Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Charlie Says’ flips the script on the Manson girls.

 

Charlie Says

Charlie Says, directed by masterful filmmaker Mary Harron and written by Guinevere Turner, tells the familiar story through fresh eyes—those of Manson’s most devoted girls, van Houten (Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón). Thanks to a devoted prison educator who slowly draws the women out from years of a madman’s mesmerizing and abusive spell (Matt Smith), the women’s story is told in eerily detailed flashbacks, forcing them to reflect on the path that leads them to such unforgivable crimes.

This is not a story about Charles Manson. This is a story about three women who were manipulated by a mentally ill man who convinced them they were loved. Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Leslie Van Houten, all came to be followers of Charles Manson because they were lost and looking for someone to make them feel important. It’s the performance from Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Merritt Wever that catapult this story forward. Wever, in particular, is the heartbeat that guides these broken girls into reality. Bacon represents every girl that needed Manson (played by Matt Smith with a quiet but fiercely alarming power) to be their father figure. Murray, as Leslie, is the audience. You feel for these ladies through intercut flashbacks and prison scenes. Each like a peek behind the curtain and into the insanity of a man who thought the Beatles were speaking to him through the ‘White Album”. These women were brainwashed sex slaves. It wasn’t until a feminist teacher Karlene Faith, with enough empathy to teach these women, did anyone begin to realize that they too were victims alongside those murdered. The film is chilling. The structure is disturbingly effective. You end up caring about these women who history has taught us to loathe. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. I’ll say it again. Charlie Says is not about Charles Manson. It is about the victims he kept closest to him.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Mary Harron is the writer and director of films including American PsychoThe Moth DiariesI Shot Andy Warhol, and The Notorious Bettie Page. Her television credits include episodes of The L WordSix Feet UnderBig Love, and Oz, and, most recently, The Following (FOX), Constantine (NBC), and Graceland (USA).

Review: ‘SIBERIA’ left us out in the cold.

Keanu Reeves

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SIBERIA

When a business deal in Russia goes south, a U.S. diamond merchant (Keanu Reeves) and his lover (Ana Ularu) are caught in a lethal crossfire between the buyer and federal intelligence service.

Sometimes I forget how talented Keanu Reeves truly is. He can take a pretty lifeless role and make it into something we weren’t expecting. That being said, these talents are really wasted in Siberia. It’s a poor man’s John Wick. The pace is often excruciating. When it is on, it’s vastly entertaining. The potential lies within the higher stakes, action-oriented scenes, but since they are few and what feels like far between it’s tough to stay on the train. 50 minutes into the 1:44 minute run it finally feels like,”Ok now we’re getting somewhere!” Alas, it will be 15 more minutes until something relatively interesting occurs. The script really takes it damn time getting to the point.

The performances are strong. Ana Ularu is vastly underutilized opposite Reeves. There is so much going on behind that tough girl veneer, a sadness that you want to fix. She has a brilliant presence but has been diminished to sex doll with a heart of gold. Someone write her a juicy role, please.  Molly Ringwald appears for what is tantamount to a cameo, speaking of underutilized. Her performance in this year’s Tribeca selection,  All These Small Moments is proof we need her back in our lives on a more permanent basis. Reeves, as Lucas Hill, diamond dealer trapped in a lackluster marriage and put in a shady work position, is the only saving grace. The problem being, you can feel the pained longing to kick some real ass. Ultimately, Siberia ends up being a midlife crisis cry for help, more than anything else. It left me cold and a bit empty.

Saban Films will release the romantic crime thriller SIBERIA in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD on July 13, 2018

SIBERA stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Speed, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Molly Ringwald (“Riverdale,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” Sixteen Candles), and Ana Ularu (Outbound, Inferno). The film is directed by Matthew Ross (Frank & Lola) from a script by Oscar nominated novelist/screenwriter Scott B Smith (The Ruins, A Simple Plan) and producer/screenwriter Stephen Hamel (Passengers, Henry’s Crime).

Review: ‘ The Endless’ is an unsettling trip.

THE ENDLESS

Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Written by Justin Benson

Starrs Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Emily Montague, Lew Temple, Tate Ellington, James Jordan

Synopsis: Following their Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, acclaimed filmmakers Moorhead and Benson return with this mind-bending thriller that follows two brothers who receive a cryptic video message inspiring them to revisit the UFO death cult they escaped a decade earlier. Hoping to find the closure that they couldn’t as young men, they’re forced to reconsider the cult’s beliefs when confronted with unexplainable phenomena surrounding the camp. As the members prepare for the coming of a mysterious event, the brothers race to unravel the seemingly impossible truth before their lives become permanently entangled with the cult.

