Nightstream 2020 review: ‘Dinner in America’ is the tits.

A punk rocker arsonist on the run (Kyle Gallner, Veronica Mars) and his number one fan embark on a series of misadventures through suburbia, finding unexpected love along the way in this absolutely electric, thoroughly anarchic, misfit stoner rom-com you didn’t know you needed.

You are all the way into this film from the opening shot. It is unapologetically in your face and does not let up. The cast is phenomenal. Performances are just shy of over the top and that’s why they are so damn good. The soundtrack is unreal with a bass that gets pounded into your psyche and it’s magic. The plot takes a hard left turn 40 minutes in and it is glorious. Writer/director Adam Carter Rehmeier has a cult classic on his hands. I’m calling it now. Dinner In America is a punk rock joyride you will not see coming.

Kyle Fucking Gallner. Ladies and gentlemen, he plays one of the most engaging assholes of all time. I could not take my eyes off of him. His intense aggression pushes the bonkers narrative forward like a freight train. His dialogue is incredibly offensive yet you’re so intrigued by what motivates him. He is smooth as hell and there’s so much more going on than meets the eye. Emily Skeggs is the perfect foil for him. She is quirky and amazing. She challenges Simon’s preconceived notions of power and relationships. It’s a dynamite performance. They are perhaps the most unlikely pair and yet they are sweetly perfect.

There is a surprising commentary about being an individual. It’s absolutely beautiful. Dinner In America is a real standout in this year’s Nightstream 2020. When the music takes over, you completely give in. I will be singing “Watermelon” forever. It’s different, it’s cool, it’s kick-ass. You’ll love it. I can easily say it’s in my Top 10 list for the year.

DINNER IN AMERICA

United States | 2020 | 106 Min.
Dir. Adam Carter Rehmeier

Review: All hell breaks loose in Shudder Original, ‘The Cleansing Hour’

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I’m not even going to lie, if The Cleansing Hour actually existed I would watch it. Shudder is a genius platform for this film, especially now. Religion is always a solid platform to skewer but add in a social media angle and you’ve got yourself one entirely engrossing genre flick. The exploitation gets flipped by a demon in a terrifying (sometimes comical) way. It’s divine justice for a con man. But there is much more to it than first meets the eye. The writing is sharp and twisted.

The performances are outstanding. Truly scary shit. Kyle Gallner as Drew is the good guy, the brains behind the operation. His dedication to Max and Lane may be his ultimate downfall. Gallner is deep in this role, which is no surprise. I am a huge fan of his eclectic body of work. This is no exception. Ryan Guzman as Max is the perfect self-obsessed asshole. Guzman plays the victim very well but walks a phenomenal line between the need for attention and contrition. But it is the performance from Alix Angelis that is fully immersed in terror and sheer brilliance. The entirety of the film’s success is driven by her insane work, and I do mean work. She must have been exhausted after every take.

The practical fx missed with the sound editing made me almost vomit. It took me way too long to catch my breath. The look of the film is spot on. The camera work is cool as hell. But it is the storyline that will suck you in. The entire plot is centered around confession. This demon is looking for something very specific and until then, it will torture and kill until it is satisfied. I could not tear my eyes away from the screen even when I wanted to. Writer/director Damien LeVeck and co-writer Aaron Horwitz know exactly what they’re doing. The social commentary is unmistakable. The Cleansing Hour is full tilt, batshit crazy. The ending… you’ll never see it coming. Stay. Through. The. Credits.

Directed by: Damien LeVeck | Written by: Damien LeVeck and Aaron Horwitz

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis

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

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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)

Michael’s Review: ‘American Sniper’- Memoirs of An American Hero

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Clint Eastwood has been immersed in a streak of lackluster efforts since 2004’s Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby. The 84 year old actor/director has spent much of the last decade exploring different subject matters including multiple biopics, many of which were valiant efforts, but Eastwood has struck gold with this war drama based on the life of decorated Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper leads this powerful film which shows the struggles of our soldiers who risk their lives every day on the ground in Iraq, a depiction reminiscent of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. The most lethal sniper in US history takes center stage as we are taken to the front lines of the Iraqi war. Read More →