Review: ‘Dead Envy’

Dead Envy

Release Date: August 24, 2018

Digital HD: September 3, 2018

Run Time: 1 hour 11 minutes

Reviewed By: Reel Reviews Over Brews

Aging rock artist David Tangier’s (Harley Di Nardo) sense of identity is all but destroyed as he works cutting hair to provide a comfortable life for himself and his wife. His sound and age bind him to the rock of the 2000s when his band Katatonic Spin ruled the scene. David cannot tolerate that he has become a has-been. Taking one last long shot at maintaining his integrity, David sets out to organize the follow-up album that he never had the chance to make.

I was pleasantly surprised by Dead Envy. Most movies I have the pleasure of reviewing I try to go in with low expectations so I won’t be disappointed. Well, Dead Envy succeeded my expectations in all aspects. The acting, the storyline, the quality, even the soundtrack was pretty solid… you won’t hear many negatives (if any at all) from me. I really enjoyed how Adam Reeser portrayed the psycho-obsessed fan. He played the role great and honestly don’t think I could picture as anything else after this one. Harley Di Nardo also killed it with his role of washed-up musician, David, still trying to follow his dream. I don’t see this as a theatrical movie, but absolutely could see it being on TV or Netflix. Great movie for steaming. If you come across Dead Envy on one of those outlets, tune it. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Reel ROB Rating: 5.25 out of 10 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review!

Tribeca Film Festival Review: ‘Here and Now’ is sensational.

On the eve of a major performance at the iconic Birdland Jazz Club, Vivienne Carala (Sarah Jessica Parker) receives shocking news during a doctor’s visit that turns her world upside down. She struggles to deal with the devastation during rehearsals with her band and her manager (Common) and attempts to avoid her overbearing mother (Jacqueline Bisset). Finally, as she contemplates sharing the news with her ex and her teen daughter, Vivienne finds solace in the streets of New York City, where she reflects on her past and her future.

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Here and Now is the reason we still sit in a dark theater to experience a film. Sarah Jessica Parker is breathtaking and raw. The sound editing is stuff dreams are made of. It is noticeably heightened and for good reason. People’s cell conversations accost her while music fills the gaps in between. We track her in real time because time and sound and regret are the keys to this elegant film. Along with some stunning handheld camera work, there is simply not a hair out of place in this film’s storytelling. Here and Now explores the human connection between beauty and loss and life choices. You will be moved in ways you will never see coming. Check out the clip below for a slice of heaven that is Here and Now. *Formally titled Blue Night*

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Review: ‘THE VESSEL’ is a struggle between grief and belief.

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In Theaters September 16, 2016

Starring:

Martin Sheen (TV’s “The West Wing,” Apocalypse Now)

Lucas Quintana (Wing it, Death of an Ally)

Jacqueline Duprey (Under Suspicion, Entre Nos)

Aris Mejias (Gabi, “Incógnita”)

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Lucas Quintana; Credit: Courtesy of Outsider Pictures

When tragedy strikes, your universe can crumble. Everything you know can seem confusing or useless. Darkness takes hold. We search for the smallest meaning to turn our sadness into joy once more. In THE VESSEL, one man is burdened with being the guiding light for a small coastal town, following the sudden death of all its elementary aged children.

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Aris Mejias; Courtesy of Outsider Pictures

Martin Sheen‘s performance as a well-meaning priest is genuine and grounded as always. The Vessel was filmed in both English and Spanish, which is an incredible feat for any American actor. Once again teaming up with Terrence Malick (executive producer), the two would have the opportunity to seemingly readdress a series of meaningful conversations in Paris in 1981 in which Sheen’s Roman Catholic faith was restored. Playing our other leading man, Leo, is Lucas Quintana. His strong but never forceful presence is the perfect companion character for the audience to follow. We are 100% on his intellectual journey throughout. Both Jaqueline Duprey and Aris Mejias, as Leo’s Mother and Soraya respectively, give heart-rending performances as two women whose grief controls their daily lives and sanity.