The Endless is a truly mindbending cinematic experience. The story alone is strange enough but when combined with breathtaking cinematography and some serious FX, you’ve got one of the coolest films so far this year. It addresses the question of cult mentality and what we consider to be familial relationships. The Endless begs for multiple viewings and not just because you think you might be able to figure out exactly what’s happening, though that’s definitely a reason. You’ll come back for cool visuals, solid performances from the entire cast, and really snappy dialogue. There is so much going on in this film that your brain may not be able to keep up with all the awesome being thrown its way. More than once, I literally said aloud, “How’d the hell did they do that?!” Benson and Moorhead have undoubtedly given us a cult classic. To think this was all done on a limited indie budget is downright mind-blowing. The Endless will surprise you and keep you on your toes until the very final frame.
Check out the trailer below:

Opening in New York April 6th and Los Angeles April 13th with a national rollout to follow

TRT: 112 minutes

Country: USA

Language: English

Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson

Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Emily Montague, Lew Temple, Tate Ellington, James Jordan

 

Review: ‘VIRGINIA MINNESOTA’ is a quirky and heartfelt road movie.

 Daniel Stine’s feature film debut, Virginia Minnesota, received its world premiere on March 2nd at the Cinequest Film Festival and stars a primarily female cast led by Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix.

Two young women, torn apart by a childhood tragedy, unexpectedly reunite and embark on an illuminating 24-hour journey, where they unlock memories of long forgotten innocence and what it means to truly believe.

This unexpected indie takes your heart by surprise within minutes. It’s part folklore, part road movie, and all charm. When four girls are called together to hear the reading of the will of their former headmistress, sparks fly and memories burn with truth and misunderstanding. I was not expecting this story to turn into a road movie at all, although with a character that is a suitcase with a personality (you’ll just have to watch to understand what I mean) I guess I should have predicted it in hindsight. While a small piece of the plot does revolve around a fiancé, the dialogue definitely passes The Bechdel Test with flying colors. Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix have a chemistry that is fun and comfortable.They challenge one another at every turn making Virginia Minnesota just as delightful as it is insightful. Guilt, repressed feelings and some seriously quirky encounters create a truly lovely and endlessly engrossing film.

VIRGINIA MINNESOTA – Trailer from Daniel Stine on Vimeo.

Virginia Minnesota premiered at the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival on March 2nd at 9:30 PM.

Virginia Minnesota was recently awarded the Global Grand Jury award for Best Hollywood Film at the Hollywood Film Festival (HFF), with Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix receiving special mention as Exceptional Emerging Artists. The film is produced by Rushaway Pictures, with cinematography by Pedro Ciampolini and a score by Gary Dworetsky.

Review: ‘The Vanishing of Sidney Hall’ weighs heavy.

The idea of personal responsibility can be a double-edged sword. It can be our life’s motivating factor or our downfall. In the new film The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, one young man’s past has an effect on the entire world around him.

After publishing a bestselling novel based on the death of one of his high school classmates, the controversial writer Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman) finds himself catapulted to unexpected fame and renown. His relationship with his girlfriend (Elle Fanning) begins to fall apart as the dark consequences of the book intrude on their life together, and he disappears without a trace. Nearly a decade later, an enigmatic detective searches for the missing author, whose books are connected to a string of mysterious arsons.

There was something about this film that really affected me throughout its nonlinear two-hour run. The script tackles issues from resentment to guilt, human connection to the feeling of powerlessness. With the award-winning performances from no less than four cast members, including Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monohan, and Blake Jenner, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall has a twisted plot that pulls your emotions in various directions throughout. The one overall theme here is undoubtedly sadness. The film has a heaviness that is unshakeable. It’s a strangely perfect companion piece to Netflix‘s 13 Reason’s Why, and without going into too much detail (because I want you to see it) the film’s themes are universally relevant. The film’s score acts as an emotional and nostalgic catalyst to the time jumps. Despite the terrible beard on Logan Lerman throughout a third of the film, he gives the audience a multilayered and tragic performance that makes Sidney Hall what it is. Speaking of tragic, Blake Jenner plays a seemingly typical jock with a hard-on for bullying but it’s his character’s home life that haunts many others in the film. A massive departure from his role in GLEE, I hope Jenner gets some much-deserved attention from this one. Elle Fanning is ever surprising as a bold, unique, and confident girl next door (or across the street to be exact) saddled with both the romantic and strained man Lerner becomes. Michelle Monaghan plays against type as Sidney’s mother. A woman’s whose vitriol and resentment make her loathsome. The cast boasts other heavy hitters like Kyle Chandler and Nathan Lane. There is not a weak link in the entire ensemble.  I can tell you, you won’t be able to guess how this one wraps up. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is fraught with love but mostly the loss of it. Be prepared prior to viewing.

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL  

Exclusively on Direct TV on January 25th & In Theaters on March 2nd

Director by:  Shawn Christensen (Academy Award Winner – Curfew, Abduction,)

Written by: Shawn Christensen & Jason Dolan

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL stars Logan Lerman (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Indignation), Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent, The Neon Demon)Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective,” Gone Baby Gone, Source Code)Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”, “Bloodline”, and Manchester By The Sea) and Nathan Lane (“Modern Family,” The “People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”).

Review: ‘MAYHEM’ is contagious fun.

