Review: ‘Butt Boy’, the next midnight cult classic.

Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.

8 minutes into Butt Boy and it was successfully one of the weirdest things I’ve ever watched. 5 minutes more and I was completely horrified but couldn’t look away, much like a brutal car accident on the side of the road. This is a compliment. The plot sounds insane; an unsatisfied man starts putting things up his butt to feel again, becomes obsessed with the sensation, leading him down a dark path. Oh, then enter a grief-stricken detective on a mission and you’ve got Butt Boy. I’m tagging it “supervillain origin story meets addiction fable.” I wish I had been in the room for this screenplay’s creation. A version with commentary will be demanded in the future.

Performances are genre perfect. Over-the-top clichés perhaps at quick glance but with genuinely great acting beats throughout. Combine that with a spectacular set on the tail end (no pun intended) and cool sound and color choices, it’s this year’s most unexpected find. Butt Boy is the kind of cult film that you get exposed to either by a genre cinephile or some random dude late one night who says, “Bro! 2020 is/was fucking crazy! But have you seen Butt Boy?!” Then he makes you watch it and you have no idea what you just watched but now you’re that guy who makes other people watch it because why not share the gag-inducing images, WTF storyline, and 100 percent triumphant ending. To be honest, it was the buzz, first, and then the trailer that got me to watch. Now I feel the need to share. You’re welcome, in advance.

You can experience Butt Boy for yourself right now On-Demand. And you know I’ve left you the trailer below as a snack.

BUTT BOY is directed and co-written by Tyler Cornack (who steps outside from behind the camera to star in the flick as well) and produced by Bill Morean and Ryan Koch, who also co-wrote. Together the three founded the popular Tiny Cinema online channel, which Rice collaborates on and where the concept for the absurdist mystery feature was first conceived.

Review: ‘PHIL’, Greg Kinnear’s directorial debut is now in theaters and On Demand.

**Closing Night Film – Sarasota Film Festival 2019**

Phil, a depressed dentist whose life is falling apart, is shocked when one of his patients, a man who seemed to have the perfect life, kills himself. Determined to find out what would drive a man who had everything to end his life, Phil pretends to be a handyman and integrates himself into the dead man’s life, befriending his wife and daughter. How long can Phil keep up this double life when he is already ready to end his normal one?

Happiness is the ever elusive prize in life. Depression is a monster. As one man’s seemingly perfect life comes to an end, another attempts to find out why in question of his own mortality. PHIL is a story of the pursuit of happiness and what that even means.

Greg Kinnear, playing both the film’s director and titular character, is a man on the literal edge. After becoming enamored with the joy of one of his patients, he resorts to following the man until he discovers him hanging in the middle of the forest. Why would someone who has it all end his life? Phil is obsessed with answers. Kinnear, as always, is charming and grounded. There is something in this man’s eyes that makes you want to listen to him, to care for him, to experience what he experiences. Alongside an enormously talented ensemble, including Emily Mortimer, Jay Duplass, Luke Wilson, and more, PHIL explores the things in life that make us connect with one another; Stories, memories, new and old, family and friendship. Learning to not live vicariously through others is a lesson we can all take to heart. PHIL has an unexpected script and it is pure delight. This film is about growth and the exploration of self. It’s a real gem and all involved should be proud to share this story.

Quiver Distribution will release the comedy PHIL in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on July 5, 2019.

 PHIL marks the directorial debut of Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As It Gets).  The film features an all-star cast including Kinnear, Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns, HBO’s “The Newsroom”), Jay Duplass (Amazon’s “Transparent,” Hulu’s “The Mindy Project”), Taylor Schilling (Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black,” The Lucky One), Kurt Fuller (Midnight in Paris, Anger Management) with Luke Wilson (Legally Blonde series, Old School) and Bradley Whitford (Get Out, ABC’s “The West Wing”). The screenplay was written by Stephen Mazur (Heartbreakers, Liar Liar).

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Blow The Man Down’ is one of the year’s best films.

Blow The Man Down

While grieving for the loss of their mother, the Connolly Sisters suddenly find they have a crime to cover up, leading them deep into the underbelly of their salty Maine fishing village.

Growing up in a small New England town, I have a full appreciation for the glorious specificity in Blow The Man Down. From the regional slang to the understanding that everyone knows everyone else’s business, this film is filled with surprises and its very own version of a Greek chorus in Maine fisherman form. A completely femme-centric story boasts magnificent performances from the entire ensemble cast. June Squib, Annette O’Toole, Marceline Hugo, Margot Martindale, Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor, and Gayle Rankin. Co-directors and screenwriters Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy have created a suspenseful, funny, incredibly dark murder mystery. It’s only after walking away from the screening did I realize the small clues that were sprinkled along the way and but honestly had no idea what would happen from moment to moment. It was refreshing. Martindale plays the dominant town matriarch with the skill we’ve come to expect from her. Squib, O’Toole, and Hugo are a smart trio. They cleverly play their hand close to the chest and become the saving grace of our two young leads. Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor are fantastic foils as sisters. Their chemistry is spot on. Gayle Rankin’s emotional journey is much larger than it might first appear. She continues to be one to watch. Blow The Man Down is in my Top 3 films from the festival this year.

