Review: ‘Alone’ plays on inherent fears.

Jules Willcox (Netflix’s Bloodline) stars in ALONE as Jessica, a grief-stricken widow who flees the city in an attempt to cope with the loss of her husband.  When Jessica is kidnapped by a mysterious man and locked in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest, she escapes into the wilderness and is pursued by her captor. The key cast includes Marc Menchaca (Ozark, The Outsider) and Anthony Heald (The Silence Of The Lambs).

In college, I used to drive 8 hrs, regularly, in my car to visit a boyfriend. I was alone. I drove straight through pausing only briefly if I saw families at a busy rest stop. But, I was alone.  John Hyam’s new film is everything I was afraid of happening to me on those long rides.  ALONE is a bonafide nightmare. The genius of this script is its simplicity. The relatively mundane encounters build in the most honest and horrifying way. Jessica does everything right. But, once a serial killer has you in his sites, there is no escape, or so you might think. The pacing is absolutely perfect. The sound editing highlights the isolation that is evident in the natural setting. The soundtrack beating it all into you. All combined you feel like you’re in Jessica’s shoes. ALONE is a stripped-down genre winner.

Jules Willcox is a powerhouse as Jessica. Her vulnerability is so relatable making it easy to root for her survival. This is a power dynamic that shouldn’t exist but women, in particular, are used to dealing with it constantly. With an evergrowing population of “incel’ culture, walking with your keys between your fingers, pretending to be on the phone, parking under a streetlight, are all small steps we take to protect ourselves. Women are often deemed too emotional until we are tested by the unimaginable. ALONE exploits all that ingrained fear and mixes it with grief. Willcox nails this role from every angle. Marc Menchaca does a brilliant job with physicality. He comes off as visually harmless but he is downright scary. Perfectly balancing emotional manipulation with the brute strength of a psychopath, you’ll believe he’s done this before.

This film put me in such an agitated state, I had fingernail marks in my palms. My heart was pounding and I would forget to breathe. The final scene is phenomenally satisfying for innumerable reasons. The final shot is stunning. ALONE is a visceral watch. It is the only accurate way to describe this chilling film.

Magnet Releasing will release ALONE in theaters and on-demand September 18th, 2020.

Directed by John Hyams

Written by Mattias Olsson

Starring Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, and Anthony Heald

Review: ‘ACE THE CASE: MANHATTAN MYSTERY’ features a little gumshoe with gumption.

gravitas and kaufman logosPresents

ACE THE CASE : Manhattan Mystery

A plucky kid puts herself in peril when she matches wits with three scheming criminals in a suspenseful Manhattan mystery and family comedy.

Ace The Case: Manhattan Mystery

Starring:

Ripley Sobo ( Broadway shows “Matilda” & “Once”)

Susan Sarandon (The Meddler, Thelma and Louise)

Lev Gorn (TV’s “The Americans”)

Aaron Sauter (Detachment, TV’s “Alien Dawn”)

Written & Directed by:

Kevin Kaufman (“The Perfect Murder,”  “I Married a Mobster”) Ripley sobo ATC:MM

Left in the care of her teenage brother Miles (Aaron Sauter) while their mom is out of town, 10-year-old Olivia Haden (Ripley Sobo) takes her dog Charlie for a late-night walk and witnesses a brazen kidnapping on the deserted streets of New York City. But when she tells Miles what she has seen, he dismisses her, and when she reports it to the NYPD, only a sympathetic detective named Dottie (Academy Award®-winner Susan Sarandon) will even listen. Without solid evidence, there’s nothing Dottie can do, so the intrepid tween sets out to solve the crime herself. Facing down a trio of bumbling crooks, a mysterious fixer toting an oversized bun- ny, and a rapidly ticking clock, Olivia crisscrosses lower Manhattan in an exciting family-oriented thriller sure to delight kids of all ages, as well as their parents.

Susan surandonAce The Case: Manhattan Mystery has more than meets the eye in story and fun. This film is a perfect family pick, something you might expect to see as a Disney Channel original movie. There is excitement and intrigue for kids and enough off the cuff jokes for Mom and Dad to enjoy. Thanks to the writing from director Kevin Kaufman and Executive Producing by one of New York’s most iconic homicide detectives, Rick Tirelli, the film is filled with twists and turns that will have everyone on their toes. This kidnapping plot is anything but straight forward when it goes from no one believing young Olivia, to too many hands in the pot. You’ve got hi jinx from the criminals, a mysterious goon-type toting a giant bunny, to the only person who took our young heroine seriously in the first place. Enter, Susan Sarandon.

Ripley SoboSusan Sarandon‘s portrayal of Detective Dottie Wheel is subtly hilarious. Her relationship with lead Ripley Sobo is endearing and gentle. Their scenes are the stuff these family films are made of. Playing older brother Miles is Aaron Sauter. The onscreen brother-sister chemistry is adorable and all too believable. I could have watched an entire film just between Miles and Olivia. And now we come to our star, Ripley Sobo. Ripley is an absolute gem. She is sweet, authentic and a real scene-stealer. Dealing with some content that might be a tad aggressive for her age, she handles it like a true pro. The highlight and added bonus is the original musical number at the end of the film, ” Aim High”. Smartly taking advantage of Ripley’s Broadway background, we are treated to a great, completely kid friendly song. I wish there were more numbers for Ripley spread throughout the film. This would have taken this movie to next level status. Perhaps Kaufman will take this into consideration when the sequel comes out- Ace The Case: Curse of the Deadly Diamond. Sobo deserves to shine as much as possible.

In Theaters & On Demand on August 26, 2016

Featuring Original Song “AIM HIGH”

Performed by Ripley Sobo

Written by Michele Vice-Masli

RT: 94 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

http://acethecasemovie.com/