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Lucas Quintana; Courtesy of Outsider Pictures

One thing that must be mentioned is the ethereal score of this film. It is, in itself, an entire character. The music is emotionally entrancing, at moments giving me chills. The Vessel presents a world in which religion and the supernatural collide. A town frozen in time and mourning experiences a miracle that breathes new life into its people. But disappointment leads to anger and hysteria. It’s a visually lovely film in which color plays a huge role. Bravo to director Julio Quintana for assembling a masterful piece of work.

Music, Dancing, Fireworks, Childbirth. In an unnamed coastal town somewhere in Latin America, these are just a few things that vanished from a small fishing village after a massive tidal wave crushed the local elementary school, washing forty-six children out to sea.  Father Douglas (Martin Sheen) urges the grief-stricken mothers to have more children, but they refuse, locked in a state of perpetual mourning. Until one night when a local young man slips off the pier and drowns, only to mysteriously waken three hours later.  “Could this be a sign from God?” the townspeople wonder.

Interview: ‘JAMES WHITE’ writer/director Josh Mond and star Christopher Abbott talk about this visceral film that takes hold of the viewer.

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I had the opportunity to sit down with writer/director Josh Mond and star Christopher Abbott of JAMES WHITE this week. We chat this volatile and spectacular film and how it effected everyone involved.

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

(L-R) CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and CYNTHIA NIXON star in JAMES WHITE

Liz: Congratulations. I love everything from the structure of  the film to how in your face it is from absolute go. There is no moment of downtime, which I appreciate as a viewer… who sees a lot of movies.

Josh: Well, thank you.

Liz: I also really liked that you used Mátyás (Erdély), and I just saw Son of Saul at the NYFF, and I hadn’t  known you used him initially, and I thought, “Well, that makes so much more sense.” So for you (Chris), how was that having someone in your face the whole time?

Chris: It never felt invasive. In a strange way, I got used to  it pretty quick. I was involved in the process early on so, I was prepared for it. I would go and meet with Josh and Mátyás and talk about it, so I knew going into the movie the style in which it would be shot. I loved it, just for experimental reasons, too, of working that way. I loved working with Mátyás and Josh in that sense. The opening sequence, when we were shooting it, it almost felt like a little performance art piece. Under the camera, Mátyás is holding onto my shirt and I’m tapping him on the hip when I’m gonna move left or right, I’m kind of directing him a little bit under the camera and he’s moving with me, so just in terms of working in that kind of waltzy way, I found it kind of exciting.

Liz: It’s really, really impactful because it’s this great balance of throwing the audience off kilter because you’re right there, but also feeling like  you’re inside your skin, so to speak, so it’s a really interesting way, like “fly-on-the-wall” but also ” point of view”. It’s very effective.

(To Josh) Where is the line between truth and fiction for you when you wrote this?

Josh: It’s not autobiographical, but I did lose my mother four and a half years ago  to cancer, and I was raised by a single mother. I grew up on the UWS and I wanted to explore something that I didn’t understand. And explore things I wanted to understand better and while doing it I realized I was desperate to connect. So, yeah, it’s coming from a personal place.

Liz: So many of us have lost people that are close (with cancer) but people don’t  talk about it. It was amazing to delve right into it and be completely raw. And with Cynthia, how was working with her, for both of you?

Josh: I mean, it was amazing. She was so generous and patient with me, being my first film. Also, she connected with the material and was nice enough to open up about her personal experiences in losing her mother to cancer just a coupe months prior to meeting. I mean, she’s worked with everyone from Altman to Mike Nichols to Sidney Lumet, and uh, it was amazing. I got to watch the two of them play off each other. I was very lucky to have both of them.

Chris: She’s  such a professional in that way. She showed up the picture completely painted. It made my job easier. Again, she’s a professional, so she knows how to do it, so she listens well and delivers well. It makes playing those kinds of scenes extremely fulfilling. She gives you so much to work toward.

Liz: How  long was the shooting?

Josh: We shot in NY for 18 days. And then Mexico in 4.

Liz: Was Scott (Kid Cudi) Mescudi in your brain while writing? Was he playing in the background?

