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.

Review: ‘The Quarry’, SXSW 2020 selection is available today!

SYNOPSIS: From the novel by Damon Galgut comes this searing thriller, a tale of sin and redemption set in the wilds of Texas. After murdering a traveling preacher, a fugitive drifter (Shea Whigham, Joker) travels to a small town and poses as the man he killed. Though the congregation loves the drifter’s sermons of forgiveness, the local police chief (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water) is suspicious of the man. Soon a gruesome discovery at a local quarry forces the killer to fight for his freedom.

 

A fugitive, a local sheriff, and the resident town criminal all cross paths for a simmering thriller based on mistaken identity. You will recognize that the script is based on a novel in its slow-burn feel of storytelling. In reality, you’re getting a lot of information constantly, but the quiet, abandoned, small-town feel immediately affects the tone of the film. I found myself unable to decide who I should be rooting for even though it is morally very clear cut. That is 100 percent due to the nuanced performance from this relatively small cast. While the novel takes place during South African apartheid, the universal theme of racism is very much prevalent in this film. It will launch the plot towards its inevitable tragedy.

We have a mini Boardwalk Empire reunion with Shea Whigham and Michael Shannon. Pitted against one another, their chemistry is magic. You will find yourself pulled into their dynamic. These fully fleshed out and flawed people are a perfect character study, especially with Whigham and Shannon in the roles. Both gentlemen are given the opportunity to play off of Catalina Sandino Moreno. It’s a masterclass in subtly from every angle. This film is about the script and people. The sparsity of sets and costumes adds to your focus. The ending is something you will never see coming. Overall, The Quarry is a solid thriller that brilliantly highlights superior acting and great direction.

Lionsgate and Grindstone, a Lionsgate Company will release the thriller film THE QUARRY on demand on April 17, 2020.

THE QUARRY stars Shea Whigham (Joker, “Boardwalk Empire”), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Nocturnal Animals), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Showtime’s “The Affair,” Maria Full of Grace), Bobby Soto (“Narcos: Mexico,” A Better Life) and Bruno Bichir (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Che: Part One). The film was directed by Scott Teems (That Evening Sun) who co-wrote the film with Andrew Brotzman (Nor’easter). The film is based on Damon Galgut’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

Review: Werner Herzog’s ‘SALT AND FIRE’ leaves a bitter taste.

SALT AND FIRE

World Premiere – Shanghai Film Festival 2016

North American Premiere – Toronto International Film Festival 2016

Official Competition – Dubai International Film Festival 2016

Official Competition – Glasgow Film Festival 2017

SALT AND FIRE is about a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Shot in Bolivia, the film stars Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael García Bernal and was written and directed by Werner Herzog.

I have to be honest. I had extremely high hopes for Salt and Fire based on Werner Herzog‘s direction and the star studded cast of Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael Garcia Bernal. Boy, oh boy, was I disappointed. Filled over the brim with overly philosophical quotes and MIA cast members, I struggled to even finish the film.  The disjointed feeling of the plot and the hyper theatrical dialogue delivery in the first half of the film are pretty brutal. Michael Shannon, however, gives another sterling performance especially considering what he’s been given to work with. The ending, the final 10 minutes of the film, is so syrupy I sort of just sat there with my mouth open. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe, somehow, the film is over my head. At this point, I just can’t tell. By all means, be your own judge. You can find the trailer below:

TITLE:  SALT AND FIRE
IN THEATERS: April 7, 2017
AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: April 4, 2017
DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog
WRITER: Werner Herzog, based on the story “Aral” by Tom Bissell
CAST: Michael Shannon, Gael García Bernal, and Veronica Ferres
SYNOPSIS: SALT AND FIRE is about a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Shot in Bolivia, the film stars Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael García Bernal and was written and directed by Werner Herzog.
GENRE: Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

Review: ‘WOLVES’ depicts a young man trapped between boyhood and manhood.

