Fantasia International Film Festival 2018 starts this week! Here are 10 films that are getting us excited.

The Fantasia International Film Festival officially begins in two days. If you don’t already know about the fest, you are in for a cavalcade of horror, sci-fi, action and the out of this world twisted with the strange and unusual. How’s that for a description? Some of last year’s hits include LowlifeThe EndlessMohawkGood TimeSpoor, and Mayhem to name a few. If you haven’t seen any of these yet, do yourself a huge favor and seek them out. 2018’s lineup is no exception with films like Under The Silver Lake from David Robert Mitchell, which takes us into a neo-noir surreal romp and a complete 180 from It Follows. Nicholas Cage stars in Mandy, already being touted as a genre-bending blood fest of epic proportions. Hint, it’s already sold out. Let us not forget the enormously popular Fantasia Shorts Program. One, in particular, that was phenomenal last year was the Born of Woman section. As the title might suggest, these are shorts made exclusively by female filmmakers. They were as disturbing as they were profound and they are not to be missed. Fantasia has something for everyone. Cinephiles easily plan their year around this one festival and we don’t blame them. Here are a few titles we are stoked to check out over the next few weeks.
​​Blue My Mind
Blue. Of the bewildered spirit intermediating between child and sea. Blue is the colour of Mia (Luna Wedler), 15 years old, newly arrived in a town that looks like all the others. Breaking away from the sterile environment provided by her parents, she is drawn to the pack of popular kids, the ones who smoke, shoplift, mess around. Mia has everything, yet she suffocates. Then comes an odd thirst, an irresistible instinct that has her reaching out for air where there is none. In her head are the turbulent sounds of crashing water against the pebble beach. In her tortured flesh, the alienation of nature, the terrifying and unstoppable transformation of her body conflicting with the need for stillness, to press pause on the perfect breath.
Heavy Trip
Life has its downsides in a small, northern Finnish town. The local bros give long-haired, leather-clad Turo a tough time, and his job at the mental hospital is literally shitty. His crush on Miia at the flower shop is thwarted by the tacky lounge singer Jouni, and his band jams in the back of a reindeer slaughterhouse. In the plus column for Turo, well… there’s the band, even if these black-metal true-believers have never gigged in all their 12 years together (Turo’s concealed but crippling stage fright hasn’t helped). A miraculous crack at a major metal festival in Norway jumpstarts the quartet’s dreams, and Impaled Rektum set out on a metallic mission that will make them confront not only doubts, detours and difficulties, but also Vikings in longships (plus an elf), graverobbing, Swedish rocket launchers and wolverine-wrestling (dangerous… and awkward!).
Cold Skin
In the early years of the 20th century, a young man (David Oakes) takes over the responsibility of surveying the weather of a secluded island in the Antarctic. Hoping for isolation and time for self-reflection, he instead finds a crazed and weathered person named Gruner, played by genre favourite Ray Stevenson (DEXTERTHORDIVERGENT). Gruner quickly reveals that there is more to this island than meets the eye and that below the icy depths, a terrible scourge lurks. The extent of Gruner’s madness slowly becomes more and more pronounced as his bloodlust for the creatures becomes apparent. Struggling for survival, the surveyor must choose between a madman and a legion of creatures he does not fully understand.
Tokyo Vampire Hotel

Set in 2021 as the Dracula family and another family of vampires, the Corvins, prepare for the end of the world by getting into a massive rumble.

The Draculas wear billowy pirate blouses, are scared of crucifixes, and have retreated into an interdimensional salt mine beneath Transylvania. The Corvins are pop-idol hot and have retreated into a posh hotel located inside the interdimensional vagina of their leader. There, theyve invited a herd of humans they’ll force to breed at a “Special Coupling Party” to ensure an endless future supply of blood. Enter Manami (Ami Tomite), a girl looking to fit in someplace, who has special vampire blood, and suddenly everyone wants to shoot each other in the face to stash her in their apocalypse bunker first.