Josh: Yeah, I wrote a lot of the film while listening to his music. I would put on the music to change mood or to encourage me. I started listening to the lyrics, so I found motivation not only through what he was doing but also how it sounded. I connected to him. I’m first a fan. So it was a fantasy when [ he got the script ].

Liz: “Here, read this. What do you think? Also, would you like to be in it?”

Josh: Yeah, and I feel very lucky because I now consider him a close friend. Having him do the score for the film was surreal.

Liz: Did he score after or during the filming?

Josh: I asked him towards the end of the shoot if he would be interested in doing it. During the editing and post-production process we just started discussing ideas.

Liz: You don’t really know what people are capable of until you give them that platform. The chemistry between everybody is shockingly real. It’s just really comfortable, something about it.

When you first read the script, did you get James immediately or was it something that you got once you two started to discuss?

Chris: I was lucky enough to be involved pretty early on so I got to read quite a few different variations of different drafts. I mean, it was both, I felt like the character was pretty fleshed out immediately and I felt like a knew the kind  of guy he was. Whatever kind of conflicts he had, I understood the reasoning behind it. Even in his worst moments, why he was acting in the way he was. It was a mix of that and being lucky enough to having been friends with Josh, it was very easy to get together and talk about it. And just get coffees for a while before we even started shooting.

Liz: There is so much going on in this film all the time. Did you guys take breaks emotionally from shooting? It’s so heavy. Did you ever get overwhelmed and just say, “Can we take 5 minutes?”

Chris: Not until the end really. At least not until Mexico.

Josh: I was overwhelmed a lot.

Chris: We shot 6 day weeks. It’s a bit of a blur, the whole thing, by now, but I think that served the movie. The lack of rest in that way, I think it served the anxiety for me at least. I never really got a break emotionally but that’s another reason I really liked it.  It was equally tiring and thrilling.

Liz: Did you have an intention of tackling hospice care issues?

Josh: No. I am extremely grateful for hospice care. I can only speak for my experience. The point of hospice is there’s no more treatment. So it’s now about the quality of life. You couldn’t go back to the hospital because then you’ll lose hospice care and then you’ll have to reapply. We had a wonderful, wonderful nurse who was there when my mom passed and was very informative of how to say goodbye and just was really very loving. They also provide grief counseling, you get the opportunity to get counseling from a hospice person, and not a therapist, for a year. I did some of that. If you feel like you just need some sort of help. I am absolutely nothing but grateful for hospice care and I hope that’s how it  comes across.

JAMES WHITE in in theaters today!

New ‘Youth’ Poster and Trailer are HERE!

We have the offical trailer and second movie poster for Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s film, Youth.

Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a retired orchestra cunductor who is offered a chance to perform at Prince Phillip’s Birthday. He receives the invitation while he is on holiday in the alps with his close friend Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) and Daughter, Lena (Rachel Weisz). Together they go on a musical and emotional journey of reminiscing in the past as well as taking on the possibilities of the future.

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents Youth on December 4th 2015.

Review: “10,000 Saints” will rock you gently.

10K Saints poster 10,000 Saints follows three screwed up young people and their equally screwed up parents in the age of CBGB’s, yuppies and the tinderbox of gentrification that exploded into the Tompkins Square Park Riots in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. This film is essentially the story of how small life connections become the ties that bind a group of estranged friends and family. It’s quite extraordinary and a brilliant translation of Eleanor Henderson‘s New York Times best-selling novel. After the loss of his best friend Teddy, Jude is sent to live his absentee father, Les. Reconnecting with Les’ girlfriend’s daughter, Eliza and straight edge punk singer and brother of Teddy, Johnny, the three embark on a path that was thrust upon them. 10K Saints Asa EthanEthan Hawke, who I am convinced is a Timelord at this point, gives a flawless performance. His loose lipped, nonchalance is the perfect foil to quietly angsty and gentle Asa Butterfield as Jude. Les’ storyline of fatherly redemption is pretty poetic. Jude’s search for his soul is much more pensive but just as stunning with Butterfield’s innate ability to live the screenplay’s emotional highs and lows. Hailee Steinfeld‘s natural performance as wild child turned guilt ridden and lost pregnant teen is one that should be noted. Emile Hirsh‘s Johnny is a beautifully zen enigma. With a truly talented cast rounded out by Juilanne Nicholson, Avan Jogia, and Emily Mortimer10,000 Saints is one hell of an ensemble film. 10K Saints Emile HaileeThis coming of age tale is deals with guilt, unrequited love, self realization, parenting and death, all in delicate yet fully  meaningful ways. The music is most defintiely its own character, with a soundtrack featuring The Replacements, The Cure, REM, Social Distortion, The Stone Roses, and Johnny’s band Army of One. Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are gifted storytellers and you bet I will be going out and grabbing Henderson’s novel soon. 10,000 Saints will not disappoint your eyes, ears or heart. 10,000 Saints comes to theaters, iTunes and other VOD platforms Friday, August 14th