Have you ever dreamed of punching Karen from Human Resources in her stupid face? Sure you have, who hasn’t?! In a new unapologetically violent and incredibly awesome film, you can live vicariously through others in kicking Karen’s ass.

MAYHEM stars Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead,” Okja), Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Showtime’s “SMILF”), and Steven Brand (“Teen Wolf,” “Secrets and Lies”) is directed by Joe Lynch (Everly, Knights of Badassdom) and marks the feature film debut from writer Matias Caruso.

SYNOPSIS:  Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is having a really bad day. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for a mysterious and dangerous virus. Chaos erupts throughout the office as the victims of the disease begin acting out their wildest impulses. Joining forces with a former client (Samara Weaving) who has a grudge of her own, Derek savagely fights tooth and nail to get to the executives on the top floor and settle the score once and for all.

We all know Steven Yeun as our beloved (may he rest in peace) Glen, but in Mayhem, he does such a fantastic job that you completely forget about his Walking Dead persona. Mayhem is literally laugh out loud funny all while having some of the coolest fight choreography and blood gushing effects. Screenwriter Matias Caruso might have hit the jackpot with the plotline because this is the most imaginative way to utilize “The F-word” in a script possible. I would go back and watch to count the number of times it’s used and not a single time is it superfluous, it’s genius. Yeun’s training with zombies made him the perfect pick for this role. He is the embodiment of everyone who has ever felt oppressed by the BS hierarchy of corporate. Samara Weaving gives a borderline Harley Quinn inspired performance as a woman who was wronged by Yeun’s character. Her effortless delivery and comic timing, down to specific idiosyncracies she displays are spot on brilliant. In reality, this is an ensemble piece of pitch-perfect character work. You cannot help but get revved up watching Mayhem. It has to be one of my favorites of 2017. You can catch MAYHEM in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD November 10, 2017(PS- that’s today.)

RLJE Films will release the upcoming horror, action film MAYHEM in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD November 10, 2017.

 **World Premiere – SXSW Film Festival 2017**

**International Premiere – Fantasia Film Festival 2017**

**West Coast Premiere – Beyond Fest 2017**

TITLE:  MAYHEM
IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD:  November 10, 2017
CAST:  Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand
DIRECTOR:  Joe Lynch
WRITER: Matias Caruso
GENRE:  Horror/Action
DISTRIBUTOR:  RLJE Films

Review: ‘ A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE’ is eternally mysterious.

PRESENTS THE ACCLAIMED NEW MASTERPIECE
FROM LEGENDARY JAPANESE DIRECTOR SHUNJI IWAI
A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE
リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁
Synopsis: Nanami is an apathetic, part-time junior high school teacher, whose only solace comes from connecting with others on “Planet”, a new social network service. One day, a young man named Tetsuya messages her and asks to meet in person. The two begin dating and quickly become engaged. When Testuya begs Nanami to increase her guest list for the wedding, Nanami reaches out to online-friend, Amuro, a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, who hires actors to play Nanami’s guests on her big day. A few weeks following the ceremony, Tetsuya’s mother confronts Nanami with allegations of lying and cheating. Heartbroken and despondent, Nanami checks herself into a hotel and manages to get hired there as a maid. One day, Amuro offers Nanami a housekeeping job in an old mansion, whose sole resident’s infectious spirit helps Nanami to open her heart. However, Nanami soon realizes that Amuro, the mansion, and its occupant aren’t what they seem – and even dreams have limits.
There is something otherworldly about Iwai Shunji‘s latest film. While A BrideFor Rip Van Winkle runs just minutes shy of 3 hrs, the story is vastly engrossing. Our beautiful lead actress, Haru Kuroki, gives us an honest and quietly bold performance that allows us to feel each beat in real time with her. We are along for the ride just as much as she is. The classical soundtrack adds an ethereal quality to mysterious turns in the script. To speak too much about the plot would ruin it for the viewer. I can say that it will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. It certainly speaks to the power of social media. It tackles isolationism and the yearning to feel truly connected physically and emotionally. A Bride For Rip Van Winkle will surprise and delight to no end. You can check out the trailer below and catch the film in theaters this Friday.

A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE opens in cinemas November 10th!

Color
Japanese Language with English Subtitles
179 minutes
Not Rated

Review: Can Daniel Radcliffe survive the ‘JUNGLE’?

 

Based on the international best-selling memoir by Yossi Ghinsberg

An enthusiastic young adventurer follows his dreams into the Amazon jungle with two friends and a guide with a mysterious past. Their journey quickly turns into a terrifying ordeal as the darkest elements of human nature and the deadliest threats of the wilderness lead to an all-out fight for survival.