Review: ‘SMALLER AND SMALLER CIRCLES’

Two Jesuit priests perform forensic work to solve the mystery revolving around the murders of young boys in one of Metro Manila’s biggest slum areas. While dealing with the systematic corruption of the government, church and the elite, the two priests delve into criminal profiling, crime scene investigation and forensic analysis to solve the killings, and eventually, find the murderer.

Based on the award-winning novel by Filipino author F.H. Batacan, SMALLER AND SMALLER CIRCLES illustrates the best and worst of human nature: the antiseptic and dirty, the sublime and rotten, the hellish and divine.

With an unusual premise of having priests specialize in forensics, Smaller and Smaller Circles opens with haunting music and a disturbing image. Setting the stage for a mystery no one wants to delve further into. It addresses corruption in every corner of the church. Driven by greed and in the interest of reputation over the safety of the community’s young boys, we are witness to evil in many forms. A moody tone is set, eerily similar to the feeling Season 1 of True Detective gave us. The film could have easily been a mini-series. The final scene leads me to believe that this story isn’t over, in a sense. At the very least, our leading  characters have more work they can do. I, for one, would be invested in another film if not a redeveloped series, altogether. There are more details, I can only assume, the novel addresses. The story feels incomplete, only in the sense that I wanted more. Ultimately, this is a compliment to the intricacy of the storyline. The forensics aspects are intensely graphic but profoundly effective. The acting from ancillary characters is a bit spotty. It feels as if locals without experience were used to fill those roles. Though, I must give credit to each lead. Fully fleshed out backstories were felt even if we didn’t see them. This is yet another reason I would watch an expanded version. Smaller and Smaller Circles is undeniably engrossing.

SMALLER AND SMALLER CIRCLES was directed by Raya Martin and written by Raymond Lee and Ria Limjap.  The film features both English and Filipino language.  It has a running time of 111 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.

Uncork’d Entertainment will release the film in Los Angeles and additional select markets on March 1.  It will then be released digitally on March 19 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox and local Cable).

Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘CAM’ flips subject and voyeur.

Cam is unique for so many reasons. First, it’s a genre-bending menagerie. You think you know what you’re in for with a sex worker vying to be in the top ten of her live sex show site. But the script is flipped several times and in completely unexpected ways each time. It’s difficult to categorize Cam and I do mean this as a compliment. It seesaws from horror to thriller and swings into surreal territory all while keeping the audience in the dark until the very end. Rarely do we see sex workers treated as human beings, but in Cam, there is a sense of empowerment attached to the storyline. Lead actress, Madeline Brewer, has the massive task of being more than two distinct characters and to explain further would ruin the plot. Brewer knocks it out of the park here. Her talent is undeniable. I will say that the commentary on social media and immediate gratification it can produce is front and center. The final scene renders the plot unapologetic. Cam is an all-around good trip.

Fantasia International Film Fest 2018 ends tonight. But we’ll keep you updated on release dates for all the films that screened this year.

Review: ‘Gridlock’

Gridlock

Release Date: March 2016

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Gridlock is an Irish spin on an American style thriller, set during a traffic jam on a narrow country road. When Eoin’s young daughter Emma goes missing from their car, he forms a desperate search party to find her, and soon everyone is a suspect.

The last of the short films we have been reviewing, Gridlock is another home run! Like Penalty and Lost Face, Gridlock is also up for an Oscar nomination. This short film is roughly 20 minutes long and we certainly wish it had been a feature length because it had us from the beginning. Trying to figure out what happened to Eoin’s daughter and thinking that each character was more suspect than the last. Gridlock is a thrill from start to finish. Like the last few, we don’t want to give away too much, but this is another MUST SEE! Good luck to whoever has to decide which shorts will receive Oscar nominations… because we believe all three could take the cake. Gridlock, however, was our favorite. It had us locked into our seat, causing us to leave work late on a Friday to see the end. So we watched a movie about a traffic jam which then caused us to be in a traffic jam… totally worth it!

