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

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!


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

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)

Victor Levin’s ‘5 to 7’ brings Parisian romance to New York City.

5 to 7 poster There is something about the French that evokes whimsy and passion. Paris is touted as the romance capital of the world. The language is oozing with lust and the men and women who reside there, are to be envied and adored. But give me NYC, anyday. There are so many stories just waiting to happen. In 5 to 7, we meet Brian, (ANTON YELCHIN) a 24 year old, down and out writer who won’t quit following his passion. He wallpapers his apartment with rejection letters but never stops creating. One day, by sheer chance or perhaps by fate, he looks across the street to find a stunning, French brunette smoking a cigarette. This moment is the catalyst for the entire story. Arielle (BÉRÉNICE MARLOHE) is a married 33 year old woman with two children and a unique understanding with her husband. The two and affair but with rules in place; only from 5-7pm. Arielle’s husband has a mistress, as well. She is Jane (OLIVIA THIRLBY), a 25 year old editor, who has followed the rules for a year already. Brian is welcomed into the “family” with open arms, everything is out in the open, and as unusual as it seems, somehow it works… for the while at least. At some point, sharing the woman of his dreams is too much for Brian to bare and an ultimatum is presented.5 to 7 AntonBereniceThe angst in this film is palpable. The heaviness of the situation and the excitement is wrought from the very beginning. There is something so wrong with this arrangement and yet you cannot help but root for them, and for everyone. The struggle between happiness and traditional thinking is constantly challenged in the script, crafted carefully by Victor Levin who does double duty as Director. As a New Yorker, this film is also a love story with the City itself. Peering into locations like The Guggenheim, Central Park, The St. Regis, and neighborhoods all over Manhattan is a love affair no city dweller can overlook. We are also treated to diverse cultural experiences between young downtown and sophisticated wealthy uptown. “Beer Vs. Wine”, if you will, but all New York City at heart.5 to 7 GlennFrankYelchin, who is in quite a few feature this year alone, is wonderful, charming and insightful as ever.  Marlohe is enchanting and effortless. Rounding out the amazing cast is Glenn Close and Frank Langella as Brian’s parents, Arlene and Sam Bloom. These two pros come into their scenes as if they were married for 30 years. Funny and honest and keeping us on our toes, they are a delight as a foil to Brian and Arielle. 5 to 7 has a built in audience. This film is for anyone who has ever had stars in their eyes and hope in their hearts. It’s a story of choices and finding out how far you’ll go for your happy ending.Victor Levin 5 to 7

In speaking to Victor Levin this week, I got a whole new insight on his first feature. He was simply a gentleman and a scholar and I thank him for every minute of his time. Take a listen to our chat below.


5 to 7 opens in theaters today in NY and LA, with a nationwide release next Friday, April 10th. It is also available now on VOD.



Liz’s Review: ‘RED KNOT’- Do you know where your marriage is?


Marriage is difficult. I got married 5 days before my husband started business school at Yale. He was on the Investment Banking track. What that meant in my world was that I wouldn’t see my husband for the next 4 months as he prepared for innumerable interviews, events, and attended the accelerated course load that comes with an ivy league school. Even after 6 years together, I had to become a whole new woman. In the new film RED KNOT, a young, newly married couple take this idea to the extreme as they honeymoon on a research vessel near Antarctica.

Read More →