Daniel Radcliffe is almost unrecognizable as real-life adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg. Greg McLean‘s film, based on Ghinsberg’s harrowing journey (and autobiography) in the Bolivian jungle in 1981 is filled with some of the most gag-inducing moments in a non-horror film we’ve seen since 127hrs. Radcliffe, sporting a heavy accent, transforms onscreen from a fit hiker to gaunt survivor. His emotional and physical rollercoaster ride is quite the experience for the audience, proving once again that Radcliffe’s talent is far beyond his Harry Potter years.
The film is essentially broken into 2 equal parts equally. The first hour is how Yossi and company come to be in the jungle, to begin with. Relationships are challenged, tempers flare, bodies are wearing down. Suddenly, and by a devastating accident, Yossi falls into the raging river, stranding him alone. This second hour has Radcliffe in almost every shot. Blended with colorful flashbacks, seriously intense stunts, and beautiful insight, JUNGLE thrills. The story is beyond incredible, lending you to wonder how and if you could survive. Check out the trailer below!

Momentum Pictures will release the thriller JUNGLE in select theaters and On Demand/Digital HD on October 20th.

A true story of survival against all odds, JUNGLE is based on the international best-selling memoir by Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg and is directed by Greg McLean (The Belko Experiment, Wolf Creek).  The film adaptation stars Daniel Radcliffe (Swiss Army Man, Horns, Harry Potter franchise) as Yossi, Thomas Kretschmann(Wanted, King Kong, Resident Evil: Apocalypse), Alex Russell (Carrie, Unbroken), and Joel Jackson (“Safe Harbour”).

New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Rape of Recy Taylor’ persists.

Sometimes a documentary teaches you more than you ever expected. Sometimes a doc is so relevant to the present it’s shocking. Nancy Burski’s, THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR, caught me by surprise from the very beginning. I learned not much has really changed in the past 80 years when it comes to everything I hold dear with respect to racism and sexism.

1944 brought forth a horrific event perpetrated by 6 white boys on one black woman. A married mother, minding her own business, was forced into a car at gunpoint, driven into the woods and raped. She was not believed, she was threatened, she was silenced. Nevertheless, she persisted. The film utilizes “race films” (something I had never heard of prior) and intimate sit-down interviews with Recy’s siblings. Both are extremely effective in illustrating her journey for justice. With the help of Rosa Parks, yes THE Rosa Parks, Recy Taylor did not shut up. She did what so many women still don’t for fear of retribution. Nevertheless, she persisted. The Rape of Recy Taylor is powerful in its narrative and triumphant in its storytelling. In a world that tries its hardest to keep women down, particularly women of color, we should revere someone like Recy Taylor and commit to educating the masses because Recy Taylor persists.


The film had its World Premiere at Venice (only American Documentary in its category) and will make its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 1st.

The numbers of women raped in Jim Crow South were staggering. In danger of their lives, they did not report the crimes and their stories went hidden. Not Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old mother who was gang raped by 6 white boys in 1944 Alabama. Unbroken, she spoke up, and with the help of Rosa Parks and legions of women spreading the word, they worked to get Recy Taylor justice.

Nancy Burski is the director of THE LOVING STORY and BY SIDNEY LUMET.

New York Film Festival 55 Review: ‘The Florida Project’ shines.

Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project is easily in my top 5 films at this year’s NYFF. The entire film is so organic with an almost documentary-style feel. The story revolves around an often overlooked segment of the country; one that we tend to dismiss as low-class. The viewing experience is akin to being a fly on the wall during events we cannot unsee. Completely irreverent and oozing with charm, it’s also a film about children but not for children. Lazy summer days and trying to entertain themselves, more alone than in the presence of proper adult supervision, the children explore and wreak havoc on tourists and locals alike. The genuine chemistry between Willem Dafoe and rambunctious newcomer Brooklyn Prince is what makes The Florida Project so perfect. Dafoe becomes a universal father figure and will no doubt remind you what a chameleon he truly is onscreen. Bria Vinaite (Also a complete unknown until now) as Halley is frighteningly all too familiar, and I do mean that as a compliment. Her relationship with Moonee is as awkwardly earnest as it is heartbreaking. Our spitfire, six-year-old Prince steals every scene with her natural curiously and sass. She will not be contained. Sean Baker‘s use of real-life vibrantly colored backdrops screams for attention against the energy pouring from the entire cast of misbehaving children. You will be laughing out loud from the very first scene and find yourself completely engrossed in the lives of these characters. I will be putting forth a mighty effort come awards season on behalf of The Florida Project, as it deserves the widest audience possible.

 

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 6, 2017

(followed by nationwide expansion)

Directed By: Sean Baker
Written By: Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch
Produced By: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex
Starring: Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou
Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto and Bria Vinaite
Release Date: October 6, 2017 (NY & LA); Expansion to follow
Running Time: 115mins
Rating: R
Website: http://floridaproject.movie/

 

Review: ‘Indivisible’ takes the family bond to the extreme.