Presents

Bart Freundlich’s new film WOLVES

From the famous courts of West 4th Street, to the tenements overlooking the bridges of the lower east side, Wolves paints an original, diverse, and emotional portrait of a boy becoming a man in New York City. 18-year-old, Anthony Keller is a high school basketball star. Now in his senior year he is being recruited by Cornell University, a dream come true.  Called “Saint” by everyone at his school (St. Anthony’s), he does his best to live up to his name.  He is captain of his team, a good student, has a long time girlfriend and some good friends.  But the ease with which he moves through his life is a facade. At home, Anthony struggles with his troubled Father, Lee Keller, (Michael Shannon) and his gambling addiction.  Anthony’s Mother, Jenny, (Carla Gugino) has made it her mission to keep the family afloat but has done so only with great emotional and financial sacrifice.

As Anthony approaches the end of his senior year and the city finals, he is faced with adversity from all sides, and the stakes are high.  He must find his own definition of what it means to be a man, both on and off the court, and in doing so he is confronted with the decision of a lifetime.

There is definitely more than meets the eye to this coming of age, high school basketball story. Newcomer Taylor John Smith plays “Saint”, a kid trying desperately to make everyone around him happy. He is emotionally stretched thin and like many high school students who want/need to achieve their lofty dreams, finally meets his breaking point. WOLVES is filled to the brim with fantastic performances. With a heavy hitting cast alongside Smith, there are more layers to this film, and it all comes down to perspective.

Smith’s lead performance is natural, endearing, and powerful. The abusive aspect of the film coming directly from Michael Shannon (as his father), is tough stuff for any actor. But for Smith to easily go toe to toe with a vet like Shannon, all I can say is, “Bravo.” Speaking of Shannon, he plays a real self-loathing scumbag. Unhappy and resentful professor with a gambling addiction, he not only doles out physical abuse to his son but a heavy handed dose of emotional as well. Shannon gives a performance closer to his early seasons on Boardwalk Empire, short fuse and potentially underlying sociopathic tendencies. Carla Gugino is better than ever as the mother trapped in a marriage of frustration and protection of her son and her own sanity. Grittier than her performance in Match but equally as wonderful. For me, the most noteworthy role is one of the smallest. As a momentary surrogate father figure, former pro-baller and wise truth speaking guru, John Douglas Smith is a master. Some of the most impassioned moments in the script come from the mouth of this character Socrates (aptly named). I could have watched this man wax philosophic for the entire film. He was the grounding force the script so desperately needed, as not to lead it into after-school special territory.

On the whole, you will route for WOLVES and the storyline. You can catch the film in theaters and On Demand, tomorrow March 3rd. Check out the trailer below.

In Theaters & On Demand on March 3rd

RT: 110 Minutes

Review: Michael Shannon & Imogen Poots are trying hard to love each other in ‘Frank & Lola’

Gorgeously shot with emotionally-charged performances, Frank & Lola is written and directed by first-time feature director Matthew Ross and stars Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots in the title roles.

An unconventional love story, we start with the two in bed together. The two obviously did not have a romantic chemistry yet she was very comfortable with her body. As the story continues, we see that Frank and Lola are in a relationship, and live together. Fifteen years his junior, Imogen Poots gives a raw performance with very little makeup and often in disarray. Michael Shannon as Frank is his usual quiet intensity, so his moments of levity really stand out.

Rosanna Arquette makes an appearance as Lola’s mother, a woman who seems to view Lola as competition, rather than a daughter. Although it’s only one scene, it gives a glimpse into Lola’s world. Justin Long has a small role and although I generally love his work, I didn’t like the over-the-top of the character.

Frank and Lola are both severely flawed and as such, their actions often lead them in directions that cause problems. Writer/director Matthew Ross showcases this and does so with beautiful backdrops of Las Vegas and Paris. I enjoyed not knowing what would happen and rooting for these two. I hope you will too.

