The Whisperers”) and Savoy.

Fantasia International Film Festival 2018 Review: ‘Mega Time Squad’ is an editor’s masterpiece.

Think “Multiplicity on crack” (and yes, I am referencing the 1996 Micheal Keaton and Andie MacDowell sci-fi comedy delight… and crack cocaine) and you’ll begin to understand the insanity that is Mega Time Squad. Our main man, Johnny, is a low-level criminal who accidentally discovers he is wearing an ancient bracelet that will bring him back in time. Problem being, each use of said bracelet also produces another version of himself, all while running from the both he stole from and his gang of thugs. This heist movie with an incredible twist is hilarious. Packed with deliciously colorful local slang and plenty of four-letter words for punctuation, Mega Time Squad hits every mark. Anton Tennet, writer/director Tim Van Dammen, and editor Luke Haigh deserve your applause and as many beers as a bartender will allow in one sitting. Tennet, as each version of Johnny, brings a distinct specificity that is wildly impressive. Haigh had one hell of a challenge in editing and holy hell is this a triumph. Van Dammen has gifted the Fantasia 2018 audience with a warped premise begging the question of one’s own morality. You have to really pay attention to keep up with the shenanigans and you will have a blast doing so. If you enjoyed The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Mega Time Squad is your jam. And speaking of jams, the music is totally sick. Mega Time Squad is a blast from past to present.

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 12th- August 2nd. You can find out more about the full lineup and tickets at Fantasia.com 

Liz’s Review: ‘BAD TURN WORSE’ is a love letter to Jim Thompson.

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When I was little, I was a fan a Nancy Drew books. My brother had a bookshelf filled with The Hardy Boys collection. I was jealous of that collection. As an adult, I am obsessed with Investigation Discover channel. I’ll straight up have that on in the background all day when I have a day off. I want to know who did it, why, and how. As of late I am a huge fan of NPR‘s new podcast “Serial” (Go do yourself a favor and subscribe now), so when this film came my way, I was more than intrigued.

Bad Turn Worse, a directed by Simon and Zeke Hawkins, grabbed me from the opening scene. Quippy, Tarantino-esque dialogue from the mouths of Texas teens (also reminiscent of Dawson’s Creek… wow, I’m really dating myself now…) made me sit up a little straighter at attention. The plot is not too far fetched. Three friends; two leaving for college in a few weeks, while the third we all know is destined to become a townie in this arid cotton mill town. BJ is a bitter, big fish in a little pond, whose aggressive charm and good looks have gotten him the smart girl next door Sue. Bobby is the best friend to both but his sheep demeanor gets him into some trouble when BJ steals $20K from his sociopath boss. When the shit hits the fan and the three are roped into a heist that is doomed from the start, everything gets turned in it’s head in this noir thriller.

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Writer, Dutch Southern, deserves praise with his love letter to crime novelist Jim Thompson.

Jim Thompson — ‘There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.’

Sue makes mention of this in more than a few ways throughout the script. Little does the audience know that they are being led down a twisted plot line that is secretly spoon fed to them from the get go. But, seriously, you sort of miss it until the very end. When is the last time a movie played out in a surprising fashion? In true noir style, just when you think you’ve figured out what going on, nope, left turn.

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The acting is fantastic. Mackenzie Davis, who I had previously been introduced to in Breathe In, is so wonderful. Fully fleshed out girl who is smart as a whip but vulnerable enough to fall for the town “badboy” but still have affection for the shy best friend. She gives the perfect balance of naive and cunning. Logan Huffman, who has one of those, ‘Why do I know him? Yeah, he is hot,” kind of demeanors, nails the role of BJ. That jockish, underachiever bitterness is rife for the taking. Jeremy Allen White is entrancing as Bobby. His endearing fragility draws you in. You genuinely feel sorry that he has such a crap best friend. And then, there is our ultimate baddie; Mark Pelligrino, my mysterious Jacob from LOST. His startling crazy is borderline comical but totally works. Money makes people do bad things, and the character of Giff is no exception.

The music is awesome and the cinematography is beautiful. I say catch this film this weekend. It will keep you on the edge of your nerve from beginning to end. Bad Turn Worse comes out today, November 14th in theaters and on VOD.