INDIVISIBLE
(Indivisibili)In a complex and incredibly nuanced new film, sisters must decide if physical and emotional separation is what they need to survive. Indivisible is a story of exploitation and personal desire.
Daisy and Viola are conjoined twin sisters living in the suburbs of Naples. They are blessed with beautiful voices and, thanks to their performances at local weddings, communions, and baptisms, have become the breadwinners for their entire family. Kept isolated from the world by their exploitative father, their lives are turned upside down when one of them falls in love for the first time… and they discover that it is possible for them to be separated.
Angela and Marianna Fontana play conjoined twins Dasy and Viola. Sought after for their singing talents and local idolatry, everyone wants a piece of them. Born into a selfish family living off the girls’ fame, they are forced to perform, threatened by guilt and permeating greed. While one sister yearns to be surgically divided, the other feels devastated by the idea. In bold performances from these real-life twins, we are rooting for their ultimate happiness. Despite being attached at the hip, each young woman gives a brilliant performance. Full of dreams and determination, these ladies own the screen is presence and ability. Battling religious fanaticism and the seduction of escapism, our leading ladies ooze with charisma. Indivisible takes a heartfelt and intimate approach to dismiss the sideshow mentality. Every theme in this script is some sort of double entendre. With beautiful cinematography on top of a clever and unexpected script, Indivisible is one of a kind.
The film is currently playing in New York City and opens theatrically in Los Angeles today. A national rollout will follow.

100 mins | Italy | in Italian with English subtitles | 2016

Written and Directed by Edoardo De Angelis
**NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE – TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016**
**WORLD PREMIERE – 73RD VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**

**OPENING NIGHT – OPEN ROADS**

Review: ‘GIRL FLU’ is contagious fun.

Growing up is awkward. No one is ever really prepared to deal with puberty, whether it’s the child or the parent. In Dorie Barton‘s brilliant directorial debut, Girl Flu, one little girl isn’t the only one that comes face to face with what it means to become a woman.

Synopsis:

Bird, 12, has to become a woman whether she wants to or not when – in the worst week of her life – she gets her first period, is ditched by her impulsive, free spirited mom, and learns that you can never really go back to The Valley.

 

Girl Flu is truly an endearing film. Funny, relatable, and just enough edge to surpass the afterschool special pigeonhole, it’s a directorial debut that Dorie Barton can be proud of. Whether the reality of the plot is who is really raising whom, we are treated to some incredibly sold performances from the entire cast. Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) brings Jenny to life; an ill-equipped, young mother, raising a 12-year-old, who never quite grew up herself. Her crunchy and pot smoking morning rituals annoy the hell out of her daughter and her boyfriend, played by Jeremy Sisto (Waitress). Sackhoff is a beautiful balance of super flighty and genuinely sincere. Sisto, solid as ever, navigates his evolving feelings for mother and daughter alike adding to the heart and humor of a universal milestone. Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), as mom Jenny’s best friend, is damn hilarious. Not surprising for Matarazzo, as she lights up the screen in every role she plays. The real breakout star, without a doubt, is our major lead Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock) as Bird. Humiliated and bullied, surviving on the resiliency she’s been forced to develop, she is whip-smart, vulnerable, and a total pro in this role. Irrational child logic is what makes this script so honestly entertaining. We laugh because we’ve been there. The cool soundtrack is the perfect addition. It’s been a fan favorite at over two dozen film festivals so far and it’s easy to see why. You can catch GIRL FLU on VOD (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play) today, September 29. Check out the trailer below!

 

Review: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the cake.

 LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON

There is always that one questionable guest at a wedding. You might think to yourself, “How the Hell did they get invited and who do they know?” In the case of the new rom-com, LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON, turns out the Bride invited him.

 

Carrot is the main ingredient of a carrot cake and consists of large amounts of sugar like sugar beets. It was used during the medieval age as sweet ingredient in sweet cake. The carrot cake is a sweet gourmet cake prepared through the mixture of grated carrot and butter. The process of cooking results to soft carrot and the cake has dense and soft texture. The carrots themselves improve and add to the appearance, texture, and flavor of the cake. You can find more info here about the Durian Cake Collection.

You could add ingredients to your carrot cake to make it more personal, depending on your taste buds. You could sprinkle it with raisins, nuts, coconut or pineapple. The serving of carrot cake may be either plain, with glazed or topped with white icing. It can also be served topped with cream cheese icing and chopped walnuts.

There are spongy to heavy, crumbly-moist to sticky-wet, light to dark and spongy to heavy. Some are leavened or unleavened, square or oblong, round shape, fairy cakes, dusting with icing sugar and more.

The cake is called Whisky and is a most loved traditional cake. It is made with Scotch whisky and feels crumbly and light on the palate. It has candied peesl and light fruits such as sultanas, cherries, currents and raisins. This cake is loved by those who are not fond of moist and very rich textured cakes.

Another Christmas cake is the apple crème Christmas cake. It particularly consists of rich mix of finely sliced apples. It is usually mixed with raisins and other fruit. It also has cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, and eggs.

Christmas cake in certain occasion is even added with coins as touch pieces for good luck. The coins may be 3d piece, silver, or six pences wrapped in grease proof paper packages.