Tales from the Hood 2
Horror is back in the hood! The sequel to the groundbreaking original film TALES FROM THE HOOD reunites executive producer Spike Lee (Honorary Academy Award® winner) and writers/directors/producers Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott for an all-new gripping, horrifying and oftentimes devilishly comical anthology. Keith David stars as a contemporary Mr. Simms to tell bloodcurdling stories about lust, greed, pride, and politics through tales with demonic dolls, possessed psychics, vengeful vixens, and historical ghosts. Mr. Simms’s haunting stories will make you laugh… while you scream.
Mega Time Squad
Johnny (Anton Tennet) lives an underwhelming life. He is a low-level drug dealer in Thames, New Zealand, he lives in his mother’s garage, his time is spent with a blundering friend Gaz (Arlo Gibson) at the local bowling alley and doing petty errands for the local kingpin Shelton (Johnny Brugh of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS) and his henchmen (including Milo Cawthrone of DEATHGASM and ASH VS. EVIL DEAD). When a once-in-a-lifetime chance at a big score reveals itself, Johnny finds himself wondering, “Do I have what it takes to pull off a caper?” He quickly realizes no, he doesn’t. That is, not until he stumbles upon an ancient relic that allows him to travel across time. With the power to bend time in Johnny’s hands, a hodgepodge of hilarity ensues and the “bogans” (Kiwi for loser) sets his sights once again on the wealth just beyond his grasp. However, what are the consequences of this temporal insanity, and does Johnny have what it takes to face off against Shelton and his henchmen?
Nightmare Cinema
At a forgotten, haunted bijou, a group of strangers have assembled to watch a series of macabre vignettes unspooled by the mysterious Projectionist (Mickey Rourke). Like the best anthology films (DEAD OF NIGHTCREEPSHOWTRICK ‘R TREAT), the stories’ tones range from truly deep, dark, psychological, demented horror to ones with a lighter, satirical spin. Witness a ghost story that will chill you to the bone; an exorcism story guaranteed to make your head spin; a B&W descent into clinical madness; a plastic surgery gone horrifyingly awry; and a cabin-in-the-woods slasher ditty with a unique twist you’ll never see coming.
A Rough Draft
Over a mere handful of hours, successful Moscow video-game designer Kirill has watched his life vanish. There is no longer any official record of his existence. His colleagues, his loved ones, even his dog no longer recognize him. Homeless, heartbroken, battered and framed for murder, Kirill is at the mercy of a mysterious cabal, and they have a new life planned for him. He is now to reside in a dismal old tower near the Kremlin, and there he will serve as an interdimensional gatekeeper, opening the doors to a myriad of possible Moscows that could have been, would have been? or should never have been. Kirill discovers that he now has the power to manipulate the material world around him. But who is manipulating Kirill?
The Night Eats The World
Sam (Anders Danielsen Lie) is not legend, though he may be the last man on earth. After falling asleep in a back room of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, he wakes up to discover that the world, or at least Paris, has been overrun by a zombified populace. Barricading himself inside the building, he faces life as the sole survivor of the plague, gathering the supplies he can as the ghouls stagger and slaver outside. He can sustain his body, but can he sustain his mind as the days alone in a world gone to hell stretch out endlessly before him? He finds “companionship” and a sounding board in a zombie (Denis Lavant) trapped in an elevator, while facing an existential crisis: “Being dead is the norm now. I’m the one who’s not normal.”
Summer of ’84
“The suburbs are where the craziest shit happens,” 15-year-old Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) tells us at the beginning of SUMMER OF ’84,, and he should know. It’s June of the eponymous year in Ipswich, Oregon, and Davey is spending his days and nights hanging out, talking about sex and the finer points of STAR WARS sequels, and playing “manhunt” with best friends Eats (Judah Lewis), Woody (Caleb Emery) and Curtis (Cory Gruter-Andrew). The innocent fun ends when Davey begins to suspect that his next-door neighbour, outwardly friendly cop Wayne Mackey (Rich Sommer), is the Cape May Slayer who has been preying on kids his age in the area. Davey recruits his pals to help investigate and expose Mackey, initiating an adventure that threatens to turn dangerous and deadly for the boys at any moment.

We could keep naming films but that would be a bit overkill, don’t you think? But seriously, see whatever you can. We’ll be bringing you reviews of everything we’re able to catch. You can find out more info about the full program and tickets at fantasiafestival.com
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The Fantasia International Film Festival, North America’s largest and longest-running genre film fest, will be celebrating its 22nd year in Montreal this summer, taking place from July 12 through August 2.

 

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.

TNT’s ‘The Alienist’ premieres with graphic intrigue and the beginnings of forensic science.

The Alienist opens when a series of haunting murders of boy prostitutes grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) calls upon criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (LukeEvans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a headstrong secretary determined to become the city’s first female police detective. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and forensics, this band of social outsiders set out to apprehend one of New York City’s first serial killers. The limited series also stars Douglas Smith, Matthew Shear, Matt Lintz, Robert Ray Wisdom and Q’orianka Kilcher.

This new limited series will strike a chord with a wider audience than one might think. Based on the Anthony Award-winning international bestseller by Caleb Carr, The Alienist possesses underpinnings of feminism, glorious period set and dress, and a chemistry between cast members that is electric. These characters are fully fleshed out and Bruhl, Evans, and Fanning do not disappoint. Daniel Bruhl‘s Holmes-esque portrayal of Dr. Kreizler is striking. Seeing Evans as almost a number two in masculinity is a true testament to his abilities. Fanning walks a beautiful line between the inherent misogyny of the times and fearlessness.

The forensics are graphic, be forewarned. The show airs at 9 pm and would be incredibly inappropriate for a younger audience but is sheer perfection for psychological thriller/horror fans. The introduction to forensic psychology and science is both a joy and disturbing to behold. Not even halfway through the premiere and I was fully invested in the story. The Alienist is great television.