Liz’s Review: ‘IT FOLLOWS’ an unexpected path.

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Most horror films are relatively formulaic. I can appreciate that as a fan, but every once in a blue moon, something truly special comes along. It Follows is the story of 19 year old college girl, Jay. During the early stages of a relationship with a boy named Hugh, Jay is knocked out by chloroform and tied to a chair. He explains that since they have slept together he has passed a curse onto Jay. A thing, a force, an entity, call it what you like, will now follow her wherever she goes. It will take many forms, oftentimes of a loved one, sometimes deceased. Never let it touch you, for if you do, it will kill you. The only way to pass along the curse it to sleep with someone else. Absurd premise, yes. Scary as hell, absolutely. Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell takes us into a world that was created from one of his childhood nightmares. A presence that stalked him slowly and incessantly. We’ve all had these dreams; something or someone following us. The main difference here is we always wake up. Read More →

Liz’s Review: ‘SONG ONE’ plays well

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Nothing quite captures New York City like it’s sound scrape. The roaring of a passing subway train. The chatter in a coffee house. The songs heard on the streets by the immense talent that envelopes themselves in the starving artist community that creates the fabric of this magical place.  SONG ONE is a beautiful ode to this city. Read More →

Liz’s review: ‘LIFE INSIDE OUT’ and interview with star Maggie Baird

LIO poster

My mother always encouraged us to have music on in the kitchen. While she baked or did her lesson plans for her art classes, or made dinner. Chicago, Huey Lewis, and Disney soundtracks were blasting in our car rides back and forth to dance lessons, or girl scouts, or my brother’s karate lessons. My mom was a superhero. My mom is still a super hero. If I can be half the mother she is, I will consider myself a lucky woman. In the new film LIFE INSIDE OUT we are privy to the perfect example of how creative mothers reach their children in very different and very special ways. The talented acting/writing team, Maggie Baird and Lori Nasso, bring to life a story of so many mothers who have lost their own identity to raising their children and keeping their families intact. The story comes from Baird’s true life experience with son Finneas O’Connell. When Baird’s husband was forced to take a job that kept him away from the family, it took an emotional toll on then 12 year old Finneas. Once Maggie rediscovers her songwriting roots, Finneas follows suit. Much to everyone’s surprise, Finneas is a bit of a musical prodigy is his own right. Writing his own songs allowed him to creatively process his own angst and bond with Maggie on a new level. Read More →

NYFF52 Liz’s Review: ‘Seymour: An Introduction’ is a master class on life

nyff New York Film Festival 2014

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I went to a performing arts conservatory for my college experience. Not to burst readers’ bubbles, but I am pretty sure I have never been described as shy or ambiguous in my opinions. However, it wasn’t until a 2nd semester Voice Production and Speech class in which I got up in front of my ridiculously talented classmates and admitted that I have an oftentimes crippling case of stage fright. No one knew. I guess I hide it well. That being said, it has been the bane of my existence as performer for as long as I can remember. Seeing one of this year’s NYFF 52 Spotlight on Documentary selections hit very close to home. I present my thoughts on ‘Seymour: An Introduction.”

seymour-Concert-2 nyff52 Read More →