Synopsis: Still reeling from his breakup, Adam (Justin Long) is devastated when he learns that his ex (Cobie Smulders) is engaged. What’s worse is he’s invited to the wedding. When Adam returns home for the festivities, he must confront his unresolved feelings and an uncertain future in hopes of convincing himself and everyone else that he is truly happy for her. There he discovers the comedy in romance, the tragedy of letting go and the hard truth about growing up.

Justin Long has always been on my radar as far back as I can remember. His comic timing and boyish charm are pretty hard to compete with onscreen. This is no less true in his role as Adam. On screen for the entirety of the film, Long’s emotional journey is written both within the quippy dialogue and all over his face. Funny, heartbreaking, endearing, and relatable, there isn’t an audience member out there that won’t find something earnest to latch onto. While familiar sounding in plot, I never found the script cliche’ thanks to writer/director Ryan Eggold. Showcasing solid performances from Cobie Smulders, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, and Ryan Hansen, Literally, Right Before Aaron marries our own insecurities with the emotional roller-coaster that is love. For Eggold, it’s merely the beginning of a long career at the helm of a film. For Long, it’s further proof he’s being underestimated in the industry.
You can catch the film in theaters and on VOD this Friday.

In Theaters and On Demand September 29, 2017

Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Kristen Schaal, Dana Delany, Peter Gallagher, Lea Thompson, and Luis Guzmán

Written, Edited and Directed by: Ryan Eggold

Review: ‘The Houses October Built 2’ scares up some déjà vu.

Recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who take “extreme haunt” to another level – five friends decide they must face their fears in order to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again and a new terror begins…

 

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 is the sequel to the 2014 cult hit, and marks the return of Brandy Schaefer (“coffin girl” from The Houses October Built) along with the original filmmaking team of Director and Co-Writer Bobby Roe, Producer and Co-Writer Zack Andrews , and Producer Steven Schneider (Split, Insidious, Paranormal Activity).

This sequel essentially picks up where the first ends… so (SPOILER ALERT) everyone is actually alive. Surprise! The cops come to the rescue and it has all been for publicity and extreme scares thanks to The Blue Skeleton crew. Convenient, but alright let’s roll with it. What we’re really getting with The Houses October Built 2, is The Houses October Built but with even less of a narrative. The first hour, exactly like the first film is a massive ad for all the top haunted houses across the US. The only added storyline is the fact that Brandy a.k.a. “coffin girl” is famous on Youtube and now everyone wants the group to visit their attraction and they will pay them… as long as Brandy is present. Problem being, she is understandably traumatized by her experience being kidnapped and emotionally tortured. Cajoled into a tentative travel schedule, our five experience The Zombie 5k, Zombie Pubcrawl, and a few other new Halloween fan favorites. Every once in a while we get what appears to be a snippet of plot thrown into the roughly hour and a half runtime, but basically, it doesn’t really amount to much until the final 25 minutes. Yes, it’s got a clever ending but that doesn’t save the fact that the acting is underwhelming and the guys, consistently disregarding Brandy’s feelings are kind of the only real villains in the film. If you’re looking to try out haunted houses of various kinds but don’t actually have the nerve to do it yourself, then The Houses October Built 2 might be up your alley. You can catch the trailer below for a sneak peek into the sequel and can catch it in theaters or on demand starting today.

RLJ Entertainment will release the upcoming horror film THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD September 22, 2017.

Review: ‘Against The Night” has one big winner…

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AGAINST THE NIGHT

AGAINST THE NIGHT is a psychological thriller that tests the boundaries of trust as nine friends sneak into an abandoned prison to film a ghost hunting video. When their friend, Hank, disappears, everyone is pointing fingers and placing blame until they realize they may not be alone.

Against the Night has a plot we’ve seen before… until it doesn’t. I have to admit, this film tries really hard to be unique but ultimately ends up being totally convoluted. There are moments in the script that are so far out in left field I literally said, “What?!” out loud as I watched. The practical effects don’t help, and the majority of the acting is pretty blah and even ventures into the downright atrocious. Oftentimes, the cast’s reactions, (mostly the girls) are completely unbelievable and frankly, don’t lend you to care about them. The chemistry is humming along one moment and nonexistent the next. The tropes seem forced and cobbled together without any flow to the story. While I did enjoy the opening setup and the use of multiple camera styles, Against the Night just didn’t work for me as a whole. The one saving grace in this film is actor Josh Cahn. Playing what feels akin to Jaimie Kennedy‘s role in SCREAM, Cahn is funny, likeable, and I wanted more of him on screen. I would watch an entire stand alone film with him as the lead, any day. This kid is a gem. If you do catch the film, he and the appearance of Frank Whaley as Detective Ramsey are worth their short amount of screen time. Check out the trailer below. As always, we want to know what you think, so those of you heading to the theater this weekend, tell us how Against the Night played out for you!

AGAINST THE NIGHT will be released theatrically in LA, NY and additional select markets on September 15.  The film has a running time of 86 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.