Reel ROB Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

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

Review: ‘THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM’ gives us a theatrical look at murder and mayhem.

 presents

THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM

**World Premiere – Toronto International Film Festival 2016**

**Official Selection – Sitges Film Festival 2016**

The city of London is gripped with fear as a serial killer – dubbed The Limehouse Golem – is on the loose and leaving cryptic messages written in his victim’s blood.  With few leads and increasing public pressure, Scotland Yard assigns the case to Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) – a seasoned detective with a troubled past and a sneaking suspicion he’s being set up to fail.  Faced with a long list of suspects, including music hall star Dan Leno (Douglas Booth), Kildare must get help from a witness who has legal troubles of her own (Olivia Cooke), so he can stop the murders and bring the killer to justice.

Based on the novel “Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd, the film was written by the acclaimed writer Jane Goldman (KingsmenThe Woman in Black), directed by Juan Carlos Medina (Painless) and produced by Stephen Woolley (Their Finest, Interview with a Vampire), Joanna Laurie (Hyena) and Elizabeth Karlsen (Carol).  The film stars Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Underworld), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, “Bates Motel”), Douglas Booth (Pride, Prejudice and ZombiesNoah), Daniel Mays (“Line of Duty”) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, “Ray Donovan.”) The Limehouse Golem is a whirlwind mystery. Jane Goldman has taken Peter Ackroyd‘s novel and brought it to life from page to screen and ultimately stage since much of the story revolves around live performances and theatrical ambition. The costumes and set are gorgeous, striking a perfect visual balance of play costumes and period dress. The dark Limehouse district scenes of macabre and the vibrant, hyper-saturated theater are striking in contrast. The story cannot help but grab you as you try to keep up with the suspects alongside Nighy‘s lead. The cast is a true ensemble of talent. Bill Nighy‘s role was originally meant for the late Alan Rickman, but once his health began to decline Nighy stepped into the role. The film is actually dedicated to Rickman’s memory. Nighy is brilliant and powerful as usual in his honest search for the truth. Olivia Cooke, who’s talent is grossly underrated, does a spectacular job as she navigates a complicated woman in Lizzie Cree. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a standing ovation, as it were, to Douglas Booth in his engrossing portrayal of real life actor Dan Leno. Funny, touching, purely entertaining, Booth owns this role. The script will keep you on your toes and with a murder mystery, what more can you ask for?

THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM in Theaters, on VOD and Digital HD today September 8, 2017.

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/

Review: ‘DIGGING FOR FIRE’ ignites the funny and poignant.

Digging For Fire_posterThey say curiosity killed the cat. In the new film DIGGING FOR FIRE, curiosity most definitely killed somebody… but who? Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt lead an all star cast in this dark new indie from Joe Swanberg. While house-sitting for a client, Lee and Tim find a bone and a gun in the backyard, sparking a mystery that must be solved. Digging for Fire-4Johnson plays gym teacher Tim and husband to Dewitt’s yoga instructor Lee. While the film appears to tackle the mystery aspect at full force, the screenplay veers off onto the topics of marriage, parenting, and losing one’s identity. As Tim and Lee part ways for the weekend, Tim throws an intimate get together at the house, encouraging his guests to participate in his sleuthing. Lee drops their son Jude (played adorably by Swanberg’s real life son) off with her parents to visit with friends and explore some alone time. As their days and nights progress, the two weave in and out of age and stage realizations and reveal subtle personality quirks that are all too relatable. Digging for Fire-8While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Swanberg‘s Happy Christmas last year, Digging for Fire feels more like Drinking Buddies in it’s organic camera work and down to earth quality. Jake Johnson is always funny as hell and this is no exception. His every-man approachability combined with his genuine comic timing is a real win. Rosemarie DeWitt has the same “making the audience feel at ease” way about her. Their chemistry with one another and the entire rest of the cast including, Judith Light, Sam Elliott, Melanie Lynskey, Mike Birbiglia, Jenny Slate, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Orlando Bloom, Ron Livingston, and Sam Rockwell (to name a few) is refreshing and fun to watch. I am really digging, no pun intended, the screenplay pairing of Johnson and Swanberg. This is clearly a great team.

DIGGING FOR FIRE opens in theaters and VOD today

 

50 Snowy Movies for a Cold Weekend – The Reel Big Show

The-Reel-Big-Show

It’s hard to keep track of all the movies we talked about in this episode. It was so much fun to think of them! Below you’ll find them all. Please let us know in the comments what your favorite snow movie is!
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Liz’s Review: ‘MURDER OF A CAT’ is a quirky suburban noir.

MURDERCATposter

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a weird gal. It’s fine. It’s sort of my thing. I like what I like and I’m proud of it. That being said, if someone killed my best friend, I’d hunt them down like the scoundrels they are. (Prime example, I use words like scoundrel in regular conversation). In the new film MURDER OF A CAT, Clinton (Fran Kranz) also, a bit of a weirdo, finds his beloved cat-friend brutally murdered. It is his moral duty to find out who, what, when, where, and why.

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