The Alienist premieres across TNT’s television, mobile and digital platforms on Monday, January 22, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Review: ‘JACK GOES HOME’ proves that Rory Culkin is terrifyingly good at his job.

jackgoeshome_theatrical_27x39They say you can never go home again. Maybe some of us should heed this advice depending on the skeletons in our closets. In Thomas Dekker‘s new film JACK GOES HOME, Rory Culkin finds himself playing the title character whose loss might be his greatest gain. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
r1I’ve see a horror film or two in my day, but I’ve never seen anything like Jack Goes Home. The story appears to be straight forward: Jack’s parents are in a car accident. His father dies and he goes home to take care of his mother, who has survived. When something goes bump in the night, he is compelled, by his father’s own words, to explore his childhood like never before. It doesn’t take too long before things get weird. Grief can make people act in funny ways, but this film takes it to a whole other level. Dekker’s script is off the hinges with scares both physically and emotionally. You’re never quite sure who is fooling whom. rl1With genre veteran Lin Shaye as Jack’s mother, you’re immediately thrown for a loop. Her presence is this insane mix of calming and unnerving. Each scene she appears in makes your skin crawl. Rory Culkin is more intense with each role he takes on. Following up on his fierce performance in Gabriel, there is no doubt this young man is a star. Jack is one hell of a character and when the film has the balls to open by having him break the fourth wall, you know you’re in for a ride. Each scene tops the next in mystery and fear and Culkin is the driving force behind your unease. As the credits rolled I thought, “What the hell did I just see?!” Then in watching the trailer again, I had so many more questions and theories. This is a film I’ll be speculating about for some time. It begs for multiple viewings.

JACK GOES HOME hits US cinemas and VOD on Friday, October 14th, from Momentum Pictures.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, language throughout, and drug use.

‘The Walking Dead’ midseason Trailer is Here!

TWDKeyart_CorporateSiteWe know it’s New Year’s Eve, but we’re getting pumped for Valentine’s Day already. Why? Well, that night is the midseason return of walkers, Rick, some really incompetent Alexandrians, and a new villain, Negan. Check out the trailer for the return on The Walking Dead!

THE WALKING DEAD  returns Sunday, February 14th at 9pm on AMC.

It’s DOCTOR WHO DAY!! Series 9 Premieres Tonight!

doctor-who-logodw-901-10In just under 30 minutes, Series 9 of Doctor Who will begin on BBCAmerica. Last time we saw the Doctor and Clara, Missy was running amuk, Cybermen were causing a ruckus and the fate of the universe was in jeopardy. But this, my friends, is why we love the show. Steven Moffat is teaming up with “Blink” director, Hettie MacDonald. Tonight’s episode is titled, “The Magician’s Apprentice“. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are back in action. Here is the run down… as far as I can reveal to you.

Where is the Doctor?” When the skies of Earth are frozen by a mysterious alien force, Clara needs her friend. But where is the Doctor, and what is he hiding from? As past deeds come back to haunt him, old enemies will come face-to-face, and for the Doctor and Clara survival seems impossible

Clara Series 9I was fortunate enough to attend the premiere screening here in NYC Thursday night. The Mistress herself, Michelle Gomez, was in attendance along with hundreds of lucky Whovians. TARDIS outside the theater, cosplayers as far as the eye could see, Michelle sat down for a pre-screening Q&A to reveal some of her favorite things about playing  The Mistress. The biggest surprise to the audience came when she revealed that not only would we be privy to the first episode, but the second as well! As you can imagine, the  house went nuts; cheering and shouting surrounded by the glow of sonic screwdrivers. It was brilliant. Here are a few pics I shared from the event.

Guess where I am? #HappyWhovain #series9 #DoctorWho #TheMistressIsHere A photo posted by Elizabeth Whittemore Ferry (@indiebizliz) on

We’re certainly excited and you should be, too!  That’s all I can say for now…. Spoilers.

DOCTOR WHO airs tonight at 9pm/8C on BBCAmerica.

Liz’s Review: ‘Beside Still Waters’ is charming reminder that we’re not alone.

beside still waters posterAt some point or another in time, we’ve all failed to be there for friends. All gotten so wrapped up in our own lives that the ones who most count on us somehow fade into the background. In Chris Lowell’s directorial debut, we find just this scenario.  Best Still Waters is a story about love, friendship and the ties that bind us together.

Daniel has just lost his mother and father. As he spirals deeper into depression, his childhood friends show up for a weekend away at his parents’ lake house. Each carrying their own baggage, they must come to terms with the lies they tell each other and themselves once reunited. Very much inspired by the 80’s classic The Big Chill and reminiscent of this year’s Tribeca Film Fest favorite,  About Alex, Beside Still Waters deals with “what if”s and “what might have been”s. Reality swiftly punching each character in the gut or to be more specific, slapping them in the face.

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