Review: Is ‘Bushwick’ a new normal just around the corner?

SYNOPSIS: When Lucy (Brittany Snow) steps off the subway, she walks into an utter bloodbath on the streets of Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Texas is attempting to secede from the Union, and militia forces have descended upon New York City to claim it as an East Coast base of operations and negotiation tool. Faced with a flurry of whizzing bullets and total destruction around every corner, Lucy takes shelter in the basement of Stupe (Dave Bautista), a burly war veteran who reluctantly helps her traverse the treacherous five-block stretch of Bushwhack to reach her destination—assuming it’s still there.

BUSHWICK stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect franchise, Hairspray), Angelic Zambrana (Precious, Fighting), Jeremie Harris (FX’s “Legion,” The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Pariah), and Christian Navarro (Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” Amazon’s “The Tick”).

The film is directed by the filmmaking team of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott (Cooties), and written by Nick Damici (We Are What We Are, Stake Land) and Graham Reznick (Chilling Visions: 5 States of Fear).

BUSHWICK is unrelenting from its opening shots until the final frame. The audience experiences the story in real time just as the main characters do. With the use of what feels like a single camera, lengthy POV takes (as if the viewer were the unseen third character), add to the heightened pace and overall menace of the film’s plot. Bushwick pulls no punches with its realism. There are small lulls but you might imagine that to be the case if the scenario presented were actually occurring. Overall, the action is non-stop and scary. Both Snow and Bautista deliver down-to-earth performances and give us two very different backgrounds from which to relate to. There are moments that seem unscripted they are so natural and out of the blue. Without spoiling anything, you’ll have to watch to understand what I mean by that. The timing of the film’s release is eerie considering our present political climate. It’s almost like a creepy omen of things yet to come. Don’t be fooled by the trailer. You are in for a much darker ride than you might expect. You can watch BUSHWICK now in theaters, on VOD and Digital HD.

TITLE: BUSHWICK

IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD: August 25, 2017

DIRECTOR: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott

WRITERS: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick

CAST: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris

GENRE: Action

DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment

Review: ‘DAVE MADE A MAZE’ is a wild and wacky journey.

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When I was a senior in high school, I took a psych elective. My best friends and I built a life sized maze for our classmates to run through. It was an exact replica of one we had built for mice. While we did not subject the mice to rock music and darkness, we did get a kick out of watching our friends get insanely lost and disoriented while we very scientifically studied and recorded their panic and need to beat their own times a second time through. In films like Labyrinth and The Shining, a maze can be a thing of life and death. In a quirky new film by Bill Watterson, you will find that and much. much more. Welcome to the wonder that is Dave Made A Maze.

DAVE MADE A MAZE tells the story of an unaccomplished and frustrated artist (Thune) who builds a cardboard box fort in his living room and winds up trapped with a gang of oddball explorers in a fantasy world of his own creation, threatened by booby traps and a bloodthirsty Minotaur.

Dave Made A Maze features Nick Thune (Knocked Up), Meera Rohit Kumbhani (“The Mindy Project”), James Urbaniak (“Difficult People”), Stephanie Allynne (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”), Scott Krinsky (Jobs), Frank Caeti (Stranger Than Fiction), Timothy Nordwind  (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and WWE Star John Hennigan; along with Scott Narver (Monday Morning), Rick Overton (Groundhog Day), and Adam Busch (Sugar & Spice).

Steven Sears (Take Back the Couch) co-wrote the film with Bill Watterson (Jersey Boys), who makes his directorial debut.

This film is nothing short of awesome’/hilarious/bizarre/fantastic. I can only imagine that this must have been one of the most fun sets to work on. The hours it must have taken to construct, with each room completely different than the last. With nods to past adventure films around each corner, the tongue in cheek dialogue and perfect suspension of disbelief from the cast is pure genius. Speaking of the cast, you will easily think that this cast regularly hangs out with one another, as their chemistry is so chill and comfortable. The witty banter is endless. Mixing stop-motion animation, puppetry, and on camera optical illusions, you cannot help but enjoy Dave Made A Maze.  You’ll wish there were a replica of the maze (for the most part… no spoilers from this lady) for you to romp around in. Huge props to the artists that made big kid dreams come true. But don’t  just take the film at face value, there is a deeper message underneath all the fun. You can catch the film in theaters and on VOD this Friday! Check out the trailer below for a sneak peek at what waits beyond the “Enter” sign. 

DAVE MADE A MAZE -(8/18) release in theaters and on VOD.

Review: ‘PILGRIMAGE’ takes blind faith on a journey against greed.

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PILGRIMAGE features an all star cast of Tom Holland (Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America: Civil War), Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, Marvel’s “The Punisher”), Richard Armitage (Capitan America: The First Avenger, The Hobbit) and was directed by Brendan Muldowney (Love Eternal, Savage).