In theaters from Paladin and On Demand and Digital HD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on December 9, 2016

Kevin Spacey is sassy, Michael Shannon is sarcastic, totally entertaining Johnny Knoxville at the press conference for ‘Elvis & Nixon’

Elvis & Nixon press conferenceFirst to come to the table was Michael Shannon, sporting a jean jacket with one of his latest movies, Midnight Special, on the back. That movie recently opened, and Shannon has three movies playing at this year’s festival. Elvis & Nixon, Wolves and Poor Boy.

Elvis & Nixon premieres tonight!

Kevin Spacey was asked the most questions, but had lots of fun with his answers. He describes Nixon as “remarkably uncomfortable in chairs.”

Johnny Knoxville laughed uproariously at almost everything Spacey or Shannon said, saying that to “hear Kevin swear as Nixon is very satisfying.”

Shannon describes sitting next to Jerry Schilling driving around Memphis, when Schilling received a phone call from Priscilla [Presley]. “It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.”

Elvis & Nixon

Broad Green Pictures Announces 99 Homes: 99 Good Deeds Initiative in 20 Cities Nationwide

99-homes-poster-31

Broad Green Pictures announces the launch of 99 Homes: 99 Good Deeds, a charitable initiative to encourage individuals to perform one good deed to help a member of their community and to underscore the positive impact that even the smallest amounts of assistance can have. The launch comes just ahead of the release of the studio’s upcoming film 99 Homes debuting in theatres on Sept. 25, expanding nationwide Oct. 9. In collaboration with local organizations in 20 cities throughout the United States, Broad Green Pictures will perform 99 good deeds.

In Phoenix, Broad Green Pictures has partnered with non-profit charity Phoenix Rescue Mission. To prepare for the holiday season, the Mission is in desperate need of food, water, blankets, clothing, shoes, sleeping bags and monetary donations. To help with this effort, the studio will donate 99 (admit two) passes for the advance screening on October 5th to be given to the first 99 people to donate. Broad Green Pictures will also host a canned food drive at the screening where people who bring at least one canned food item will be entered to win a 99 Homes prize pack including promo items from the film, a medium popcorn to enjoy during the screening and two VIP tickets to a future screening of one of their upcoming films.

Additional national partner organizations include:

 

99 Homes is written and directed by Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop, Man Push Cart) and stars Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman, The Social Network) as Dennis Nash, a single father trying to take care of his mother, played by Laura Dern (Wild, The Fault in Our Stars) and young son after being evicted from their home.  Nash becomes so desperate to provide for his family that he goes to work for Rick Carver played by Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, “Boardwalk Empire“) – the very man who evicted him from his home in the first place. 99 Homes is produced by Ashok Amritraj, Kevin Turen, Justin Nappi and Bahrani.

For more information on the 99 Homes: 99 Good Deeds initiative and a full list of and how to get involved, please visit 99HomesGoodDeeds.com.

Michael Shannon will not drown in new clip for ’99 Homes’

99HOMES_FP_00007 Michael Shannon stars as 'Rick Carver' in Broad Green Pictures release, 99 HOMES. Credit: Broad Green Pictures

Michael Shannon stars as ‘Rick Carver’ in Broad Green Pictures release, 99 HOMES.
Credit: Broad Green Pictures

99 HOMES – opening nationwide on September 25, 2015!

Synopsis: Ruthless and charismatic businessman, Rick Carver (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon), is making a killing by repossessing homes and gaming the real estate market. When he evicts Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), a single father trying to care for his mother (Academy Award® nominee Laura Dern) and young son (newcomer Noah Lomax), Nash becomes so desperate to provide for his family that he goes to work for Carver – the very man who left them homeless in the first place. Carver promises Nash a way to regain his home and earn security for his family, but slyly seduces him into a lifestyle of wealth and glamour.  It is a deal-with-the-devil that comes with an increasingly high cost. On Carver’s orders, Nash must evict families from their homes – an undertaking that grows more brutal and dangerous than he ever imagined.

Website: http://www.99homesmovie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/99homesmovie?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/99HomesMovie

Instagram: https://instagram.com/99homesmovie/

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfttvNCIJvE

Hashtag: #99homes