In Ireland, 1209, a small group of monks begin a reluctant pilgrimage across an island torn between centuries of tribal warfare and the growing power of Norman invaders.  As they escort their monastery’s holiest relic to Rome, the true value of the bejeweled relic becomes dangerously apparent and their path becomes increasingly fraught with danger.
Religion, faith, mysticism, belief; all of these things have caused heartbreak, wars, saving grace, and death. In Pilgrimage, Tom Holland plays a young monk who is essentially forced to protect and carry a relic to Rome. Alongside his mysterious protector, played by John Bernthal, he and an eclectic crew of soldiers and men of faith must battle hidden agendas and a higher power to achieve their mission. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the film, besides the fact that each actor must deliver lines in at least 2 languages, is the fact that Bernthal’s character has zero dialogue. He is able to pull off a fully fleshed out character whose background leads to many questions along the way. The fight sequences are nothing less than brutal, so be prepared. That being said, they are pretty awesome to witness.The chemistry between the cast is palpable. Holland certainly holds his own among some seasoned players. His vulnerability on screen grounds the film. Overall, Pilgrimage has a Lord of the Rings meets Willow kind of vibe with a thought-provoking final scene. You can catch the film in theaters today, as well as on VOD and Digital HD.

TITLE: PILGRIMAGE
IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD: August 11, 2017
DIRECTOR: Brendan Muldowney
WRITER: Jamie Hannigan
CAST: Tom Holland, Jon Bernthal, Richard Armitage
GENRE: Action
DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment

Review: ‘The Gracefield Incident’ has familiar feel but is still cleverly fresh.

SYNOPSIS: Matthew Donovan, a video game editor, embeds an iPhone camera into his prosthetic eye to secretly record and document a weekend with friends in a luxurious mountain top cabin. The weekend takes a terrifying turn when a meteorite crashes the party forcing everyone to face the darkest, screaming nightmare while somehow connecting life, love, and loss in a twist of fear.

The Gracefield Incident takes pages from some of the most iconic sci-fi and horror films of the last 15 years. If you take Paranormal Activity, Signs, and Cloverfield you’ll have the basic outline for major elements in Mathieu Ratthe’s feature film. Yet, the film has its own uniqueness. The adoption of a camera in our main character’s eye is creative, the use of another character’s professional camera, AND security footage at the main location, allows the story to be experienced from multiple angles in a smart way. My only gripe with the plot has to do with balloons. Balloons don’t float with your breath alone, that’s not how that works. Otherwise, the practical effects are pretty impressive and the endgame is worth the wait. The Gracefield Incident is interesting enough on its own when it comes to the heart of the story. You can check out the trailer below.

THE GRACEFIELD INCIDENT IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DEMAND / DIGITAL HD:  July 21, 2017

DIRECTOR AND WRITER: Mathieu Ratthe
CAST: Mathieu Ratthe, Kimberly Laferriere, Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles, Juliette Gosselin, Alexandre Nachi, Laurence Dauphinais
GENRE: Horror, Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: Momentum Pictures

Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Review: ‘Killing Ground’ will swear you off camping for life.

KILLING GROUND

The disturbing horror, thriller follows a couple’s romantic camping trip that becomes a desperate fight for survival in this ultra-raw, unhinged kill ride. In need of a break from the pressures of their life in the city, Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) head to a remote beach for a weekend getaway. When they come across an abandoned campsite, with no trace of its occupants, they’re concerned. When they discover a lone, traumatized child nearby, they’re scared. And when they encounter two local weirdos, they’re in for a hell of a bad time. Unfolding in an innovative, time-scrambling structure, Killing Ground delivers both nerve-shredding suspense and gut-punching realism.

KILLING GROUND marks the debut feature of writer/director Damien Power and stars Australian actors Aaron Pedersen (ABC’s “Jack Irish”), Ian Meadows (Network Ten’s “The Wrong Girl”), Harriet Dyer (Nine Network’s “Love Child”) and Aaron Glenane (Truth).

As a kid, I was an avid camper. After seeing Killing Ground, I may never go again. As a mother, thanks to this film, I’ll never, ever bring my children with me to a remote location where I am more than shouting distance away from lots and lots of other campers… with weapons. Killing Ground is a slow burn of menace that keeps you feeling uneasy and queasy it’s entire 93 min runtime. With a multiple narrative style, you already know something horrible is coming but you’re forced to sit through the time jumps just to get to certain doom. Anything with balls enough to put children in true, murderous harm’s way will get me every time now that I’m a parent. But you don’t have to have kids of your own to be deeply affected by the horrors on screen, you just have to have an ounce more heart than the film’s villains. While last week’s SOLD OUT screening at Fantasia Fest may have left many in the lurch, fear not. Killing Ground actually gets its theatrical and VOD release this week, July 21st. Check out the trailer below.

CANADIAN PREMIERE
  • USA
  • 2017
  • 89 mins
  • English

SCREENING TIMES

CREDITS

  • Directed by: Damien Power
  • Written by: Damien Power
  • Cast: Harriet Dyer, Aaron Glenane, Ian Meadows, Aaron Pederson
  • Company: IFC Midnight